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The Good Pussy Nov 2015
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Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world...  Moby ****, Herman Melville


Call me
Ishmael.

I hail
from
the clan
of Adam.

I am the
beloved
child
of Hagar;
unbowed son
of an upright
Ibrahim.

I am
the older
half brother
of Musa,
cousin to
Isa and
father to
Muhammad.

I work
in a bakery
that
overlooks
the roiling
waters of
the Nile.

It’s
owned
by an
Egyptian
General,
managed
by a
platoon
of his
hand picked
lieutenants.

I fire the
ovens,
roll the
dough
and pack
the loaves.

We bake
all day
but it seems
we cannot
quench
the hunger
that grips
our people.

My
brother
Musa
says
I bake
the bread
of tyrants
and serve it
to a people
starving for
freedom.

Musa
likes to say
if we wish
to feast at
the banquet
of liberty
we must
refuse
to eat
the bread
of fear.

In winter
our hunger
blends with
the misery
of living
in frigid
apartments.

My
dilapidated flat
in Darb Al-Ahmar
is one of a
thousand owned
by Cairo’s
most notorious
police chief.

The roofs leak,
the plumbing
is broken,
no heat in winter,
in summer
it’s a sweltering
furnace.

My home
is the
handiwork of a
cold blooded
landlord’s
indifference
to the freezing
rooms they
force us
to live in.

In their eyes,
our sole purpose
in life is to feather
their nest.

They demand
that the rent be paid
on the first of every month
and will make our life miserable
if we’re one day late
or a half a pound short.

Do they
actually
think
that we
live
only
to assure
the
warmth
and comfort
for them
and their
children?

In winter
they freeze
us into
inaction;
while
during the
summer,
swirling
ceiling fans
fail to relieve the
oppressive heat
of fire they
breathe down
our necks.

The batons
of the police
freely swing to
crack a head if
we fail to bow to
their authority
or grease
the extortionists
palms with
tributes to their
*******.

They never
shake down
their friends
that drive
the fancy
silver
Mercedes.

The big guys
roll wherever
they want.  

They
roll over
anything
they
choose.

They take
up parking
spaces in our lives;
leaving less room
for us to park
our tiny scooters.

I’m certain
the name
on their
drivers license
says privilege
and impunity.

Yet
somehow
we
always
get stuck
picking up
the tab
for
their
tolls.

Some slavishly
put coins
in parking meters
for them and get
compensated for it
by being offered
the opportunity
to wash their cars.

I’m glad
that I get
to bake
bread.

I was talking
to my friend
Isa at the
coffee shop,
he said,
“We needn't
live in a constant
state of
want and fear.”

A young man
sitting at
the next table
was a zealous
believer from
The Muslim
Brotherhood.

His name is
Muhammad,
he hands me
The Holy Quran.

My dear
Muslim
brother
exhorts
me to
submit.

He says that is
the way to a
fearless life;
free of any
need,
save
Allah’s
salvation.

My  
Muslim
brother
is firm
in his
belief
that
all
the answers
to
all
my problems
and
all
the answers
to
all
Egypt's problems
were
breathed on to
the pages of
The Holy Quran
with
The Prophet Muhammad’s
-(may peace be upon him)-
own breath;
his tongue
inscribing
the holy pages
in Arabic
squeezed
out by the
loving
embrace
of the
Angel
Gabriel.

Mubarak also boasts that
he too has all the answers to
alleviate the ills that plague us.

He’s
been ruling us
for forty years;
while the
Holy Quran
has been
with us
forever.

Our  
impatience
grows
as we yearn
for these promises
to be filled.

Mubarak swears  
he knows what is best
for the children
of Egypt.

Mubarak insists
that the way to
freedom from
want and fear
is submission to
his perpetual rule.

I get uneasy when
someone suggests
an infallibility.

I accept the
supreme dominion
and divine knowledge
of the Quran and Hadiths
but I’m not too sure
that the Imams,
politicians and
generals who
swore by its
truth really
understand
it themselves.

I am left
to question
if any of them
even see me?  

I am more of a
person then a
Muslim;
and
sometimes
I wonder
if even
Allah
has forgotten
the peril of
Ibrahim’s
children.

I wonder have
I disappeared
from Allah’s
unblinking eye
as well?

Sometimes
I look into
the mirror
to see if
I am real.

I am relieved
to see my image.

I have not
become invisible
to myself.

I am
emboldened
to know
that I am a
real person
of flesh and bones
with a mind
full of conviction
refreshed
with the blood
of a warm beating
heart.

I remind myself
I am a man,
not a faceless
subject
to be ruled.

I am an individual
not just another
submissive being
under the control
of a pious Imam.

I am Ishmael.

I recognize the fire of
life in my own eyes.

I can see the scars
of my decisions,
that my life has
etched upon my face.

I am not invisible.

I am not a casualty
of the twists of history
or the events of fate.

I take
responsibility
for me.

I am not a fish
swimming within
a giant school
trapped in an
ocean current
propelled
to a
predetermined
destination
of a well
laid net.

I am a man.

Let it be known
that I claim
responsibility
for my manhood
and I will
command
respect from
those who now
lord over me.

Like my father
Ibrahim, they
will recognize
me as an
unbowed
upright man.

They will
call me
Ishmael.

As I stand
I will raise my voice.

I will not remain
voiceless.

I am one voice
of many
who like me
have not
been heard.

We were once
grovelling dogs
that have been
transformed
into free range wolves,
set free from its cage,
we now form in packs
howling for justice.

We
will raise
our voice
in concert
so all
may hear.

We
will
make
them
listen.

They will
know who
I am.

Call me Ishmael.

Music Selection:
Muddy Waters
Mannish Boy

Oakland
2/9/12
jbm
this poem is part of a series on the Arab Spring
Megan Zhao Jan 2016
"Call me Ishmael..."
Holy sea, holy sea!
Reading Herman Melville's
"Moby ****" at Caribbean Sea
I'm reliving his ocean reveries—
Those mystical vibrations
This magnetic virtue of the ship
Last night's circumambulation
Today's balmy afternoon
A meditation or dream
Leading us to nowhere  
But the phantom life of the sea
We become free to drown
In our own mesmerizing images
Like Narcissus did
Or like that fellow Ishmael
Abandon all the respectable
Toils, trials, and tribulations
Jump on a sail
To catch white whales
Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
Painted stars above whisper about you, Israel
Tired scratches are seen within twitches of the paint.
Efforts of your own accord smear black, oh, Ishmael
My guidance gives grace with no restraint.

