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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


by George Held

            "That old black [widow] has me in its spell . . . "

            “‘You carry enough stuff in your pocket to blow yourself  and everything within sixty yards of you to pieces.’”          —Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907)

Those young Moslem women terror-bent
from Dagestan and Chechnya now are sent
to Sochi with bombs embracing their bodies
like the arms of their dedicated husbands,
already blown to bits by suicide bombs
to earn their tickets to Paradise.

The young ladies now arm themselves
like Conrad’s Professor, “hand closed round”
the detonator in his pocket,
an armed flask bomb sitting
in another pocket like a sleeping
black Angel of Death.

Call these young women “black widows,”
conjure our primal fear of black spiders
with red hourglass shape on their abdomen,
who devour their mates for giving the gift
of fertilization. The old misogynist myth
is summoned again to feed nightmares

for the well-heeled with tickets to Sochi,
the Winter Olympics Paradise,
with palm trees, by the Black Sea,
while at its back, in the snow-clad Caucasus,
Moslem revolutionaries fight
for independence and send (black) widows

to detonate the fun and games.
Which is your choice: the curious
tourists who require armed security
to bolster Vladimir Putin’s coffers
or the widows dedicated to avenge
their husbands and help to liberate

their ancient/nascent nations
from Putin’s pitiless grip?
Let the games begin.

An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at