I was David, slayer of tens of thousands,
dancing half-naked before the Ark.
Power flowed through me: everyone saw
how the Lord gloried in his tool.
Abigail, Michal, Ahinoam — where were they?
Forgotten on their pillows of goats’ hair,
like the graven image that slept in my bed
on the night I staged my first
Don’t look at me like that! Remember,
Jonathon was dead, whose love had been
more wonderful than the love of any woman.
The Lord had taken my seed
for his own: my sons would be his sons.
But what does a virgin know about love?
I danced, I circled back on myself
like a serpent, honey-tongued.
I fucked Bathsheba & had her husband killed.
A flash of anger in your eyes — good.
I hold nothing back; neither should you.
More than anything else,
El Shaddai loves openness.
Ah, but Absalom, beautiful in outrage,
broken at the bottom of a pit!
What kind of arch is supported
by a single pillar?
You have heard these stories a hundred times,
I know. They are all I have left.
I keep hoping somehow to set you aflame, poor girl,
forced to cuddle with this soft cold worm
Abishag – see I Kings 1:1-4
dancing before the ark – II Samuel 6:12-16
the graven image that slept in my bed – I Samuel 19:11-17
more wonderful than the love of any woman – II Samuel 1:25-26
the Lord had taken my seed – II Samuel 7:12-16
Bathsheba – II Samuel 11
a single pillar – II Samuel 18:17-18
For another take on the real David behind the layers of tradition, see Baruch Halpern, David’s Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King (Eerdmans, 2001)