Ishmael, your salt pillars can’t weep, yet dissolve,
Through a statue of Dogwood, I my clay mold.
Israel’s sinful dust, wet by his blood is resolved
security eternal forged not by your gold.

Sing with the Seraphim the high melodious song,
or, like Ishmael, hiss, eternal hoarse cries of sulfur.
Shout jubilant psalms of my praise lifelong,
Belting, oh Israel, how I redeemed your culture.

Yet, oh, Israel, crimson blood on modern metal tends to fry,
Wail, oh, Ishmael, without the fading art of Yahweh you die.
J. W. May 2013
Ishmael Run; So begins the Journey.

Thoughts lead thusly; there is no death, only the fulfilment of purpose. We live relatively long and for that period of being and becoming  we mostly find a petty meaning for ourselves but in this we stand wrongly. This is a sick joke we are involved in, there is a dark underlying purpose that eventually swallows us all into the ground to become a part of something monumental; the compilation of events known as history.

I am no cynic, and neither am I depressed, ashamed or even slightly darkened by this thought, on the contrary it is this knowledge that allows me to live. Without such inspiration life would be empty, totally and utterly discredited. Because there is enlightenment, to know the meaning to life as it is to end it, there may be ease within the world and no pitfalls of delusion or false hopes to fall into. I need not to push beyond myself or anyone else, I have no reason to attend to anything, is this a freedom?

Although, do not listen or take heed too much of what i have to say, we are afterall only the blind leading the blind

The knack of evolution has been lost in a flurry of Televisions, computers, fast food, consumer complexes, all devices to steal the process of thought and create an illusion of contentment.

this is no revolution.

But who am i? Who am I to comment so boldly on the degradation of man and lay out the pathway to salvation? Well, in truth I am no one. No one particularly adverse in anything at all, I simply exist. Like the underground man, I was spiritually sick and that sickness drove my spirit to death, and now  I am free!  I am enlightened and my burden is lighter for it, but if the truth is to be told there is nothing special about me. It is the conclusion of a lifetime that anyone could come to, before my eyes were opened, I knew nothing. Now, I know I knew nothing and I now know I still know nothing since it is simple; there really is nothing to know. Since everything you know you only think you know, why think of it? And this is the trouble with our current state of existence; we are duped into believing there is something to know and something to gain through the advancement of knowledge when really, it is to no gain to gain knowledge. They say knowledge is power but, the trick my friends, is that knowledge is a pack of wolves dressed in snowy coats. People who are in the know are so sure of themselves that nothing else could be right, people in the know believe their words are powerful, how wrong they are. You may say knowledge is power because those who have the knowledge to build bombs are powerful, they are powerful ideas and powerful Ideas are stolen by nations for their own purpose and gain. It is not knowledge, but resource. However if all these intellectualls are wrong, how even more wrong we are for elevating them on pedestals! Those who know believe their vast knowledge amounts to something but in truth brothers, it leads to nothing since we all share the same inevitable fate. Some may talk about how those who are wise or those who know, live a life that matters, a life with substance, but unless they abandon their meaning of, and the importance they place on knowledge they will never live a life of substance. If the world is based upon paradox, then it is in nothing that the substance of true life is. That is half the point in life, right? To find meaning and truth and all that guru fulfilment crap we have shouted at us from every corner, but I speak logical sense brothers when I say that the world is corrupt, and due to its self inflicted corruption you can trust nothing that comes from it. Because of the nature of truth, truth is something that can be portrayed through lies and so continues the pattern of the paradox, in that way a misanthrope does more for humanity than the praised philanthropist.

Something we must all look into at one stage or another on this terminal walk called life is who are these fellow pilgrims? The drunks, the smackheads, the dropouts, the insane, the depressed, the clinical, the lost and beyond, the type of people who colour life with variety. Just where are they? Those who have overcome life and succeeded its brutal shapes, forms and sizes. It is something everyone ought to ask and they are a people whom everyone ought to seek out.

indulge me and let me tell you a story of something I knew once.

An untimely death**

I met with something remarkable today, an experience I have not to this moment known, I fear it has crashed like a meteor into my brain and will leave its weighty crater for some time to come. I witnessed the death of a young man; an untimely death. The fulfilment of his journey caused by his own actions and now, where is he? He exists in memories, he exists in my memory. He has handed his existence over to me and I must choose what to do with it; whether to discard it and have him lost in the shadows or whether to create something of significance to him and he will rest in the illuminated paths of history? If I discard him he will continue in another memory, in a number of other memories I’m sure but to me, he will be dead and no one will see or know him ever again, what anyone else might think of him, is by definition, meaningless to me.

My memory of him is this; as a blur of colour and heightened emotion he rain past me on the platform at Waterloo underground, I barely caught his face except for a piercing glimpse of his eyes. Dressed in bohemian colours he was there and like the most eloquent dancer he jumped with glory, his legs bent back and up, his arms raised to praise his fate and then he was gone. Replaced with a loud crashing thunderous echo and flashes of red and white, red and white and then, everything was gone, all was calm on Waterloo underground. Everyone seemed amazed, people around me covered their faces in their hands, or hid their eyes, I could not stop gazing at the spot from which he made his final leap into a state of conclusion. That was it though, he was concluded and everything he may have ever worked for, lived through or experienced was concluded in those final moments; the most magnificent and pulchritudinous thing i, or anyone of us could ever only watch, performed by the greatest actor of our lives.

