Tag Archives: fantasy

VICTOR

pt. II of “Victor Frankenstein in the Underworld”

Despite my prior bout of disbelief,
My strong desire to hear what Vic would say
And meet the heir of legend’s noblest thief
(Prometheus) inspired me to stay.
His face displayed a world of grief
That passing eras never would allay.
He started speaking at a frantic pace
And never looked directly at my face:

“What we’ve discovered is the slightest bur
That’s found inside the smallest garden plot.
I sought to gather elements and stir
Ingredients in Mother Nature’s pot.
I mixed these parts to see what might occur
And used ‘what is’ to bring about ‘what’s not’.
The epitaph I wanted on my slab
Was: ‘Victor made the planet Earth his lab’.

The words of Victor prompted me to think:
“The monster’s often saner than the master
Whose works might bring us to destruction’s brink.
The age of technological disaster,
In which a world might die inside a blink,
Is plagued by folk of Victor’s mold and plaster.
If born today, when atoms roughly smash,
His monster might’ve burned our world to ash.”

Although I saw he truly was contrite,
I thought, “His type is apt to mope and mourn
Once it’s extinguished life and vital light
(which is more easily destroyed than born).”
…But human pity for his woeful plight
Began to soften and replace my scorn.
Recalling what a gentle sage had taught,
I kept inside the harmful words I’d thought.

 

“Shakespeare in the Underworld” [Complete: Parts I-III]

Selections from The New House of Fame by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

A chat with England’s bard will make it clear
that death for stars is still a thing to dread.
I trust you’ll recognize this person here
[Unless you’ve got no brain inside your head].
That’s William Shakespeare–Britain’s treasured dear,
A man among the greatest of the dead.
Now have a conversation with the Bard
To see that death’s a fate that’s always hard.


Before the Bard could say a single word,
He was approached by Richard Number Three
(A king who’s also known as “Rick the Third”).
The Bard inquired, “What dost thou want of me?”
The Third replied, “Thou sland’ring boorish bird,
Thy song hath brought me lasting infamy.
Thy play–a dreadful toy, a trivial thing–
Hath made me seem the worst of any king.

I thank thee–balding, bitter, whoreson, hack–
For making sure that all posterity
Would think me evil with a crooked back.”
Said Will, “To thee, I gave eternity.
A famous name–which many hate to lack–
I gave thee as an act of charity.
Without my widely-read and studied play,
How many would recall your name today?”

Richard glared and turned to walk away.
Then, William took a seat and breathed a sigh
And said these weary words I’ll now relay:
“A second death I’d volunteer to die.
I deeply loathe this place of gloomy gray,
And passage out of here I’d gladly buy.
Although my body long ago decayed,
It seems my spirit’s not allowed to fade.”

I never rest. Each moment seems to bring
Complaints from ev’ry lady and her lord,
From ev’ry princess, baron, queen, and king
Whose fame on page and stage has ever soared—
Instead of being some forgotten thing
That future ages knew not and ignored.
If I had known they’d never let me be,
I never would’ve written history.”

“Thou’ hast not come, I hope, with foul design…
In other words, to ask about my work:
‘The plays and poems–are they truly thine?
Above the questions never cease to lurk.’
Some claim that visions from a source divine
Reveal the Bard was Russian or a Turk,
While others say he served our Holy Lord
Or was a pirate living by the sword.”

“Another says, ‘Well, ev’rybody knows–
As royal flower comes from royal bud–
No lowly peasant ever could compose
Those works that hint at none but noble blood.
Our culture’s greatest poetry and prose
Was fathered only by a noble stud.
He who composed those lines we read today
Was never making gloves to earn his pay.’

‘Perhaps the credit Will so long has taken
Belongs to Earl of Oxford, Ed de Vere—
If not a king, a queen, or Francis Bacon.’
Said Will, “For love of peace, I’ll shake no spear
At silly theories that they’re fond of makin’,
But lies have harmed old Ed and Frank, I fear—
They both believe they wrote A Winter’s Tale,*
And their debate has grown a little stale.”

*De Vere, believed by some conspiracy theorists to have been “Shakespeare,” died several years before the composition of A Winter’s Tale.

“I’d also keep the scholars out of here:
[‘If Bottom turned by magic to an ass
Is, like I think, a bawdy pun on “rear,”
I’ll teach my Early English Drama class
That Will was saying slyly, “I am queer”
And scenes in drag express his inner lass.’]
[‘Does Lear suggest it’s choice or iron fate
That makes a person bi, or gay, or straight?’]

“One critic claims I had a proto-commie’s voice,
While others say that freer enterprise
Was doubtlessly my economic choice.
He thinks I served the state with pretty lies,
She says rebelling made my heart rejoice.
They make me what they love or most despise…
The real “me” critics think they can define
Is not contained in any written line. “

“Another blow from fickle, frightful fate
Are bards I often am assaulted by.
How deep’s the well of bitter rivals’ hate!
I’d thought with death that jealousy would die,
But writers foul, along with writers great,
Despise that I’m one critics deify.
Although the fault is surely none of mine,
It irks them that my name’s become divine.”

