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Among Philistines


The night before they meant to pluck his eyes

He caught his tale at six on Action News—

Some blow-dried moron blabbing the bald lies

The public swallowed as "Official Views."


After a word for douche, Delilah made

A live appearance and was interviewed.

Complaining what a pittance she was paid,

She plugged the film she starred in in the nude.


Unbearable, he thought, and flipped the switch,

Lay sleepless on the bed in the bright room

Where every thought brought back the pretty bitch

And all the Orient of her perfume,


Her perfect breasts, her hips and slender waist,

Matchless among the centerfolds of Zion,

Which summoned to his tongue the mingled taste

Of honey oozing from the rotted lion;


For now his every mumble in the sack

(Bugged, of course, and not a whisper missed)

Would be revealed in lurid paperback

"As told to" Sheba Sleaze, the columnist.


Beefcake aside, he was a man of thought

Who heretofore had kept to the strict law:

For all the cheap celebrity it brought

He honestly deplored that ass's jaw,


The glossy covers of their magazines

With taut chains popping on his greasy chest,

The ads for razors with the corny scenes

And captions: Hebrew Hunk Says We Shave Best!


Such were his thoughts; much more severe the dreams

That sped him through his sleep in a wild car:

Vistas of billboards where he lathered cream,

Gulped milk, chugged beer, or smoked a foul cigar,


And this last image, this, mile after mile—

Delilah, naked, sucking on a pair

Of golden shears, winking her lewdest smile

Amid a monumental pile of hair


And blaring type: The Babe Who Buzzed the Yid!


He noted how his locks demurely hid

Those monstrous tits. And how her lips were red,


Red as his eyes when he was roused at seven

To trace back to its source the splendid ray

Of sunlight streaming from the throat of Heaven

Commanding him to kneel and thus to pray:


"Lord God of Hosts, whose name cannot be used

Promotion-wise, whose face shall not adorn

A cornflake box, whose trust I have abused:

Return that strength of which I have been shorn


That we might smite this tasteless shiksa land

With hemorrhoids and rats, with fire and sword.

Forgive my crime.  Put forth thy fearsome hand

Against them and their gods, I pray thee, Lord."


So, shorn and strengthless, led through Gaza Mall

Past shoeshop, past boutique, Hallmark, and Sears,

He held his head erect and smiled to all

And did not dignify the scene with tears,


Knowing that God could mercifully ordain,

For punishment, the blessing in disguise.

"Good riddance," he said, whispering to the pain

As searing, the twin picks hissed in his eyes.


R.S. Gwynn



From No Word of Farewell: Poems 1970-2000, Story Line
Press, (c) 2001.  Used by permission of the author.

Background by
Lewis Eaton

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