Best Poetic Imagery


::An unlit stage.  The shadowy form of a chipmunk can be seen hunched over a desk, mumbling to himself as he scratches away on a sheet of paper.  Slowly, a single spotlight begins to illuminate the chipmunk.  Eventually, it reveals the identity of the chipmunk as Chip. He writes a little more, then pushes back from the desk to read from the well-worked sheet before him::


Chip: Shall I compare thee to—


::Frowning, he flicks a small black speck off the page, and begins anew::


Chip: Shall I compare thee to an alphabetically-indexed filing system?

          Thou art more organized and more logical.

          Careless hands do disrupt my careful and scientifically-determined ordering,



::Growling angrily, he abruptly balls up the offending sheet of paper, and tosses it into the trash can behind him, where many similar balls already wait. To his surprise, it never hits the ground::


Dale: Whatcha workin' on, Chip-ol'-buddy-ol'-pal? Can I help?


::Blushing furiously, Chip reluctantly turns his chair around.  Standing there is Dale, with Chip's most recently rejected effort in his best friend's paw::


Chip: Weellll...


::He momentarily hesitates, then sighs.  There was no avoiding it; Dale wasn't going to leave him alone until he got an answer::


Chip:  I've been...writing.  Poetry.


::He glances over at the pile of wadded discards::


Chip (ruefully): Or trying to, anyway.


::Dale had already begun smoothing out the crumpled ball he'd caught::


Dale: I'm sure it can't be that bad.


::As his eyes start scanning the page, his initial smile turns to an uncomfortable grimace, followed by his eyes glazing over.  Finally, he gives a low, despairing whistle::


Dale: This is... this is...


Chip: Yes?


Dale: This is awful, Chip.  What's wrong? You're like the smartest guy I know.


::Chip shrugged nervously and that told the rest to his friend::


Dale: It's... it's supposed to be a love poem, isn't it? To Gadget?


::Chip didn't have to say a word; his sizzling face said it all::


Dale: Chip, Chip, Chip...


::Dale shook his head scoldingly::


Dale: You need to loosen up! Have fun with it! Writing poetry, it's all about creativity, and getting in touch with your feelings and stuff.  As a great hero once told me, 'You've gotta use your imaginative.'"


::Chip frowns, puzzled::


Chip: When did I ever say that?


::Dale ignores him::


Dale:  Look, I'll help you out, okay? I'll write your poem for you. I've got a great imaginative, it'll be a snap.


Chip: You? Write poetry?


::At any other time, Chip would have burst into laughter, but he was desperate.  Instead, he was just suspicious::


Chip: Why would you help me write a love poem to Gadget?"


Dale (grinning): C'mon, Chip! We're best friends! I just hate seeing you all moody like this.


::Chip seemed to consider this, then finally nodded::


Chip:  Okay.


::The other chipmunk smiled, then pulled a sheet of paper from behind his back::


Dale: As it so happens, I've got a wonderful poem already written.  Just gotta fix a couple things...


::He pulled out a pencil stub, made a few quick changes, then handed the updated poem over to Chip. In shock, he took the sheet from Dale's hand and began skimming quickly. Frowning in concentration, his eyes widened, then started spinning.  He hadn't even gotten halfway down the page::


Chip: YOU wrote this?


::Dale just smiled modestly::


Chip: Thisis great! Amazing! Beyond amazing! Gadget's bound to love this!


::He stood up and gave Dale a heartfelt hug::


Chip: I have to show this to her right away!


::Grabbing his fedora from off the desk, Chip quickly exits stage right. Meanwhile, Dale casually walks over to the desk, pulls a few sheets from a pile in one corner, and balances a pair of pince-nez spectacles on his nose::


Dale: Ahem, '2006 Golden Acorn Award nominees for Best Poetic Imagery.'"


::He looks up at the audience, and grins::


Dale: It takes a certain kind of mind to come up with really spectacular and vivid poetic imagery.


::He taps the side of his head for emphasis::


Dale: It also takes both a brilliant imagination that can create and hold that image in your head, and an equally brilliant intellect, to find just the right words to describe it all.  The relatively small number of nominees in this category testifies to how rare that combination truly is.


::Dale chuckles and puts the spectacles back into one of his bottomless pockets::


Dale: Enough with the fancy talk, though.  I know what you've all been waiting for.


::He quickly flips through the sheets in his paws::


Dale: And the nominees are:


Anti Poem #2, by Basil Carver

Phantasmogoria Gadgetica, by Ray Jones

Anti Poem #6, also by Basil Carver


Dale: And the winner is...


::Dale pauses dramatically, then looks down at his paws in confusion.  He seems to be missing something... Running his paw over Chip's desk, scattering the detective's careful stacks into a haphazard mess, he finally plucks out an envelope. "... Phantasmogoria Gadgetica!"


