The Canterbury Tales Remixed

by Baba Brinkman

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about

The Canterbury Tales Remixed premiered at the Soho Playhouse in New York and enjoyed a critically-acclaimed three month run off-Broadway. Chaucer's Tales mix with some of history's greatest epics, tracing a thread from the oldest legends to the newest rap songs on the charts.

Review from The Find Magazine:

"Takes storytelling to a whole new level with highly impressive and hilarious anecdotal interpretations of classic tales."

full review: thefindmag.com?p=19057

Review from Show Business Weekly:

"Warriors clash, badass thieves and thugs receive a brutal comeuppance, husbands fight a losing battle against wily wives and seducing lothiarios, villages are plagued by sinister forces of nature... Like ancient listeners gathered around the fire, we want to hear more."

full review: showbusinessweekly.com/article-1963-the-canterbury-tales-remixed.html

credits

released 15 April 2012
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Mr. Simmonds

Mr. Simmonds Facebook: www.facebook.com/mrsimmondsmusic

Mr. Simmonds Music Page:
mrsimmonds.bandcamp.com

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Track Name: Prologue
Prologue

Storytelling began fireside,
In Africa, with hunter gatherer tribes.
It’s deeper than the Tales we have from Canterbury;
In fact, it’s woven into the fabric of humanity.
For thousands of years there was only one news source:
The bard, the griot, the troubadour.
The master of ceremonial rhymes and meters,
From the fireside vibe to the hi-fi speakers,
Just applying the skill of words.
That’s how the bard would thrill the villagers,
And how today’s MCs kill a verse: verbal artistry.
Biggie Smalls, Eminem, and Geoffrey Chaucer fathered me.
Masters of storytelling, more compelling
Than sit-coms brought to you by the father of Tori Spelling.
But before we get to Chaucer, I want to share a little piece
That’s much older – it’s from the ancient Middle East.
‘Cause this is bigger than me; it’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than rap.
It’s bigger than fingers on triggers and bigger than gangsters slingin’ the crack.
That’s just the latest version of an ancient story,
The rage of warriors hungry for fame and glory.
I’ll show you how deep it goes by opening
With the oldest story that people even know.
I mean, thousands of years before the Anglo-Saxons;
It’s brought to you now through the magic of Penguin Classics.
Track Name: Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh

Run your fingers over the stones of this ancient city
These temples of worship and places of business
And picture them falling into desolation
Just drifting sand and standing walls and vacant buildings
You can’t take it with you where you’re going
But someone who comes here in five thousand years
Exploring might unearth a recording
That tells the world your story
Some confabulation of words stored in a subterranean
Purgatory could well emerge to tell those
Who still dwell on earth that you were born
And that your works were worth reporting
Well this is the first story; not the oldest
Told by troubadours, but the oldest in written form
‘Cause who can say whether troubadours don’t improve
Their sources, of course the story’s origins are oral
But it was preserved for thousands of years
In Akkadian verse tablets and Sumerian cuneiform
Preserved like Cuban cigars in a humidor
So we can be sure that it’s true to its source
Not a folk story transformed in ten thousand villages
But a relic of the ancient world, preserved with diligence
The oldest narrative that still exists
The epic of Gilgamesh

When the gods created Gilgamesh, they gave him a perfect body
Like Arnie when his films were still impressive
Like Conan the Barbarian, physical brilliance
Like sculpted steel as flesh
The gods endowed him with strength and courage and fine
Features; like a work of art, perfectly designed
Brad Pitt would have looked liked a turd beside him
He was one third mortal, and two thirds divine
And as an aside, I guess the Sumerians when this poem was written
Were not aware of chromosome division
Or Mendellian genetics; no organism
That reproduces sexually is two-thirds of anything
Maybe they calculated paternity as a percentage
Of the number of men that the mother had been with before she got pregnant
Which is the case with certain indigenous South American Indians
Increasing the incentive for the men to collaborate on parental investment
But when the gods are involved these calculations are irrelevant
Because they’re practically omnipotent
And Gilgamesh was a mortal man with two-thirds god genes
In the Sumerian catalogue of kings
He’s listed as the fifth ruler of Uruk after the flood came
And washed away all things
So our story begins with Gilgamesh in charge of the peace
And the people of Uruk, not pleased

And why were they less than pleased?
Because Gilgamesh was an extreme sex fiend
To put it simply, he deflowered every virgin
And slept with the wife of every peasant and the daughter
Of every nobleman whenever he felt the urge and
For the people of Uruk, this was a heavy burden
In fact, the original version only says
That the men found it a heavy burden
Which begs the question: was the consent of these women earned
Or did he just take it?
My inclination is to stay with the basics
Nowhere is he referred to as “Gilgamesh the Rapist”
Which means he had game and the men were jealous haters
But don’t these questions always plague men of status
Was he Bill Clinton-esque or Tiger Woods with a waitress?
Or was he Roman Polanski or Mike Tyson dangerous?
I can’t possibly say from these ancient pages
But I’d prefer to work with a sympathetic protagonist
So in my version, he gets the benefit of the doubt
Gilgamesh impressed the women with his physical prowess
But his sexual endowments were hateful to his people
So they huddled in their houses and prayed for relief
To the gods, like “Please, make him an equal!”
And the gods heard their pleas, and created Enkidu

Now, Enkidu was a wild man
He was Tarzan of the highlands
His body was covered in hair in fine mats
He knew nothing of civilization and finance
A feral child, he ran with the Ibex
And ate nothing but plants, plus he was massive
He had this habit of releasing animals from traps
And snares whenever they got captured
And eventually one of the trappers ran back to
The city to ask Gilgamesh for some answers
He said: “There is this massive hairy man
Who keeps smashing the traps we set in mountain pastures
He’s either half an animal himself, or he’s an animal rights activist
But either way I’m at my wits’ end, any suggestions?”
And Gilgamesh said, “Yeah! Here’s what you do
You go to Ishtar’s temple and you get a prostitute”
Now, Ishtar was the Goddess of love, and destruction too
And her priestesses offered free sex to the multitude
Maybe religion is something even Christopher Hitchens
Would’ve gotten into if that’s what it offered you
So Gilgamesh said, “Yeah, you get this temple ho
This child of pleasure, and you get her to go with you
Down to the watering hole, and you get her to take off her clothes
And this wild man, well, he won’t be wild no mo…”

Whoah, forgive the Ebonic
Inflections, but I just always wanted
To use the word “ho” in an Epic
Anyway, it happened exactly as Gilgamesh predicted
Enkidu came down to the lake to take a drink
And he saw this beautiful, soft, naked being
This succulent, supple lady
And she embraced him and… shwing!
For six days and seven nights they lay by the lakeside
Insatiably shagging, and it was his first time!
But after when he tried to go back to his animal friends
They just looked at him and fled
Innocence lost
Enkidu’s intimate frolics with the temple harlot
Had cost him his connection with nature – never again
Would his animal friends look at him as one of them
And from that day forward he was civilized
The prostitute fed him bread and wine
And said “Enkidu, you are wise, why sleep in the wild
When there’s shelter nearby?” And she took his hand
And led him like a child to the shepherds’ tent
And bade him step inside and she clothed and bathed him
And he stayed with the shepherds for a stretch of time
And protected them from lions

