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  • Hannibal upon Rome and: Longfellow Composes a “Blues” and: Concerning Léopold II (ca. 1899) and: Frederick Douglass Considers General Robert E. Lee
  • George Elliott Clarke (bio)

Hannibal upon Rome

Over the Alps, our “Long March” launched elephants as if they were as light as griffins; now Rome shakes under my ponderous thunder. Like lightning, I’ll dagger the city, so that the Capitol falls— blunt as a hammer— smashing its citizens.

When we come down hard upon Rome, headlines will get writ in blood. Every wannabe Caesar gonna be turned out, homeless as a homely bitch, and some’ll be slain with extreme prejudice, my sword treatin the whole body as a tumour. (But first I piss on a rectum, eat an imperial horse while it’s a-gallop: Victory equals my cunning judgment.)

Our coming has the Romans going, going, gone.

Soon, our thrusting daggers will skewer princes, but reveal their queenly dames’—moms’—pussies pulsing with our convulsing pricks, begetting our own royal bastards outta queenly quim: Carthage will camp out in Rome’s virgins, leave each Roman womb baby-balmed, despite blood-gashing nails and tear-gushing cunts. Our crude, raw fucks are Policy good Policy tantamount to piracy. (And so after just-right bloodshed, there’ll be dancin, drinkin, cocksuckin— liebesküssen. . . .)

I want Rome to tremble, tremble, tremble. My trumpeting pachyderms stampede, stamp down all impediments, pedestals of useless, plastic gods (purloined from Greece), and we Carthaginians piss from precipices into the Roman faces— looking up at our black, Afric mass— maritime mid mountains— pissin down our golden rain. [End Page 179]

Our golden reign is Poetry Apollonian nectar— honey, mellifluity— as baroque as gold metal. Witness!

Our plan is to tender Rome a Hanging Garden— a grove of princes and pimps and plutocrats— danglin from bull-pizzle nooses, while our fruiterers turn each garden into vinery and orchard, just orgiastic grapes, apples, plums. . . .

We are dark lions, yes, come from Carthage, growling, and will rend the rich Romans in their togas like so many grape leaves, while we spring upon their wives and daughters, to spring our seed (no sour grapes). . . .

Sympathy? That’s dessert— after Conquest: It’s a liqueur for poets. It’s a tasty digestif that one quaffs only after constant beheadings of the foe. (Magnanimity feels best after a massacre; it yields last-minute, split-second elation that lasts an eternity.)

Why should I not loathe Rome? Rome ordains civil circuses and obligatory bread, sticks niggers into stockades, grabs Ethiope wenches and wrenches pup an bitch off em.

But we Africans, my Africans, descend from a cloud-broken atmosphere— out of savage ether (that punishing coldness)— act as terrifyin as miracles— to bring our ambitious gambits to bloody consummation, and hatch upon Italia a mixed-breed civilization, to know every Latin matron’s ass like we know our own toilet. [End Page 180]

Our antiquity is at its zenith. We’re no gimcrack elite, but up-end the statues of their cobwebbed gods— Cupid, Venus— deliver each a plebeian funeral, sink them in blood-soaked dirt, the finest sewage, along with their clergy— gilded turds, marble shits, meaningless.

This rolling winter, we’ve crossed misshapen mountains to offer a wholesale Putsch, to turn the Pax Romana into gushing and gushing blush, after bludgeon and truncheon, arrow and sword and spear.

Our lion rhetoric, roaring, is not for naught. It ain’t sweet claptrap. Even our amateur junta bests the trypheros Romans, bedraggles their laurels, and puts their Kindergartens under plough and turfs their tots into ruddy cemeteries, thanks to our edged and pointed blades.

Now, I cannot recline and eat, but must further fall upon Rome, array it in rapturing flame, before I meet that piteous soil that is the grave.

War is devil business. The classic buildings will soon be a mishmash of smoke— a toxic strand of dog cadavers, maggoty— all mixed-up bric-à-brac.

I am a colossal menace, violently excellent, proving that Perfection is dislike. Each withering step we take, brittle shanties—outposts—crumble.

Here is diplomacy of siege: Venerable smoke, rusty-looking blood, smouldering winds, shit-eating, anemic peasants, as bony as candle-flames...


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