Blackbox manifold

Issue 15: David Hadbawnik

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


           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


in        and down

breathes up into her

its poison breath


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)


                      she sighs, crying

“who is it sanctions this unholy matrimony

between Trojan riffraff and our dear daughter


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


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


                      give cunts to the wind

if your husbands won’t listen


with me and dance


love                joined

           in orgy

for Bacchus COME

dance in the woods

                      (on earth as it is           )



2.        et tua Dardaniis transcribi sceptra colonis?


           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


she moans

           “is it all in vain

           your throne


           to Trojan castaways?


           Cock-blocked by the king

           your wedding called off

           in favor of illegal


and the shitstorm gathers while you


So rise and shine and

if King Back-on-his-Word doesn’t like it

let him taste your steel.”


           “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



           in his



“Check me out


here’s what a real woman

           looks like”

                      his cock

           goes limp balls wriggle

           up into scrotum


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


           in my hand.”


3.         de culmine summo / pastorale canit signum cornuque recurvo

The war’s pastoral. Pastoral’s

           the war.


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


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


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


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



           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