You see my comrades, the truth is the greatest theatrical shows are those that make an impression, the ones that take a lifetime to forget, and witnessing a death so splendidly done is something no memory, no matter how much amount of intoxication or denial would ever erase. To attempt to destroy that memory is to dishonour the greatest person one never met, or possibly did. Those of us who understand the meaning in life also understand that those who conclude life on their own terms and by their own means are martyrs, the martyrs of life who are usually all too readily forgotten. You will find plaques and statues commemorating those who died to save the ungrateful masses, or died to save their motherland; a more noble, albeit pointless cause. To those who die for the cause that life has become unbearable because society has pushed them to the edges of high cliffs and gently, tenderly, lovingly lowered them down to be smashed against the rocks by the rising tide; well, where is their remembrance? We will engrave the names of those who we sent to be murdered into the pages of history, but when it comes to those we ****** ourselves? Well I think those are the ones who we would rather sooner forget out of guilt because they are the evidence of our failures.
RAJ NANDY Dec 2017
THE TRUE STORY OF JERUSALEM IN VERSE :
  FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP'S RECOGNITION
Dear Readers, to usher in the spirit of Christmas, I wish to
share with you the true Story of Jerusalem in Verse. Based on
Biblical chronology, and several articles about its Early History.
Though the three of our World’s greatest religions have a common
lineage, yet religious bickering and hatred continues to exist in
our present age! Let this Season of Christmas bring peace with
goodwill and love. Let us all pray together for a peaceful World!
If you like this true story, kindly recommend it to all your poet
friends to read this slice of History. Thanks, from Raj Nandy.

   STORY OF JERUSALEM - GOD'S “PROMISED LAND”
                         IN VERSE: By Raj Nandy
                  
                       INTRODUCTION
After reading my ‘Arab Contribution to Science’ and the
downfall of Islam’s Golden Age,
A friend had requested me to write about The Crusades.
Now the Mongol contribution was far greater towards
Islamic Empire’s downfall,
For though the First Crusade besieged the Holy City of
Jerusalem making it fall,
The subsequent Crusades to the Seljuk Turks lost all!
But before writing about the Nine Crusades proper,
To acquaint my readers with the historic city of
Jerusalem becomes my present endeavor.
For Jerusalem is sacred to the Jews, Christian, and the
Muslims alike,
As their holy relics and shrines are housed in that Old
City’s revered sites!
But prior to narrating the story of Old Jerusalem City,
Let me tell you briefly about its early history.
About the patriarch Abraham, whom God led to this
‘Promised Land’.
From where this true story of Jerusalem really began.

                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
The city of Jerusalem was twice razed to the ground.
Besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and
recaptured 44 times, surprising as it all may sound!
In an era of idolatry and multiple gods, Abraham born*
in the ancient City of Ur,# believed in a single God!
(1800 BC)
So God was pleased and in a covenant with Patriarch
Abraham,
Blessed him to become the ‘Father of Many Nations’
in a distant ‘Promised Land’!
Thus Abraham with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot,
Entered the Land of Canaan as promised by God.
But when a famine ravaged the Land of Canaan,
Abraham had moved onto Egypt on his own!
Having suffered there for some ungodly acts, his
return to the Land of Canaan remains a historical fact.
Through Abraham and Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar, -
his son Ishmael was born.
From Ishmael descended the ‘Ishmaelites’, to
become the Twelve Arab Tribes later on!
Next, with the blessings of the Lord, to Abraham
and Sarah son Isaac was born.
Isaac’s son Jacob fathered the Twelve Jewish Tribes,
Who became collectively known as the ‘Israelites’.
From the ‘Tribe of Benjamin’ came King Saul, the
first King of united Israel rising tall.
From the ‘Tribe of Judah’ King David, Solomon, and
several Kings of Judah did rise;
As proud forefathers of the Messiah Jesus Christ!
Thus in Judaism both the Arabs and the Christians
find a common lineage;
Yet unfortunately bitter differences continue to
exist even in our present age!
NOTES: Canaan was the ancient name of a large & prosperous
country (at times independent, at others a territory to Egypt),
which roughly corresponds to present day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. Canaan
was also known as ‘Phoenicia’ between 3200 BC & 539 BC. # Ur = an important
Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia.


           ORIGINS OF JERUSALEM
Jerusalem has been hailed by many names,
Gets mentioned as ‘Rushalium’ in an ancient
Egyptian text!  (2000 BC)
Also as Salem, Moriah, Jebus and Zion, this capital city
of the Israelites had been known.
Jerusalem as the remnant town of Salem, is also
mentioned in the ‘Book of Joshua’ Chapter Ten.
It was earlier a Jebusite City, which was conquered by  
King David around 1003 BC;
When David shifted his capital to Jerusalem from Hebron.
In Jerusalem he kept the Holy Ark in a sacred Tabernacle,
For which his son King Solomon had built the First Great
Temple.
This Sacred Ark contained the ‘Ten Commandments’,
Which accompanied the Israelites during their 40 years
of desert wandering with Moses, as their guidance!
But since majority of the tribes were hesitant to fight the
Canaanites for their ‘Promised Land’,
God blessed Joshua, the successor of Moses, to lead the
Tribes to their ‘Promised Land’.
NOTE: Jebusite was one of the ancient Canaanite tribes, conquered by
King David.

        TURBULENT HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
Now cutting across several centuries of its dynamic
history, let me continue with Jerusalem’s Story.
The death of King Solomon (931 BC) ended Israel’s
‘Golden Age’,
And this united Kingdom of Israel was split into
Northern and Southern states.
Ten Tribes formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel
with its capital at Samaria;
While Jerusalem became the capital of the Southern
half called Judea.
In unity lies strength, and in division further dissention;
This kingdom of King David and Solomon now becomes
prey to several foreign invasions!
Jerusalem gets attacked by the Egyptians, Assyrians,
Babylonians, Persians, and those imperial Romans, who
had initially built but later destroyed the Second
Jewish Temple!
The cruel King Herod, Judea’s Roman Protector,
Though of unstable mind, was a great builder!
‘The Wailing Wall’ and most of the ruins visible today,
Were built by the despot Herod as Archeologists say!
King Herod enlarged the Temple Mount with a massive
retaining wall around it.
Renovated the Second Temple which finally acquired  
his name!
But in 70 AD the Roman Emperor Titus, razed this
Second Temple to the ground, as Historians inform us!
Jerusalem had some peace under the Christian Byzantine
Emperor Constantine,
Who upheld Christianity, and his mother Helena inspired
the building of many hallowed shrines;
Only to be occupied by the Seljuk Turks later, who
desecrated those shrines!
Till the First Crusade in 1099 captured Jerusalem, to
provide eighty eight years of respite.
Next in 1187 the Seljuk Turk Saladin conquered Jerusalem;
When a peace treaty with Richard ‘The Lion Heart’ allowed
the visit of its ‘Holy Shrines’ by the Christians.
The British captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks
in Nineteen hundred and seventeen;
And in 1948 the State of Israel was born, realizing
Abraham’s dream!
But surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides, Israel
had to fight continuously for its survival as a Nation;
And now I pause to pay my humble tribute to those
valiant Israelites with salutation!

           THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM
Nestled on the hollow of the hills of Judea this city
spreads out on a plateau 800 meters above the sea.
With its Dome shining in the sun, dominating  some five
thousand years of history!
The City stretches 0.9 square kilometers surrounded by
retaining walls between 16 to 46 feet in height.
Which includes more than 200 monuments and sacred
sites!
Until the 1860s the Old City had represented entire
Jerusalem collectively.
But later under the initiative of the British, settlements
outside its wall began confidently.
During 1946 when Israel declared its Independence,
The ‘old city’ remained under the control of the Jordanians;
Only to be liberated during the Six Day’s War in 1967!

           OLD CITY GATES AND QUARTERS
The walls around the Old City stretch for 4.5 kilometers,
With its height varying between five to sixteen meters.
It has 43 surveillance towers and eleven gates.
However, only seven gates remain open as on date.
The current wall was built in 1538 by Sultan Suleiman
the Magnificent.
On the southern side of this wall is the Zion Gate, leading
to the Armenian Quarters overlooking Mount Zion outside;
Where lies King David’s tomb, a Holy Site.
The Dung Gate leads to the Jewish Quarters from the south;
And the way to Al-Aksa Mosque inside the Temple Mount.
The Jaffa or the Main Gate is on the west, with its famous
Citadel and the ‘Tower of David’ built by King Herod.
This gate leads to the Christian Quarters inside, while the
road goes to the port of Jaffa outside.
A New Gate was also built further up on the north-western
side,    (in1898)
For entry of the German Emperor William the Second,
through the Christian side!
The Damascus Gate in the middle of the Northern Wall
was the largest and the most heavily defended Gate.
Where excavations have revealed an old ‘Roman Gate’
beneath it.
Through this Gate had entered the Holy Crusade!
Further east on the northern wall is the ‘Herod’s Gate’,
Leading to the Muslim Quarters and the ‘Souk’, – the
Arab markets.
On the East is the Lions Gate, with carved figure of
lions on the gate’s crest;
Both for the Christian and the Jews this gate has a
special significance!
For this gate marks the walk ‘Via Dolorosa’, the path
taken by Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to
his Crucifixion Site,
Where stands the Church of Holy Sepulcher built by
the Emperor Constantine.
In 1967 the Israeli 55th Para Brigade entered through this
‘Lions Gate’, after a hand-to-hand fight with the Jordanians.
When they hoisted the Star of David on the Temple Mount  
to reclaim Jerusalem!
Jerusalem was declared as their Capital City,
Concluding a chapter of its turbulent History!

Since the time of the Crusades Jerusalem has remained
traditionally divided into Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and
Armenian sections;
Each with its sacred Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques,
defying the City’s unification!
Yet amidst the gong of church bells, the call of Muezzin,
and recitation of the Torah,
Old Jerusalem reverberates with a unique religious
euphoria!

           SACRED MONUMENTS AND SITES
‘The Wailing Wall’ is the more popular name for that part
of Western Wall built by King Herod during 19 BC,
Around the Second Jewish Temple which he renovated,
for the world to see!
Today only 167 feet of this exposed ‘Wall’ remains,
which is 62 feet high.
As a solitary witness to that once glorious past, which
evokes a deep sighs!
It is the holiest of Jewish shrines today where they
congregate.
To pray in front of this Sacred Wall and to loudly lament,
The loss of their Great Temple which was once made!
Inside the cracks in the wall many folded papers can be
seen;
Coating their petitions to God with prayers from within!

The Temple Mount is perhaps the oldest of all shrines.
Sacred to both the Christians and the Muslims alike!
For here on a rock alter Abraham had bound his son
Isaac,
Ready to sacrifice him when the Lord put him to a test!
Here King Solomon had built the First Jewish Temple;
Which during 587 BC, was destroyed by the King of
Babylon!
The King also took the Jews into captivity lasting nearly
seventy long years;
And Psalm 137 tells us how the Jews remembering Zion
on the banks of River of Babylon, - shed their tears!
That old song by ‘Bonny M’, now rings in my ears!
This was also the site of the Second Temple destroyed
by the Romans.
Who renamed Jerusalem as ‘Aelia Capitolina’, making
the City pagan!
Al-Aqsa Mosque or ‘The Farthest Mosque’, located on the
Mount, was completed around 705 AD they say.
Has been claimed by the Muslims as the site where their
Prophet traveled ‘during the night’ from Mecca to pray;
And from where angle Gabriel accompanied him to
Heaven or ‘Jannat,’ - all the way!
So they constructed the ‘Dome of The Rock’ to mark
this ascension;
Which around 691 AD saw its completion.
The Golden Gate on the east leading to the Temple Mount,
Was sealed by the Muslims during Sixth Century following
their fears and doubts.
For the Jew’s claim their Messiah will enter through this
Golden Gate one day.
Which unnerved the Muslims whatever one may say.
So outside this sealed gate they also built a cemetery;
Let future events gradually unfold in Jerusalem’s Story!

