Albert Russo
Albert Russo
"Art is but a moment of happiness, it is like a lightning of bliss cleaving the never-ending horrors of our world."

Ode to Tel Aviv and to Israel

A man fishes off the coast of Tel Aviv. December 3, 2015. (Esther Rubyan/Flash90)
A man fishes off the coast of Tel Aviv. December 3, 2015. (Esther Rubyan/Flash90)

I love this city
but only with my two eyes
not yet with my mind

I have resided
in three other continents
this is my fourth and last

my heart still longs for
Central and southern Africa
New York and Italy

though it’s in Paris
that I’ve spent half of my life
I no longer miss it

I cannot deny
the city’s magnificence
but France has changed for the worse

this final move
at my age is traumatic
new life, new ways, new tongue

yet, I do perceive
that Tel Aviv is the freest
of all my previous abodes

and it’s the gentlest too
races and religions mix here
even better than in New York

then there is that beach
which stretches all the way to Jaffa
one of the world’s oldest ports

where Arabs and Jews
live and work side by side

Israel is the
most vilified country
on this planet

mostly because of
hatred, lies and jealousy
no, it’s not paradise

yet, it gives so much
to the world for the benefit
of humanity

in agriculture
science, medicine, hi-tech
yet people keep quiet about it

read the facts regarding
Israel and Palestine
don’t be so gullible
to propaganda

I think thus I am
was the adage of Pascal
this is not true here

the Israelis
crave for peace above everything
if they could, they would bury their arms

they are not angels
they shoot when they are shot at

that is what is claimed
by all the anti-semites
specially of the two main creeds

the truth is different
Israelis would not fire
a single shot
if they weren’t constantly attacked

that’s been going on
ever since the country
was created 68 years ago
and even before,
under the British mandate
but those Brits turned their coats
when they left the territory

to Pascal’s adage
I prefer that of an Italian contemporary:
I defend myself thus I am

because if the Israelis
had to wait for the UN’s intervention
there would be a second holocaust

yes, to see Jews not bowing anymore
as they did for 2000 years in Europe
is something new, repellent and unacceptable
to those who were used to watch them being tortured or killed

they have built a proud, strong and inventive nation
which, albeit not perfect, is a light unto the world
and only the righteous, the intelligent
and the knowledgeable understand this

About the Author
Albert Russo who has published worldwide over 85 books of poetry, fiction and essays (35) and photography (50), in both English and French, his two mother tongues, and sometimes in Italian, (Italian being his 'paternal' tongue) - he also speaks Spanish and German and still has notions of Swahili -, is the recipient of many awards,such as The New York Poetry Forum and Amelia (CA) Awards, The American Society of Writers Fiction Award, The British Diversity Short Story Award, The AZsacra International Poetry Award (Taj Mahal Review - US$ 500), the Books & Authors Award, several Writer’s Digest poetry and fiction Awards (winner and finalist), aquillrelle Awards, the Prix Colette and the Prix de la Liberté, among others. His work has been translated into about 15 languages in 25 countries, on the five continents. He has co-published Gaytude with Adam Donaldson Powell, which won Best Gay Book in the USA. Albert Russo’s major books are the AFRICAN QUATUOR (AQ), his memoir CALL ME CHAMELEON (CMC), his humorous ZAPINETTE Series (Zapy), GOSH ZAPINETTE, the first ever series of global Jewish humor, his books of stories and of poetry encompassing 40 years of writing, entitled: THE CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, vol. 1 -CWS1 (the stories and essays) and THE CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, vol. 2 (the poems) CWS2 + the two big books dedicated to his beloved mother Sarah Russo (SR) + about 50 books of photos. His definitive biography penned by the Norwegian African-American writer, poet and artist Adam Donaldson Powell, UNDER THE SHIRTTAILS OF ALBERT RUSSO was released by l’Aleph (November 2017), Wisehouse Publishing. A humanist with roots in Central, Southern Africa, and the Mediterranean, he has been acclaimed by James Baldwin, Edmund White, Martin Tucker, Douglas Parmee of Oxford University, Joseph Kessel, Pierre Emmanuel, both of the Académie Française, among many other literary authorities, as well as by his African peers, Chinua Achebe among them. Albert Russo was also a member of the 1996 jury for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature which often leads to the Nobel Prize of Literature. Latest Prize: Best 2013 Unicef Short Story award in defense of childhood worldwide, for Revenge by proxy / Vengeance par procuration.  His 50-odd books of photography have garnered awards in the USA, UK, Russia, France, etc. Some of his work has been exhibited in the Louvre Museum, at the Espace Pierre Cardin, both in Paris, in Times Square, New York, at the Museum of Photography in Lausanne, Switzerland, in Art Berlin, in Tokyo, in Moscow, etc. The former Mayor of the Big Apple, Mr Bloomberg, has lauded his two photo books on Paris and New York. Some of his novels and memoirs have also been filmed in English, with videos 90 and 100 minutes long. Latest award: I have just received the following award. "Dear Albert, It is with great pleasure to announce that you have been selected as a Book Excellence Award Finalist for the following book: 'GOSH ZAPINETTE! the first ever series of global humor’ (770 pages). There were hundreds of entries from around the world and 'GOSH ZAPINETTE! the first ever series of global humor' was selected for its high-quality writing, design and market appeal. Congratulations. The Book Excellence Award Committee.” The Book Excellence Awards Advantage. More than just an awards competition, the Book Excellence Awards provides authors and publishers with extended support and resources on topics such as publishing, marketing, writing, publicity and social media. The Book Excellence Awards is a smart investment on your publishing journey and the results and benefits will last a lifetime! Literary website: - "Art is but a moment of happiness, it is like a lightning of bliss cleaving the never-ending horrors of our world." Albert Russo “Inspiration is like delicious food that your taste buds remember, or a perfume you have long forgotten and whose whiff suddenly brushes your nostrils again, giving you pangs of nostalgia.” Albert Russo