So Let Me Get this Straight

By | 1 July 1999

There’s this happy family man
Agamemnon, with his lovely wife,
Clytemnestra, and the three kids
Iphigenia, Electra and the boy

Only Agamemnon’s brother’s wife,
who turns out to be Clytemnestra’s sister
Helen, runs off with some blow-in from
Asia Minor with a reputation for bad
judgement and
an association with plaster.

And Agamemnon goes after Helen with his
brother, Menelaus, across the sea heading
for Troy but they get holed up on some
middle of nowhere island, waiting for a good
wind. And Agamemnon, who just happens
to have Iphigenia with him
chasing after Auntie Helen in a
fleet of battle ships with
ten years’worth of sea biscuit and arrowheads,
Agamemnon sacrifices Iphigenia?
for a head wind?

Let me get this straight.
And there’s a goddess in there somewhere So
Agamemnon and Menelaus get Helen back
and burn down Troy and
kill all the men who aren’t already dead and
sell all the women and children into slavery
except the boy children of all the really
famous dead men—they make sure they go
the way of their famous dead dads—and
Cassandra, who’s the daughter of one
famous dead man and the sister of another
famous dead man and the auntie of another one
and who has a strange gift for prophecy,
absolutely correct in every detail but
no one ever believes her
Whom Agamemnon decides is a lovely girl,
too good to waste on the open market and
a dab hand in the kitchen
all that experience with entrails
and he can’t resist one more souvenir
to remind him of his time abroad
Greetings from Ilium.

Let me get this straight.
So Clytemnestra, who’s taken up with a boy
with a completely forgettable name and
no chin whatsoever,
welcomes Agamemnon back from the war.
He’s killed her eldest daughter, stayed away
ten years doing a favour for his brother never
a postcard, no maintenance,
he’s got a shipful of women in chains
including Cassandra who’s frothing at the
mouth with prophecy and her frock falling
off her she’s in such a state but none of the
men listening, getting a good eyeful.

Let me get this straight.
Clytemnestra says hello darling
home from the war are we
fancy a bath?
And Agamemnon says “Hello love
I’ll just have a bit of a wash
and eat whatever you’ve got on the spit
and who’s this boy with no chin?”

So Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon in the
bath and knocks off Cassandra just for good
measure it’s a shame about the frock.

Just let me get this straight.
Electra, who’s always been the awkward one,
the middle child often is,
talks baby Orestes into killing his
mum and the boy with no chin
I’ve remembered his name
Because Clytemnestra’s been a bad wife and
shouldn’t have taken a lover or killed
Agamemnon I wouldn’t have thought
Electra was that close to her father really
but you never can tell.
And Orestes does and Electra goes mad and
runs amok through the garden and
comes to a bad end and
Then the Furies come into the picture
where have they been all this time
not a sizzle or hiss out of them before but
there you go; they’re on the case now,
tearing after Orestes, he
never gets a moment’s peace after this and all
because he’s killed his mother.

And let me get this straight:
Agamemnon and Orestes are the heroes.

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