Homeless Ethiopian in Tel Aviv

In the morning ‘neath azure,
with the Mediterranean reaching
out in Tel Aviv’s western horizon,
the cement walkways running parallel to the ocean
were flooded with bicyclists, walkers and joggers

At the center of a small rotary
sat a nondescript fountain
On one end of the fountain was a wooden bench
where an Ethiopian man, dressed
in his only pair of old, tattered clothes,
had fallen asleep stretched out across the bench,
lying on his side, with head resting
on his propped-up hand.
From a distance, one may have thought
him awake in this posture

Two white Israeli women, out for their morning stroll
in tank tops and nylon shorts, walked by the homeless man.
One ribbed the other and pointed at the sleeping
Ethiopian. The two women remained there, laughing, joking and
jubilantly pointing at the sleeping homeless man for a few minutes.
They snapped a half a dozen pictures on their
phones and continued their morning jaunt.

The morning sun continued to climb up the Mediterranean sky

Meanwhile, forty miles southward, the same sun shone in Gaza,
but after 14 years of siege, followed by forty of occupation….

perhaps this homeless Ethiopian Jew, mocked while sleeping
on a fountain bench, had much to be appreciative of

As a prolific author from the Boston area, Peter F. Crowley writes in various forms, including short fiction, op-eds, poetry and academic essays. In 2020, his poetry book Those Who Hold Up the Earth was published by Kelsay Books and received impressive reviews by Kirkus Review, the New Age and two local Boston-area newspapers. His writing can be found in Middle East Monitor, Znet, 34th Parallel, Pif Magazine, Galway Review, Digging the Fat, Adelaide’s Short Story and Poetry Award anthologies (finalist in both) and The Opiate. His books That Night and Other Stories (CAAB Publishing) and Empire’s End (Alien Buddha Press) were released during the week of Friday the 13th in October 2023. Read other articles by Peter F..