April 20, 2018

Yakov Azriel


Here is good, yes? We are one, yes? This land
of love you’ve brought me to is different from
all lands I’ve known before. I have become
a resident who learns to understand—
a little slowly, yes?—new customs and
new laws. New music, too—to play a drum
and saxophone, you’ve taught me, yes?—and some
new dancing steps, you lead me, hand in hand.

Despite my funny accent and the words
I mispronounce; despite my failure to
improve my speech; despite the way I dress;
despite my dreams in which I speak to birds
in foreign languages unknown to you,
you love me as I am, you love me, yes?

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets

[download audio]


Yakov Azriel: “I was born in New York City in 1950, and came to live in Israel in 1971, after finishing my BA in Brooklyn College. Although I no longer live in America, and although I speak Hebrew well, I feel more comfortable writing poetry in English than in Hebrew. I am not sure that the fact I no longer live in the country of my birth is reflected in my poems, but I do believe being at home in more than one language and more than one culture can give a writer a greater perspective and hopefully greater depth. In a sense, we are all strangers.” (web)

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