Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cassandra Knows Best

Cassandra Knows Best
The Pride of Ancient Greece

Matthew Wells

Copyright 2017 by Matthew J Wells

For information, contact:
Matthew Wells
317 Second Ave #6
New York NY 10003


AGAMEMNON, 50’s. Greek toga. A laurel wreath for a crown. A flowing red cape. Gold boots. The greatest man who ever lived, according to Agamemnon.

CASSANDRA, 20’s. Multicolored hair. Hoop earrings. Tank top. Flouncy skirt. Black nylons with holes in them. Combat boots. She not only sees the future, she lives there.

APOLLO, young and ageless. Full of himself, like all gods and most males.

CLYTEMNESTRA, 40’s. Black dress. Severe makeup. Carries a huge double-bladed axe. It’s not a fashion accessory.

TIME:  right after the fall of Troy.

PLACE: the street outside the house of Atreus

          Offstage cheering. 

          AGAMEMNON enters, with CASSANDRA on 
          a leash behind him.

I’m Agamemnon, greater than the gods!
I bravely conquered Troy against the odds.
Heaven bows down to me!

                            Heaven is gagging.
The gods get pissed when they hear mortals bragging.

How is it bragging when it’s simply true?
No one on earth can equal what I do!
Look at the crowd that cheered me in the streets!
They all love me—from lepers to elites!
Ten hundred thousand people cheered my fame!
Ten hundred thousand voices yelled my name!

What are you smoking, dude—the Golden Fleece?
There’s just twelve thousand men in all of Greece.

Fake numbers. Sad. But mercy won’t desert me.
Even when you resort to lies to hurt me.
I pity and forgive your angry fits.
You don’t know any better—you have tits.
So thank you, Gods above, for giving me
This huge incomparable victory.
No one has ever won as big as this!
Deny it, and I’ll tell you what to kiss!
I have won greatness thanks to great Troy’s fall!

And eight minutes from now you’ll lose it all.

No matter what I do, it’s never wrong!
I am the law! I rule!

                       But not for long.

Cassandra—why’s it always tragedy
When you predict the future?

                             That’s just me.
I tell all the tomorrows Fate will weave
That no one with today’s ears will believe.
So you could say it’s all part of my curse.
But it’s just life. Life lives by getting worse.
It’s always shittier than you expected.
Just ask America when Trump’s elected.

Ask Greece! I did what the great gods demanded—
I faced ten million men, and single-handed
Sent them to Hell, then sent their widows lilies.
And then killed Hector!

                         No, that was Achilles.

Who died—and as we sailed down failure’s stream,
My clever brain thought up a perfect scheme,
A stratagem both clever and delicious—
The Trojan Horse!

                  Wait—wasn’t that Odysseus?

Okay, okay—but I approved the plan.

You would have been dumb not to, silly man.

And really—who’s Odysseus anyway?

Sean Bean in that Brad Pitt film. He’s okay.

Now I’ve come home, after the fall of Troy.
To live the life that I deserve.

                                Oh boy.

A loving wife to share my general’s bed.

And drive a loving axe into your head.

A faithful son to carry on my name.

There ain’t a mama’s boy who is more lame.

What have you got against my son Orestes?

I think your crazy daughter has more testes.

My daughter, loving as a fiancée!

Her love is kind of Freudian, okay?

And you, Cassandra—you. My prize of prizes!
A girl whose beauty always tantalizes.
The woman who said “Get lost!” to Apollo.
And she’s my slave! That’s victory!

          APOLLO enters on his line.

                                 That’s hollow.

Oh crap. Apollo.

                   Cass! How have you been?

Y’know—enslaved and raped. They’ve both been “in”
Since Troy fell, and my family was all killed.

I wish I could have helped you, but ‘twas willed
That Troy should be erased like ancient ink
Thanks to a thug. That would be you, I think.
Apollo, son of Zeus. The girl is mine.


    Give. Me. This. Girl. You. Dumb. Mortal. Swine.


     No? I’ll turn you into something gilled,
And gut you.

             Nope. That isn’t how he’s killed.
And why—why do you want me anyway?

Because you always blow me off.

                              Oh-ka-a-a-a-ay . . .

Women don’t do that to me.

                          I did.

Here we both are, and your death is at hand.
Unless you let me love you, little Cass.

And why would I do that, you stupid ass?

Yeah—why would she do that when she has me?
I’m so much better for her sanity.

Enough—enough of all this stupid talking.
Make love to me, or die.

