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Wife of Bath

Once upon a time quite long ago
When King Arthur was in charge of the round table
Yeah, that’s right, you heard me – just listen
It’s a hip-hop rendition of an Arthurian legend
And the early religion at that time that time was pagan
They had elves and fairies and dragons
And tree spirits, and those sorts of things
According to old books: Lord of the Rings
And the bible; I know, they’re just metaphorical
Allegorical instead of historical
Sorry folks, but this isn’t your show
I decide how the story is told
And besides, nowadays the fairies have vanished
Banished just ‘cause some of us aren’t very imaginative
Fairy-killers are known by various adjectives
Skeptics, atheists, rationalists
Anyway, maybe the change was all good
‘Cause in those days, a woman couldn’t walk in the woods
And feel safe, without being chased by an incubus
Ew! Or some other beast tryin’ to cling to us
So maybe the spirit world’s death was worth it
Now that sex abuse is mainly just in churches
And other places of worship – women have it better now
Disrespect us and you’ll never live it down

But back to the lecture at hand
One of King Arthur’s knights was a strapping young man
Who went out hawkin’ with his peregrine falcon
One day, and met a young girl out walkin’
And instead of playing a chivalrous gentleman’s game
He took her virginity while she protested in vain
Shame! A sympathetic delegation
Pressured King Arthur to condemn the filthy rapist
In the girl’s name, and the King said, “Yes,
Off with his head!” and sent him to his death
But the queen, Guinevere, and the other women there
Persuaded him, that was just a bit severe
They figured rehabilitative justice was the best solution
Instead of retribution
So King Arthur gave him to the Queen, to maim, kill or save him
She was supreme as Elena Kagan
Crossed with Kiera Knightly; Guinevere was rightly
Appointed to judge the tearful knight’s pleas
She said, “Hmm, I’m lookin’ at a dead man
Unless you can answer one simple question
Tell me what women want – answer truthfully
Don’t try to get it from a Mel Gibson movie
Or a sleazy pick-up artist’s book
You have one year to give this riddle your hardest look
And then we’ll see what people think, is he right?
Or is he just the weakest link? Goodbye!”

The knight was terrified; he started traveling
The land, asking random people for their advice
Hoping to find some kind of clear answer
But he could barely find a pair of matched words
Disaster! They all said something different
Some said, “Women just wanna be respected”
Other said “We want a family, a sense of security
Necklace, bracelets, and all other types of jewelry”
And some said “Women just want simple happiness”
Or “Hot sex to express our inner nastiness”
And some said, “Nah, you gotta flatter chicks, personally”
I admit, that does tend to work for me!
Others said, “We want danger; we might not admit it
But we’re on for the chase and we want ‘em to come and get us
Plus we love a young thug that’s overflowin’ with swag
And keeps his woman all draped in new Louis Vuitton bags!
I know what them girls! I know!
I know what them girls like!

Anyway, the end of the year finally came
And the knight had no idea what he was gonna say
To the Queen; I mean, he was really desperate
As he headed back to the castle to accept his fate
And get his neck split, but along the way
The knight happened to pass through a dark forest glade
And he saw a circle of beautiful dancing girls
They giggled and played and laughed and twirled
And then… poof! The dancers vanished
And instead he saw the oldest woman on the planet
She was foul, her body shriveled and tiny
Her clothes ripped and grimy; he figured mid-nineties
She said: “Ooh, tell me, why so sad?
I’ll try to give you some wise advice if I can!”
And the knight collapsed at her feet and begged her
“Please! Advice, that’s exactly what I need!
Unless I can tell the queen what women want
She’s gonna kill me – listen, if you help me
I can make you wealthy!” And she said: “Okay then
But can I have anything I ask as payment?”
“Anything I have, take it!” He replied
And she said: “Alright, I’ll keep you alive”
And she whispered a secret in his ear and escorted him in
To report it to the court women

Now, so many women had assembled to hear
What the knight was gonna say at the end of his year
That the place was at capacity, widows and spinsters
Teenagers, wives, and old women with dentures
The Queen was on high, ready to pass judgment
With guards standing by to take his ass to the dungeon
The knight stood in front of them; he cleared his throat
And said in a manly voice: “Okay, here we go
Here’s what women desire most: sovereignty
Never submission, only dominancy
And especially over men, over husbands and lovers
That’s what women want; you want to live above us!
You don’t have to make every decision, but you always
Have to make the decision whether to make the decision
So, what’s it gonna be?
Is there any woman here who really doesn’t agree?”

