The Professor loved to laugh.
Social propriety piqued him.
Practiced in the Grand Art of Comedy,
he was an untiring scoffer; an assailant on the dismal.
He knew the Acacacademy feared scandal
and that they took him for a fool.
Didn’t care. He made a little joke
just the same.
The Fool (for that is what they called him)
convulsed. And the Onlookers,
stupefied – some bored,
sent him before a tribunal.
He began his defense
the only way he knew –
with a hilarious disputation –
swinging from the chandeliers.
That’s how it was. A small guffaw
and the primal impulse gave way
until the whole court shook with glorious laughter –
and stopped. Stopped dead.
Out of the corner of his eye – gargoyles,
snide grimacing. Devils’ rebuffs. That was all.
Just smirks. In cold, dry stone.
Otherwise – nothing. Not a peep.
And so on,
until the dark Powers and the Principalities,
railing in tongues against the Glorious Hecklers,
gaffed You-know-who. Burlesque-style.
They railed on and on. Blathering mojo,
railing and shaking –
and with feeling – so much feeling.
A tide of antediluvian contagion.
Then they all went home,
Watched TV, ate their suppers,
munching and gulping
through the trials of Mordecai.
The Professor rent his garments
and howled out the window a litany
of inspired refutations against
a cacacacaphony of solecisms.
Like Gandhi, he went on a hunger strike.
He requested some reading material –
The Book of Esther and the one about Job.
They hadn’t heard of either.
So, he was left to meditate on the mystical eroticism of power.
No one understood
his final act of martyrdom –
from the jailer’s teeth.
He will have perished by now
from hunger or laughter,
with this riddle on his lips:
Who is the angel in armour?