Samson With Syphilis

The ending goes like this: the temple at Giza crashing down around his tumescent head. A big operatic finale as he pushes aside the columns, yanking his own chains, growling and grunting and making secret shouts in Dagon’s penetralia, the innermost temple chamber, which collapses on him and swallows him whole.

But that story is just for the rubes.

Initiates, devotees and possessors of the gnosis, know that Dagon’s temple didn’t kill him. It was syphilis.

The strongman was infected, and infectious, carrying a load of sanctified body-spunk and wearing a halo of spirochetes. Faint wriggling bacteria, delicate as dust, ghostly microscopic worms, see-through microorganisms and his see-through man-flesh, too too solid, melted and reconfigured as Dog-name-man-god. Samson was the hound of Hebrew heaven, carrying the sex-pox to the enemy with purple gums and shiny ooze of slaver, howling at the moon and digging for Delilah’s bones.

Samson got his hair cut off because of the rash. His scalp was a suppurating mess: red raised lumps, itchy patches with hard chancres. He cut off his hair to get some air to the scene of the crime.

Samson the mighty man-slut whored his way from Jerusalem to Giza. Then he went blind, like Nietzsche, and deaf like Ludwig Van B. He went gibbering mad in the temple of Dagon, pushing that mill stone round and round for the Philistine Piscine slime-god, grinding dust to finer dust, not helpless because Delilah sheared off his man-mane, but because he was infected, slaving at the pulverizer in a cloud of syphilitic spores which spun round his head, the mill’s spirit-germ counter-spiral.

Lepers got out of the way when he came into town. But women could not resist his manly man-funk, his saline sweat: salt and hormones, mythic oils, a Frankincense monster. They could not resist his throbbing biceps and quads: the wild man Hebrew flex. Priestesses of Dagon, the hierodules and groupies, grew faint as he entered the temple. Their hearts fluttered and their shutters heaved as he allowed them each one a quick touch. A great circumcised muscle of love, a sleek phallic battering ram breaking down the temple door and coming inside, smeared with glycerin to make him shine.

They all wanted his infection - not just his seed to make the monster-child but the spirochete too, the agent of mutagenesis, fertility rites and ecstatic nights, and their wombs the alchemical flasks for the transmutation. Syphilitic seed is an agent of change to convert the fetus, to elevate the women to an altar and the birth to apotheosis. They wanted him as the destroyer and creator, the slayer and the player, the loner and lover.

Now we all know the legend of Samson, the killer of Philistines, destroying whole armies, reaping the fields of his enemies, jawbone as scythe and weapon and rhythmic sound machine. He wades into the enemy singing “why do the heathen rage?” - the last aria from the last opera, accompanied by Delilah’s love-moans and the rattle of teeth in a sun-bleached donkey’s jawbone, percussive buzz-riff, skitter of fragments and the hissing of the high glamor pox.