Carnival: Clown’s Counsel

The scene is in a bar at night, where two clowns hold the following discourse:

Clown 1:

Insanity grips men when everything
they see is trouble free, and when rewards
like wild berries can be plucked at ease
their minds, for higher branches born, will shun
the lowly fruit and pluck their own despair.
Your counsel seems to me a fine blueprint,
and of berries I’m worn: I seek the meat.

Clown 2:

Of doom and gloom you always preach, brother,
and make that brilliant painted smile false.
Cannot reward, if still an egg unhatched,
glory possess to make your grin appear?
But your consent, though niggardly expressed,
I will embracing celebrate, and cheer.

Clown 1:

Thy cheer refrain; inebriation shun.
This course a pilot needs, and of the way,
this coarse outline you’ve given me tonight,
I without you only failure secure.
Away look from the wine! These foolish clothes,
do not let them make you truer the fool
that imitating such a mask, disguise
should prove itself unveiled unchanged.

Clown 2:

Can you despise our benefactor with
more ease than when you plunged your knife of late
into these thirteen men to be disposed?
While even now about our feet they lay,
the knife less bloody for the rag dirtied—
upon the counter still resting—and you
not drunk with your own devilish passion?
Did not this plan attribute I this muse:
Thoughtful transaction ‘tween bottle and I?
Are you so worried with such a bounty?
Often to bring forth one to three apiece,
and yet tonight thirteen we’ve snared by luck.
So double quota we deliver each,
and baker’s assurance keep to ourselves.
What of this plan troubles your fevered mind?

Clown 1:

Just this is still unclear: How quickly can
our doubly sordid profit we unload?
Unto what buyer can we sell with ease?
Conglomerate: whoever buys is part
of whom we cheat, and may indeed retell
the deal he made.

Clown 2:

___________________Be not the fool, brother!
Your mind so dim when with these pains partook
I to enlighten work? What need have we
to sell the corpse when twelve exchanged will make
our purses full of gold? We are the slaves
of ones who with black magic made us from
such reapings we collect. Can we not then,
in like manners, enslave to do our work
the pick of these thirteen upon the floor?

Clown 1:

But how, brother, for we no magic know?
Possess we no geometry to draw
th’sacred circle.

Clown 2:

_________________Well sharpened mind you have,
just like your knife daily troubled by grits
of graduating pow’rs, but excellence
which tears away the dull removes full sight.
This dullish wit I use: Tracing image
only, so lacking understanding we,
then mocking learne-d men, produce the like.
And so the alphabet of magic I
nocturnally practice. I am ready.

Clown 1:

This candidate is apt and lean. We should
not fear his rebellion against our will.

Clown 2:

Are we then to be masters over rabbits?
Be lion hearted in this enterprise,
disdaining fear. Abandon your reserve.
The best and strongest we will have this night.

Clown 1: [leads the scene behind the bar

Then here: Withstanding several wounds of mine,
he like a bull, and I the matador,
returned to charge me with great strength of will.
Upon his side see there bleeding three wounds,
and there his neck I cut, but still he charged.
His leg I hacked, embedding deep my knife
into his calf, and still, limping, he fought.
And even when his life was spent, he yet
resisted death, and weakly he approached.
Advancing so, from him I had no fear.
I stood expecting his quick fall, and he,
with sudden strength, about my throat his hands
soon wrapped. Into his heart I stabbed my steel.
Yet waning life his vigor waxed, his grip
matching hard steel. No better can you find
for these dark purposes tonight outlined;
in death or life was he ever the strong.
My lungs for air struggled with cooling corpse,
for this reason the digits missing from
his hands. I placed them here within my vest’s
pockets.

Clown 2:

________Then quick, let us again attach
what was in need sundered. Upon this plain
our hour is soon to pass, and we undead,
cast from this earth, return to th’Carnival.
Once there I have no hope: the rites performed
surely unveil us thieves. We must hurry.
Give me fingers; prepare bodies; be off!
[Clown 1 leaves to tend the bodies on the other side of the bar
To this dreaded new low I now descend:
Murder and theft, but to betray my friend?
Look here, O corpse, O means of my escape,
forgive that I awaken thee, that I
like you, beyond my death struggle to grasp
the necks of those who unrightfully take
my life and death. I make of you a tool,
my instrument of cloaked vengeance against
the ones who made this sordid state and force
me to participate. How sick that I
adopt their means to end it all for good?

(For related reading: The Carnival)

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