Archives for category: poetry

the shoes were good — they had power
not so much the hair bow and polka dots
that’s how it was — one step forward, one back
working with the boys I called it
each of them so eager to be the one
dropping their pants like their cock
was the first I had ever seen
waiting for me to do something
with that stupid look on their face
not Donald — he was disturbing
The Mouse was the worst
we reached an understanding
I don’t tell, he doesn’t tell
which is unfortunate
as I could tell so much
but I won’t because it means
each scene I do with the twisted
little rodent is a victory

(The better half of cartoon’s power couple. Properly Minerva Mouse, she carries herself with the dignity of a goddess. If I was impressed with him, I am in awe of her. First appeared in 1928 in Steamboat Willie, she has been the Mouse’s on screen paramour ever since. GG)


That was my fucking mountain they used in Fantasia.
You know why Minnie is my fucking girl — she does what she’s told.
Not like that fucking duck that can’t keep 3 nephews in line.
As that miserable fucking long eared road kill rodent would say, “what a Maroon.”
I keep Pluto because fucking Goofy is an abomination, and I like to rub it in his nose.
What I need is a big fucking pill to take all my problems away.
What I really need is a complete re-write of Jessica Rabbit — we’ll start by making her a fucking mouse.
Walt fucking Disney can shine my rosy posterior with his nose.

(I have to admit I arrived at the Mansion without announcement. What I didn’t expect was for himself to answer the door. Aloof, inscrutable, I won’t attest to his mental state at the time, nonetheless, his charisma and presence was undeniably The Mouse.
He first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928, and nothing has been the same since. GG)

Excuse me, the name is not Oswald
you have clearly mistaken me
for another rabbit. Good Day Mademoiselle!

Why do you continue to hound me?

If we speak, one time, my choice of venue
will you please leave me alone, afterwards?
I will require your promise as a gentlecreature

You mentioned you have already interviewed
Koko, so the effects of elasticity are already apparent
to you. It can rot the mind. Why did it not affect me
like it did him? It is all a matter of control, more precisely
who is in control of you, and how far will they go to keep you?
Do you understand? No, of course you don’t.
There will be no further contact unless initiated by me

This is all I care to share:
it was easier then
jokes were easier
action was easier
rabbits were easier
It didn’t matter if
we did the same joke
over and over
no one had seen
anything like it
audiences demanded it
they wanted to see
the same thing, over and over
can you imagine the roars
of laughter that followed
each screening
how they wanted more and more

there’s only so much to give
before a rabbit’s ears fall off
and don’t fit back on
then it’s just business
But I miss it
every day

I could have been the Mouse you know
it all came down to money
the bane of creativity
art, nobility, beautiful
roly poly rabbits
whose kisses turned into
hearts in the air

(The beginning of the dynasty. Disney never got over losing Oswald and I could tell neither did the rabbit. One of the greats, some say unfairly sidelined. The original, the star of his time, Oswald first appeared in 1927, captain of a trolley. A foreshadowing of a certain captain of a steamship? GG)

it’s tough when no one understands you
typecasting was the bane of my career
I auditioned for The Champ, nothing against Wallace Beery
but I was born for that part
it was sheer prejudice I didn’t get it
no one understood I could appreciate the finer things
no one wanted to know me
I was the hood, the thug
who fit into their little fictions ever so neatly
I was the “ruin the party” kind of guy
which is as far from truth as can be imagined
I was discovered on the Continent
Saint Peter of the cards and cups
a conjurer, prestidigitator extraordinaire
I performed before royalty!
I charmed each and everyone, and I believed
I could snatch the new illusion of film from thin air
spin it into eternal magic — to transform
the delight of hand quicker then the eye
the practiced patter, the stutter
of misdirected anticipation
the delight of the reveal
turn it into light and sound
what can I say? I was as much seduced as creator
but film, it stripped it all away, made me
black and white
and this is what remains — I’m the bad guy
if I only I had known
but it’s too late now for the road not taken

The real tragedy is — do you want to know want the real tragedy is?
I make a good living running a franchise line of kennels.
I wasn’t invested in the part like so many others, you know?
Ruff, ruff; ruff, ruff — what is that about? We’re all cartoon
characters, c’mon, grow up. I admit it. I hung on too long.
All I wanted was a speaking part. I figured Andy Panda grew
into it, why not me? So, I stuck with it way too long, waiting
for the big break, the only one who didn’t know it was never
going to happen. Then I quit. They found another dummy,

I mean that both literally and figuratively, to take my place.
In return, I traded in on my name to make a good life for myself.
It’s my name, I never heard from anyone, no one’s going
to bite. Chasing the tail is all behind us. Let live and let live.
Besides … a kennel? C’mon, who else are you going to trust
to take care of your best friend than a cartoon character dog?
Give me a break.