But only for a while; soon word arrived
From the city that there would be a great Sumerian wedding
And Gilgamesh wasn’t the groom, but he was claiming his birthright
The privilege of “First Night”
That is, the right to be the first to fertilize
The bride on her wedding night, just like
The English did to the Scottish before 1305
When William Wallace kicked their asses, which served them right
Well, the Sumerian groom was also quite perturbed by
This incursion into his personal life and when word
Of their plight reached Enkidu, he turned white
With anger and traveled to Uruk, determined to fight
The bridal bed was made
A virgin lay within it, a trembling, nervous babe
As Gilgamesh approached the house, determined to get laid
But Enkidu stepped in front of him and blocked his way

Clash of the Titans
Their grasps were like vice grips as they grappled and tightened
Their massive biceps, striving like angry bison
Each man trying to gain the upper hand on his rival
This was no battle of words, no east coast west coast
Rivalry on wax, no Bad Boy / Death Row
It was a wrestling match that cracked the keystones
In the walls of Uruk and shook the ziggurats
And the foundations of peoples’ homes
But in the end, Enkidu was thrown

Enkidu paid his respects to Gilgamesh for besting him
And Gilgamesh was impressed that someone had even tested him
Because every man he’d ever met until then was estrogen
And from then on he treated Enkidu like his next of kin
Now, Gilgamesh was obsessed with legacy building
He wanted his name to be etched on bricks
Where the names of famous men are written
So he embarked on a campaign of adventurism
Together they traveled to the Lebanese hills
To the cedar forest, where they cut down trees
And defeated Humbaba
The evil demon guardian of those sweet resources
Everyone tried to warn them off this quest
People said: “Don’t go! The demon’s jaws are death
When he says “humbaba, humbaba, hum-humbaba!”
It’s like he has napalm for breath!”
But no one could convince them to stop
Because Gilgamesh believed he was on a mission from God
Which is a sure way to get drawn into wars constantly
Gilgamesh had a neo-con foreign policy
And when they reached the demon, its defenses were weak
They overpowered the demon with superior weaponry
Humbaba surrendered, and fell to his knees
Pleading like a pathetic refugee
Just like Saddam, a fugitive in a spider hole
Begging for mercy, but they were icy cold
They executed the demon with three precise blows
And turned their eyes towards home

Other adventures awaited, Ishtar tried to
Seduce Gilgamesh by offering herself to him naked
But he rejected her and she flew into a jealous rage
Determined to take vengeance
She released the Bull of Heaven, a personified drought
Which they defeated with a sword strike, somehow
But Gilgamesh was really swelling with pride now
So the gods said: “It’s time to take this guy down”

They took the side route; they knew that Enkidu was
His Achilles heel, because he was the key to his
Feelings, so the gods decreed that Enkidu would
Soon cease to exist, and he fell into a deep sickness
And had a feverish dream vision of life after death
In which he was a feathered wretch, sitting in pitch
Darkness, staring ahead at an endless stretch
Of time, and he cursed everyone he’d ever met
Since he left the wilderness, the prostitute, the trapper,
Everyone except for Gilgamesh
Who stood by his side singing a death lament
Until Enkidu’s final breath was spent
For the rest of this story, Gilgamesh
Is an emotional wreck in a state of perpetual mourning
On a desperate quest to make his flesh immortal
And it’s interesting, but it isn’t worth reporting
It’s fragmented and repetitive and it never really finishes
Although it does contain a fascinating parallel with Genesis
It includes a Sumerian flood narrative
Which the Bible must have just inherited
Suffice to say, immortality eluded him
Gilgamesh returned to Uruk in a state of disillusionment
And lived out his life just like the rest of us do
By having children and making civic improvements
So he didn’t live forever, but he did leave descendants
Which means the genes of Gilgamesh probably now
Make up one tenth of one tenth of one percent of
One hundred thousand current Middle Eastern residents
The man was prolific, but if that’s immortality
Well then it’s pretty frickin’ divisive
And he left us his story, the Epic of Gilgamesh
Which he chiseled into the walls of his city while building it
And it tells us that this human obsession
With living forever in the face of certain death
Is something we’ve always wrestled with
Which tells us something about what it is to be human
If immortality exists, ladies and gentlemen
Well then I guess, you’re listening to it
Track Name: Pardoner
Pardoner

Greed is the root of all evil

In the days…
Before violence was senseless and counterproductive
There were three young friends, who were not to be fucked with
Inner city thugs, what? Rough riders!
Vancouver-after-losing-the-Stanley-Cup rioters
Thriving on chaos, anarchistic
Hedonistic, auto-cannibalistic
Like a wolf lickin’ a blade stuck in the ice
Thinkin’ it’s gettin’ a taste, life blood slippin’ away
I’m talkin’ Bad Boys, throwin’ dice in the ghetto
Drinkin’ liquor like it was a sacrifice to the devil
Dancin’, gamblin’, gettin’ money illegally
Through nothin’ but extortion and thievery
I mean, these guys were bad-asses; women would bat lashes
At ‘em, but mostly only for cash transactions
Yeah, that happens; you can hate it or love it
But if you hate it then you’re probably not acquainted with thuggin’
I’m not sayin’ it’s right; I’m just sayin’ it’s real
If you’re chasin’ a thrill, it’s probably makin’ you feel
Good, like takin’ a pill, and these guys were thrill-seekin’
Just three friends gettin’ ill every weekend
Now I know what you’re thinking! Typical gangster rappers
But these guys were Belgians, from medieval Flanders
Think Boyz in the Hood; think Menace to Society
Just, from the Middle Ages, of the Flemish variety
That’s a human universal, groups of aggressive men
We get it from Adam and Eve, from original sin
That’s why people have these appetites, and that’s why Christ
Had to be sacrificed, because of Adam’s apple bites
Tragic, right? Jesus’ body torn to pieces
Just ‘cause Adam and Eve were so naughty

Kayne: Jesus walks with me!

But too much preaching will leave you actively snoring
So I’ll keep things moving and we’ll go back to the story
It starts at a tavern one morning, where those three thugs
Were still havin’ a stab at a party, three sheets drunk
I mean, decent people were workin’; they’re still out drinkin’
Outside they heard the sound of a church bell ringing
And saw a hearse bringin’ a fresh corpse for a funeral
The bartender saw it too, and that’s when the news broke
“It’s someone you know!” The bartender told them
“It must have been a bad batch of somethin’ someone sold him
‘Cause yesterday he was here, just like, havin’ a beer
And death took him while he sat in his chair, fuckin’ weird!
I guess death is the only unbeatable enemy
So we all better be ready to meet him eventually”
The main thug took a swill of a bottle, full of bravado
And went all Robert Rodriguez, Desperado
Like, “That’s disrespect! I’m sick of death!
You rock a bulletproof vest, shit, he’ll get you for cigarettes!
I’m frickin’ vexed! You say I’ll never defeat him?
I say let’s go find him – fuck it – I’m ready to meet him!
The violence in me, reflect the violence that surrounds me
So I say if death wants beef, he found beef!”