                       CONCLUSION
Now dear readers I conclude this narration, with some
food for thought and contemplation.
‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned in the Jewish Bible 669 times,
and 154 times as ‘Zion’. (‘Land of Israel’)
In the Christian Bible it is mentioned 161 times; but not
once in the Hindu ‘Gita’, the Buddhist Scriptures, or in
the Muslim Koran;
Not forgetting the fact that God is Supreme and One!
The Koran speaks only of “The Furthest Mosque” where  
the Prophet went to pray,
From Mecca we know Holy Medina comes on the way.*
(please see notes below)
The Holy Bible is also a record of Early Civilizations ,
Supported by Archaeological finds, carbon dating, and
countless excavations.
The Jewish claim to the ‘Land of Canaan’ is more than
3000 years old;
And Israel today occupies 75% of that historic piece of
land we know and have been told!
The Old City in 1981 has been declared as UNESCO’s
Heritage Site.
Let the ‘Spirit of Humanity’ overtake all religious divide!
It is true that History has evolved from the Myths and
Legends of the past.
But it is for us to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I have done adequate research of this Ancient History.
Now I leave it to You my Readers for drawing your own conclusions after reading this true Story!
Thank you readers for reading patiently,
From Raj Nandy of New Delhi .
ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
*** Dear Readers, I have pointed out in the concluding portion that as per all available evidence, claim of the Holy Kaaba on the Temple Mount by the Muslims is not supported by the true History of Jerusalem!
spysgrandson Jan 2014
call me Ishmael

call me such, though
I will not answer,
nor tell the Story
of good and evil,
if those things be,
they are not among the stars,
the stones, the fishes, the sea  

vagabonds, all
they ride the whaled waves  
that drown
the Captain’s words
they are there for the bread  
not to break it

still He howls louder
the salt waters cut the keel black,
swishing quiet, unknowing as the night  
only He creates this plaintive plight  
the others hoist sails to wily winds
untroubled by their enchantment    
bellies full, ears shut
to His harpooned harangues, while
His eternal curse is to parse
black from white
have had writers block for about three weeks--decided to turn to Melville for inspiration--did not get much
RAJ NANDY Dec 2015
Dear Readers, to usher in the spirit of Christmas, I wish to
share with you the true Story of Jerusalem in Verse. Based on
Biblical chronology, and several articles about its Early History.
Though the three of our World’s greatest religions have a common
lineage, yet religious bickering and hatred continues to exist
in our present age! Let this Season of Christmas bring peace with
goodwill and love. Let us all pray together for a peaceful World!
If you like this true story, kindly recommend it to all your poet
friends to read this slice of History. Thanks, from Raj Nandy.


   STORY OF JERUSALEM - “THE PROMISED LAND”
                IN VERSE: By Raj Nandy
                  
                       INTRODUCTION
After reading my ‘Arab Contribution to Science’ and the
downfall of Islam’s Golden Age,
A friend had requested me to write about The Crusades.
Now the Mongol contribution was far greater towards
Islamic Empire’s downfall,
For though the First Crusade besieged the Holy City of
Jerusalem making it fall,
The subsequent Crusades to the Seljuk Turks lost all!
But before writing about the Nine Crusades proper,
To acquaint my readers with the historic city of
Jerusalem becomes my present endeavor.
For Jerusalem is sacred to the Jews, Christian, and the
Muslims alike,
As their holy relics and shrines are housed in that Old
City’s revered sites!
But prior to narrating the story of Old Jerusalem City,
Let me tell you briefly about its early history.
About the patriarch Abraham, whom God led to this
‘Promised Land’.
From where this true story of Jerusalem really began.

                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
The city of Jerusalem was twice razed to the ground.
Besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and
recaptured 44 times, surprising as it all may sound!
In an era of idolatry and multiple gods, Abraham born*
in the ancient City of Ur,# believed in a single God!
(1800 BC)
So God was pleased and in a covenant with Patriarch
Abraham,
Blessed him to become the ‘Father of Many Nations’
in a distant ‘Promised Land’!
Thus Abraham with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot,
Entered the Land of Canaan as promised by God.
But when a famine ravaged the Land of Canaan,
Abraham had moved onto Egypt on his own!
Having suffered there for some ungodly acts, his
return to the Land of Canaan remains a historical fact.
Through Abraham and Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar, -
his son Ishmael was born.
From Ishmael descended the ‘Ishmaelites’, to
become the Twelve Arab Tribes later on!
Next, with the blessings of the Lord, to Abraham
and Sarah son Isaac was born.
Isaac’s son Jacob fathered the Twelve Jewish Tribes,
Who became collectively known as the ‘Israelites’.
From the ‘Tribe of Benjamin’ came King Saul, the
first King of united Israel rising tall.
From the ‘Tribe of Judah’ King David, Solomon, and
several Kings of Judah did rise;
As proud forefathers of the Messiah Jesus Christ!
Thus in Judaism both the Arabs and the Christians
find a common lineage;
Yet unfortunately bitter differences continue to
exist even in our present age!
NOTES: Canaan was the ancient name of a large & prosperous
country (at times independent, at others a territory to Egypt),
which roughly corresponds to present day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. Canaan was also known as ‘Phoenicia’ between 3200 BC & 539 BC. # Ur = an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia.


               ORIGINS OF JERUSALEM
Jerusalem has been hailed by many names,
Gets mentioned as ‘Rushalium’ in an ancient
Egyptian text!  (2000 BC)
Also as Salem, Moriah, Jebus and Zion, this capital city
of the Israelites had been known.
Jerusalem as the remnant town of Salem, is also
mentioned in the ‘Book of Joshua’ Chapter Ten.
It was earlier a Jebusite City
, which was conquered by  
King David around 1003 BC;
When David shifted his capital to Jerusalem from Hebron.
In Jerusalem he kept the Holy Ark in a sacred Tabernacle,
For which his son King Solomon had built the First Great
Temple.
This Sacred Ark contained the ‘Ten Commandments’,
Which accompanied the Israelites during their 40 years
of desert wandering with Moses, as their guidance!
But since majority of the tribes were hesitant to fight the
Canaanites for their ‘Promised Land’,
God blessed Joshua, the successor of Moses, to lead the
Tribes to their ‘Promised Land’.
NOTE: Jebusite was one of the ancient Canaanite tribes, conquered by
King David.