Unanimous agreement – the knight had it!
Even women who like women said he was right, on average
The only people who disagreed with everybody
Were the ones whose college major was in “Gender Studies”
‘Cause they didn’t think “gender” was a natural category…
Anyway, back to the story
The Queen was in agreement and just about to release him
When that same old lady he met earlier that evening
Shouted: “Wait! First I wanna speak!
I taught him that secret, and he promised me
Anything I wanted, well here’s my request
Marry me, baby, and take me to bed!”
“I did promise,” said the knight “I admit it
“But please, just choose something different!
Take everything I own; take my money, my home
Anything you want, just leave my body alone!”
And the old crone said, “Aw, so sweet!
But money is something I’m too old to need
I just want you to hold me, baby; caress me
Touch me all over and make me feel sexy!”

He tried to negotiate, but there was no escape
They were married the very next day
And after the vows, it was straight in the bedroom
The knight was crying, his ancient wife lying next to him
Smiling, like: “Honey, I need some attention!
Why are you curled up in the fetal position?
Is this how all of King Arthur’s Knights act
When they bring a new wife back for their first night in the sack?
I saved your life; why would you take offense?
Just tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll try to make amends”
“Amends?!?” said the knight, “You disgusting creature
You’re about as sexy as Mother Theresa!
You’re low class, you’re old, and you’re hideous too
I’d rather be dead than stuck in bed with you!”
And she said, “Aw, is that really all it is?
You don’t like me ‘cause I’m old and ugly and not rich?
Well, just listen to what I have to say
We’ll see if it’s really impossible to convince a man to change
First of all, class? Really? You bring up classism?
Everyone knows that’s an anachronism
Except in India, where they still have a caste system
And in Britain, where it’s their accents that restrict them
But everywhere else people know, the only inheritance
You get from rich parents is arrogance
You can get money from them, but not wisdom
You’re suffering from rich-person-autism: ‘Rot-ism’
It’s a disease, a lack of social skills
That comes from never having struggled to float the bills
Too much caviar, cocaine, and canapés
No humility; most of humanity can’t relate
Now, if your parents were charismatic, that might impress me
If your dad was Martin Luther King, or John F Kennedy?
Maybe you could say: ‘My genes were my best gifts’
But no one cares if your parents were just rich!
They care about your choices, and the good works you do
Those are the only true sources of virtue
And if I’m old and ugly, well look on the bright side
You never have to worry about what I’m up to at nighttime
Other men live in fear of their wives cheating on them
But that’s only a problem because other people want them
But I know how to make you happy – you choose
You could have me young and beautiful, with huge boobs
And Scarlett Johansson hourglass curves
I could make this happen with a couple of magic words
But if you choose a young beautiful wife
Then other men will come and try to seduce me at night
And I just might, ‘cause I’ll be young and playful
Or you could have me this age, and faithful!”

And the knight sighed and said, “I…
Think I need to let my wise wife decide
Whichever you prefer, I’ll accept it”
And the old woman asked him one final question
Like: “Does that mean I’m in charge? Let’s be clear!”
And knight said the magic words: “Yes dear”
And she said, “That was the right answer
Any man who accepts his wife as his master
Will have both beauty and fidelity
(As far he knows) and that’s what you’ll get from me!”
And poof! She changed into Scarlett Johannson’s twin
And the knight was bathed in a bath of bliss
And he kissed her a thousand times, and that’s how they lived
For the rest of their lives, faithful and passionate
And that’s the end
Now my story is spoken
Now ladies, let us pray
Let us pray for husbands easily broken
Let us pray for men of courage and compassion, men of skill
And wisdom, the wisdom to bend to women’s will
Let us pray for men with girth and length
Men with talent and rhythm, men with hand strength
And let us especially pray for the tragic men
Who lack the common sense to recognize the fact
Of natural female dominance
Let them repent, or be taken by pestilence
And let women never, ever
Ever have sex with them


from The Canterbury Tales Remixed, released April 15, 2012
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Mr. Simmonds
Cello: Rubin Kodheli
Violin: Sarah Whitney


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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Science rapper and inventor of several novel hip-hop variants. Canadian transplant to New York. Pathological optimist.

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