                          Dead Trojan walking.

Fine. I’ll just watch it all go down from here.

You chose me over him! You precious dear.

Whoa! I did no such thing, you egotist.

It’s my smile, right? I know you can’t resist.

Just watch me.

                No, deep down you really care.

I don’t!

        I say you do.

                      Fuck off.

                                 Don’t swear.
I don’t like hearing words like that from you.
It’s not becoming in a girl I screw.
But now that I know just how much you love me—

I don’t!

          I will pray to the gods above me
To give me patience till you see it through
And freely give me what I steal from you—


—Till what you’ve made me take from you by force
Becomes your loving gift. And then, of course,
My happiness will be complete at last.
And we will be together.

                          Not so fast.
I hate you and despise you. Hate. Kapish?

But why?

            Because you’ve got me on a leash!
You treat me like your special breeding cow!
I loathe your Grecian ass!

                            You say that now.
But you will really like me when you know me.
I’ll win your love! I’ll make you mine!

                                        Men. Blow me!

You’ll see—our love will grow.

                                No, it will fester.
Oh look—here comes your sweet wife Clytemnester.

          CLYTEMNESTRA enters with a great 
          double-bladed axe slung over her shoulder.

At last! My loving wife! Look at that smile!

Yeah—all teeth, like a hungry crocodile.

My love.

            Hear how she says “My love” to me!
Such tenderness! Such domesticity!
It means so much to hear her be so kind.

I know—it means you’re deaf as well as blind.

So who’s this pretty thing, my dear?

                                      She’s mine.
Cassandra—she’s my Trojan concubine.

“Concubine.” I’m so dumb. What does that mean?

It means he treats me like his sex machine.

Does he still do it like a battering ram?
It isn’t sex unless he breaks your clam.

That’s my sweet husband. He thinks he’s the greatest.

And in one minute he will be the latest.

I will not die today. The gods above
Have given me their favor and their love.
They kept me safe so I could spend my life
At home, with daughter, son, and happy wife.

And I am happy. Don’t forget that, will you?

Of course she is—cuz now she gets to kill you.

She won’t.

           She will.

                       I won’t stoop to debate you.
Why would she want to kill me?

                                Cuz I hate you.
You killed our child.

                      The gods told me to do it!

So you could go to war.

                         And then live through it!
And here I am.

                So tell me what you feel.

Relief. And pride. And hunger. Where’s my meal?

My heart feels all the loss that your heart lacks.

Yeah, yeah. So what’s for dinner?

                                     Eat my axe.

          CLYTEMNESTRA chops AGAMEMNON in half.

The harshest words the dead will ever know
Are when the living say “I told you so.”

Now kill her.


                     I’m ordering you to.

Not even gods tell women what to do.

You little bitch. What arrogance! Repent!
I am divine! Get on your knees!

                                 Get bent.

Maybe you didn’t hear me. I’ll shout louder.

This is between us bitches. Take a powder.

When my father hears this, he’ll punish you!

Yeah—run to Dad.

                    Go whine to mommy too.

          APOLLO exits.

So here’s the deal. I could kill you right now.

You will.

            I won’t. It makes no sense somehow.

What will you do then?

                       Laugh and let you go.
My quarrel was with this dead so-and-so.
The future is a path. Pick one and take it.
Don’t let it happen. Don’t—unless you make it.
I chose my path. I’ll take the consequences.
You do the same. Your only real offense is
You were a victim of both God and man.
You want revenge? Go live the best you can.
That’s what I’ll do until my dying day.

When your son kills you.

                           Pfft!—no fucking way.


Holy crap! I’ve escaped my destiny!
I get to make one of my own. Yay me!
The ruler of my life! I get to do
Anything! I’m the boss of me! Whoo hoo!
I’ll dye my hair bright red! I’ll go to France!
I’ll change my name to Sandy! I’ll wear pants!

APOLLO appears, arms wide.

I can paint! Sculpt! Write poems! Cure the flu!
There’s nothing I won’t do! (To APOLLO) Except for you.

You think you’ve won, but nothing can defeat me!
I’ll win your love! I’ll make you mine!

                                       Men. Eat me!

