Saturday, October 19, 2013

From the Notebook of J Michel


No space for you here 

There is no space for you here.
Stand in line –they’ll want to question you.
You’re not a tourist?
Pay a fee. Fill out these forms. Wait in line.
There is no space for you here.
Stand in line –the office wants your letter.
Why do you want a visa? You don’t look Jewish.
Come back when you can prove you’re a Jew.
There is no space for you here.

This land was chosen,
it’s people steeped in blood called milk and honey.
I don’t understand.

When I came out into the streets, blinking in the harsh light,
pushing into the crowd and drying the tears of my humiliation
they welcomed me with open arms.
They sing my name like the chorus of that song on the radio.
I start to relax –I tell them I’m glad to be here.
They laugh and tease and are dazzled
because I have no American accent when I speak;
they want my phone number like I’m some kind of celebrity –
they want to take me out and sleep with me
and forget me as soon as I want to pray in their synagogues.

They tolerate me as long as I act like a child
playing with her grandfathers t’fillin.
It’s okay, they say. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.
But isn’t she so cute?

My eyes become heavy –I’m ashamed of my face
and my grandfather’s high cheekbones.
I light the candles inside my room
and I mumble the blessing with the lights on.
There is no space for me here.

There is no space for me here
so I laugh and omit the uncomfortable truth;
I’m studying music, I tell them. Yes, I did an ulpan.
No, I’m not an ola chadasha.
The Age Old Dream has come true;
statehood has afforded us the freedom to discriminate amongst ourselves
in new and exciting ways.

So sleep well, wear your tzit tzit,
And God will forgive you for fucking the Reformit-Goya
before Shabbat dinner with your parents.

There is no place for me here. 

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