Hamlet calls the Poetry Crisis Line–part 2

[find part 1 here]


COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line. This is the Deus ex Machina Desk. What can I do for you?

CALLER: To die:

COUNSELOR: That’s a rather tall order, sir, don’t you think?

CALLER: to sleep;

COUNSELOR: That sounds a bit more reasonable. But I’m on duty now, and I can’t just pop off for a nap whenever–

CALLER: No more;

COUNSELOR: Well, no. Once my shift is over, I can sleep whenever I want.

CALLER: and by a sleep to say we end / The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to,


CALLER: ’tis a consummation / Devoutly to be wish’d.

COUNSELOR: And that’s what the Deus ex Machina Desk is for.

CALLER: To die,

COUNSELOR: That again. No, you can’t just ask our counselors to–

CALLER: to sleep;

COUNSELOR: No, that either. We have a schedule.

CALLER: To sleep:

COUNSELOR: No, sir, not a sleep schedule, a work schedule. We can sleep whenever we want, when we’re off duty.

CALLER: perchance to dream:

COUNSELOR: Probably.

CALLER: ay, there’s the rub;

COUNSELOR: The rub?  What kind of dreams are you talking about, exactly?

CALLER: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

COUNSELOR: Again with the death talk. What’s with that?

CALLER: When we have shuffled off–

COUNSELOR: To Buffalo?

CALLER: –this mortal coil,

COUNSELOR: Look, the whole point of the Deus ex Machina Desk is to save your sorry ass when there’s no hope. But if you’ve fixated on death, then we have an office for that as well. This is the Poetry Crisis Line, after all.

CALLER: Must give us pause.

COUNSELOR: Paws? Like in reincarnation?

CALLER:: there’s the respect

COUNSELOR: It’s not about respect, it’s just—there’s no guarantee that you’ll come back as something with paws. You could have hooves, or fins, or tentacles, or

CALLER: That makes calamity of so long life;

COUNSELOR: Exactly! You could be a tortoise.

CALLER: For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

COUNSELOR: I suppose a tortoise shell would be good if you’re being whipped.

CALLER: The oppressor’s wrong,

COUNSELOR: They usually are.

CALLER: the proud man’s contumely,

COUNSELOR: Riiiight. What’s a contumely?

CALLER: The pangs of despised love,

COUNSELOR: Oh, we have a whole suite of offices for that.

CALLER: the law’s delay,

COUNSELOR: Which office do you want? You keep changing your mind.

CALLER: The insolence of office

COUNSELOR: Right, the Insolence Office. I’ll patch you–

CALLER:  and the spurns

COUNSELOR: Why didn’t you say so? Transferring you to Unrequited Love.

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