The Middle Kingdom - First Chapter



This is not a children's book, nor a book about apes. And don't let the rhymes fool you, the pistol fires in the last act.

"A wild work like no other. your grandchildren will study it at literature classes"

(Assaf Shany, Screenwriter)

 

PROLOGUE

First and foremost, let us begin

By stating that the red banana kingdom was ruled by King Brin.

 Wild bananas grew in orange, green and yellow,

In brown and even ocean blue, deep and mellow.

 But Brin’s kingdom was renowned in the jungle far and wide

For the red bananas that grew in the north and along the eastern side.

 And so I will commence, but please keep in mind

That the red banana grove was the most important of its kind.

 There it was, so close to the eastward entry.

Oh yes! The Holy Grove! Well-guarded by King Brin’s loyal primate sentry.

 By the monkeys of the jungle he was exceedingly admired.

To populate his kingdom all types and sorts of primates aspired.

 Held in great esteem by monkeys a great distance from his realm,

They would occasionally visit the blessed land that held him at the helm.

 Forms have to be completed before entry is granted,

For a brief glorious hour, to view the wonder and be enchanted.

 A remarkable wonder, a masterpiece, a sign no doubt,

The very spot where the first red banana in the jungle began to sprout!

 Much has been said, and will be said, of the singular nature of this dominion.

The stamping ground makes fine peat, the green shoots flourish, branching out,

Perfectly intertwined, the very best for climbing, in everyone’s opinion.

 Yet distant is the day when throughout the kingdom a black cloud shall spread,

Transforming waterholes filled to the brim into mired bogs, muddy and dead.

 Abundant superlatives praise the monkeys’ equanimity,

With a salute they acknowledge their persona’s sublimity.

 Rest assured! Far and wide this fact is known and well construed,

Rare is the day when pique and fury will blacken their mood.

 There was no indication of what lay in store,

Of what that week would transpire, changing eternity as never before. 


CHAPTER ONE


On that day, upon the most esteemed tree of all,

 Three monkeys sat by rank and order, proud and tall.

Foremost was the sovereign king in royal isolation,

With two eminent monkeys in front, in triangular formation.

One was portly, paunchy and healthfully strong,

Attired in an old ornate vest that was fashionably wrong.

His one eye awake and open wide,

The other, lethargic and drooping aside.

He rifles through his monkey trouser pockets every little while,

Trousers that, by primate fashion rules, have long been out of style.

Anyway, and since you wish to ascertain,

 He answers to Pigletti, which is his given name.

Describing the third monkey is not a task that slight.

He is the perfect contrast to the monkey at his right.

Trim of body, endlessly tall and impressively thin,

His primate crest perfectly groomed, and a tie affixed to his double-breasted shirt

with a fashionable pin.

Burakrati is in charge of the travel permits hall,

Receiving letters and postcards that never stop at all,

That come from further away than far, from monkeys of every type and brew.

White monkeys, red monkeys, yellow monkeys, brown, dark brown and blue.

Even light blue and black monkeys too!

Those very same all share one common burning desire, one chore -

For a brief moment to view where the miracle had happened thousands of years before.

Needless to say, that paunchy monkey amused himself and took his chances,

From his high and privileged perch among the branches.

 King Brin was much beloved, revered and absolutely good,

But too busy with his many royal tasks to track the goings-on in his kingly neighborhood.

 Thus, the Burakrat did as he pleased to his heart’s desire,

Boasting of the obstacles he set in the innocent monkeys’ path into the empire.

 And those who came from afar and even further away,

To ease their arduous entrance desired, as destitute were they.

 Yet, an almost royal welcome was extended, without reluctance,

To the primates and monkeys rich with considerable abundance.

 Alternately, the rulers of far-away lands had all the right connections,

And a smart monkey knew with whom to nurture excellent relations.

 Brin was greatly fond of red bananas, they were his main delight.