Biggie: I’d rather go toe to toe with all of y’all
Runnin’ ain’t in my protocol

I guess he thought “death” was a person, silly thug
People get some funny ideas when they’re really drunk
The other two guys were like, “An eye for an eye
We in this together, son, your beef is mine!”
And that was it, three drunk angry men
Stumbled out the door, lookin’ to capture death
But they didn’t get far; they met this old guy in the forest
Who looked like he was reppin’ the dark side of the force
On the death star, I mean bags under his bloodshot eyes
Like Charlie Sheen after hittin’ the meth hard
Cracked skin like leather, frail and decrepit
His whole body wrapped in dirty rags like a leper
The old man waved and said, “Hey, what’s the word?
You guys look kinda lost – can I help you get somewhere?”
The main thug answered back, like: “Don’t touch me!
You’re covered in crusty scabs! It’s disgusting!
I think you’d better tell us how you’re even still alive”
And the old man replied “Hey, I’m ready to die
I’ve been knockin’ on heaven’s door since I was seventy-five
I guess death just isn’t ready to let me inside!”
That’s when the second thug stepped in like “Shut up!
Death is your friend and you’re tryin’ to protect him from us!
I can smell a set-up, so tell us where he is!
Either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorist!”
The old man laughed, like: “What? You’re lookin’ for death?
Heh heh, well then that’s what you’ll get
Death is right over there, really, go see
I just left him like two minutes ago, under that oak tree”

The thugs ran full speed, and when they arrive
At the tree, they just stared, with bulging eyes
Death wasn’t there, just a bag full of money
Stacks of fifties and hundreds, and handfuls of twenties
Suddenly lookin’ for death was forgotten,
The main thug started schemin’ and plottin’ and slick talkin’
He said, “Listen, I’m a clever man, aight? I hatch plots
And I can tell you, this much money attracts cops
We need to get it back to a stash spot, you feelin’ me?
But transporting this, by day? Liability!
So let’s do this right y’all – we wait for nightfall
And then we bring it home, and split it up with the lights off
After that we can spend it, but for now we just chill
So we need some booze, right? We got hours to kill
Let’s draw straws, two of us can stand guard
And we’ll send the third man off to get a bottle of cab sauv!”
The plan sounded damn suave, the youngest
Pulled the bad straw and ran off, and as soon as he was gone
The main thug went on, like: “Aight, listen up
I’m about to get you paid – what would you say
If I told you we could split this up two ways,
Are you game?” The second thug said “Okay
But hold up, wait; what about our friend?
What are we supposed to tell him? Know what I’m sayin’?”
“We don’t say nothin,’” said the first, “we play rough and
Straight rush him and stick a knife in his side – I ain’t bluffin’
If we can bring him down, and then we’ll be kingpins
And never have to think about income again.”
The second thug shrugged, like: “An eye for an eye
We in this together, son, your beef is mine.”
While in the meantime, the youngest was walkin’ back
Thinkin’ “God damn, I want all that cash
If I split it with those chumps, all I get is a third of it
Nah, I’m gonna murder those two fuckin’ invertebrates
This isn’t a game; this is a blood sport!”
So first he hit the liquor store, then he hit the drugstore
And told the pharmacist, “I got some rats in my basement
I need some poison so I can set some traps and waste ‘em!”
And pretty soon, he was walking back to the money tree
With three bottles of wine, two poisoned and one clean

And what happened next? Exactly what I said
His two back-stabbing friends stabbed him to death
Without a shred of remorse; the main thug said
“Ay-yo, let’s have a quick drink before we get rid of the corpse!”
And he grabbed a bottle, and he took a long swallow
And he passed it over to the second thug to follow
And it was all over, they went from boastin’ and braggin’
To drinkin’ rat poison cocktails, chokin’ and gaggin’
And no one was left standing – they all died
Triple homicide, like a Biggie Smalls rhyme
Three friends, lookin’ for death, headstrong
Murder one another for cash, dead wrong
Get rich or die trying – ask 50, he knows
Like several different plot-lines of Quentin Tarantino’s
Get the c-notes, the G’s, yo, the Benjamins
That street ethos you get from medieval Belgians
See, people don’t change, you’re all corrupted
Fallen, that’s why y’all need spiritual sustenance
Guidance, you know, like the kind I provide
A ticket to heaven for $9.95
You like sex and violence? Just buy my record
It provides the whole essence of the bible’s message
Just like Kanye West, Jesus Walks with him
That’s a multi-platinum gangster gospel record!
See, you feed your soul and your bank balance replenishes
So open your wallets up for heaven’s representatives!
That’s why I wrote this rap, to help you get your soul back
In return for cold cash, so don’t hold back
Don’t even hold back one cent
That’s the only way to avoid becoming part of the “one percent”
Look, I know you’re lost, and all you want is redemption
Well you can have it, for a small cost
By accepting a pardoner’s blessing

So step forward
Money ready, and accept the blessing
God told me it’s my destiny to be rich
Just like pastor Rick Warren
Or like Deepak Chopra
Or like that chick who wrote The Secret
Look, you’re takin’ a risk either way
Either you risk a few dollars
Or you risk your soul
You can’t afford to risk your soul
Just ask Pascal
So hand your money over
To me
Track Name: Interlude A
Interlude A

Now imagine you could have been there,
Just over six hundred years ago,
To witness Geoffrey Chaucer
Reciting his version of that exact same story
For the court, in Middle English.
Here’s how it would have sounded back then:

In Flaundres whilom was a compaignye
Of yonge folk that haunteden folye,
As riot, hasard, stewes, and tavernes.
Whereas with harpes, lutes, and giternes,
They daunce and pleyen at dees bothe day and night,
And ete also and drinke over hir might,
Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifise,
Withinne that develes temple in cursed wise.
Track Name: Nun's Priest
Nun’s Priest

Once upon a time
There was a farmer who died
And left a widow
With a farmyard filled with animals
And this is the story
Of their time

Okay, listen close, I’ll tell you how the story goes
This one starts on a farm, with a poor widow
Animal husbandry was how she won the meat
That she put on the table for her young ones to eat
With no man to bring home the bacon, or take a load off
Her shoulder blades and carry weight when her bones were achin’
She was alone, with her daughters and her dairy cows
Seven cluckin’ chickens and a rooster who was very proud
His name was Chauntecleer, but let’s call him Chauncy
He walked with a strut, and his style was kinda cocky
Like Snoop Doggy Dogg, except he was a cock though
A literal cock, with a bright red cox-comb
A figurative cock too, he did what cocks do
And so would you, with seven chickens to give cock to
So don’t be player hatin’ on the roosters or the rap stars
All they do is crow and pimp the chickens in the backyard
And chickens only come once the method is perfected
‘Cause they want to hatch chicks with skills and work ethic
So Chauncy was up to crow at five every mornin’
Cock-a-doodle-doo! He had more wives than a Mormon
But one was his favorite, and she was his main chick
Pertelote, Purdy for short, the most curvaceous
Bootylicious chicken with the juiciest breasts and thighs
Whenever she swished her hips by, he was hypnotized
Yeah, the mischievous type, plus kind and generous
Wicked sense of humor with a rare high intelligence
And he was into it, plus his singin’ talents
Kinda ruffled up her feathers, which kept things in balance
So he was all for her, and she was all for him
Though he still did his duty with his other six hens

