Liber Jonae CAPUT ONE Page ZAIN



_____ZAIN_____

Have you heard, I inquired, of one Dhul-Nun?

Dhul-Nun! he replied. His name's well known,
One of our time's most inflammatory,
Hissed as curse, screamed as a battlecry.
Hagiography distorts past persons
Until the truth is lost beyond the glare
That haloes their beatific faces,
Until rumour alone informs vision.
I have heard much said, both good and bad,
Of Dhul-Nun, his character, words and deeds,
But now all the praises have slipped from mind.
However, this won't impede my reply.
Vilifications entertain enough
To spring to mind, to bear repetition.

But that's often the case with men of note.
Please tell me, sir, just what you've heard.

The prophet Dhul-Nun was an angry drunk,
Disputatious, violent and bellicose,
Sent to prison more than once for assault.
A jealous, mean-minded, abusive soul
Led him to stalk, to bully, to beat up
Any woman who ever caught his eye.
Restraining orders gave no protection
Against a will bent on inflicting pain
And a helpless, cringing fear on loved ones.
An estranged girlfriend, tradition informs,
When asked what the holy prophet was like,
Replied, Just like his prophecies, the pig.
In word and deed he offered no quarter
And wanted only to see victims squirm.
Any living creature who met his gaze
Either looked aside or perished at once.
His revelations proved just as brutal,
Just as unrelenting, unforgiving,
As all his interpersonal relations.
He really didn't have a cogent theme,
Any well-articulated message
Or profound thought, or wisdom, or insight.
It was more a point of view, attitude,
More of just a nasty disposition.
After one drink he'd begin to rant.
His voice would rise as he railed against
Foreigners, dog owners and high taxes,
Against the politicians and sports stars,
Against all the empty parking spaces
The law reserves for handicapped drivers.
After the second drink, prophecy starts,
Vitriol, an undiluted venom.
He wrote and mailed letter after letter
For local weekly newspapers to print
That pointed out those who deserve to die,
And what colour and make of car they'd drive
In case readers saw a chance for a shot,
A chance to put slugs through the windshields
Of cars of that model that stop for lights.
His list of names grew longer each week,
And grew to include those who'd dispute his word,
Who found it lacked the divine force of law,
An unruly utterance, badly composed.
An angel, he claimed, dictated his work,
That all was authorized by God himself,
Despite strangely frequent spelling mistakes
That most angels would never tolerate,
Despite the hatred for dogshit on lawns
That our Lord had never henceforth expressed.
Someone, I'd guess, saved each column inch,
Brought out his scissors each week and clipped,
And kept those letters from getting re-pulped.
These were later bound in random order
To form the text of that savage scripture
His movement made its most sacred of books
And used to launch Crusade, holy war,
An angry backhanded swipe at the world.
To join all you need to do is submit,
Admit to all the prophet's right, you're wrong,
God is great, Satan bad, and mankind,
On a sliding scale, is only so-so,
And only when under a watchful eye,
Only when employed in holy mayhem
Under guidance of God-drunk madmen.
Once you've let the Lord take over,
All other law, they say, falls in place.
Just submit, make yourself one with God
Who both provides spears and flushes the boar,
Who subsumes nervous ticks into his plan
But still distributes his fliers through space
To summon home all the scraps of static,
All the dark materials that snagged on barbs.
Profess this creed and enter the fold
To receive God's unrestricted license
To hunt down the foolish unbelievers
During that nine month hunting season
God set aside for their lawful slaughter.
And dogs, of course, are always fair game,
And the handicapped drivers, if not slain,
Will first get tickets, and then get towed.
It's best, most found, to just go along.
You really have no option but to join.
Otherwise, those already onside,
Mounted up and wearing the team colours,
Are given permit to spit you with lances,
Rape your wife and enslave your small children,
And cart away all your portable wealth.



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