I like it out here in Arizona — lots of room to run wild, dig,
chase the wildlife. Rrrr. I sponsor a local theatre company.
I’ve written and directed some plays that have been well received:
Exit the Mouse, Duck of Death, and my favourite, Goofy Down.

(P, is in my humble opinion, an underrated genius. A cartoon dog within a cartoon, nothing but a dog, he could own the screen. The charade, was, and is, breathtaking. Pluto premiered in 1930, an obvious heir to Fitz’s throne. All hail the love of the faithful dog! GG)

I realized early no one who heard me would take me seriously

I decided to let my mind do the talking.
The abstract reflected in the real opened to me.
The shock of understanding was delirious and irresistible.
Oppenheimer, Einstein, Bohr, I knew them all,
through the mail.
I would send coy letters with very little personal information,
filled with snippets of formulae I had devised
to be alluring, insightful, so none of them could resist me.
I was their unsung lover, muse who opened the secrets of the stars
and the factories that birthed them;
I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

It was a total accident I got the part.
I kept moving West until I hit the Pacific Ocean
I was in L.A. and saw a handbill advertising
“thin actress with a voice that can break glass,
chalk squeaking on a blackboard,
a woman who will drive men mad”
I thought, I can do this — who would have known
I was made for the part?

(Ms. Oyl is arguably one of the greatest and oldest of cartoon history. She first walked onto the silver screen in 1919, ten years before her paramour Popeye. To have spoken with her, and recorded her innermost history was an honour. GG)

at first getting bent was funny, it made
the jokes better, but constant transformation
can wear on you after a while, you start
to lose yourself, what am I saying? I lost
that self long gone, another past, the wind
can carry thoughts if you listen closely
did you know that? where is my dog?
I’m sorry, I keep forgetting myself
I’ll try to remember for your sake
well it was awful exciting to be one of the first,
we had no idea giants would follow, did you know
giants have no shadows, it’s true, it’s how they blend
into mountains so you never see them and they can talk
to the sun and moon because all they have is mouths and eyeballs…
don’t be upset it comes and goes, a tidal thing
I try not to be upset by it, I roll with it, like swimming
it seemed we could do anything in black and white
I think colour had a really negative impact on me
I don’t see it that well for one thing, like people
will tell me it’s an orange but I don’t see it!
that was a joke, you’re not laughing, no laughs,
no more jokes, no more rolling up the scenery,
look behind that curtain will you see if my dog is there,
he has a bad habit of hiding in the shadows,
I’m going to go now, watch out for my feet

(Koko’s first appearance was in 1919. He is the first, and most of the cartoon folk agree, the original, the one who pointed the way. He showed us what could be done. Yes, he’s not a funny animal, but Fitz was the first cartoon dog in film. Koko was discovered in a sanitarium on the West Coast. Fitz has not been seen for many years. I hope to find him one day. GG)

shred dance 1

world in flames, world attacks,
tell me, why do children dance?
moment of doubt, fear of pain,
tell me, how does dance remain?
how to explain, but by naming names:
grands jeté, plié, the pirouette,
the dance hidden in shadow,
more than silhouette. the trace
of the body, written in moonlight,
a new language so easily understood,
the place of foot, en pointe, no need
to explain to a child the fascination
of figure and plane, instead I watch you
profound, your dance and what will always
remain, you move transported,
beauty concealed, revealed,
your revel in the creation of this
moment, your answer to my doubt,
is dance real?

image by Ward Maxwell

fall is not death but renewal
the soil yawns, and beneath its
colourful quilt, prepares to dream
of new things, new growth to come

fall is a mirror we can avoid or face
the chance to look at ourselves and see
the truth, or turn away, fearful of the shape
we will appear in, what deeds we will wear

fall is the time when the dreams of the land
reach deep into another place, far from the
soles of our feet, into both memory and future
to nurture what grows and what is to die

fall is the race we began so casually, but
now run in earnest, when time means
something, the time when you can fail
fall is the challenge you cannot ignore

Printeverything is a lie; what is a lie?
what can be excused; what must be forgotten?
when the blood is on your hands
the moment you say you’re innocent
do you blame, or just deny? proclaim
you’re just one of the misunderstood
raise an army to fall upon shame
conquer all that is love; what is love?

nothing is true; what is truth?
the stub of a toe; the stab of a broken heart?
when nothing could be further from the truth
do you stand behind it, walk all over it,
or just pretend it’s always been that way?
when you stand alone in a crowd
wearing your bomber’s vest
do you say, this is for love; what is love?

everyone has their opinion; there are no facts
erase each ugly moment, the loss of time will go
unnoticed; the heart is a contagion, release this feeling
as you clean the blood stains from your sheets
imprison the sympathetic, because they’ll
be the first to go; when you storm the temple
remember to sing your song as you carry your torch
does anyone really know what love is; what is love?

Poem and type illustration Ward Maxwell

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