            TURBULENT HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
Now cutting across several centuries of its dynamic
history, let me continue with Jerusalem’s Story.
The death of King Solomon (931 BC) ended Israel’s
‘Golden Age’,
And this united Kingdom of Israel was split into
Northern and Southern states.
Ten Tribes formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel
with its capital at Samaria;
While Jerusalem became the capital of the Southern
half called Judea.
In unity lies strength, and in division further dissention;
This kingdom of King David and Solomon now becomes
prey to several foreign invasions!
Jerusalem gets attacked by the Egyptians, Assyrians,
Babylonians, Persians, and those imperial Romans, who
had initially built but later destroyed the Second
Jewish Temple!
The cruel King Herod, Judea’s Roman Protector,
Though of unstable mind, was a great builder!
‘The Wailing Wall’ and most of the ruins visible today,
Were built by the despot Herod as Archeologists say!
King Herod enlarged the Temple Mount with a massive
retaining wall around it.
Renovated the Second Temple which finally acquired  
his name!
But in 70 AD the Roman Emperor Titus, razed this
Second Temple to the ground, as Historians inform us!
Jerusalem had some peace under the Christian Byzantine
Emperor Constantine,
Who upheld Christianity, and his mother Helena inspired
the building of many hallowed shrines;
Only to be occupied by the Seljuk Turks later, who
desecrated those shrines!
Till the First Crusade in 1099 captured Jerusalem, to
provide eighty eight years of respite.
Next in 1187 the Seljuk Turk Saladin conquered Jerusalem;
When a peace treaty with Richard ‘The Lion Heart’ allowed
the visit of its ‘Holy Shrines’ by the Christians.
The British captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks
in Nineteen hundred and seventeen;
And in 1948 the State of Israel was born, realizing
Abraham’s dream!
But surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides, Israel
had to fight continuously for its survival as a Nation;
And now I pause to pay my humble tribute to those
valiant Israelites with salutation!

                              THE OLD CITY
Nestled on the hollow of the hills of Judea this city
spreads out on a plateau 800 meters above the sea.
With its Dome shining in the sun, dominating  some five
thousand years of history!
The City stretches 0.9 square kilometers surrounded by
retaining walls between 16 to 46 feet in height.
Which includes more than 200 monuments and sacred
sites!
Until the 1860s the Old City had represented entire
Jerusalem collectively.
But later under the initiative of the British, settlements
outside its wall began confidently.
During 1946 when Israel declared its Independence,
The ‘old city’ remained under the control of the Jordanians;
Only to be liberated during the Six Day’s War in 1967!

                OLD CITY GATES AND QUARTERS
The walls around the Old City stretch for 4.5 kilometers,
With its height varying between five to sixteen meters.
It has 43 surveillance towers and eleven gates.
However, only seven gates remain open as on date.
The current wall was built in 1538 by Sultan Suleiman
the Magnificent.
On the southern side of this wall is the Zion Gate, leading
to the Armenian Quarters overlooking Mount Zion outside;
Where lies King David’s tomb, a Holy Site.
The Dung Gate leads to the Jewish Quarters from the south;
And the way to Al-Aksa Mosque inside the Temple Mount.
The Jaffa or the Main Gate is on the west, with its famous
Citadel and the ‘Tower of David’ built by King Herod.
This gate leads to the Christian Quarters inside, while the
road goes to the port of Jaffa outside.
A New Gate was also built further up on the north-western
side,    (in1898)
For entry of the German Emperor William the Second,
through the Christian side!
The Damascus Gate in the middle of the Northern Wall
was the largest and the most heavily defended Gate.
Where excavations have revealed an old ‘Roman Gate’
beneath it.
Through this Gate had entered the Holy Crusade!
Further east on the northern wall is the ‘Herod’s Gate’,
Leading to the Muslim Quarters and the ‘Souk’, – the
Arab markets.
On the East is the Lions Gate, with carved figure of
lions on the gate’s crest;
Both for the Christian and the Jews this gate has a
special significance!
For this gate marks the walk ‘Via Dolorosa’, the path
taken by Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to
his Crucifixion Site,
Where stands the Church of Holy Sepulcher built by
the Emperor Constantine.
In 1967 the Israeli 55th Para Brigade entered through this
‘Lions Gate’, after a hand-to-hand fight with the Jordanians.
When they hoisted the Star of David on the Temple Mount  
to reclaim Jerusalem!
Jerusalem was declared as their Capital City,
Concluding a chapter of its turbulent History!

Since the time of the Crusades Jerusalem has remained
traditionally divided into Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and
Armenian sections;
Each with its sacred Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques,
defying the City’s unification!
Yet amidst the gong of church bells, the call of Muezzin,
and recitation of the Torah,
Old Jerusalem reverberates with a unique religious
euphoria!

               SACRED MONUMENTS AND SITES
‘The Wailing Wall’ is the more popular name for that part
of Western Wall built by King Herod during 19 BC,
Around the Second Jewish Temple which he renovated,
for the world to see!
Today only 167 feet of this exposed ‘Wall’ remains,
which is 62 feet high.
As a solitary witness to that once glorious past, which
evokes a deep sighs!
It is the holiest of Jewish shrines today where they
congregate.
To pray in front of this Sacred Wall and to loudly lament,
The loss of their Great Temple which was once made!
Inside the cracks in the wall many folded papers can be
seen;
Coating their petitions to God with prayers from within!

The Temple Mount is perhaps the oldest of all shrines.
Sacred to both the Christians and the Muslims alike!
For here on a rock alter Abraham had bound his son
Isaac,
Ready to sacrifice him when the Lord put him to a test!
Here King Solomon had built the First Jewish Temple;
Which during 587 BC, was destroyed by the King of
Babylon!
The King also took the Jews into captivity lasting nearly
seventy long years;
And Psalm 137 tells us how the Jews remembering Zion
on the banks of River of Babylon, - shed their tears!
That old song by ‘Bonny M’, now rings in my ears!
This was also the site of the Second Temple destroyed
by the Romans.
Who renamed Jerusalem as ‘Aelia Capitolina’, making
the City pagan!
Al-Aqsa Mosque or ‘The Farthest Mosque’, located on the
Mount, was completed around 705 AD they say.
Has been claimed by the Muslims as the site where their
Prophet traveled ‘during the night’ from Mecca to pray;
And from where angle Gabriel accompanied him to
Heaven or ‘Jannat,’ - all the way!
So they constructed the ‘Dome of The Rock’ to mark
this ascension;
Which around 691 AD saw its completion.
The Golden Gate on the east leading to the Temple Mount,
Was sealed by the Muslims during Sixth Century following
their fears and doubts.
For the Jew’s claim their Messiah will enter through this
Golden Gate one day.
Which unnerved the Muslims whatever one may say.
So outside this sealed gate they also built a cemetery;
Let future events gradually unfold in Jerusalem’s Story!

