So…I confuse you

So…I confuse you

So I talk too black with a Jewish inflection
I wear pink Timbs with a Star of David around my neck
I do the hora to Rihanna
and “Hatikva” on my conga
and yes my hair is braided
but it’s covered by my kippah

I tell you my name is Hebrew
but what you hear is exotic
You see my features are Jewish
tanner skin, must be Hispanic
kinda cute
kinda hood
and religious…

I confuse you

See my clique is black chicas
clubbin’ to hip-hop music
bangin’ out step routines
sittin’ on the stoop drinkin’ forties
watchin’ men play dominoes
talkin’ ‘bout someone’s cousin’s cousin’s sister’s friend just had a baby

Mazel Tov!
oh, congratulations….

I’m sorry, I confuse you

I know, I should be in a sorority in the Midwest
pre-law or psychology
going to Bloomie’s
with my sisters, straightened hair,
dressed in Juicy…

Yeah, perhaps this is a stereotype,
and perhaps I still confuse you

See I’m a bitch cuz I’m bold
I’m ghetto cuz I speak my mind
I’m hood cuz I don’t take bullshit
It must be cuz i kick it with black girls, right?
(Does she know she’s Jewish?)

Don’t condescend to me
to minimize your confusion
and disillusionment
with who you think I am
or should be
this Jewish-black “wanna be”

Have you ever met an Israeli?

Baby, don’t let me confuse you
Don’t let me confuse you.

religious women
shooting guns
dodging bullets
chanting Torah
standing strong
club dancing
booty shaking
soul searching
tradition practicing
beautiful women that are my people.

Have you met them?
Have you met me?

And again, I confuse you

See, I’m too Jewish for the black girls
and too black for the Jews
So I ride the train
back and forth between 125th and Westchester
Hoping there will be a conductor to tell me where to get off
where I’m supposed to reside

But instead, I decide
to take it all the way to JFK
El Al straight to Israel.

Yael Miriam holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has performed in such productions as The Libation Bearers, For Colored Girls…, Dreams in Scar Space, Polaroid Stories, Voices of Africa, and Peter. She is currently a member of Hemispheric’s EmergeNYC Program for emerging activist artists and Storahtelling Theater Co. Yael’s poem originated from the national tour of I.D., a stage show of monologues by Birthright alumni exploring Jewish culture and identity. When not performing, she works hard, daydreams, travels, goes to Israel as often as possible, and plays with her friends. She is currently working on an empowerment education program and living in a castle in Brooklyn.


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