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The Fury
          For Richard Owens

from Book VII of the Aeneid

 

[Juno, seeing the Trojans happily settling in Italy, vows one last time to try to thwart them.]

1.        flectere si nequaeo superos, Acheronta movebo

Juno stirs up shit in the form of Allecto
           heart full of war
           teeming with plots
           anger  crimes
           even her own dad can’t stand her
           her sisters hate her guts too
so many dark faces she has
           hair      hissing
           with snakes
                      Juno says

“Hey!  Give me my proper due, dark maid
           this labor I ask
           lest my honor be
                      broken my name
           displaced – don’t let Aeneas
           weasel his way into
           an easy marriage
                      instead
           arm brothers and whip them
           to war under cover
of a thousand names and using
           a thousand dark arts,
tear up the peace and sew
hatred, let men
starve and seize weapons
           all at once.”

                                 (on earth as it is in heaven)

Queen Amata stewing over the influx of aliens.
Allecto sends a love letter straight to
           Amata’s heart, a serpent
that glides under her dress between
her smooth breasts
           winding
in        and down
breathes up into her
its poison breath
                      twists
round her neck            and up into
her hair           now gold
band   licking
her lips
           she trips
into the fire
                                            (on earth as it is in heaven)

           “HUSBAND”
                      she sighs, crying
“who is it sanctions this unholy matrimony
between Trojan riffraff and our dear daughter
           Lavinia?
At the first stiff breeze
won’t he blow away?
Isn’t that how Paris
shuffled off with Helen
to Trojan towns?
What of the hand
frequently given to blood,
           your Turnus?
What if word gets around your word’s
           no good?
Trace anyone’s line far enough back,
there’s bound to be
           foreign seed.
Won’t that
           satisfy the prophets?”

(on earth
           as it is in heaven)

Seeing the king unmoved
           the worm turns
inside her,      stretching into
           every limb
synapses crackle
a top
           wobbling
she spins through the city
           and why not?
To the woods! playing at madness
           for Bacchus
snatching her daughter
           dancing wildly
paying homage to god
           knows what
thus plucks
the promised marriage away
from Troy, quenching
           the wedding torch.

“All you mothers!” crying
           “COME
                      give cunts to the wind
if your husbands won’t listen
           COME
with me and dance
           justice
love                joined
           in orgy
for Bacchus COME
dance in the woods
                      (on earth as it is           )

 

 

2.        et tua Dardaniis transcribi sceptra colonis?

Allecto
           seeing shit’s well under way
           heads straight for Turnus and casting off
the look of the Fury puts on the face
           of an old hag
nudges from sleep the youth
           “Turnus”
she moans
           “is it all in vain
           your throne
                      transcribed
           to Trojan castaways?
WTF?
           Cock-blocked by the king
           your wedding called off
           in favor of illegal
                      aliens–

and the shitstorm gathers while you
           sleep.
So rise and shine and
if King Back-on-his-Word doesn’t like it
let him taste your steel.”

Turnus:
           “Fuck off, old woman.
           You think I haven’t heard
           about these cocksuckers
           flooding the Tiber?
           Go back to your temple
           and let the men play at war
           or peace as they please–
           more importantly,
           let me get some sleep.”

Pissed as hell
the Fury lets go of the old lady routine
and stands naked and awful
before him                 eyes
wild hair hissing
                                 tits
                      up
           in his
quavering
           face

“Check me out
           motherfucker
here’s what a real woman
           looks like”
                      his cock
           goes limp balls wriggle
           up into scrotum

           “NOW
what were you saying about
men and their guns and how I
should go back to my temple?
Check me out – I am
one of those sisters
           THE FURIES
I hold
           war     fear
death
           in my hand.”

 

 

3.         de culmine summo / pastorale canit signum cornuque recurvo

The war’s pastoral. Pastoral’s
           the war.

                                  TURNUS
turns on,         leaps to arms, men join him
this one for beauty, that for fame
rousing each other
           “We’ll get laid, boys”
           “They’ll sing songs about us”
           “Pour oil and honey over our
           war-scarred backs”

The Fury flies
now to the woods where
           Ascanius
still seeking that money shot
to establish his rep
           as a hunter
catches sight of
           a great stag
(long-loved pet of Tyrrhus, shepherd
           to royal flocks
           (the war’s
           pastoral)
trained to the touch
and knowing the way home)

           lets fly an arrow the bitch-goddess
           makes sure hits the target

“They’ve killed Precious!”
           the cry goes up
“Who did?”               “Trojan scum!”
           “Alien fuckwads!”
“What are they doing here?”

(The war)
           Allecto raises a rustic horn
belts out one
           twisted note
that makes mothers’ milk go cold in their breasts
the rabble grab sticks
           rocks
whatever feels good in the hand
swarm out       for blood
(“Who did it?”)                      (pastoral)

Nor do the Trojan kids flinch
           “It’s a melee!
           “Abandon camp!”
telling each other
           “Don’t bring a knife
           to a gun fight!”

they show up in force
           beautiful
           sun
           flashing on spear tips
           shields, blades
           throwing up light like
           corn waving full in the fields

First boy to go down’s named Almo,
oldest son of Tyrrhus.

Bites an arrow that sticks
in his gullet and drowns
his death-cry in blood.

War for sure now and no one can stop it.
           As bodies pile up Allecto flies
up to heaven and flashes
before Juno, boasting:

“Look what I’ve done! Try and bring them
to the peace-table now! I’ll do more, if you want, I’ll
tempt every neighboring town to step
into the quagmire, bog down the whole world
in war, scattering limbs in the fields, I’ll–”

“Enough,” Juno says.
“I’ll take it from here.”


 

 

 

[David Hadbawnik is a poet, translator, and medieval scholar. His Aeneid Books 1-6 was published by Shearsman in 2015. He is the editor and publisher of Habenicht Press and the journal kadar koli, a co-editor of eth press, which focuses on creative interactions with medieval texts, and associate director of punctum books. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of English at the American University of Kuwait]

 

Copyright © 2015 by David Hadbawnik, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.