POETRY Reading: The Prisoner to the Jailer, by Eugene Butler

Performed by Val Cole

The Prisoner to the Jailer
Eugene Butler

To what do I owe this honor that you should visit me?
I, who cannot visit those who visitors be.
Are you here to sit and stare at what you see?
What you see is a used to be.
A little of this, a little of that, from the richest man in all the world to a man who’s lost his
From the blind man who kept his glasses clean to a ballerina grow fat. A little of
this, a little of that and what you have is a used to be and a used to be is what you see.
I used to be a King.
“He did?” you say.
Yes. I did, tis true.
But not a very good King.
For when I was a King, I found that my Crown was nothing more than a heavy metal thing that those all around found to be something which from me they wanted to free.
Too much distraction.
Too much reaction.
A King has not the moment, nor the least part of a moment’s moment, to even stop and ponder the stars for fear of someone removing his stopped and unmoving boots.
A paradox: tis better to seek than to possess, to have not than to have got, to lose than to win only to lose again, as with the Christian to the Priest
He who follows makes most of the least.
So, I renounced my Crown and abdicated all in exchange for the byway to the Highway
My way.
Into the Crowd I dove, headfirst upon my nose.
Scrapped, but still breathing, with the moonlight I arose.
And traveling by its path of charcoaled light I easily crept past those who had stopped to doze. Came to a ladder, down I climbed, each step taken was a higher crime.
It’s true, yes tis.
I drank with Satan, got drunk with sin, sobered up with Jesus, then back again.
Sold myself on one corner to buy on the next, if threat didn’t get it I’d try it with a grin
But I never gave out what I didn’t take in and I never took in more than I gave out.
Tantamount. Equal. Equivalent. Equs a Peerio.
Oh, along the way I did, when did was the only thing to do, stop to pick a pocket or two.
Or more.
But never did I…I repeat…never did I take from a child, nor his father, nor his mother — his father’s wife — nor his kin of any kind, anything, and I repeat, anything that did not make him all the more wiser for what he truly missed and that which he truly missed not.
For teaching useless physics, obsolete histories, they honor the professor more than his due.
For teaching life, and the precious facts thereof, they hang the tutor whom you now view.
So, I wish to invite you all to stay for the Hangman’s Ball.
To watch the feet go dancing to the tune of the Knee Bone Clap, as the eyes googly-gawk and the neck twists and snaps.
What greater show on earth than man killing man and death killing birth?
But, if the show is to continue and the hangman do his task, without a bit more bread and water…this main attraction may not last.


Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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