Hey Jeep, Hey Jeep

Sami Shalom Chetrit

1. Eight kids in an army jeep
Eight soldiers, one major:
eight kids and one minor

2. Hey Jeep, Hey Jeep [1]

3. And his son Ishmael was thirteen years old
at the cutting of his uncircumcised flesh.

4. And eight of his sons in the army jeep
and his son cries to the Lord but no one hears

5. And behold his father running:
Run, Muhammad, run,
your son’s spirit is coming towards you

6. Lord, Lord, where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

7. Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son,
whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bore unto
Abraham: And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael,
by their names, according to their generations: the first-
born of Ishmael, Nebaioth; and Kedar, and Abdeel, and
Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadad,
and Teman, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah…
and Muhammad Said Qarada and Said Qarada whose years
numbered thirteen at his death.

8. And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son:
Abraham begot Isaac; and Isaac begot Esau and
Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve tribes…
and eight soldiers in an army jeep

9. One has officer’s stripes on his shoulder,
a Hebrew officer to the Kingdom of Israel:
maybe a bleeding heart liberal
or a down and out reactionary

10. Hey Jeep, Hey Jeep,
what a night it is!

11. Maybe his name’s Itsik

12. And the seven under him:
one’s an eagle eye
another’s bound to ritual
the third has his feet on the ground
the fourth’s got his head in the clouds
the fifth’s got to do it all
the sixth replies stoically
the seventh can’t wait for liberty

13. And there are “dovish intellectuals” amongst them
and there are “militant hawks” amongst them
and God is there amongst them
and an officer is there amongst them

14. soon there’s neither
affection nor innocence

15. Black combat boots on their feet:
“that oppress the poor and crush the destitute”

16. Subject displayed the following signs:
pallor, bleeding from the nose and left ear.
Internal hemorrhaging in the vicinity of the left temple.
Compound fractures resulting from a blow
(not a projectile), on the left temple.
Break in the left knee.

17. He was thirteen the day of his murder.

18. Thirteen: the age of obligation.

19. Theater of the struggle:
As one they arose and came from the
combines and the collective farms
from the shareholder’s settlements
and their surroundings, from
the towns and from the cities.

20. take her to the right

21. And the boy cried to his father: Father, I’m choking

22. Eight pairs of heavy duty combat boots

23. Eight outstretched pairs
and there were white amongst them
and there were black amongst them

24. Hey Jeep, Hey Jeep.

25. Eight soldiers, one a Hebrew major:
eight soldiers, and one Arab minor

26. Hey, everyone agrees: with a jeep the only thing you need is speed

27. They finally pitched him from the fleeting coach,
cast their spirit to the blinding night

28. Like wind up in the sky
we’ll fly
right on by

29. but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself

Jerusalem
December 31, 1988

The Crusader Man

Shelley Elkayam

The Crusader man paid the Land a visit
and that was
around
so and so many
years back.

The Crusader man did the country
in this
or that many days.

The Crusader man became the landlord.
An enemy with holdings.

Full of trust,
sword-bearing, armor-wearing, with a coat of mail.

Kind of a jumpy guy, the Crusader man.

The Land is a witness,
she sees it from
the way he
laid his
place out,
from the fact
that he never did make himself a home.
From the way he’d attack
and cut himself off on the mountain tops.

zohra alfasiya’s song

Erez Bitton

singer at Muhammad the Fifth’s court in Rabat, Morocco
they say when she sang
soldiers fought with knives
to clear a path through the crowd
to reach the hem of her skirt
to kiss the tips of her toes
to leave her a piece of silver as a sign of thanks

zohra alfasiya

now you can find her in Ashkelon
Antiquities 3
by the welfare office the smell
of leftover sardine cans on a wobbly three-legged table
the stunning royal carpets stained on the Jewish Agency cot
spending hours in a bathrobe
in front of the mirror
with cheap make-up

when she says

Muhammad Cinque
apple of our eyes

you don’t really get it at first

zohra alfasiya’s voice is hoarse
her heart is clear
her eyes are full of love

zohra alfasiya

Endnotes

All poems translated from Hebrew by Ammiel Alcalay

[1] The italicized words are from the enormously popular 1948-generation song, Hey, Jeep.

How to cite this article:

"Poems," Middle East Report 159 (July/August 1989).
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