Probably no creative artist in history can match the universal adoration that Master Will Shakespeare enjoys (well, would enjoy if not dead for 403 years). However, a recent biography claims that when his theatre company, the King’s Men, travelled to Whitehall to entertain James I, the actors actually served their royal patrons meals between performances.
Imagine the author of King Lear approaching some drooling Hapsburg-lipped hemophiliac with the greeting, “Hark, I’m William Shakespeare, and I shalt be thy server this evening.”
His much scrutinized signature? An autograph unsought.
The fact is that Elizabethans and Jacobeans looked upon actors and playwrights the way we old folks do fire eaters and
tattooed bearded ladies. Amusing, perhaps, but not the sort we want visiting our homes. Of course, nowadays, entertainers are the royalty: Sir Mick Jagger. Sir Nick Faldo. Sir Johnny Rotten (just wait).
On the other hand, poets remain as impoverished as ever. For example, when appointed, Poet Laureate Billy Collins taught at two different universities to make his mortgage. As my man, Willie B, whined so exquisitely in “Adam’s Curse”:
[. . . ] A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.
Well, if you happen to be reading this post on lifted wifi in a drafty garret as you warm your hands over a burning pile of rejection slips, here’s a suggestion in how to augment your income. Start touting yourself as a body language expert.
It’s as easy as lying.
Just apply the analytical process you use in interpreting poems to the dress, postures, and mannerisms of celebrities. For example, courtesy of Us magazine, here’s body language expert Patti Wood on winsome Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock.
She is gripping the coffee cup very high up [. . .] That’s what you do when you really want to grab a hold of something and show your power. She’s really making it obvious and playing toward the camera to show that empty [i.e., ringless] finger.
Bullock also is wearing a black North Face jacket, black ball cap and scarf around her neck.
She’s chosen a heavily padded jacket and has it zipped up very high,” observes Wood. “The choice of her scarf, which is tied over heart, means that she is hiding her heart window and throat window, which is the communication window.”
As you might know (and congratulations if you don’t), Sandra Bullock’s story book marriage (as in Creepy Comics story book) to dashing motorcycle mechanic/television personality/daredevil Jesse James ended when she discovered hubby James had been trysting with “tattoo model and stripper Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McGee” [Wikipedia]. James’ previous, not-so-winsome wife, adult film star/producer Janine Lindemulder, had battled James the year before for custody of their daughter Sunny. James, whose cocky sneer might outnumber Shakespeare’s pate in a Google image search face-off, has conceded having “made bad decisions” (i.e., committing adultery over an 11-month period with someone who goes by “Bombshell”) but blamed his transgressions on his abusive father, who once when 7-year-old Jesse tripped over a wire, “laughed at [him] and called [him] a dummy” New York Daily News.
No wonder Sandra has shrouded her heart window, opened the trench coat of her naked ring finger, and covered her communication window in tinfoil.
* * *
Poets, I guarantee you that Body Language Guru Patti got paid more for her analysis of Sandra’s ensemble than you did the last time you got published. What was it? Two complimentary copies of the flimsy issue that featured your open wound of a love poem?
I bet we can do just as well as Patti Wood. All we need is a degree from an on-line university, and we’re in business. Let’s give it a shot. Here’s a photo of disgraced Ponzi Master Al Parish in his glory days before the hook of law-and-order yanked him off the stage of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce production of No New Taxes. He’s in his eleventh years of a twenty-four year sentence at Butner Federal Correctional Complex in Raleigh. Bernie Madoff is also an inmate there.
Piece of (purchased cheese) cake:
Falstaffian in appetite, Professor/Post Courier columnist/ official Chamber of Commerce economist Parish wraps himself in regal purple to accentuate his ties to the powers-that-be. Even though his 300-plus pounds of sidewalk dominating heft might catch the eye of the blind man selling pencils on the corner, grey and black swirling patterns on purple demand even more attention, screaming I’m comfortable in my 24-square yards of skin, parachute-sized fabrics, jumbo-sized Cadillac. Note how jauntily he cocks the angle of his right jowl across the 12-lane highway of his lapel – lapels that steeply climb his belly, that Great Divide of his torso and legs. He’s at once a king and sycophant, a mogul and court jester
And yet – and yet – the ensemble displays Rorschach-like signals of chaos ahead, his left shoulder bearing a hurricane-like swirl, his tie twisted like a cyclone, both boldly streaked in ominous black . . .
Like, I said, it’s as easy as lying.
One thought on “Bring in the Clowns”
If I had to do it all over, I think I would have studied language in some way. The rhyming in “Somebody’s Curse” is a good reason as to why. The more I understand computers, the more I am amazed by human conscience.