And that’s where the story begins, in the chicken coop
Every night after dark they would all sit and roost
And one night, with Purdy next to him on his perch
Chauncy started moanin’ and groanin’ and waking up his birds
Like “No... no... keep it away
I’m afraid... I don’t wanna get eaten today!"
And Purdy shook him and he woke up fast and screamed
Like “Buck-uck!” And she said “Relax, it’s just a bad dream”
And Chauncy said “I love you, Purdy, you’re the perfect chick
But this was more than just a dream, please, interpret it!
Okay, listen, I was walkin’ in the yard
And I saw this beast; it was kinda like a dog
But smaller, reddish brown, with a pointy snout
And bushy tail; that’s what I was moaning about
It was staring right at me, and its eyes were beady
And I just had this feeling like it was trying to eat me!”
And Purdy said “Yeah, um, that’s called a fox
And it’s kinda common knowledge that foxes eat cocks
And you want me to interpret your dream? What does it mean?
It means you’re acting like a pussy if you ask me
C’mon, grow a pair, it’s just us, there’s no one here
And it’s tough to stay in love with a wuss who’s always scared
Look, there’s nothing to fear from nightmares, the monsters
Are a manifestation of your subconscious; it’s nonsense
Now stop this... Wait, maybe your vision is true
It reveals something deep: the inner bitch in you
It’s probably just some undigested snacks in your abdomen
So get off your ass and take a laxative."
Chauncy wasn’t mad at his chick, he just sighed
And said: “Honey, dreams are how we see with our third eye
Most religions and ancient traditions treat them as premonitions
Inner visions, we need to listen to our intuitions
I just wish you knew what it meant, ‘cause I don’t
Dreams have meaning in Greek myths, and in the Bible
Joseph even dreamed the future of Pharoah’s people
Why do you think they call it ‘The Technicolor Dreamcoat’?
And she looked kinda sly as she rolled her eyes
And said “Too bad the gods always give such vague signs
Instead of specific information... Anyhoo
You’d better watch out for foxes, babe, like chickens do”
And he cocked his head sideways, and that was that
Chauncy forgot about his dream and got his swagger back
And said “I’m just happy when I’m beside you
Except, this perch is too narrow for me to ride you
So let’s take this outside, boo. Cock-a-doodle-doo!
And his song kinda put her in the mood too
And they flew into the yard to warm in the morning sun
And he feathered her forty times before he was done

And a few months later, what do you know
Russel the fox crept into the yard slow
He’d been watching the chickens for weeks, biding his time
And now he hid in the weeds until they were right beside him
A grinning assassin in the grass, his teeth flashin’
With murder on his mind, both a hunger and a passion
He could feel need to kill, some call it evil
But ask yourself, does a fox have free will?
Could he choose to just be gone, if he wanted
To prove the dream wrong, and find some greens to feed on?
Or was the fox compelled by his physical make-up
By his nature, to chase the chickens and try to taste one?
Who knows what goes on under a fox’s fur?
Epistemology is best left to philosophers
I’ll just tell you about this fox, now he was a gentleman
Chauntecleer caught a glimpse of him, and felt adrenaline
Rushin’, but before he could run Russel hushed him
And said “Hey, relax, I’m your friend. I can be trusted
I only came here for one thing, and it’s not chicken dumplings
I want to hear a performance from someone who loves to sing
I heard your father sing once, mmh, what a voice!
You could almost smell the scent of the hens becoming moist
He sang on tip-toes, with his eyes closed
And his neck stretched out, like Battery Farm Idol
And he always left the audience in awe when he was done
So I gotta know, are you your father’s son?”

Chauntecleer was all ears, all his fears
Were gone, this was all he ever wanted to hear
He felt like his father was near, and he would do him proud
He closed his eyes and he stretched his neck out
And sang: “Cock-a-doodle-ackkk!
Aa-a-aaack!”
The fox had grabbed him by the neck and started runnin’ fast
He twisted his head and threw the rooster’s body on his back
The chickens stared cluckin’, and Purdy was the loudest of ‘em
Screaming “Fox! Fox! Someone come and help my husband!
Buck-buck-buck-buckuck!" The sound of a bunch of hens
Brought the widow runnin’ so fast that she jumped the fence
Her daughters came after, and the neighbors with their dogs too
Barkin’ and yappin’ – half the village was in hot pursuit
But the fox was faster, and he had a massive head start
Chauntecleer was terrified, but he tried to think smart
He said, “Aack, you’ve done it, we’re almost at the woods now
They’ll never catch us, and you still have time for put downs
You can turn around and stick your tongue out and mock them
And say ‘Ha ha, I’ve got your cock’ and trash talk them!”
And the fox smiled and curled his black lips back
And turned around and opened his mouth to do just that
And when as his jaws unlocked, Chauncy took his only chance
And flew into a tree, and perched on the lowest branch
And Russel the fox looked up with his mouth open
And his voice was soft-spoken, when he said “I was jokin’
When I took you by the throat and brought you into the woods
I wasn’t tryin’ to hurt you; my intentions were good!
Come down and I can explain everything!”
And Chauntecleer laughed, like, “Why, you wanna get me to sing?
Here: Cock-a-doodle-do! Here come the villagers!”
And the fox ran off with a bitter curse

And they brought the cock back to the farm, back to his duties
Crowin’ at the break of dawn, and gettin’ up in chickens booties
And debating metaphysics with his lady when they wake up
And that’s how the story ends – peace to Aesop
Now let this be a lesson you can have to keep
Don’t let them gas you, and never listen to flattery
Yeah let this be a lesson you can have to keep
Get your pride in check, and never listen to flattery

Never listen to flattery
Whatever kind of person you are
Whether you’re fox-like
Like a record label A & R
Or whether you’re chicken-like
You know, struttin’ around, peckin’ the ground
Or whether you’re rooster-like
With your chest out proud
It’s all the same to me
Just keep your wits about you
And never listen to flattery
Track Name: Merchant
Merchant

Uncle Geoffrey
Will you tell us a bed-time story?
Please, huh? Please?
All right, all right, all right
Settle down. You guys all tucked in?
Yeah!
Alright, check it out – y’all ready?
Yeah!
Alright, check it
Here we go…