                            CONCLUSION
Now dear readers I conclude this narration, with some
food for thought and contemplation.
‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned in the Jewish Bible 669 times,
and 154 times as ‘Zion’. (‘Land of Israel’)
In the Christian Bible it is mentioned 161 times; but not
once in the Hindu ‘Gita’, the Buddhist Scriptures, or in
the Koran;
Not forgetting the fact that God is Supreme and One!
The Koran speaks only of “The Furthest Mosque” where  
the Prophet went to pray,
From Mecca we know Holy Medina comes on the way.
The Holy Bible is also a record of Early Civilizations ,
Supported by Archaeological finds, carbon dating, and
countless excavations.
The Jewish claim to the ‘Land of Canaan’ is more than
3000 years old;
And Israel today occupies 75% of that historic piece of
land we know and have been told!
The Old City in 1981 has been declared as UNESCO’s
Heritage Site.
Let the ‘Spirit of Humanity’ overtake all religious divide!
It is true that History has evolved from the Myths and
Legends of the past.
But it is for us to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I have done adequate research of this Ancient History.
Now I leave it to you for drawing your own conclusions
after reading this true Story!
Thank you readers for reading patiently,
From Raj Nandy of New Delhi .
ALL COPY RIGHTS  ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
Ylzm  Apr 2019
Sword of Ishmael
Ylzm Apr 2019
Sword of Ishmael, robed in Assyria's mantle,
Consecrated of God, Prince of princes,
A Destroyer: the executioner of judgements.
A thorn driven deep into the heart of Jerusalem,
Tempting violent men, who pride in their strength,
as Excalibur and the Gordian Knot challenged
Arthur and Alexander.
The screaming
children of Gaza
torment the sleep
of a troubled world,
and remain a real-time
unending nightmare;
anointing The Levant’s
fevered brow
with a diadem of
incessant grief.

Gaza is a burning
ankh that sears the
madness of sorrow
upon Egypt’s skull.

Gaza,
an unblinking
third eye
of shame,
peers into
Lower Egypt’s
closed window
ever reproaching
it’s turbulent
conscience;
chiding fellow
Muslims with
the ugly memory
of abject affliction,
the endless images
of a living Guernica
suspended in the hell
of indefinite imprisonment
all Palestinians are forced
to suffer.

As Zionists ***** the
steep walls of Apartheid to
extend its occupation
of Palestine, it
condemns the youth
of Gaza to a life of
incarceration with no
possibility of parole;
hardening the hearts
and steeling the resolve
of a new generation of
militants to demolish the
walls and the wardens
that imprison them.

The Zionist jailers
bestow upon
Ishmael’s Children
phylacteries of shame,
wearing the rolled
prayers of wailing pain
scribed with bits of
dust from the
the broken walls of
demolished buildings
and desolate homes
beyond habitation,
now housing grief
of trampled souls,
forcing recitations
of deliverance
to Allah while
davening an
incessant drone
of anguish at
the Wailing Wall
of Resentment;
decrying the
blood lust of
undying acrimony,
victimization and
the slaughter of
innocents, carried on
with the imperial license
of state sanctioned impunity.


Father Ibrahim's
feuding children may
share a sacred paternity
but remain the
divided brothers
of different mothers;
stoking a sibling rivalry
more bitter then
Cain and Abel.

Our anguish
never dissipates,
the gnawing
impulse of empathy
to assist the distressed
of Gaza is dashed
by omnipotent
powers recusing
the ability to act.

Sympathy is
embargoed
in the black
obfuscation
of religious
partisanship
while timely
assistance
to aid the
distressed
lie netted in
blockades of
realpolitik
affinities.

Gaza, where
Hashim is granted
his eternal rest,
restlessly inhabits
his unknown grave
from the destitution of
his profaned homeland.

Ghazzat,  “the stronghold”
countlessly conquered,
falling to Roman Emperors,
Lionhearted Crusaders
Ottoman Caliphates,
and British Mandates;
slipping from Egypt’s
geopolitical grasp as
as a casualty of
The Six Day War.

Gaza is now a stronghold of
resent and desperation for a
desperate conquered people.

Ghazzat, the prized city of
the western Mediterranean,
a four star Phoenician port of
caravansaries now unable
to trade with any partners
due to ungodly blockades.

Gaza, has grown wholly
dependent on the largess
of UN aid and meager
subsistence portions
doled out by well
meaning NGO’s.

Gaza, the foot stool of
the Levant and surely
the pathway Father
Ibrahim, Jacob,
Joseph and Jeremiah
traveled to escape
Canaan's famine;
finding at the close
of their sojourn
a table set with the
plenteous bounty
the Blue Nile
unconditionally offered;
the veritable feast
of abundance,
the generous yields
of the blessed delta
that sustained the
Prophets of Judah
and a thousand
generations of the
Nile’s Children.

Gaza, the Achilles
heal of Middle East
peace, land of the
Canaanites, Philistines
and Old Testament
heroes.

Gaza, a fortress for
Philistines who
imprisoned the storied
Sampson, revered for
breaking the chains of
imprisonment and righteously
destroying a pagan temple
in a suicidal act of heroism.

Gaza, where the myths and
legends of rapacious
holy crusaders captured
the western imagination
with the chivalrous gallantry
of religious warfare and
valiant last stands of
Templar Knights employing
the tactical imperatives
of terrorism in service to their
higher God.

Gaza, an oasis
by the sea now
lies dry and brittle
as the precious Hebron
waters of Wadi Ghazza
are diverted to serve
the agriculture of
Judah; condemning
a dehydrated Gaza
panting of thirst
to an imposed drought
and a war of
self preservation
to remove
the dammed rivers
of justice controlled
by intractable powers
laying upstream beyond
Gaza’s mean borders.

The Qassams
lunched by Hamas
are desperate
expressions of
exasperated people,
eager to call
world attention
to the growing
insufferable plight
of a people living
in a perpetual
state of siege.

Its a modern day
David slinging rocks
against an armor
clad Goliath.

Each Katusha
serves as
a justification
for Zionist
intransigence
and condemns
any possibility
for peaceful
coexistence
of a Two State
Solution.

