When people ask me why I write poetry I tell them it’s a means of expression, a way of magnifying and distorting minutiae most people pass by without a second glance. I am inspired to wax in verse about the most beautifully tragic things in life: unrequited love, loss of childhood innocence…and actors whose relevance has fallen by the wayside. Particularly, I’m intrigued by what I like to call “P-List Actors.” They are the gallant men named Paul who have braved the harsh light of fame just to recoil into the cool, dank darkness of obscurity. We honor two such Pauls here today:
Ode to a Paul Who Was Only Ever Thought of as Strange
The year of Twiggy, LBJ, the Green Bay Packers and you,
a simple infant introduced to the world
without knowing the fame that was due.
They named you Paul as your toes wiggled and your fingers curled
I first came to know your shining star
as you outran Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes
That unforgettable scene, you painted blue in a malfunctioning car,
you really were ahead of your time
We met again with you bearded and in red
next to Vince Vaughn—Rotten Tomatoes tore you a new one
but they just didn’t see the intricately woven comedic thread.
Number one in the box office until Golden Compass blinded you with cinematic sun
The truest character you ever played: John Adams. A man
similar to you in that he does what is right, rather than what the plebs demand
Ode to a Paul Who Was Only Ever Thought of as Hot
You burst onto the scene with your flannel and social-consciousness riff,
a brazen academic in the face of Beverly Hills,
the wave of sobriety in a society drunk on superficiality and as-if.
Cher wasn’t the only one totally buggin’– we all had chills
Then I watched with delight
as you and Jason Seigel jammed out at a Rush concert
I saw your soul take flight
and knew you were the the type of guy to go to a restaurant to only order apps and zerts
Here’s the freefall to your career’s climb,
the fire-your-agent moment,
the question that forces me to break scheme of rhyme:
Why the fuck did you do Ant Man.
You are more than the sum of your stupidly beautiful face and poorly chosen parts,
You, my dear Paul, are a work of undervalued art