Letting Out the Beast

I have a confession to make, a dark and shameful admission of hidden perversity. Or perhaps I am just quirkily weird.

But I think in iambic pentameter.

Standing behind some guy in a buffet line, my inner voice says:

“But quicker, man, you hasten not the day
when we can eat, with your slow, pon’drous choice.
The carrots are too soft; can you not see
That they will not give satisfaction? Try
The corn; it looks to have a toothsome bite
To it. And hurry on, the chicken has
Come out, a fine fresh plate –still hot — and you
Are blocking it from reach; I’d hope to fill
My plate before it cools, you slow-assed shit.”

Watching a man and a woman arguing in Wal-Mart, the voice inside my head says:

“They once knew better days, these sad-faced fools.
They laughed and danced and tarried of an eve
To watch the setting sun, imagining
That all their lives would be as full of bliss.
And now they squabble like wet cats, their
Bitter voices raised in sharp distaste. Love they
Have lost to cold debate over the
Merits of Budweiser versus Stroh’s.”

I don’t know where this comes from. Yeah, I read Shakespeare. I even liked Shakespeare. But I was never what you’d call a fan. Okay, maybe of the Dark Sonnets, but that was it. The rest of it I’ve read once because it’s fun reading, but I’ve never felt any overwhelming need to revisit it.

So why does the voice in my head spew out this ever-running out-of-century pseudo-Shakespearian commentary? Where does this crap come from? Or, as the little voice first phrased it:

“From whence pour forth these words that plague my thoughts?
Why fall they from so strange a tongue? They are
Not mine, they are the curse of some mad beast,
Some misbegotten fiend. They shift the very
Light, make weak the earth beneath my feet.
I cannot trust the ground ‘pon which I stand.
Such drama suited other, richer days.
These are a time for words left stark and plain.”

Yeah. Whatever. If this stuff ever comes back into fashion, I’ll be able to turn off my inner censor and just open the faucet. In the meantime, though, I’m stuck plodding through life, translating the me inside into something suitable for everyday use.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

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