By Barbara Louise Ungar
Disneyland is there to conceal the fact that it is the ‘real’ country, all of ‘real’ America, which is Disneyland.—Jean Beaudrillard
An iconography of excrement,
I might have said, at seven,
had I known the words.
Instead, I sulked in baleful silence
to torment my family all day.
Precocious, I knew how to ruin car trips
by getting carsick, but that was involuntary
genius; this, deliberate retribution:
How dare they bring me there?
I who scorned birthday parties,
even as a tot resisting
coerced laughter. Tiny pilgrim
dragged through the Inferno of California
sun on asphalt: each new line
descending to a deeper circle; each ride,
a worse contrapasso punishment.
A diminutive French critic
lacking only a candy Gauloise Bleu
dangling from my disdainful lips:
My townspeople, what are you thinking!
No more Mickey Mousse,
I might have signified, had I
known how. Like any cartoon animal,
I recognized bad magic by instinct.
Instead, I simply cried.
From Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life.