This is the story of a rich old man, January
He’s still a bachelor at sixty, but now he plans to marry
And he’s looking for a beautiful young wife
Which is an option for rich old geezers, sometimes
Now, January was one of those “secularists”
Which means he had no control over his sexual urges
He couldn’t say which was better, gettin’ laid or gettin’ paid
He just knew when he was gettin’ one, the other would get away
But then he changed, whether from religious sensibility
Or whether he just got thick-headed from senility
I can’t say, but suddenly he wanted it
January became a dedicated monogamist
Instead of a misogynist, treating women like objects
It’s funny how our attitudes change with our prospects
Yeah, marriage is a beautiful thing
Especially for those who are too old to swing
That’s when it’s nice to just stay home with your wife
Instead of chasing waterfalls, ‘cause it’s cold outside
Take my advice, all you bachelor men
If you want love and happiness and companionship
You need a wife, a woman who will never be impatient
No more rejection and constant humiliation

Or anyway, that’s what January would say
When he decided he was ready for his wedding day
So he asked his friends to help him find somebody
And said, “Guys, just try to make sure she’s under twenty
I want sex appeal, not a tough old cow
I want some tender veal, instead of know-how
I want a woman I can mould right now with my own hands
Not a pre-fab thirty-year-old, I want some warm wax!”
Well, soon a young girl caught his fancy
And he said he had to have her if he wanted to be happy
And I’ll skip the details of how they got engaged
Except just to say: rich men get the females
The girl that he chose was named May
A pretty eighteen-year-old with a baby face
And when the wedding day came, the pairing was gorgeous
They looked like Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford
If Calista was more like Miley Cyrus’ age
Yeah, everyone agreed that the bride was a babe
And January just watched her with lust in his eyes
And all he really wanted was to bust in her thighs
But first he had to get through the vows and feast
And the speeches, while suppressing his eagerness
But then the last guest in the villa went home
He took his bride to bed – she lay as still as a stone
As he caressed her, and said, “Sorry I have to hurt you
But the church says sex within marriage is a virtue
And now that we’re husband and wife
I can make tonight last as long as I like!”
And in spite of his age, January stayed solid
And several long hours of unpleasantness followed
And in the morning, instead of passing out
He just sat up in bed singing and laughing out loud
And she just watched him, like, “Ew, he’s crazy old!
The wrinkles on his neck look like the skin of a baby mole!”
And so on, and January singin’ his verses
With his wife lyin’ next to him, thinkin’ he’s worthless
So we’ll just leave May in bed with her disappointment
And I’ll talk about the fly in the ointment

January had a young assistant named Damian
He was at the wedding, ‘cause he was one of his favorites
But Damian couldn’t even enjoy the day
Because Damian had eyes only for May
But he knew he couldn’t tell her ‘cause his boss was jealous
And January had sway, like the Rock-a-fellas
So he thought to himself that the sure way to get her
Would be to write the girl a note, oh yes, a love letter
When he finished the note, like a sneaky sneak
Damian hid it somewhere she would find it secretly
And he signed his name to it; he was takin’ his chances
‘Cause a young man’s likelihood of mating advances
By takin’ risks – that’s how human nature is
‘Cause the girls love a guy if he’s dangerous
And when May found the note, she read it and smiled
‘Cause he was kinda sweet, plus it was written with style
And it said: “PS – I’m dead if you tell your husband!”
So she ripped it into fifty little pieces and flushed it

Well after that things changed
Damian and May played the winking game
But they couldn’t follow through ‘cause there was a jealous guy
In the mix – January kept a watchful eye
On his chick, but the months passed by
January was old; he was slowly going blind
Which was increasing Damian’s chance of penetration
Thank goodness for advanced macular degeneration
‘Cause if January was jealous before
Well, his blindness amplified it just a little bit more
He was so afraid to find his wife in a tryst
That he kept one hand at all times on her wrist
With no exceptions, not even for toilet breaks
While she peed, he would hover beside her like a coiled snake
Guarding its eggs, but his problem wasn’t solved
Because her lack of freedom just increased her resolve
And pretty soon, opportunity knocked
‘Cause January liked to take afternoon walks
In his garden, holding May by the elbow
He didn’t trust her for a second on her own, hell no!
The garden was surrounded by a wall with a locked gate
He wanted privacy to exercise his prostate
With May when he pleased in a grove of trees
And a chain around his neck held the only key
But January slept like a corpse after strolls
So May copied the key in a warm wax mould
While he was passed out, and then she passed it out the window
To Damian, along with a note containing info
On what he should do, and how long he should take
And when he should enter the garden gate, and where he should wait
And he obeyed, Damian did what he was told
A guy’s gotta roll with it when a woman’s in control
Of his fate, right?

Well the very next day
January awoke with the sun on his face
He couldn’t see it but he knew it was a beautiful day
So he said: “Let’s take a walk in the garden, May!”
She said, “Okay,” and dutifully walked beside him
And when they passed through the gate, he locked it behind them
And said, “Now there’s no one here but you and me, woman!”
Except, Damian was there; she could see him, but he couldn’t
He was sitting up in a tree, according to plan
And as she walked with her husband she was holding his hand
And saying, “Babe, I don’t get it; why don’t you trust me more?
The way you treat me, you must think I’m nothing but a whore!
You’re always holding my arm; it’s like you expect me
To go fuck somebody different every second if you let me
But we made a solemn vow to be faithful to each other
Through the good and the bad, and to always stay together
But for real, if you’re with me every second it’s no party”
And January said: “Aw, May baby, I’m so sorry
I wish I didn’t have to watch you every second
Like a chicken hawk – it’s just these jealous thoughts!
Ever since I lost my ability to see
All I think about is other men humiliating me
So I have to keep my property under lock and key
And that includes you, my love, obviously
See, I wanna set you free, but I’m afraid of human nature
By keeping you with me I’m saving you from temptation”
And May said, “Okay, I guess that’s fair
Ooh, look up in that tree, such delicious pears!
Oh please let me climb up and get some for us to eat
You can guard the base of the tree if you don’t trust me”
And he was kinda hungry, so he held the tree’s base
And said, “Okay, but don’t tell me you never get free space”
And for the precious folk, forgive my bluntness
But Damian just lifted up her skirts and thrust in

May and Damian, sitting in a tree
F – U – C – K – I – N - G
Like a couple of animals, with her jealous husband
Obliviously guarding the trunk of it down below
Now it’s time for a sublime suspension
Of disbelief, ‘cause here comes divine intervention
The ancient Roman gods, Pluto and Persephone
Happened to be watching from above, and they commenced a heated
Argument about who was in the right
The jealous old husband or the adulterous wife
She said, “Pluto, why you gotta be so hard on us?
Why you swear all women are so scandalous?
I mean, just look at how he treats her; she’s practically on a leash
This guy deserves to get cheated on, honestly”
And for his reply, Pluto quoted the poet O-vid
And said: “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks!
No wonder he’s jealous, just look at this little slut
She’d climb in a tree just like a monkey to get some nuts!
In fact, fuck that; I’ll give him his sight back
And she’ll get caught in the act; yeah, we’ll see how she likes that!
And I’ll give all men the gift of suspicion
Like a weapon to keep an eye on these scandalous woman!”
And Persephone said, “Fine, if you give him his sight back
And make men suspicious, I’ll give women a gift to fight back!
If your gift to men is to make them jealous twits
Then my gift to women is the gift of deceptiveness
Sweet words, deflection and flattery
Whatever they need to keep their men from reality”

