May 18, 2003

One day into Kyle's camp
I wore a mask of blue
With warts and boils and horrid features
You could scarcely see through.

The townsfolk gathered round me then
To hear what a blue man had to say,
But Kyle got a bit angry
And had me carried away.

"I'm the blue man here," he said
And adjusted his lapels,
"We've got room for only one
And I'll see you in Hell."

I returned in time with a mask of red
One with scars and bulging eyes,
Began once more to speak and chat
When much to my surprise

Was Kyle coming round again
Mirthless fury on his face:
He said that one of his friends was already red
And cast me away from the place.

"Why have two when you can have one?
Three's a much better number than four,
If a red mask you must wear
Don't come again through my door."

A third time I came wearing a lavender face
Light colored purple, and a smile of glee,
But Kyle told me that purple was taken
"It's too much like blue, don't you see!"

And as we all know, the only blue here is ... me!"

Expungement was considered not worthy this time
And upon the rack I was latched for a flaying,
Before the first blows came, and during it all
I begged them to hear what I was saying.

"It's not the mask, the shoes, or the hat that really matters
But the words you should listen to
Why, you might as well ban me, flay me and curse me
For something like being a Jew!"

"Curse you!" he said, "For we took a vote!
I decided this all with a quorum
And if people agree with you, you know that you're right
So I've banned you at last from my forum.

"Never question my word, you're only a child
You can't understand; you won't see;
You must ignore or destroy what's strange to find safety
Just ask my friend Mussolini!"

Released from the rack I was rolled out of town
The people behind were quite pleased,
They spoke of my masks with a kind of faint terror
And then they returned to their knees.

"Oh Kyle, you've saved us, bless your pure light,
Keep our minds on your great mental dole!"
"Of course!" he answered, "I ask barely nothing --
I will require only your soul."

"After all," he told them, "It's not what's inside that counts
But what's outside: the face and body all around.
Pay more attention to the man who is talking
Than the theories he wants to expound."

All about Kyle they nodded and stayed on their knees,
Stalwart and stolid like some unwelcoming trees,
Each growing in perfection in their own colored spot
Red, blue, purple, and green -- the extra shades all lost.

- Karash Nekroden (July 2001)


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