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"Titus Becomes a Vegan" by Linda Hulme Leahy

Linda Hulme Leahy made the shortlist for the Shakespeare Selfie competition in the 19+ category. Congratulations Linda!

Here is her present-day soliloquy for Titus Andronicus from Titus Andronicus.

"Titus Becomes a Vegan" 
By Linda Hulme Leahy

Therein lies a corruption not seen since worms
Were thought to have masqueraded upon a bun as bovinous bait,
Though I am told such stories are the stuff that legends are made on.
I canst but feel a loathing that I, a noble citizen
Partake, not of pastured patty, but of fare the like of which were confined
Inside a putrid paddock where we are made a laughing stock
While patrician and plebian alike chew upon the corporate cud, 
Consummating a bilious bond with those who claim that
Billions and billions are served.

Unstop my mouth from this vile filth!

If I desire a proteined pasty, or that which I may through pretense 
Call this curious culinary casting a hot dog, 
I shall ride henceforth like a pre-owned bicycled Michael Pollan
To that paradise where neither hide nor haddock dwell.
Mine eyes seek out that place unlike that which I had never before desired,
Where lentil and lettuce lurk, rice roams with the unradiated radish,
Side by side with the self-diagnosed celiacs searching for a segregated
Unglutened glory that will alleviate their gluttonous gastronomic groans,
Where tofu is accepted as tasty, its soddened soy-base synergized with spice;

I hesitate. I stand there, upon the threshold staring at the door
Of the locally owned, co-operative organic food store.

If I pass beyond these gates, will I not become one of them?
Will I metamorphose into a mere metaphoric mutton 
Mimmicking those who hath heard the heraldic Food Inc. once, twice, thrice?
I pause. And then, like a dolphin swimming side by side with the untinned tuna
I join the schools of schooled, nay, a murmuration of enlightened souls
Untethered, unleathered, undulating like Demeter's breath upon an unsprayed bean field.
And now, as I funnel into the hipstered checkout line 
I feel a sweat bead upon my furrowed forehead;
Gadzooks! I feel a stab like a plough blade cut deep into the soils of my wallet!
But my mind's eye turns the fickle food facts as I can
And I convince myself that I am, indeed, sticking it to the man.

The winner of the Shakespeare Selfie competition will be announced on Friday, May 16.


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