Now isn’t it strange that the gifts the gods gave
Kinda sound like the product of an evolutionary arms race?
So that if anyone was randomly born with an advantage
In the battle of the sexes, then they’d leave more descendants
On average… Ah forget it, call it a divine gift
And we’ll go back to the story of January’s blindness
Which evaporated miraculously
And he looked at his hands like, “God damn! I can see!
I can see… My wife, and she’s in a tree?!?
With a man… And they’re fucking in the canopy!?!”
And May instantly climbed down
While Damian crouched behind some branches to hide himself
And she said: “Oh, thank god it worked!
When I first heard about it, I thought it was the oddest cure!”
And he said, “Cure?!? But you were bent over a branch
With a man…” And she said, “No, that was an interpretive dance!”
“There was a man, but he’s gone now, see?
Look, there’s no man in the tree; it’s just you and me
And you can see! So you shouldn’t be angry
I just gave you your vision back, baby; you should thank me
It’s a new form of alternative therapy
You do an interpretive dance with a man up in a pear tree
And it acts as a homeopathic cure for blindness
It’s based on the latest in quantum science!”
And he said, “But I saw your dress pulled up to your chest”
And there was all this thrusting and exposed flesh!”
And she said: “Look, you know how you can’t trust your sight
First thing in the morning until you adjust to the light, right?
Well, darling, you have been utterly blind
For months; you probably just have rusty eyes
And besides, didn’t you just say that
You have visions in your head of being humiliated?
So how do you know that it wasn’t one of those?
I mean, there’s nothing we see that the mind doesn’t control
So there is no shame if you hallucinate
But you have your vision back! Aw baby, that’s super great!”
And January didn’t really wanna fight
With his wife, and he was pretty happy for his sight
So he said: “Okay, baby, maybe I was wrong”
And he really believed it too; he wasn’t just playing along
And they headed home together, hand in hand
The model relationship between a woman and man

That’s right fellas!
This is a horror story!
They were the model relationship
Between a woman and a man!
Nooooo!

Good night
Track Name: Interlude B
Interlude B

Yeah, from Gilgamesh to Chaucer via the Odyssey
This is philosophical narrative artistry
And somehow it still means something to us, as powerfully
Now as it did to people who’re thousands of years asleep
Here them speak through the modern lyricism
Technology is changing, every couple years it’s different
And language is evolving too, smooth and sinuous
It’s only human nature that remains continuous
That’s the influence of our natural history
People have the same passions now as past centuries
Whether it’s jealousy, greed, lust or vengeance
We’re just the descendants of those who left descendants
The body disintegrates into dust and cinders
While the legacy remains, in memories and young infants
But who gets remembered, and who gets forgotten?
And whose line dies out, and whose gets to blossom?
That’s where the crux of the story resides
In the struggle to survive and leave something behind
It’s the struggle to survive
And leave something behind
Track Name: Wife of Bath
Wife of Bath

Once upon a time quite long ago
When King Arthur was in charge of the round table
Yeah, that’s right, you heard me – just listen
It’s a hip-hop rendition of an Arthurian legend
And the early religion at that time that time was pagan
They had elves and fairies and dragons
And tree spirits, and those sorts of things
According to old books: Lord of the Rings
And the bible; I know, they’re just metaphorical
Allegorical instead of historical
Sorry folks, but this isn’t your show
I decide how the story is told
And besides, nowadays the fairies have vanished
Banished just ‘cause some of us aren’t very imaginative
Fairy-killers are known by various adjectives
Skeptics, atheists, rationalists
Anyway, maybe the change was all good
‘Cause in those days, a woman couldn’t walk in the woods
And feel safe, without being chased by an incubus
Ew! Or some other beast tryin’ to cling to us
So maybe the spirit world’s death was worth it
Now that sex abuse is mainly just in churches
And other places of worship – women have it better now
Disrespect us and you’ll never live it down

But back to the lecture at hand
One of King Arthur’s knights was a strapping young man
Who went out hawkin’ with his peregrine falcon
One day, and met a young girl out walkin’
And instead of playing a chivalrous gentleman’s game
He took her virginity while she protested in vain
Shame! A sympathetic delegation
Pressured King Arthur to condemn the filthy rapist
In the girl’s name, and the King said, “Yes,
Off with his head!” and sent him to his death
But the queen, Guinevere, and the other women there
Persuaded him, that was just a bit severe
They figured rehabilitative justice was the best solution
Instead of retribution
So King Arthur gave him to the Queen, to maim, kill or save him
She was supreme as Elena Kagan
Crossed with Kiera Knightly; Guinevere was rightly
Appointed to judge the tearful knight’s pleas
She said, “Hmm, I’m lookin’ at a dead man
Unless you can answer one simple question
Tell me what women want – answer truthfully
Don’t try to get it from a Mel Gibson movie
Or a sleazy pick-up artist’s book
You have one year to give this riddle your hardest look
And then we’ll see what people think, is he right?
Or is he just the weakest link? Goodbye!”

The knight was terrified; he started traveling
The land, asking random people for their advice
Hoping to find some kind of clear answer
But he could barely find a pair of matched words
Disaster! They all said something different
Some said, “Women just wanna be respected”
Other said “We want a family, a sense of security
Necklace, bracelets, and all other types of jewelry”
And some said “Women just want simple happiness”
Or “Hot sex to express our inner nastiness”
And some said, “Nah, you gotta flatter chicks, personally”
I admit, that does tend to work for me!
Others said, “We want danger; we might not admit it
But we’re on for the chase and we want ‘em to come and get us
Plus we love a young thug that’s overflowin’ with swag
And keeps his woman all draped in new Louis Vuitton bags!
I know what them girls! I know!
I know what them girls like!

Anyway, the end of the year finally came
And the knight had no idea what he was gonna say
To the Queen; I mean, he was really desperate
As he headed back to the castle to accept his fate
And get his neck split, but along the way
The knight happened to pass through a dark forest glade
And he saw a circle of beautiful dancing girls
They giggled and played and laughed and twirled
And then… poof! The dancers vanished
And instead he saw the oldest woman on the planet
She was foul, her body shriveled and tiny
Her clothes ripped and grimy; he figured mid-nineties
She said: “Ooh, tell me, why so sad?
I’ll try to give you some wise advice if I can!”
And the knight collapsed at her feet and begged her
“Please! Advice, that’s exactly what I need!
Unless I can tell the queen what women want
She’s gonna kill me – listen, if you help me
I can make you wealthy!” And she said: “Okay then
But can I have anything I ask as payment?”
“Anything I have, take it!” He replied
And she said: “Alright, I’ll keep you alive”
And she whispered a secret in his ear and escorted him in
To report it to the court women

Now, so many women had assembled to hear
What the knight was gonna say at the end of his year
That the place was at capacity, widows and spinsters
Teenagers, wives, and old women with dentures
The Queen was on high, ready to pass judgment
With guards standing by to take his ass to the dungeon
The knight stood in front of them; he cleared his throat
And said in a manly voice: “Okay, here we go
Here’s what women desire most: sovereignty
Never submission, only dominancy
And especially over men, over husbands and lovers
That’s what women want; you want to live above us!
You don’t have to make every decision, but you always
Have to make the decision whether to make the decision
So, what’s it gonna be?
Is there any woman here who really doesn’t agree?”