In his youth he slugged and brawled in many a great fight.

 He recalled how the black monkeys came from the east and western kingdom in droves,

And tried to seize and take over all the great expansive red banana groves.

 The black monkeys did not lack for red bananas in any number,

For the jungle was bountiful with bananas of every kind and color.

 Bananas outside Brin’s kingdom were also abundant and easily found,

 So as to the coveting of Brin’s own wondrous grove there really was no ground.

 But it was those very red bananas that the black monkeys sought.

For it was a black one who, ages past, sowed the first seed, as their legend taught.

 That was why into the kingdom’s holy places they would stealthily come in,

And were considered an enemy of the kingdom of Brin.

 Entering the red banana grove to wreak havoc, just so,

Disturb the red monkeys’ enjoyment of their harvest, and then go.

 The coal-black monkeys’ leaders had intrigues of their own,

Holding secret summit meetings with Brin and his colleagues alone.

Bananas were in profusion and they were so tired of battling,

It seemed so foolish over semantics now to keep on haggling.

 First and foremost, a primate of great eminence, Nabucotti is his name,

Who has strong secret ties with king Brin, that very one and the same.

 So secretive, that only the guardian angel knew, perhaps by chance,

How the two gazed at the vast groves at a precise hour from that very tree, that very branch.

So very precise and so exact, that far into eternity

This tree would be their sanctuary, their shelter from disparity.

 The stirring splendor of secrets was whispered in this treetop cove,

About reconciliation and the division of this highly cherished grove.

 About the impish monkeys in Brin’s kingdom much will be told,

Of the many colors and varieties residing there, lo and behold!

 And they all share in common one vital trait,

They are red banana monkeys, on every tree, in every state.

 These are the true facts to which we aspire  -

The jungle is vast and full of banana groves, all red as fire.

 And precisely for that reason, in many and sundry places,

Live the red banana monkeys, with their infinitely many graces.

 Without question, Brin’s kingdom is their natural habitat,

They come and they go, and the Burakrat has no say on that.

 For, just like him, they are monkeys of the red banana kind.

Their color, nature or cause of visit are irrelevant, he pays no mind.

 There is one more tidbit of redundant information -

 At times they seem a bit different from the rest of the population.

 The monkeys who visit Brin’s kingdom from faraway lands, where most of the monkeys are abundantly white,

Resemble them closely, but they too are red banana monkeys, just to set things right.

 So it matters not that the red banana monkeys who come to Brin’s kingdom from the great deep jungle, the black monkeys’ habitat,

 Are mostly brown in color, and even dark brown at that.

 And some surreptitiously will claim, for spite,

That they are in fact and without a doubt as black as the blackest night.

 None of this will affect a change, herein lies the dictum:

The red banana monkeys will be forever welcome

To visit the magical grove and reside within Brin’s kingdom.

 But let it be said that the brown monkeys, and the very dark brown too,

Dislike the black monkeys, in that there’s nothing new.

 It is probably due to the fact

That they similarly behave and react,

 Both black and brown, the dark brown most markedly,

To the red bananas that they all love so ardently.

 Their love and craving are of such nature and passion

That without these adored bananas, their life would seem ashen!

 King Brin was a white monkey, he was white in hue.

Yet he loved red bananas and prized them too.

 But from the summit of his wisdom and years, his respect grew and grew

For bananas that were brown, yellow, green or orange, and even blue.

 Most white monkeys loved the blue bananas that grew in rich ground

At the western tip of the kingdom, where the great waterhole was found.

 It was mostly the white monkeys who sat on the royal throne,

Though brown and even dark brown monkeys could always claim it as their own.

 But the latter were too preoccupied with the struggle and protection

Of the magical red banana grove, what an absolute perfection!

 And if, for a moment, you thought red bananas are not to the white monkey’s liking,

Then, quite the opposite is true, your mistake is most striking!