::Ray Jones walks up to the podium. He's dressed very casually in slacks and dress shirt. Gadget, on his shoulder, wears a t-shirt and shorts::

Ray: I hope everyone will forgive our attending the festivities in such casual attire. Back in the so-called 'real world' Gadget and I are hard at work on my classes. It's really eating up time!

::Raising his hand to his shoulder for Gadget to hop into his palm, he then lowers her gently to the podium before the microphone. It's pointed above her head, so he has to adjust it for her::

Gadget: Darned human-sized stage! But there wasn't time to break out the gigantico gun to make adjustments.

Ray: Anyway, I'd like to thank you all so much for voting "Phantasmogoria Gadgetica" the winner of the 'Best Poetic Imagery' award. And I'd like especially to thank Gadget for being the best poetic image I've ever had the pleasure of working with!

Gadget: Thanks everyone, and thank you, Ray, for putting me in the poem. We toons depend on human attention for our existence and you gave me quite a boost with some of the fans.

Ray: I wouldn't have written that poem for any other toon, Gadget, would never even have thought about it.

Gadget: Since this award is for poetic imagery, why don't you tell the Café audience about where some of that imagery came from?

Ray: Good point. Well, I guess to start with, there's the River Walk. The basis of that is the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. The old River Walk, mostly, before they tore a lot of it out to build the River Walk Mall. That's all mixed up with lots of other scenes - from other places, from movies and pictures, and, importantly, from dreams. I don't remember dreams very often, but one theme is places that, when I'm asleep, seem so familiar that even though I've never seen them in real life, they still feel like places I've been after I wake up.

The foggy, drizzly evening comes from here at home, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Down on the waterfront, the weather comes in like that - a fog so heavy that it's "raining out" all around you. That's always seemed especially magical to me. It's hard to describe - it's sort of sad and melancholy and yet at the same time there's a ... I don't know how else to say this .... There's a *promise* to it - a feeling that something wonderful and mystical is all around you, just out of sight. A feeling that you could reach out your hand and ... find another hand. The hand of that someone special, your soulmate, the person you need to complete you, to walk with you, to be with you always and forever inseparable. I have always intensely enjoyed being out and about in that weather. That someone - that companion - is almost there when conditions are like that. You feel you can hold them close...

::Tenderly, Ray places his hand next to Gadget on the podium, just brushing her leg::

Ray: .. you feel like you're window-shopping with them in the stores along the street. Not any stores you've ever seen before, but a sort of dream state - halfway between this reality and some other, better world. Like I said, the drizzle, the cold, the sense of separation and loneliness pushes you together and makes everything joyful despite the dark - happier *because* of the dark - because the dark sets off your joy at being together. Ducking into a restaurant for coffee and pastry - snuggling together into the corner of a booth. Sharing nibbles of your food. The sense of *intimacy* - the sense of being with another whom you can understand and trust so totally that they cease to *be* an "other" and become an extension of yourself.

I keep mentioning the feeling of being in a dream. That's what a poem like this - a world such as this - creates. A dream. You can feel that it's not 'reality', whatever that is, but something that should be reality, something that's reality someplace else just out of reach. A reality that you could disappear into if only you could turn the right way or find some sort of key or somehow just step between the shadow and the wall into ... some other state. Some state where you could meet a sweet, wonderful woman with great big ears and a tail and a glorious mane of golden hair and blue eyes infinitely deep. And you could be together - beyond all disappointment, beyond all loss, beyond all sadness and boredom and frustration. And that's what this imagery is about - catching a glimpse of that world, and of her. She and it are there - emotions and feelings and yearnings beyond all words, but these poor words are an effort to point in the right direction, if only you can go past them....

::Gadget hugs Ray's hand::

Gadget: I guess I can't add to that except to say 'thank you' to all the fans who care about us and try to keep us alive in memory. It means so much to us that you do care.... and ... and ... Golly, I think we'd better go now!

::Ray lifts her up to his shoulder. Both wave to the assembled audience as he shuffles awkwardly off the stage.


Dale: Once again, congratulations to Ray! And now—


::From somewhere backstage, there comes a loud, cracking smack, followed by the sound of hastily-scurrying feet::


Dale (uncertain): And now…


::Chip walks in from stage right, with the burning red mark of a dainty (but strong) hand on one cheek, and a stunned, very angry expression on his face::


Dale (innocently): How'd Gadget like the poem?


Chip (soft & dangerous): Dale, you can't make me believe you wrote this.  Even I didn't understand some of it.


Dale: Ya know, Chip, I never actually [i]said[/i] I wrote it…


::He winks at the Anti cheering section of the audience. Chip is momentarily stunned.  Then he howls like a mortally-wounded animal. Dale has just enough time for a single "Gotcha last!" before a furious Chip chases him off stage left::