Unanimous agreement – the knight had it!
Even women who like women said he was right, on average
The only people who disagreed with everybody
Were the ones whose college major was in “Gender Studies”
‘Cause they didn’t think “gender” was a natural category…
Anyway, back to the story
The Queen was in agreement and just about to release him
When that same old lady he met earlier that evening
Shouted: “Wait! First I wanna speak!
I taught him that secret, and he promised me
Anything I wanted, well here’s my request
Marry me, baby, and take me to bed!”
“I did promise,” said the knight “I admit it
“But please, just choose something different!
Take everything I own; take my money, my home
Anything you want, just leave my body alone!”
And the old crone said, “Aw, so sweet!
But money is something I’m too old to need
I just want you to hold me, baby; caress me
Touch me all over and make me feel sexy!”

He tried to negotiate, but there was no escape
They were married the very next day
And after the vows, it was straight in the bedroom
The knight was crying, his ancient wife lying next to him
Smiling, like: “Honey, I need some attention!
Why are you curled up in the fetal position?
Is this how all of King Arthur’s Knights act
When they bring a new wife back for their first night in the sack?
I saved your life; why would you take offense?
Just tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll try to make amends”
“Amends?!?” said the knight, “You disgusting creature
You’re about as sexy as Mother Theresa!
You’re low class, you’re old, and you’re hideous too
I’d rather be dead than stuck in bed with you!”
And she said, “Aw, is that really all it is?
You don’t like me ‘cause I’m old and ugly and not rich?
Well, just listen to what I have to say
We’ll see if it’s really impossible to convince a man to change
First of all, class? Really? You bring up classism?
Everyone knows that’s an anachronism
Except in India, where they still have a caste system
And in Britain, where it’s their accents that restrict them
But everywhere else people know, the only inheritance
You get from rich parents is arrogance
You can get money from them, but not wisdom
You’re suffering from rich-person-autism: ‘Rot-ism’
It’s a disease, a lack of social skills
That comes from never having struggled to float the bills
Too much caviar, cocaine, and canapés
No humility; most of humanity can’t relate
Now, if your parents were charismatic, that might impress me
If your dad was Martin Luther King, or John F Kennedy?
Maybe you could say: ‘My genes were my best gifts’
But no one cares if your parents were just rich!
They care about your choices, and the good works you do
Those are the only true sources of virtue
And if I’m old and ugly, well look on the bright side
You never have to worry about what I’m up to at nighttime
Other men live in fear of their wives cheating on them
But that’s only a problem because other people want them
But I know how to make you happy – you choose
You could have me young and beautiful, with huge boobs
And Scarlett Johansson hourglass curves
I could make this happen with a couple of magic words
But if you choose a young beautiful wife
Then other men will come and try to seduce me at night
And I just might, ‘cause I’ll be young and playful
Or you could have me this age, and faithful!”

And the knight sighed and said, “I…
Think I need to let my wise wife decide
Whichever you prefer, I’ll accept it”
And the old woman asked him one final question
Like: “Does that mean I’m in charge? Let’s be clear!”
And knight said the magic words: “Yes dear”
And she said, “That was the right answer
Any man who accepts his wife as his master
Will have both beauty and fidelity
(As far he knows) and that’s what you’ll get from me!”
And poof! She changed into Scarlett Johannson’s twin
And the knight was bathed in a bath of bliss
And he kissed her a thousand times, and that’s how they lived
For the rest of their lives, faithful and passionate
And that’s the end
Now my story is spoken
Now ladies, let us pray
Let us pray for husbands easily broken
Let us pray for men of courage and compassion, men of skill
And wisdom, the wisdom to bend to women’s will
Let us pray for men with girth and length
Men with talent and rhythm, men with hand strength
And let us especially pray for the tragic men
Who lack the common sense to recognize the fact
Of natural female dominance
Let them repent, or be taken by pestilence
And let women never, ever
Ever have sex with them
Amen
Track Name: Beowulf
Beowulf

Yo, listen up, I wanna say some things
About the days of ancient Danish kings
One of the first was a foundling
Who flourished called Shield Shaefing
Whose great grandson Hrothgar
Was in charge of the Danes when this tale is told
The tale of a mead hall harrowed
By a terror, and a hero called Beowulf
A massive mead hall – Heorot
Hrothgar had it built
And after he filled it with dancing and drinking
And laughter and singing, happy people
Yeah, but that was brief though
There was a monster prowling on the moors
Grendel, and for him the sound
Of carousing was just an obnoxious roar
Now Grendel’s been called a fiend
Cursed by God, a powerful demon
Yeah, lots of awful things
And it’s true that the works that he wrought were fiendish
But these were superstitious folk
And yes, I mean both the Christian poet
And the old pagan text he re-wrote
Grendel’s flesh was physical
Now I’ve heard some outlandish conjectures
From critics about how: “Grendel’s cannibalism
Was essentially different from the psychopathic
Pleasures of a man like Hannibal Lecter”
One theory goes that he was the last
Of a band of Neanderthal wretches
Another says that he was an apparition
The province of psychoanalysis
Yeah, rabid secularists like me
Wanna cut to the heart of a story
Maybe he had some deformity
In his eardrums; now that would be parsimony
It doesn’t matter – you know as well
As I do that there’s no hell
No gods, no demons, no elves
Delivering gifts on Noel
And I say “Oh well”

C’mon, so what if Grendel’s
Nature wasn’t clear-cut?
All that matters here is the level
Of fear that he brought to Heorot
They say at night he snuck in
Greedy and grim, and murdered thirty men!
But even if it was just three men
Would he be any less of a demon?
Grendel left the Spear-Danes screamin’
And they couldn’t even deal him a cut
He just killed when he wanted and spilled so much blood
That it left a bit of a chill on their fun
So they prayed to their pagan gods for relief
If only they had Jesus!
If only they knew what we know now
How Jesus comes to your aid when he’s needed!
Forgive me for being facetious
It’s just that divine intervention
Was just as non-existent then
As now as a help in a time of oppression
What happened instead was
That word spread to the seven seas
To the friends and enemies of the Danes
That Hrothgar’s hall stood empty
And it spread to the Geats, to Sweden
To the land of Beowulf
And him and his men donned their chain-mail coats
And sailed for the Danish coast
And it wasn’t long before they stood
Sea-swept, and rain-soaked
In Hrothgar’s great mead hall
And there Beowulf made his famous boast
And said: “Anyone who’s ever seen me fight
Knows that I’ve never been the type to back down
I’ve suffered extremes defending the Geats
And I’ve never had a match ‘til now
But I’ve heard there’s a fiend in your land
A demon who has no fear of reprisal
Who creeps in the night, eats you alive
And threatens your mere survival
So here’s my boast: I’ve heard it said
That Grendel fights with no weapons
So I’ll go toe-to-toe with no sword in my hand
And no shield by my side for protection
Yeah, hand-to-hand combat!
Just me and the fiend in a fight to the death
And if Grendel wins, well then
Best believe he’ll be feeding tonight on my flesh!”

