Yes, loyal readers, it has been a long time since I blogged. I’ve been refreshing my vocation as a Christian writer at the Glen Workshop East, an experience I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who has wondered how the identities “Christian” and “writer” can coexist harmoniously.
While I sort out my thoughts from this high-intensity week, please enjoy the following excerpt from The Last Stanza, a new poetry anthology edited by Dan Savery Raz of Danscribe Books. The Last Stanza features work by the members of StanzAviv, a creative collective of writers associated with Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University. StanzAviv members come from Israel, USA, UK, France, Canada, Latvia and beyond. Poets include Dara Barnat from Tel Aviv University’s English Faculty, literary translator Sabine Huynh, and Israeli poet Michal Pirani. The book also features atmospheric shots of Tel Aviv taken by award-winning photographer Nitzan Hafner. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the ARDC (African Refugee Development Center), an NGO in south Tel Aviv that provides shelter, education, counseling and advice to refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. The ARDC was founded by refugees for refugees.
by Yedida Bernstein Goren
i am refugee, you were this too, yes? my friend
i ran, climbed, snaked to shaky part of your borderwall
oh israel holy-israel my mind breaking into pieces of glass
i hear jews are good people
months i journey hide every some hours
lost friends, brother, child back home
you also lose family shot at by crazed soldiers, yes?
we hear you did long long time ago 60 years
walking and walking and walking and walking
they aim bullets at me
they rape my woman
i stand there
my eyes stretch into my forehead, my pupils fall out my eyelids
i hold back the skyscream
trudge on with wife on back
over last sandkilometer
i reach you, finally, oh Israel
scarred, falling, hungry
you send me to holding station
you look down on me and wife
you so shy of kindtouch
so short on welcomewords
weeks months later
you tell us to leave on big plane
where, kind officer, do you think we should return to?
by Dan Savery Raz
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Exquisite poem by Yehuda Bernstein Goren.