Man in the Mirror | Essay | Chicago Reader

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Act V, Scene V. Santa Barbara County Jail.

Enter the King of Pop

The King

I have been studying how I may compare

This prison where I live unto the world:

And for because the world is populous

And here is not a creature but myself,

I cannot do it; yet I'll hammer it out.

My brain I'll prove the female to my soul,

My soul the father; and these two beget

A generation of still-breeding thoughts

And these same thoughts people this little world,

In humours like the people of this world,

For no thought is contented. The better sort,

As thoughts of things divine, are intermix'd

With scruples and do set the word itself

Against the word:

As thus, 'Come, little ones,' and then again,

'It is as hard to come as for a camel

To thread the postern of a small needle's eye.'

[grabs crotch]

Thus play I in one person many people,

And none contented: sometimes am I king;

Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,

And so I am: then crushing penury

Persuades me I was better when a king;

Then am I king'd again: and by and by

Think that I am unking'd by Sneddon,

And straight am nothing: but whate'er I be,

Nor I nor any man that but man is

With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased

With being nothing. Music do I hear?

[opening strains of "Thriller"]

Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,

When time is broke and no proportion kept!

So is it in the music of men's lives.

And here have I the daintiness of ear

To cheque time broke in a disorder'd string;

But for the concord of my state and time

Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.

[Vincent Price laughing]

Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is

Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,

Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans

Show minutes, times, and hours: but my time

Runs posting on in Sneddon's proud joy,

While I stand fooling here, his Jack o' the clock.

This music mads me; let it sound no more;

For though it have holp madmen to their wits,

In me it seems it will make wise men mad.

Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!

For 'tis a sign of love; and love to Michael

Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.

[blackout; an offstage whisper: "Who's bad?"]

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Brian Gubicza.

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