Hwaet!?!

Well, Hrothgrar was quite impressed
With the strong words of this conqueror
And he ordered a feast to be served to the Geats
And the mead hall was soon full of drunkards
But their comforts were soon disturbed
By a servant of the king called Unferth
A weaselly little flea who was eager to see
Beowulf’s pride get punctured
“What vanity!” he cried to the crowd
“This man lives in a fantasy
If he thinks he can defeat
Such a powerful enemy single-handedly!
His accomplishments are nothing
But narcissistic non-existent nonsense
How can you defeat a monster when you even lost to
Your friend Breca in a swimming contest?”
Well, Beowulf wasn’t nonplussed
By this obnoxious onslaught, nah
He said: “You’s a flea, and I’m the big dawg
I scratch you off my balls with my muthafuckin’ paws
Besides, bitch, your information is wrong
I beat Breca and cut off the python
Tentacles of every muthafuckin’ leviathan
That tried it on up in that quiet storm
And anyway
If you had any skill
Then Grendel couldn’t kill all your men
And still go back to his den at the end and chill!”
Well, after that, Unferth
Basically, he just shut the fuck up
Maybe because of Beowulf’s
Gratuitous use of the word “muthafucka”
Yeah, it’s offensive language
But come on, this is Anglo-Saxon
You can’t expect manners
From men of action; nah, that’s a plain distraction
So after his word-clash with Unferth
Beowulf went back to the feast
And kept on bragging out loud
About how he was gonna tackle the beast
And then Hrothgar went to bed
And he left the guard to Beowulf and the rest of the Geats
And the fires burned low
And the mead hall was soon fast asleep

And that’s when the shadow-stalker
Grendel, came greedily loping
Down from the mountain, and out of the mist
‘Cause he could smell fresh human meat for the gulping
And the mead-hall was dozing
Every single person in the place was unconscious
Except for Beowulf
Who lay awake in the darkness, waiting for the monster
That hall was erected as a fortress
But Grendel just smashed the doors in
With his massive hands, grabbed the first warrior
In sight, and viciously slashed and gored him
Mmm, the taste of his flesh was gorgeous
And Grendel was ready for more, just
Itching to turn the rest of these poor
Wretches into a pile of dismembered corpses
So he moved like a phantom
Over to the next man’s form on the floor
But that’s when he felt a strong hand
Clamp on to his wrist and twist back his arm!
Then Grendel felt a kind of pain
That he never in his life had to contemplate
Squeezed, like by an anaconda snake
And only one thought in his mind: “Don’t fight, run away!”
But he was boa constricted
Beowulf had him in a death-grip
I mean, you know how much pain is inflicted
Right? When your arm gets twisted?
Well the intended victim was the predator now
And the hall filled with the most pitiful sound
This long, drawn-out, desperate howl
Like: “Aaaaooooooowww!”
And Geat warriors all surrounded Grendel
With their swords drawn and tried to stab him
But none of them could get a blow past him
So they swore that his skin was enchanted
But some form of spell-casting
So that no physical weapon could scratch him
But what do you think the chances are
That they just chickened out and called it magic?
I mean, it does sound like one of those embellishments
Invented by storytellers just
To make Beowulf’s belligerence
And bellicose rhetoric sound like prescience, right?
Yeah, so his men were ineffective
But Grendel’s howls were blended
Now with the sickening sound of ligaments
Ripping out of position and twisting tendons
Ow! Then his limb disconnected
And Grendel ran back out into the mist
And Beowulf raised the severed arm aloft
Still held in his fist
And the Geat warriors all gathered ‘round
Eager to see the demon flesh
And they all agreed that, yes
Grendel was soon gonna bleed to death
Then they mounted the arm as a trophy
On the wall to inspire their fire-side boasting
And troubadours immortalized
Beowulf’s heroic deeds in their poetry

And I wish I could leave this scene
With the Danes and Geats on easy street
But heroes fight demons in threes
So, introducing: Angelina Jolie
As Grendel’s mother, a feminine killer
With collagen lips and swollen breasts-s-s
And when Beowulf tried to confront her
All he really wanted was sex…
God damn it, Robert Zemeckis!
Your Hollywood epic with all of its
Marketing methods is confounding
My honest efforts to keep this poem authentic!
It’s pathetic! All I see when I picture
Grendel’s mother, instead of a hideous monster
Is Crispin Glover caressing his digitally-rendered
Mom like an incestuous lover
And I’ll never recover, so forget it!
If you want to know her actual facial features
Just go ask your twelfth-grade teachers,
Or your college professors – they’re like the last gate-keepers
On tradition – or read Seamus Heaney’s version
His verse is amazing!
But any pop-culture interpretation
Is subject to virtually unlimited changes
‘Cause if you try to please the Tourists
Well, the Purists get Tourette’s and curse you
But then if you try to do the reverse
Well, the Tourists are known for their lack of endurance
So who do I try to please first?
Myself, and it usually works!
So instead of judging like jurists
Just sit back and enjoy the experience
And I’ll go back to the story... actually
You know what? Forget it – I’d rather just leave it
If you really wanna know how it ends
Well then I guess you’d better just read it!

That’s right
Go read it
Seamus Heaney
Norton Publishing
Get the dual language edition
Read the introduction too
Super informative
C’mon ladies and gentleman
You can’t listen to rap music to get an education
That’s insane!
This is entertainment only
You have to go read!
Go read! Go read!
Go reeaaad!!!
Track Name: Epilogue
Epilogue

The end is near

So let me just take a second to be serious
Reading is silent; a record delivers an experience
I’ve been reciting irreverent lyrics set to compositions
By Mr. Simmonds for like sixty minutes – thanks for listening
I hope you found it surprisingly pleasing
But if so, be advised: I’m not the reason
I’m just a vessel for the original author
Most of the credit should go to Geoffrey Chaucer
He dropped me off at the House of Fame; I just knocked
And the Game taught me not to be ashamed to name-drop
So I confess, I’m an amalgamation of lots of styles
From Steven Pinker to Big Pun, Nas to Oscar Wilde
So I am sincere when I say this
All praises should go to my reading lists, and my playlists
But if anything I had to say gave you displeasure
I will take all the blame; I should have phrased it better
If I tell a couple stories and it leaves someone angry
That’s because of a default in my understanding
Don’t get me wrong; I meant to be provocative
It’s part of my job description when I’m droppin’ hip-hop lyrics
But I’m not trying to leave anyone actively furious
I just wanna leave people intellectually curious
You know, in a mischievous sort of way
That’s all – there is no more to say