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The fool and the moon

October 8, 2015

He jingles and jangles, capers and dances. A wand in his hand, a flower in his narrow mouth. He springs to his feet and spins on his head, his crown of ghastly satin and tiny bells cast aside. He leaps high, spilling the chicken, staining the cloth that was never gold. He brings about him false mirth, grey chuckles. His eyes darting, roving like cruel pincers. He comes from the far-off, the long away and the dim. The greying ash of story, the coals of song. He jumps high, stands on the desk and sits atop the wardrobe, feet thrust into pointed, wicked shoes. He watches you, your eyes closed in your sleep, your body resting beneath warm duvet. He stands by your bed, a smear, a barb. He runs downstairs and lies on the carpet, legs in the air, thumb swallowed by hungry mouth. He jests in the dark, jingling, jangling. He jests and jostles for the attention of the moon.

“I’m here!” he says, “Find me, see me.” The moon ignores him, turning her face towards a gleaming spire, blessing it with silver breath.

“I’ll dance for you! Sing for you! Imagine a new world for you!” he shrieks to the ceiling’s deaf plaster. Silence greets his ears and he shrieks with ancient rage. He takes his coxcomb, three bells trilling, his satin motley devoured by shadow. Once red and green, now nothing but a smudge of lost light.

“Look at me!” he screams, crooked finger pointing through the window. The moon takes a shawl of cloud and turns away. With fresh rage he stands on his head, dances on the television, throws scowls at the family’s treasured photos and spins fast on one tired leg.

Upstairs they sleep, but fitfully. Their dreams mingling with the echo of tonight’s savage truth.

“I’m here!” he screeches high into the dark, thrashing himself with the doormat and jamming door keys in his eyes. “I’ll play for you!” he says, head-butting the piano, scattering bleak chords into the dark. The moon looks away, the stars ignore him.

“I want you to know me, hear me, see me. I want you to remember me!” he barks, bells jingling, narrow face making mean shadows. He shoots a glance at the streetlight, marvelling at its frost-laden beauty. He dances again, arms in the air, feet stamping, confusion reaping the harvest of a lost age.

“You must look at me mistress of the night. You must see me, I’ve come so far, travelled so hard!” The moon collides with reason, spitting out rich opalescence that lands, dripping on the carpet. He kneels in a puddle of moonlight, remembering the cold.

“Tell me.” The moon says, her voice a gentle caress. He bites his arm, sharp teeth tearing into long away flesh. Ruby’s glimmer and fall to the floor, perfect drops that look like tears of dark moonlight.

“Tell me your tale.” The moon says. He shakes and shivers, his thumb a red peril, crimson horror.

“Where am I?” he asks, rising to his feet, eyes wide, pinched face worn by many cares.

“Where do you wish to be?” the moon replies, her voice like beauty, silver and docile promises.

“With you.” He sighs. “In your pale, perfect arms.”

“Where are you?” The moon asks, dripping into his marrow, leaching into his soul.

“Down here, in this place, this trap of unwanted things. This blur of unrecognisable machines.”

“Just jump, jump again thrice. Just jump, jump again thrice. Just jump and the pain will disappear. Just jump and the confusion will lift. Just jump, jump again thrice.”

And on the battlements he stands, his back meat for the whip, his body cold and empty. His eyes full of fear and fresh pain. He stands and sees the frost, the land below, a silver trinket. In the hall they sing, feast and dance, in the hall they scorn him for his tired ways. And there she sits, mistress of his heart, the moon a gallant jewel, flaming with forgiving kisses. He tried before, one and two. He broke bones, he hurt his aching wits. No good this fool, this broken husk of a man. No good this one who can no longer jest and dance.

And he stands on the highest tower, the sky seeming to blossom in his hands. He stands and jumps, two, three, he leaps, and for a moment he becomes moonlight, silver tears filling tired eyes.

From → Fiction, Poetry

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