The finest of the white monkeys over the red fruit stood sentry,

But so that others wouldn’t know, they did so covertly.

More than its love of the red fruit, the public wanted most, in all candor,

To follow the directives from Pigletti, their beloved commander.

 Don’t get me wrong, make no mistake at all,

This is not about that four-legged domestic animal.

 His nose is flat, his skin a pinkish tone.

He imposes awe and terror, together and alone.

The commander-in-chief of the kingdom, understand,

Is the great general, and the king’s right hand.

He must maintain order and harmonious accord,

But he first must have structure, chaos he cannot afford.

 A single monkey, though with a plethora of white monkeys all around,

Cannot control a kingdom in which all kinds and types of monkeys abound.

 Thus, two group leaders from Brin’s kingdom were always at his side.

One was Rusty Jed, who was chief of the red monkeys’ tribe.

 The very same tribe that fully believed that due to their red color,

It is they alone who are most closely linked to the red bananas, and no other.

 Furthermore, and most essentially, they are bound

To the eternal red banana grove by the reddest blood ever to be found!

 It is no fabrication, no tale nor fable -

They shall never relinquish a single red banana. They aren’t able.

The second aide, Obscurati was his name, had excellent relations

With the blue and light-blue monkey tribes, who followed his dictations.

 Befriending him as well was the Burakrat, and he too

Was a blue-blooded monkey, though his color was pale whitish-blue.

 Now let us not ignore this rhyme,

A tale is to be told, important and sublime!

*

A new day in the forest awakens.

The bear whispers and the butterfly beckons.

 

As the pact far and wide entreats,

Listen close and be silent, the poet speaks.

 

Its power shall be swept away by the winds,

Its language crushed, as with the dust it rescinds.

 

A dark cloud the blue heavens will quell,

On the day the skies descend from hell.

 

The crescent shall rise and the sun shall fade,

From a distance observed, in the heavens inlaid.

 

A torrential rain for days on end

Through every crack and crevice its way will wend.

 

The skies shall darken like a millennium ago

And massive waves from cliffs shall flow.

 

How shall we move on if this does not cease,

A lad named Joseph will the question release.


He tightened his belt round the coat he wore,

From gravel and stone his heart shall soar.

 

In the vast space behind, a convoy slithers,

Like endless columns of ants it dithers. 

 

And with it the very same question is posed,

Of “how” and of “why” and what it supposed.

 

Its source shall be duly noted aloud,

In the torrential rain, the flood and cloud.

 

From afar it appears like the eyes of a hawk,

Showered in flames, and as yellow as yolk.

 

He raises his head to understand,

A red burning bush on a mound of sand.

 

The innocent lad will awaken and say,

Teach us some more, united we stay.

 

The pact was consecrated, its roots grew deep,

Jacob’s eternity, the kingdom will keep.



  


REVIEWS:


“The Middle Kingdom” by Aviv Geva: the birth of a new genre in contemporary Hebrew literature”
I found this book to be no less than a work of genius and herewith announce to one and all that Geva has created – through his artistic perceptions and innovative way – a new genre in contemporary Hebrew literature with this very “disparate”, avant-garde, dadaistic literary creation.

(Author Doron Braunshtein)

*****

“Aviv Geva has freed himself of the fetters of literary writing.
Abandoning the familiar templates and shapes of full sentences, geva links together words that don’t necessarily connect, yet in their higher spheres they complement each other.
For every word has its primary meaning, but also possesses the sensations it evokes.
Phrase after phrase, the reader is exposed to the other level of words, to writing at an emotional level.
One of the great literary creations I have ever known.”

(Pashi Levin, Screenwriter)

*****

"A book that is written so differently. I felt as if I have entered the pages of Shakespeare's play, or perhaps the bible" 
(“Nurita” – A Look At Books And Literature At Eye Level)

*****

"A wild work like no other. your grandchildren will study it at literature classes"

(Assaf Shany, Screenwriter)