i am the king of the world (excerpt)
by roy anthony shabla


i am a king
i am a clown
i am a bum

i am an angel i am not a saint not a sinner
not forgiven not forgotten
i am a buddha do not rub me the wrong way
i am a stranger and who could be stranger
i am a stranger who depends upon kindness
what kind is this

i am a t-shirt and blue jeans fresh from the wash
but looking worn
are you wearing shoes today
pretty feet are happy feet

i am a bad dream in the harsh light of day
i am invisible
i am a bad xerox do not copy me
copy this copyright copy right copy trite

within the world
i am a bug i am a flower with thorns i am the city dump
o how the city dumps

without the world
i am a television screen playing snow let it go
an empty room the echo and the flat air

within without with ice no neat thank you
i am a criminal locked away
what kind skin to be within

i am a joke and it is not that funny
i am a carnival freak a contortionist a bearded lady
i can kiss my own ass blow my own horn

i am a loser with everything lost and nothing found
find me a sliver
are you around

i am a key with no lock a lock with no key
i am a tool with no use a useless tool what a tool what a fool what a rule

i am a king with no crown king ding a ling
king kong the stitch has bled
i am a clown with too many balls in the air and big shoes
and a squeaky horn a horny squeak
i am a bum with a guitar and a story who needs a bath
five cents five dollars five lifetimes
here is the story here it is

i am a song
you are afraid to sing la la la

ooooo ooooo ooooo

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is an excerpt from a longer, deconstructed poem that incorporates several languages. It is an important part of the sound art performance piece, babbel, first performed at Stay Gallery in January 2014.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: roy anthony shabla is a painter and poet who lives in the Los Angeles area. He was just appointed the director of collections for the Downey Museum of Art, and currently has thirteen books in print.

IMAGE: “Trumpet” by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1984).