Independence Day in South Africa

Six hundred people
home of US Ambassador
Patrick Gaspard
we both worked
for the hospital workers union
he’s a true visionary
real sense of humor
I was down the hall
Patrick went to work
for Obama
he greeted
all 600 0f us
as his friends
real party
woman from Namibia
invited us to Namibia
many people said
they’ll visit
in New York Patrick
talked to us
not a speech
he made us happy
about what we can do
because we know
of course
how together
we all are.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. Last night I was at another American Ambassador’s Residence, Amb. Dan Shapiro in Herzliya Pituach, Israel, overlooking the Mediterranean. Like Amb. Gaspard, Shapiro worked with Obama beginning with being head of outreach to the Jewish community in 2008, then Deputy. National Security Adviser, before being appointed ambassador in 2011. In Israel, there was a “cast of thousands” at the event, and some great music by the A-Wa Sisters (3 Yemenite sisters who perform a combination of traditional Yemenite music and hip-hop
    and an incredible set by Flagship, who are billed as the rock band of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band. I arrived at 6 p.m., and did a lot of mingling, including a delightful conversation with Frankie Obianagha, Head of Mission at the Nigerian Embassy in Tel Aviv. When I wondered at her name, she said “Frankie and Johnny”, and told me that though they are part of the British Commonwealth, they don’t sing “God Save the Queen”. I conveniently left when Prime MInister Netanyahu and his wife arrived at 9 p.m., headed back to Tel Aviv for so good jazz music in the Tel Aviv White Nights festival.

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