goto Appendx main menuLiving a Slow Death...
Darell W. Fields
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A buzzard took a monkey for a ride in the air 
The monkey thought that everything was on the square 
The buzzard tried to throw the monkey off his back 
The monkey grabbed his neck and said "Now listen jack!" 

(chorus) 

Straighten up and fly right, straighten up and fly right, straighten up 
And fly right 
Cool down papa don't you blow your top 
Aint' no use in divin' 
What's the use in jivin' 
Straighten up and fly right 
Cool down papa don't you blow your top 

The buzzard told the monkey that you're chokin' me 
Release your hold and I will set you free 
The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye 
And said "oh your story's so touching, but it sounds just like a lie" 

(chorus) 

Straighten up and fly right, straighten up and stay right, straighten up 
And fly right 
Cool down papa don't you blow your top 

I. Mills/N. Cole (recorded November 30, 1943) 
Copyright © Mills Music Inc. (ASCAP)

[sound sample] 

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Against the ivy-covered walls of the academy stand grand and ominous porticoes preserving, in spite of history, the fables of a timeless generation. Fluted columns with carved motifs, pilfered or copied from this or that culture, support "classic" and triangulated surfaces portraying vast scenes of myth making. And, to avoid confusion, the casual plaque is appropriately placed so the lay-people are certain to obtain the correct version of the story. The slogan inscribed is intended "to protect and to serve" the academy. With this "preface" firmly in place, the innocent bystander takes a snapshot of the story. The image is preserved on the surface of a Polaroid and, like dragging out the family photo album or dialing 911, is summoned in moments of distress. 

Within these deep fictions resides the curious and disturbing figure of the porch monkey, a pathetically "humped" figure with its shoulders shoved forward and its head positioned a little more forward than that. The perilously angled figure reminds us of the postures of all our grandfathers put together, having been bent over for most of the years of their lives. The eyes, its most distinguishing feature, are deep-set. There is something gallant, strong, and lost here. One would guess this figure to have either a receding hairline or be bald altogether, if it were not for the fact that its entire body were covered with hair. 

Somebody had named him Theseus, after one of those so-called Greek heroes. This was either a cruel joke or an acknowledgment of his cunning and determination—a cunning and determination that by this writing had been ground into dust. He had not yet lived long enough to know whether his name was, at the time it was given, a joke or a distinction. 

To look at Theseus for too long was to allow his angled image to enter, creep to the back of one's mind, and lodge itself there at the base of the neck for an eternity. Theseus knew this and tried to get as much "eye contact" as possible; at this point in time it seemed to be his only advantage. But prospective onlookers knew this as well and if they looked, they looked quickly—just long enough to discern, with a sigh of relief, that the monkey was still a monkey. 

One must wonder, no matter how brief the glance, how the monkey ever got on the porch. Theseus must have pondered this question for as long as there was time to remember. He himself had heard, by word of mouth, that his great ancestor, the signifyin' monkey, used to fly in the skies over the territory, on the backs of buzzards, wreaking havoc. Theseus wondered what had happened to this admirable ancestor. Had the buzzard finally shaken the monkey loose? Appendx 2 page break 8 | 9He figured, by looking at and gauging the strength of his own hands and forearms (even at his age) that this was unlikely. He reflected on the fact that his ancestor had never really been named—he was known only as signifyin'.next page

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