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Bugs and Roosevelt
for Jane Kilroy and Chuck Jones

Dreamed 1982/5/2 by Chris Wayan

THAT DAY

Find a phone message from my ex-girlfriend Kay--the first contact in years. She's in Mississippi. In a state mental hospital! She's been in for sixty days so far. Has friends there. Our son, adopted four years ago by her brother's family, is five now, talks, can be phoned. She left the number. Wants to write me. Doesn't seem to want rescue, just contact.

I feel torn. Scared to call back. Fear her--not her temper, though that's formidable--fear she'll scent sympathy, come out here, latch onto me and use me for support... again. Nearly killed me last time. Yet I'm lonely, horny, bored--stuck in mere survival. I long for life. But not with her.

THAT EVENING

Chinese dinner at The Seven Seas with my friend Tom. He knows I like dreams, so he tells me a strange one: "All my relatives were cartoon animals. One was a penguin, one was Bullwinkle the Moose..."

THAT NIGHT...

1: JANE
I dream Jane, my sister's friend,
has been my love for long.
Short, rosy, kind, so calm--
unlike Kay, my so fero-
cious ex. I'm happier. Athough
our new jobs are uneasily odd:
we both work in a stylish mod-
eling agency run by a seer,
a prophetess.

Her tower's a spy agency too.
Agency, agents. Slightly confu-
sing. But at last, the Cold War
strips on down to hot and bare.
From a nearby pine-dark peak
a lone mortar pounds at our
tower all day--chewing rebar
concrete to grit. Models flee.
Blind war gnaws our agency
down into night.

A couple peers over a wall at incoming mortar rounds. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan.
2: THE MORTAR
I slip up slopes of hissing pine
to sabotage that mortar if I can.
Find no guards--not one man--
just a duct-taped wired device,
a hollow-air torus of coil.
That's no gun! A cyclotron?
But crude as a movie
Frankenstein.

The gunner floats in free-fall
in the doughnut hole, awhirl
faster, faster--tornado cloud!
His twister gropes the slopes,
arcs across valley to agency.
Wham! The man's both gunner
and round.

Meet the mad maker of this
rare device: a live cartoon
as tall as me. Bugs Bunny!
Carrot, cunning. Daffy Duck
walks by. Bugs croons a con:
"Couldja stand over there in that
doughnut hole for juuust a sec?"
Slaps the breaker with a laugh.
Snared Daff!

Bugs Bunny lures Daffy Duck into his cyclotron. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
3: PUNISHMENT AND CRIME
The black duck whirls and blurs,
a churning funnel of quack,
lisps "You SFLEAZY rabbith!"
A cyclone of furious black
stretches a tentacle vine
round the bunny, drags Bugs
into the vortex he designed
and triggered himself.
Duck justice!

Whoosh! They fly off fused.
Funny. Inside, it don't seem
tornadish, but a flying saucer--
well, ring. Still a doughnut! But so
tight for two. Not three, two. Oh,
I'm here, no mere viewer, but I'm
--oh, no. I'm Bugs Bunny! I
planned the crime.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck stuck in a flying donut. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan.
4: WAR AND PEACE
Below us mortar rounds bass-drum:
what an advertising boom!
Who started this war? Wasn't me--
I'm just a crazy bunny who loves
inventing! Why should I shell
my own girlfriend, plus a burrow
(well bureau) of hot fashion babes?
No carrots in that for me! My prank's
outgrown fun. A war? No thanks!
To quit, I gotta come clean.
(If I can. I'm Bugs! My instinct says
"G'waaaan! Be mean.")

It takes a while to placate Daff
(ruffled feathers) till he'll even half-
believe a sociopath like me'd
ever lay off my trickster game
just because we're in the same
twister. But at last he merely sulks;
hears me out. "Look, Daff, I got
a plan to stop this stupid shoot-
in' war right at the root."

The devil of war and the angel of peace tug at Bugs Bunny. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
5: TIME BRANCHES
I pilot our black vortex back
into the past, to the soil of war.
"Is it older than Hitler's Reich?
In the Depression, after, before?"
"Whadda ya mean," says Daffy,
"Affter the Depfression?
Stfill ain't over, you know that!"
"I know whaaaat?"

We argue confusedly. Conclude
at last that we grew up in two
forking garden-paths of time!
Daffy's never even heard
of "Franklin Delano Roosevelt"
--an over-florid name, absurd--
instead he knows a solid line
of leather-brained Republicans
flintily presiding o'er
Depression past its time. It's clung
like untreated clap, discharging on
the workers of America since
nineteen thirty-one.

I set course for '40, rather than
my '29 crash, or his '31. Why?
Dunno--I'm Bugs! But I hit pay
dirt, and right away:

Bugs Bunny decides to time-travel and change history. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan.
6: GYPSY FORETELLING
Below us, quilting a grassy hill,
a throng waves banners: "FDR!"
A campaign speech! He's here!
But heckled. Barging in at far
left is a gypsy wagon full of young
protestors, whose signs foretell
just what'll happen if Roosevelt
fails to enact the New Deal. Predict
debacle in detail!

Must be time-gypsies--like me, from
a timebranch unDepressed. They chant:
"Confront what you've finessed, or your
Great Depression'll stretch and drone
on and on!" As Daffy's tragic fork
has apparently gone.

Swing low the doughnut, till they duck.
Land by Franklin, about to speak. And we
better ensure he earns his famous buck.
A hand-crank phone beside me bells
silver, shy. I pick up. A drawl: "Hello?
Jawje Washin'ton Cahvuh heah. Delano
theah? Ah mus' speak t' him." But will
he hear? Or dismiss an old black Ag
researcher as obscure?

Time-Gypsies demand radical change from Roosevelt in 1940. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
7: CRANK CALLS
I think I see how this branch erred,
deferred the needed Depression-cure.
Overslept! America requires
regular naps: let sanity lapse
to red dusk and Republican night,
as folk digest reform--though all
Federal law will stall.

This branch's Roosevelt, like all,
charms--but courtesy silver-spooned
won't help this Democrat confront
rude truths. It's radical dawn!
Can he duel the rich? Got the balls?
Will he hear wake-up calls from
gypsies, blacks, by antique phone?
Literal crank calls!

I phone Jane, but I spook her: my
voice sounds wrong. Crank call too! So
I urge "Come talk in person!" Though
how will she take to Rabbit Me,
now that I'm just a big cartoon?
Oh, and mad. Bugs has a bad
rep. A trickster known.

Bugs bunny uses an antique hand-crank phone. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan.
8: JANE AGAIN
Blue-green dusk when Jane arrives.
My dad comes too. As Roosevelt
starts his Fireside Talk, we sit
sofa'd round the recommended Fire.
Cozy. Jane beside me's hot enough
to peel her flowery blouse right off.
Snuggles up to me. Bare breasts
caress my cartoon fur. I guess
she likes rabbitude. (I go all night
now--tail short, they say, love long).
Jane shines sleek in firelight.
Bliss. Just one potential wrong,
one doubtful errrk.

Can Roosevelt face down the Right,
or must we organize the fight
to pull us back to a saner fork?
Soon enough, by fireglow,
this Franklin Delano will show
if leaders work.

Bugs Bunny & human girlfriend Jane listen to FDR's fireside talk. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

NOTES THE NEXT DAY A couple peers over a wall at incoming mortar rounds. Thumbnail sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan.

2015 FOLLOW-UP

Bunny angel, bunny devil. Sketch of a dream, 'Bugs and Roosevelt', by Wayan.


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