         Blackout. End of play.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, May 22, 2017

Thinking of Death

I live my life like Death will pass me by.
   I plan like there will always be tomorrow.
Convinced that only other people die,
   I mourn their loss with mixed relief and sorrow.
Death is the tiger that I cannot see;
   The jungles of the day-to-day conceal it.
Death is the knife that’s always aimed at me;
   Like happiness, just other people feel it.
Life is the great rigged game Death plays with me,
   Making me think that I am in the clover.
I get the ball for years and score scot-free.
   Death only has to play once, and Game Over.
      I hold the key, but haven’t got a clue.
      I think of death, but never think it through.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If I Love You

If I love you, that means you give me hope.
If I love you, good deeds are bribery.
If I love you, I’ll sulk when I don’t mope.
If I love you, then you need therapy.

If I love you, my flaws can’t live without you.
If I love you, then your heart has a sentry.
Love is the novel that I write about you
So I can swear that it’s a documentary.

I’ll tell you you’re the sun to my cold earth,
I’ll make you fill a cup that has no bottom,
I’ll give your moods control over my worth,
I’ll kill your spring with my dead leaves of autumn,

And hate you for what you don’t do or say.
So if you love me, please—please—run away.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, May 15, 2017

Love Is

Love is a treasure dive without the bends
   That robs a cave where green-eyed monsters lurk.
Love is like Friday night—it never ends
   And never thinks about next Monday’s work.
Love is a game where moves are all unplanned
   And rules never exist until you make them.
Love is a do-it-yourself Disneyland—
   You have to build the rides before you take them.
Love is a toll road that will not take change.
   Love dies a little without self-destruction.
Love is a singer with a three-note range
   Who only sounds good after post-production—
      A heart you’ll misplace till it goes astray
      And only find when you give it away.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fun Party

The ones who don’t, keep saying that they care.
The ones who shouldn’t, drink in great amounts.
The host parades as if he has a pair.
The hostess is the only dish that counts.

The beauty with the legs wears tiny shorts.
Her lover shows off pictures of his kids.
They’re in the bedroom making sweater forts
While Mom watches her marriage hit the skids.

The one whose lips burn like a lemon flame
Is kissing the remote and debonair.
The one you want to whisper your full name
Chats about someone hot who isn’t there.

And every drink tastes like a sweet collection
Of desperation, envy and rejection.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, May 8, 2017

Love Is

Love is a wish that blesses when it curses.
Love is a dish that’s half-sublime, half-trite.
Love is a play that endlessly rehearses,
Then gets rewritten every single night.

Love is the raw suspense of the pursuit,
The biting thorn chased by the soothing feather.
Love is my shipwreck and my parachute.
I want to be included, not together.

I’m drawn to what is hopeless, vain or doomed.
I crave what sense and sanity forbid.
The loves that didn’t happen have consumed
My hungry soul more than the ones that did.

For love’s exciting—maddening—taboo—
Inconstant—steadfast—kind—like me. Like you.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Need You Like

           “I need him like the axe needs the turkey.”
                                --The Lady Eve

I need you like the doormat needs the boot.
I need you like the dry mop needs the spill.
I need you like the foodstain needs the suit.
I need you like the bullet needs the kill.

I need you like a cataract needs eyes.
I need you like the sickness needs the host.
I need you like the firing squad needs spies.
I need you like the braggart needs the boast.

I need you like the right hook needs the chin.
I need you like self-pity needs rejection.
I need you like forgiveness needs the sin.
I need you like false gods need genuflection.

I need you like the drunk needs alcohol
Which means I really don’t need you at all.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Peter Pan

He made his move and what was there to say.
You only heard his lies each time he talked.
You had moved on, but not quite moved away.
The door was almost closed, and in he walked.

He said: “I’m sorry—it was my mistake.”
You thought: Guys don’t mistake-sleep with another.
He said: Tell me how to help heal this break.”
You thought: Bad boys always come home to mother.

And mothers always take their wastrels back.
He’s Peter Pan, you’re Wendy, and it blows.
He gives you magic, and you give him slack,
Which keeps him immature. And so it goes

Until he leaves to live with lost boys and
Some little bitch from Never-Never Land.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Game of Hearts

Hearts speak to hearts in knowledge beyond words.
   They bleed into each other when they meet.
They nest in feathered warmth like mating birds.
   “Ah—there you are!” they say. “Now I’m complete.”
Hearts give themselves to hearts like Christmas toys—
   Some soothe you in your sleep, like quilts of cotton;
Some pierce your soul with never-ending joys;
   Some end up in a chest, lost and forgotten.
Hearts can break other hearts because they care
   For nothing but the smugness of the vain.
But hearts bring hearts to life each time they share
   Their every gift, without a thought for gain,
      And light the way past envy and regret—
      Like yours to mine did, on the day we met.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells