Samson II

1.    “So, you thugs plan to arrest Israel and me?
Why? What’s the big idea?

2.    “The reason for this asinine, suicidal Provocation is,
we refuse to denounce the God of Israel,
our dark-complected and light-complected deity.

3.    “But you racist rascals—trash—vermin
oppose Jews—Hebrews—Ethiopes,
and think—stupidly—that you can live!

4.    “Well, I see through your half-smiles,
your equivocations that soften your oppressions.

5.    “I see you and your affiliates, confederates, clearly!
I see you clearly—all of you.

6.    “And I’ve proof of your financial frauds
and outright abuse of every market, every economy,
all these wrongs you commit non-stop.

7.    “Moreover, every word of every Hebrew prophet
motivates your Hatred.
You can’t stand being hated by the God we love.

8.    “In conjunction—cahoots—with other jerks,
your army stole into my olive grove
and tried to steal Delilah,
hoping my Goliath powers were stymied.

9.    “Well, did you really think you could get away with
your subterfuge, persiflage, shenanigans?

10.    “Go ahead! Concoct a story—a lie—
about Israel and I:
it’ll be only a lie—a goddamn lie!

11.    “The real reason for your Opprobrium?
For 20 years I’ve frustrated your Criminality!

12.    “Look, Philistines: I’m a-gonna exterminate y’all.

13.    “Why not come with the Truth, then,
before it’s too late?

14.    “My reckless fucking of your treasonous countrywoman—
I’m a-gonna expel y’all from the planet.

15.    “You’ll no longer threaten me or my nation!
Racists, y’all thrive on Racism.

16.    “I assure you, however:
My vendetta will end your Vindictiveness.

17.    “I am already watching you die.

18.    “Who starts the War,
will not end the War!”

[Dorval (Québec) 21 mai mmxvi]

Questions and Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

3/4 of the way through my sixteenth year, in November MCMLXXVI (1976), I read Ezra Pound’s translation of Rihaku’s (Li Po’s) “Song of Chang-Kan,” which Pound (# or £) rendered as “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter.” It sounded to me like Mississippi Blues-the subconscious of T’ang Dynasty poetry. I wanted to be able to sling emotion like “dat”–in print. . .

How/where do you find inspiration today?

Inspiration? All about–in everything. News/Weather/Sports; Song lyrics; Menus; Ingredient lists; POETRY; Slang; Overheard gossip/chat/rap/banter/cusses; Speeches; Sermons; Lectures; Confessions; Trial testimony; Depositions; Essays; Plays; E-mails; Screenplays; Dialogue; Monologues; Autopsies; Diaries; How-To manuals; Guides; Maps; Dictionaries; Toponyms; etc. Seek-and-ye-shall-find-it-bangin-gainst-yo-skull.

What poetic techniques did you use in this poem? How much attention do you pay to form and metre?

For “Canticles II,” I am reqriting scriptures–of all sorts, but mainly Judeo-Christian. To write “Samson II,” I followed the story as detailed in Judges, but found it interesting to imagine Samson and Delilah as using today’s invective, rather than more-or-less, user-friendly King James version (KJV) English.

How did your writing process unfold around this poem? How did you write, edit, and refine it?

The writing process for “Samson II” was relatively straightforward. Imagine the emotion behind the “speech,” and then try to find the right level of pungent diction to give it the heft and swing of hurly-burly, of take-no-prisoners bitching and/or gumption.



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