Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Princess and the So-called Pea*

Dearest Hans,

I ran into Snow the other day
at the Computers and the Kingdom
Conference, the seminar on
Databases and the Royal Records.
We had tea, after.

She's about the top
in the Vale of Little People
and came to the conference
to catch up on the latest.

Boy, does she look good.
She's still a size 6 with a
complexion like cream.
There I was
looking like the King's blimp
beside her and the bags
'neath my eyes need a lift.

Anyway, she says "Hans is still telling
stories" and I'm sure that's paying
off for you,
but I gotta say,
the one about me and the pea,
that verges on slander.
You need a new tale.

There is no pea.
I know that you know.
There's just so many distractions.
Cedric keeps having his little affairs
and keeps saying,
it doesn't mean a thing.
But I'm tiring of the lies
and thinking
what's good for the gander...
never mind.

Ella is in the middle of
some sustained
teenage tantrum,
she thinks I'm a bitch,
and my sly, wicked boss
keeps giving me little food gifts
and asking, oh, so, innocently,
"does Belle want my job?"

It all runs through
my head, day after day,
night after night,
and my mattress is lumpy
and the sheets wavy and wrinkled
and my nerves send little messages--
no time for sleep,
you're falling behind.

So please, Hans,
no more about the pea.


P.S. And for cinder's sake,
stop calling me "princess,"
that game is so over.

The Princess and the So-called Pea

I understand the problem
with the princess and her pea,
which was not a pea at all,
but lumpy
as mattresses go,
waves and wrinkles,
bearable but for the other
vexations of her life,
not least of which were
rumors that she was
so awfully sensitive
and at fault for all the trouble
with her mother-in-law, the queen;

and then, the prince, always MIA,
with riding to hounds and
rolling in hay
and more trouble yet
with the young dauphine,
her daughter,
who needs,
says the queen,
some chores to teach her habits,
like marching to the royal tune,
like patience and grace
like grandmother’s;
and there’s all the costume changes,
the conservative suit for work,
the ball gowns and the opera glasses
and the hats, oy, the hats;

so when the day ends in the darkness
that precedes the day to come and the
darkness after that,
she can’t sleep; who could?
so much on her mind;
that’s why the waves and wrinkles
so disturb; she’s really no more
sensitive than you; just, OMG,
she wants her own roll
in the hay, just like the fucking prince.

*A cheap knock-off of Anne Sexton's radical take on fairy tales (later collected in her book, Transformations. Sexton was a great poet of the mid-20th Century, bawdy and beautiful. And, herself, a candle in the wind.

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