Fable of the Monkey King



Wishing to express
his secret self on Halloween
the man of aspiration planned
to go to the party
dressed as a warrior
or a king
a warrior-king

but the sales clerk said:
“Sorry, but it seems
  this year everyone wants to be
  either some type of warrior
  some type of royalty

“so all we have left on the rack
  is this monkey outfit.”

“But I don’t want to be a monkey,”
  the man whined.

“Think about it,” the clerk reasoned.
“Can an armored knight
  scale one hundred foot of jungle vine
  in a mere minute?
  Can a king swing from tree to tree?”

Though not quite persuaded
the man of aspiration acquiesced.

At least, I’ll be unique, he thought.

But no!—
he arrived at the party house
to find
half the celebrants dressed
in the same monkey costume
he’d bought:
the shop had unloaded a truckload
purchased at discount.

That clerk made a monkey out of me
our deflated man sighed.

But in his humility
he said what the hell
and lowered himself down
to join that crowd
in their monkeyshines—

what a freedom of fun!—
those pretend-simians
flailed and hopped
in a dizzy giddy dance—
they filled the room
with their gibber-jabber—
occasionally bursting into
high-pitched hollers
that made the roof shingles shiver.

Some swung from the balustrade
and some kept putting banana peels
under the heels
of those with upturned noses.

But then
towards the end of the evening
that barrel of monkeys
calmed a bit
and paired off to pick
imaginary bugs from synthetic hair.

In this way, our man met
a woman who, like him
dreamed of wearing
both sword and crown.

A good match
aided, I believe, by its low-brow

better I first see you as monkey
before knowing you as royalty
I may feel disillusioned
when I discover my highness
sometimes slides
all the way down to the ground
on a grapevine.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
40 New Fables: ebook

About Michael Patton

To put it plainly: I like to make things...But I’m only semi-competent (at best) when dealing the objects of our physical world. So I make intangible things...poems, tales, and pictures to go with those poems and tales. After a frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own. Now, I'm edging into video. It's all storytelling. Including the poetry. I'm a dreamer in the best and worst sense of the word. In my dreams, I'm not just writing my story, I writing OUR story. In my effort to realize this mad ambition, I'm trying to see the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl in this hard study... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.
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