Shakespeare’s Trump, Act I, Scene II

Two protestors, JASON and AMNON, meet in a street full of protest signs near the White House. JASON is a dark-skinn’d physician in scrubs, AMNON a journalist with press pass of lighter complexion.

JASON (shouting).

Treason! Our would-be king would gut a world

To rule a nation! Those who guard the Earth,

Who purify its skies, its seas, its soil,

And shield our exons from electrons foul,

Now yok’d must be to Pruitt, oil-drunk prat,

Naysayer of their work’s necessity!

One could as well appoint a rabid wolf

To mind one’s hens, or — apter, I do fear! —

Attempt to delay Ragnarok itself

By firing watchful Heimdall from the watch,

And hiring fiery Surtur in his place!

And while we thunder ’gainst calamity,

Our addled, no-ey’d Odin low-key nods,

And saith, “He is the right man for the job,

Who knoweth Asgard’s foes better than he?”

AMNON (shouting).

Who, Surtur? Nay, say Satan, fellow man!

For blasphemies are Donald’s without end!

(aside)

I wake as from a dream, and look to find

My continent incontinent, its states

In states of disrepair, America

A lover of eight years who play’d me false,

With stars and bars upon her backside mark’d

And cuckold’s horns upon me. Shall I trust

This smoke-fill’d lens or rose-glass shards now smash’d?

This is not that we are, we say and hope,

But hope was last year’s cause, and more and more

I find myself a stranger to myself.

(shouting)

Resign, thou fiend! Let worthies govern us!

Retire, so that one day our children might!

Beware the tides of marching discontent

This winter, for thy actions melt the snows

To calefactious rivers on the hill!

Enter BOXER, a soot-cover’d collier in red coif.

BOXER.

’Tis thou who art as snowflakes, powder’d sook:

Thou’lt melt to tears if ever once provok’d

And soon evaporate to air abroad.

I am of earth and fire. My charcoal work,

A blacker, whiter, redder art than thine,

Had been discounted by the chatt’ring class,

Our blood exchang’d for foreign oil and soil.

But coal will rise, restoring mine and mine.

Trump’s hands will dig it out—

JASON

Those gerbil-claws

Hath known no work save grasping coins since birth!

Speak sense! My hospital treats colliers

Whose labor lacerates their lungs t’pitch pith,

But if Obama-Care, that law your saint

Hath sworn to slay, safeguarded them no more,

Then fewer I could save. “White art” indeed.

Your true desire’s a nation monochrome,

Pale as the moon, with dark return’d to dark.

BOXER.

Speak not to me of childish prejudice;

My blackface is as firmly etch’d as thine.

My hands shall ne’er be clean of common work,

I carry coals wherever I may go.

My “betters” smear my cheek with feculence,

“Deplorable” they call me, while they wade

In fly-infested swamps. Our own shall drain

Their brackish waters, uncorrupt the land.

’Til marsh is dry, I’ll tip my hat to none.

AMNON.

I shan’t deny we have known lies ere now,

But Donald’s maledictions are a swarm

Far swampier than what they would displace.

The greatest lie is this, that he is yours.

He has no tribe or faith save power’s rule —

Enter KAREN, a woman of means.

KAREN.

How unsurprising that a journalist

Would sow mistrust of papers’ enemy.

Bravo! A fine performance, thespians,

Howe’er implausible I find thy script!

For who’d believe so many volunteers

Could gather sans the marketplace’s hand

Invisible to clench them into fists?

The Palindromic Jew hath bought thou, churls!

Confess!

JASON (angrily stepping forth).

My voice is mine!

BOXER (yelling).

Don’t threaten her!

Thy sort chants women’s rights until thou chance

’Pon rightward-leaning women!

JASON.

Aye? My sort?

AMNON.

Calm, calm.

KAREN.

It does no good t’address you two.

I wish to speak to your playwright!

JASON.

Enough!

BOXER.

Hold, dark one!

AMNON.

Stay thy hand, my friend!

JASON.

I’ll not!

They fight. Enter CHRISTOPHER, an agent of security in the President’s service. Fight ends as they see him.

CHRISTOPHER.

What means this?

KAREN.

Honor restor’d! Good sir, do silence them!

CHRISTOPHER.

I am not here to silence anyone,

I only bulwark ’gainst those few who’d speak

The knuckle-tongue.

JASON.

Odd sentiment from one

Who serves a brutish lord.

CHRISTOPHER.

My service is

To nation, not to one. I serve the dream

That floats above all Presidents, of which

They’re mere custodians, as I of them.

BOXER (aside).

Such humble spirit I approve. I feel his side

Must be as mine, regardless of his words.

CHRISTOPHER.

Let miner’s song be heard in major key,

Let those who tell the news e’er tell it true,

Let doctors voice undoctor’d words of health,

Let all suspecting power air their thoughts.

But ne’er forget, such letting did not come

From any leader, nor can they remove’t;

Our Fathers’ institutions are its root.

Let them, not him, inform your best beliefs.

Exeunt omnes but JASON.

JASON.

Tom Jefferson said liberty’s a tree

That must with kings’ bloodletting freshen’d be.

And should these protests e’er be turn’d to silence,

Then tremble: that word hath no rhyme but violence.

Exit.

Writer of comics, crosswords and all manner of things.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store