I write to you from sunny California! I hope your summer is sweet!
Ode to Disneyland
I am sitting on the ground in a faux town square,
far from the homeless on main street in my actual town,
next to me there is a baby on a father’s shoulders
she can’t be one yet,
she is blowing kisses to a princess
who waves from a faux tower
in an afternoon parade.
I am considering how the dancers are hired
and wondering if it is discrimination,
for the administration to choose
only hour-glass figured girls
who are decked out as Prince Ali’s harem
and the swarthy chimney sweeps
who twirl black brooms before Mary Poppins.
Is that forty something father
with the wife and two kids deciding
if given the opportunity
would he shag Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella?
Is the mother behind her sunglasses
fantasizing whether Aladdin or Prince Charming?
I am here with teenagers,
to save money we eat turkey legs
from vending carts for dinner,
they get headaches because they
are too stubborn to drink the lackluster
Los Angeles water from drinking fountains.
Finally I capitulate and for $3.50 each
buy them one drink a day,
they jockey for soda and spend
the time waiting in lines shaking the bottle
to bursting and then perfect
letting the carbonation out slowly,
once the flat soda is consumed they flip the bottles
and try to get them to land with the cap up.
They complain about the tedious wait
under monorails and space mountains,
circa 1950, that were built before
the invention of the computer
and I wonder what this generation will
have to show for themselves.
Yet surely there are Walts
among them, young men and women
who will solve global warming
and purify drinking water with lasers,
we will all live to 100 given their
stem cell research, their robots
will change our Depends.
Who knew when Walt drew a mouse
with exaggerated ears and his consort
in a red and white polka dotted dress,
when he coined "the happiest place on earth"
he would be able to sway even skeptics like me,
who deem nature my happy place
and upon considering a Disney vacation
would rather accidentally plunge to my death
while looking at the Grand Canyon,
or be carried out to sea while snorkeling
the Great Barrier reef,
who upon hitting “buy park hopper tickets now”
on my credit card wistfully said goodbye
to new wood floors and needed coats of house paint,
who writes this poem at a hotel
where a wifi choice is
“34 dollars 4 a fucking waffle.”
I must not consider the factory farms
to grow such turkey steroidal protein,
the light show with its bursts of greenhouse gases,
the firework finale with its clouds of sulfur and heavy metals.
Disney is the Fourth of July and Christmas
and a birthday party in Beverly Hills on steroids.
Disney is Costco and Wal-mart
having a baby and using Las Vegas as a surrogate.
It is what America does best,
super-size and overcommit,
mismanage resources and exploit base emotions,
but my goodness,
you could be a serial killer
and have your heart opened here.
Who else would hire people in their
seventies and give them a cadet jacket
so they look like royalty as they genially guide
you to your seat after an hour wait,
where else does a stuffed chipmunk
shake her booty in a parade
and then pretend to blush,
where other could you see hoards of people
in rocky road sweet clusters,
rocking sleeping babies,
people with boot casts hobbling,
grandmas with swollen ankles,
some who have had too many churros
in motorized wheelchairs
with a toddler riding like a masthead.
A little boy next to me said over twenty times
with each character that passed us by,
“Look Daddy, so cool, look!”
My kids who can fight over a cheese stick
were nearly arm in arm
as we trotted soaked and smiling
away from Splash Mountain.