I made a mistake, rather then rest and recover after the surgery, I decided to write an article for Time Out Tel-Aviv, and uncover a mystery.
The project was to tell the story of a lie and if possible find out the truth behind it. A mysterious female poet named Tze'ela Katz was responsible for several biting poems published in the cult magazine "Ma'ayan", for an active website and for hundreds of Internet comments and emails, many of them subversive and insulting.
New's of Katz's death were first given two weeks ago on the blog of Ma'ayan's editor, Roy "Chicky" Arad. The rumor soon spread that she was fiction - a nom de plume of a man, perhaps several men. could this be so?
Trying to dig into the story involved getting in touch with a lot of interesting figures in the Tel-Avivian literary and artistic underground. It also cost me my health. Someone started stalking me under a false name, threatening me via email, mocking my temporary inability to speak, discrediting me before my editors and sending cryptic phone messages.
When the article got published, with a fair bit of praise to the artistic endeavor and only a hint to the mystery's solution, he called to apologize.
I figure that this man, a talented and sharp high tech professional, is responsible for at least the majority of Tze'ela Katz's texts. He was afraid of being uncovered, worried that all journalists are there to trash people, and spun into what appeared to me as some sort of a paranoid episode.
I respect his needs and won't publish his name here. I will say, however, that whimsical musician A.B. Dan, who was named as Katz on her website one day after publication, wasn't the primary figure in the project.
The full story features a nocturnal journey into a basement in Tel-Aviv's dead suburb of Nes Tziona, where a memorial service to Katz was held. It includes several emotional late night exchanges and a climax involving Time Out's editor in chief and publisher. Rather than go into all that, I'd like to present you with a translation of a Tze'ela Katz poem. It is the art, after all, that matters.
(Notes for the foreign reader: "Superpharm" is an Israeli chain of drug stores, where perfumes and make-up products are available along with pharmaceutical goods. "Burger-Ranch" is a chain of fast food restaurants. the word "overdraft" is used in Hebrew as is, to imply a checking account minus.)
Superpharm / Tze'ela Katz
Don't drip sun on me
Take me to the Superpharm
The word Superpharm has a young sound,
Like Burger-Ranch or Overdraft
I'd like for you to shave your chest hairs
Before we go into the Superpharm
I'm mad at all the women of the world
How is it possible to enter the Superpharm in peace?
You remind me of the days
When I can hardly fall asleep
Afterwards my sense of smell sharpens
And entering the superpharm becomes a nightmare
All girls go to the souk and to the Superpharm
The superpharm's design says beautification
The souk's design says discrimination
The souk's design says: "There's fish sold here
Here you won't pay for sex"
The orange vendor at the souk says:
"Half to eat and half for juice."
He knows how to talk to a woman.
Picturing myself at the Superpharm