Matt Mason

Watching Curious George with my Daughters
by Matt Mason

Watching Curious George with my Daughters

It’s okay,
largely due to the characters’ appreciation for donuts.
You do need to overlook the reality of a man
obsessively dressed in yellow
taking a monkey from the African wild,
oh, colonial metaphor, oh,
fashion disaster.

That said,
I like how the TV show changes
Professor Wiseman from man to woman
as, come on, the books are pretty short on estrogen, mainly
misogynistic yellow plunderers in their New York City skyscrapers
looking down on the world
and eating donuts,
perhaps plunder donuts
built by the sweat of migrant wheat harvest,
slave-grown sugar imported from despotic lands,
fight the power,
good people,
fight the monkey-stealing, donut-gnashing powers that be!

Margaret and H.A. Rey wanted to call him Fifi.
The New York publishers balked,
made them change his name.

Margaret and H.A. Rey also found it
useful to change their own name:
Reyersbach,
was tough to market, then,

was tough to show yourselves as German Jews escaped to Paris, they fled
the swastikas on bicycles, colorful drawings of monkeys in their satchels, biked
from Paris to New York.

Oh, Fifi,
oh, George,
you escape
episode after episode

from dangers, from miscommunications,
hijinks at every weiner dog or Italian stereotype
or dinosaur skeleton, you
ride a bicycle to Central Park,

never letting your face show
the strain, you smile for the ones who made you, and
my daughters smile, too,
with you.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Matt MasonMatt Mason has a Pushcart Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards; was a Finalist for the position of Nebraska State Poet; and organizes and runs poetry programming for the State Department, working in Nepal, Romania, Botswana and Belarus. He has over 200 publications in magazines and anthologies, including Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’ Almanac. His most recent book, The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, was released in 2013. Matt lives in Omaha with his wife, the poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown, and daughters Sophia and Lucia.

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