"Songs from the Territories - and other works of poetry, photography, narrative" by Chaim Bezalel

"This is the land where illusion dies."

In 1988, a 38 year old ex-hippie, ex-stockbroker, spiritual pilgrim on the lam boards a plane to Israel, which he has never visited, with a one-way ticket and two suitcases. Two years later, at the height of the Intifada and the Gulf War, he is drafted into the Israeli army reserves. This is his journal in pictures, narrative, and verse. 

VIDEO 4:41

Sample Pages

from "Songs from the Territories"
I am writing this on a rifle butt,
where Jacob dreamed of angel's visitations -
a ladder ascends into the bunker hut.
"This is the house of God, and I knew it not,"
they read at the initiation, and handed me a gun.
Is this the implementation?
Is this the iron rod,
which even the prince of peace must wield
upon this planet?
- Winter 1991, Ba'ad Arba (closed in 1995)
Basic Training Camp adjoining Beit El settlement 


from "Songs from the Territories"
fog in the darkness
sky meets mountains
borders ill defined
and I am a twig
fallen in the stream
past stone walls and terraced hills
a stream like other streams
a twig like other twigs
the lights on the horizon
could be any ghost city of the night
another night another month
in the territories
in the watchtower
the wind whistles repetitiously
like a flute in the casbah
nothing is happening here
that meets the naked eye
in the telescope
barbed wire squiggles on the fence
like arabic script
celestial forces at large
struggle surreptitiously
beyond the searchlights penetration
for destinies of nations
the skies are charged tonight
lighting instead of missiles


from "Songs of Exile"
Funny that I, who might have found myself
     in jail in another place and time,
Come halfway around the world
     to serve a prison guard - 
Certainly a punishment to fit the crime.
They, down in the prison yard,
     pacing like leopards in a cage -
I, a captive audience in the tower,
     observing them hour by hour.
I always suspected that 
     the jailer's incarcerated too.
In a broader sense, the question's who
     is in his natural habitat?
And if both of us, then who's the mouse
     and who's the cat?

from Hamsin (East Wind)
The east wind brings ill tidings
called hamsin, sharaav, sirocco,
a desert wind, a gritty wind
penetrating the nostrils,
filling the mouth to the back teeth.
It is better not to speak.
The mind reels, inflamed,
caught under a magnifying glass.
An east wind parted the Red Sea,
"the wind of judgment," 
a commentator called it.
A shift in atmosphere is detected
as the weather forecast fades
into a sandstorm of white noise.
The weatherman's voice remains calm
even as it is overcome
by the words of the Prophet. ...

Songs from the Territories and other works of photography, poetry, narrative

ISBN - 978-0-9995958-5-5 paperback, 9 h x 6 w in. 120 pp, with photos

$15 plus tax and shipping