Wise King Taken by the Foolish One
essay no. 5
Trying to reassure my son, to still his fear...
Keywords: children in music, mylar, alligators, confidence, fear, occupation, fig-tree, limbs, plaster, Kit Kat Bar
"Are you having trouble sleeping?" she asks her son.
"I'm packing away an octopus for the nipples," he answers. Distant bubbly music clashes with the ringing in my ears, which is a half-step higher, causing a sort of throbbing ache. It will never go away, I think, it's more likely that I'll have to learn to ignore it. That constant pain with which we are being bombarded, increasing so gradually that we might not notice until we're all doubled over under it...
The tape ends. Someone walks into my room and says, "You see, the music is over." But then the mother restarts the tape - and is sent by her son to scrounge for food, a little bedtime snack. Maybe some cheese. "Did the cheese get taken home from his school?" And if so, I think, was it promptly refrigerated? Will it have that... smell?
Cleveland, you are caught between thinking ill of yourself for being unable to get to sleep, and being proud of yourself for having taken a rare afternoon nap. Upon reflection, you cannot possibly be expected to fall asleep at your usual bedtime. Cleveland leans slyly into the positive light, the positive being at least as likely as the negative, when the circumstances are unknown, and here they are known to be mitigating. One point for the Wise King. If we have decided to identify wisdom with the positive. (As it seems we have. it seems that our sympathies lie with the Wise King, and this requires examination.) And although I award the first score to the Wise King, it is the Foolish One who is allowed the first vocalization in this essay, to wit, the fielding of a question: "Yes, you, in the purple sweater!"
"Aren't you afraid about... being... positively arrogant? Or even - to the smallest degree - found to be unbearably disrespectful, and thus, deduced to have an existence outside of the realms in which you might be an effective political tool, and therefore off-limits to the `South,' (meaning those forces more tightly than loosely allied to the conservative - i.e., hateful - communities), whether high ground or low ground; equally so? Discredited? And besmirched? Which might be a word of Yiddish or Russian origin. Which reminds me that in the Russian alphabet, or in the unique Russian version of algebra, the quadratic equation (or formula) is detested for being too low-brow, too nuts-and-bolts, too un-mystical, except for the "plus or minus" part. Whatever that means!"
"My, Ms. Purple Sweater, what a question!" the Wise King chuckles.
"I believe it was intended for me," says the Foolish One, irritably. But the Wise King ignores him and recites:
"Once I saw a fig tree All planted in the sand Her limbs were naught but Aykin* wood And limber in her plaster." * Aykin = achin(g) ?
All Past is seen as that which heads up to the Present, for a kiss.
The Foolish One gives the Wise King a threatening, mock-friendly poke. Then together they build a fortress facade out of a child's natural-color "wooden" blocks. They sing:
"Oh gig-gull grievance grabbing grew All mitt might meatball bobble stew Amber bebop nymph time got to know ow - and grow how it wanted to - - below low waterfall whisker wool - Awl gray lines grape in nod bunch o' stinking' Vines. And Pine wind water loll cal - Graveyard: gone kin front toe thud bases Salt salt: ghee vah me salt-salt! Kook among up present end entertainment Salt. Give me lots of so so salt go by my Window honk honk in tell rig no rent Fellow, salt-salt."
It's an exceptional universe, I mean:
Salt, salt, salt, salt, salt, salt, salt; salt-salt-salt, Salt-salt; salt sailor: end, early, saint; Salt salt salt salt salts; dough, dowdy, dig it.
Foom? No, out, of, rig, grew, old
and pretended, to, be, original, but were
demonstrably, wrong, and by not, recognizing
them as such, de-stabilizes the relationship
with the established and the experimental.
"You're not paying them - they're going to strike, or just go away!" I don't know who said that.
"It's never such a buyer's market - and/or a seller's!" What does that tell you? That you are loved for you, and feared too! Even by reputation over actual experience with rowdies. By the way, I don't know who said this either.
Even though you and I can't understand this, remember that there are people who take all this babble very seriously, and they'll come after those whose careers have spanned many decades, those who have turned safely old, because of the rab-ban that I announce closexe of 2zZcn-234(1)3 - and thus, just back on track. For a summer. One that lost money. For almost anything. "They are the prettiest!" "Depends whose eye was on the closeness, mutual proximity to careful-eyed openings, skin-revelations."
I look up, but can't even see to the tops of the letters: the long-ago-cited, miscellaneous, college brat voice: working at him, but not moving the limbs all over the music school settlement, traffic-limited business phone-hike. A mean rate hike, where it goes all rate-y on you, and you'll soon enough say, "Thank God!" For such small favors. She won't notice you.
It was supposed to still be early, but the clock says 1:41 AM. The Wise King gets up from his writing table and embarks upon a search for a sweet snack. Fruits glisten softly, failing to attract his attention. Instead, his interest veers past a Kit Kat Bar and lands lightly in the office of Ultrasweet, a brand of Candy Corn. From there, it jumps to a quarter pan of homemade "cheese snakes." My, they are an excellent source of cheesy snackery butteriness. No problem finding your way to the front desk here! (It being an awareness of the ferocious power and aggressiveness he lacked, not just now, but at all times. The hang and heft to his belly: stabbing himself with its balloony blunt excess.
Noticing this, and also sensing a strange upper leg pain in the other, the Foolish One makes a couple quick moves. He opens a new checking account at a branch office, and makes personal contact with a number of the foreign embassies. If there had been plants in these offices, he would have given them some extra watering, before tossing down the rubber gardener's gloves for a time.
The Wise King rouses himself and looks in all directions, sniffing like an animal.
The Foolish One brushes himself off, dressed as he is in fine crushed velvet, dark burgundy, now with leaves and pine needles attached, also big fancy plates gripped in matching mylar wedding ring focus depiction oven mitts, giving himself a headache which is followed by fever and nausea.
The Wise King chuckles sagely (or with malice?) and lifts a weary hand in salute. "The charter boat, the HMS Lavatory-Head-John is sinking," he says, "and people are leaping therefrom, wearing life preservers and thickly padded uniforms, gripping chunks of bread and watermelon (`for the road'), grinning around and out from under them."
"Look," says the Foolish One. "This is just to keep you occupied, as long as you want it to, while regaining the step for the nation."
"That's right," says the Wise King. "At some point, the whole system will collapse, when confidence therein comes a-crumble." And so saying, he wiggles his fingers in an apparent imitation of snow falling gently.
-- Dan Plonsey, October 2001,