THANK YOU MR EDISON

Jingle bells. Jingle bells
Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to ride
On a one horse open sleigh!
Oh!

At the next bamboo table,
by a rustling opalescent sea,
four year old Bun,
armed with a red box
powered by two AA batteries,
is carving his private heaven
out of his familiar hell.
Continuously every five seconds.

After five minutes
it has repeated sixty times.
The neighbouring tables,
being teetotal,
are silenced.
The chairs uncomfortable.

After fifteen minutes
and one hundred and eighty repetitions,
the axe-head birds and birds of paradise
have given up.
Thais drinking mekhong
are murmuring in time,
if not in tune,
Jingen ben. Jingen ben.

After twenty minutes
and two hundred and forty repetitions,
the only competition
is the piped music
and the silver haired German
who is beating his wife
with airy gestures and
Ihre Tochter! Ihre Tochter! Ihre Tochter!

Fünf Minuten später,
Die Frau, too, is released
from her angst
by Santa’s mechanical jingling;
her husband becomes speechless.
His fierce Teutonic eyes
which had imprisoned her attention
are neutralized by a four year old
with two AA batteries
and Thomas Edison’s
patent number for a phonograph.

Only robotic piped music
can compete with a US patent.

A tropical restaurant
at the ocean’s edge of paradise,
canopied by a full moon
and a transparent gauze of stars
provided by the Tropic of Cancer,
endures a public purgatory
provided by one boy’s private sanctuary.

Unexpectedly, it is over.
A much younger sister
dashes Edison’s legacy to the sand.
The shock is too much for the batteries.
The red box lies in the dust, silent.
The boy’s cocoon is broken.
In rage he throws sand and fists at the girl.
In fury the mother slaps him down.
Only the piped music remains
to insinuate a little comfort
around two dozen bamboo tables
and ninety-six chairs.

“All happy families are the same.
Every unhappy family
is unhappy in its own way.”

.

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