Although there’s truth in much of what he said,
It seemed he wanted only to complain.
His whiny ways began to hurt my head.
As much as this confession causes pain,
I admit that, from England’s bard, I fled
As people flee from falling acid rain .
I went in search of other famous ghosts
And hoped they’d serve as better spirit-hosts.

“Shakespeare in the Underworld”

[Part I: a selection from The New House of Fame by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess]

“A chat with England’s bard will make it clear
that death for stars is still a thing to dread.
I trust you’ll recognize this person here
[Unless you’ve got no brain inside your head].
That’s William Shakespeare–Britain’s treasured dear,
A man among the greatest of the dead.
Now have a conversation with the Bard
To see that death’s a fate that’s always hard.
 

Before the Bard could say a single word,
He was approached by Richard Number Three
(A king who’s better known as “Rick the Third”).
The Bard inquired, “What dost thou want of me?”
The Third replied, “Thou sland’ring boorish bird,
Thy song hath brought me lasting infamy.
Thy play–a dreadful toy, a trivial thing–
Hath made me seem the worst of any king.

I thank thee–balding, bitter, whoreson, hack–
For making sure that all posterity
Would think me evil with a crooked back.”
Said Will, “To thee, I gave eternity
A famous name–which many hate to lack–
I gave thee as an act of charity.
Without my widely-read and studied play,
How many would recall your name today?”

“Harry and the Paparazzi” [An Epic Episode]

an episode from The New House of Fame by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess

Of action, we’ve not seen a lot so far.
Perhaps it’s time for faster moving scenes.
I’ll start with Harry sitting at a bar…
…The handsome actor (loved by mostly teens—
Though once a lowly pornographic star)
Now owns a house complete with putting greens.
The thrilling stanzas that are coming next
Will tell of Harry being sorely vexed.

Our mighty hero paid then left the seat*
In which he’d just enjoyed a manly meal.
With superhuman steps he walked the street
Still thinking of his lately eaten veal–
Oblivious to quiet creeping feet
Pursuing close behind his stepping heel.
Our story’s handsome hero didn’t know
He’d soon encounter Rick (his hated foe).

*He did not pay the seat. As usual, the meter has influenced me to write more ambiguously than I normally would.

Once ears perceived that dreaded cam’ra click,
He turned his head to meet a blinding flash
He knew had come from Tabloid Wizard Rick–
A foe with whom he always seemed to clash.
Our hero ran, but Rick’s pursuit was quick
[In college, Rick had won a racing dash].
Then, Ricky said, “I’ve heard you two were close.
How do you feel about her overdose?

Or would you rather talk of matrimony?
I hear you’ve spent some time in fam’ly court
(Since Missus rode your agent like a pony).
My fellow wizard’s latest news report
Reveals you’ll owe your ex no alimony,
Yet she’ll receive a wealth of child support.
Assist my quest to fill the people’s need
[For scandals are the food on which they feed].

Those words provoked the hero’s righteous rage
Awaking his desire to bravely smite
The vile, detested cam’ra-wielding mage
Who spoke these magic words: “I want no fight
But just to put you on the cover page.”
Our star replied, “Be gone, unwelcome sight!
…Or else I’ll smash your evil cam’ra’s lens
And run you over with my custom Benz.”

Replying, Ricky cast a common spell
That tabloid wizards know as “I Will Sue.”
With growing ire, the hero told him, “Go to Hell!”
Then tossed the cam’ra, breaking it in two.
And, when the pieces of the cam’ra fell,
He smashed them both beneath his shiny shoe.
Before a cuff restrained his raging wrist,
He pummeled Ricky ’til he’d hurt his fist.

Oh, Rage that dwells inside a human’s heart…
You vessel hard to empty but not fill…
You cycle slow to end but quick to start…
You who can move with ease but not be still.
You’re like a fully-loaded shopping cart
That’s started rolling swiftly down a hill.
Your reckless rolling won’t begin to end
Until you’ve crashed into a foe or friend.

To Rage, the wizard owes a hearty “Thanks!”
The piece he wrote on Harry’s acts of war
Against the Tabloid Wizards’ royal ranks
Ensured that tabloid sales would skyward soar
And fortified the warring Clan of Cranks
[Which tracked the star more closely than before.]*
Oh, Rage, you causer of an odd effect,
You bring about what people most reject.

“*Footnote about the Story Printed
To save the story from “Banality”—
A curse that’s also known as “What Occurred”—
The piece proclaimed, “The star’s brutality
Was sparked by what this writer disinterred
…that Harry’s fond of bestiality.
In other words, he loves what’s thickly-furred.
Afraid I might reveal the dirty truth,
He punched my face and chipped a lower tooth.”