from How Do You Do, Dolores?

Yoel Hoffmann

Translated from the Hebrew by Slava Bart


You can give me your word and I will agree.
Give me the word later. I can use it
extensively. Or you can give me the word

I have told you before about my uncle
Ladislaus but I haven’t told you there were
ceilings to his dreams.
The dreams rose and rose till they reached
the ceiling and then spread out longitudinally
and horizontally across it.

Tsruf tsruf are the sounds of a large bird
standing on a tree standing on a bird
standing on a tree.
I can because of the rain and for a reason that
is not clear get an orgasm here on Rothschild
Boulevard facing East between the benches
on Wednesday which is a female day. I have
nothing to hide and I get what I get in the
eyes of the beholders: the propagation and
the time.

I call to God by his Slavic name.

Bog. I say. Bog. Behold me and behold my
imitation duck. A thousand years I pray to
you and still I am possessed.
Oh great Bog. If I am fated to tremble thus
you do it.

You can ask me if there are other women
besides you and me on Rothschild Boulevard.
There is the woman who looks like the
English word particular and there is the
woman who passes by quickly.
And there are of course the women inside the
houses on both sides of the boulevard some
lying on their bellies and some lying and their
faces are facing up.

Picture in your mind’s eye Dolores the
Persian names confined within these walls
and meaning to leave them and return to
Or to the ancient city Found Place
where the dervishes spin day and night until
their minds escape their bodies and they hear
only the voice of the axis on which the great
wheels are turning.



Yoel Hoffmann (b. 1937) is widely regarded as Israel’s leading writer of avant-garde fiction. An author, poet, editor, scholar and translator, his first volume of fiction was published when he was 51.  His books include How Do You Do, Dolores? (1995), The Shunra and the Schmetterling (2004), The Heart is Katmandu (2006), Bernhard (2006), and Curriculum Vitae (2009). He teaches Japanese poetry, Buddhism, and philosophy at the University of Haifa  He was the recipient of the first ever Koret Jewish Book Award, as well as the Bialik Prize, and the Prime Minister’s Prize.

Slava Bart was born on December 2nd, 1983, in Kokshetau, Kazakhstan. In 1994 he immigrated to Israel. He is a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University, researching the negative attitudes of creative writers towards academic critics. Previous publications include stories and poems in Contrary Magazine, arc (IAWE), The Ilanot Review, Voices Israel, DeadBeats Blog, Cyclamens and Swords, Red Fez, and Liquid Imagination.


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