The pointless attacks
invite massive
disproportionate
retaliation and succeed
in prolonging and
increasing the
measure of Gaza’s
agony.

The mystic grace,
the divine power
of satyagraha
-a non-violent
response to the
cruel enforcement of
Apartheid- is Allah’s
way to secure the
moral high-ground
and the surest way
for Palestinians to
expose it’s unholy
adversaries innate
contempt for civil rights
and a refusal to
recognized the
shared humanity of
all of Father Ibrahim’s
wayward progeny and
recalcitrant prodigal sons.

Mubarak’s fall
has allowed the
Rafah Gate
to swing open again.

The concertina
wire that separates
Gaza and Egypt
has been removed.

The prisoners
of Gaza have
an open portal
of freedom.

It is a Day of
Jubilee, a day
of pardon for
for the inmates
of prisons built
for victims.  

It is a day of
possibility for peace.  

It is a day to declare an
Exodus from the land
of bitterness.

Humanity is
offered the hope
of escape from
the prisons of
acrimony, to
freely move across
the staid borders
of intractability
and exclusion.

The hearts and
minds of Palestinians
and Egyptians
are free to connect
and unite once again.

Liberation is
possible only
when we uphold
and honor the
affirmation
of all humanity.

Music Video:

Silk Road
We Will Not Go Down

Oakland
2/9/12
jbm
a poem from the epilogue section of Tahrir Square Voices
And on the day when
He shall gather them all together:
O assembly of jinn!
you took away a great part of mankind.
And their friends from among the men shall say:
Our Lord! some of us profited by others
and we have reached our appointed term
which Thou didst appoint for us.
He shall say:
The fire is your abode,
to abide in it, except as Allah is pleased;
surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing.

Holy Quran
The Cattle
6:128

Do you build on every height a monument? Vain is it that you do:
And you make strong fortresses that perhaps you may
And when you lay hands (on men) you lay hands (like) tyrants;

Holy Quran
The Poets
26: 128-130


The desert Jinn of Cairo
flit and dance
upon the burning waters
of the Nile.

The midnight streets gasp
with the turgid fragrance
of tear gas and jasmine

The stink of the
ungrateful dead
riles the nostrils
of indifferent gods
laughing
at the litter of corpses
strewn along
torpid boulevards
in this city of lament

Unbounded crowds dash
amongst fleeting shadows
the agitated ghosts
of undead generations
refusing to stay buried
blink to life
in epileptic frenzy

The timeless city
civilizations
fertile floodplain
authored
western cultures
opening chapters
housed mythic libraries
erected mysterious
stone tributes
esteemed
monarchical opulence
now yields
frenetic outbursts
of Arab fury
writing
an epilogue
to a despots rule
the blessed end
to an imperial age

Rampant corruption
asphyxiating bureaucracy
malicious suppression
syphilitic exploitation
rabid oppression
enforced ignorance
human defilement
are the bitter
sediments
of degradation
layered in crushing piles
upon the lowly masses
on this delta of sorrows
breeding revolution
to unravel a tyrants
specious claim
to perpetual rule

The city
streets
flood with
militant
insistence.

Emboldening
a peoples will
to rise up
beating hearts
pounding
a sonic drum
resonating
through
this age
foretelling
a turn
in history's
creaking wheel.

Allah Allah
Allah Akbar!
bleats
from parsed lips
from underground
brotherhoods
the rising words
sharper then
Saladin's Sword

The Holy Quran
flows like boiling blood
in agitated hearts
dissidents pound
bloodied fists
against intractable walls
of monolithic power

Visions of liberation
a democratic paradise
an infinite harem
of compliant virgins
swim in the heads
of dissidents in motion
as baying throats
exhort comrades
shouting brave
seditious slogans
to engage
bullets
batons
water cannons
and unsure outcomes.

I heard a young woman say
"I have faith in my people
and faith in my country."
Never a more foolhardy sentiment been expressed,
nor braver words have I ever heard.

As the laughing Jinn of Cairo
flit and dance
atop the burning waters
of the Nile.

A city
self immolating
atop a pyre
of blood stained stones
dry constricting fables
passed down along
marching epochs
hieroglyphic puzzles
recorded on
crumbling papyrus
wrapped in
holy legends
of mystical pharaohs
receiving an exiled
Father Ibrahim
fresh from
the destruction
of *****
cedes to the
Lord of Fear
spawns a lie
and gives
Sister Sarai
over to the
unholy whims
of profane
magistrates

Abe's skin saved
soul preserved
the generations
multiply
more numerous
then the countable stars
in a known universe
not vast enough
to find room for
Hagar's cursed progeny
-call him Ishmael-
a wild ***
exiled to
Desert of Paran
siring many
lesser Semites
becoming
a strong archer
in the vast legions
in timeless
service to
an uninterrupted line
of deranged Pharaohs

This scorned land
grew the
grievous reeds
swaddling
Baby Mussa
who turned
the river of
his arrival
into a flood
of gushing blood
who split the waters
to consume
the raging armies
of marauding charioteers
bent on the annihilation
of their chosen
Semitic half brothers

The shame
agitates
the simmering
rage of ambivalence
gladly sacrificing
these historic
treasures
on angry
bonfires
tipping
the glories
of Alexandria
into the sea
once again

Up stairways
down dark alleys
the Jinn of Cairo
dance
haunting ruins
hurling stones
burning buildings
looting stores
smashing artifacts
cursing the bitter bread
of tyrants
chasing
the black echos
of deadly gunfire

Nasser's
dead soldiers
gather in corporeal legions
a proud nations
undead generation
mythic heroes
dashed in Six Days
rise from
shallow graves
of Sinai
shame is loosed
to stalk targets
heated enemies
setting aflame
the burning waters of
a very blue
unsettled Nile

The unholy platoons
Sadat's assassins
hurl grenades
like thunderbolts
from jealous Zeus
implores Mars
to join the fray
rousting the specter
of dead kings
and a terrorized
President
living in the black days
of his final nights

Tell Ole Pharaoh
to go back to the hell
from whence he came
as the laughing
Jinn of Cairo
dance on  the
burning waters
of the Nile.


Music Selection:
Randy Weston: Blue Moses
(WIP)
1/31/11

— The End —