But this could never be like Kansas

M.C. Childs

But this could never be like Kansas

   An Em and Almira Gulch Found poem and Pantoum

for 23 years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you
and here you are
and now, well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it
did you bring your broomstick with you

there’s the house and here you are
it wasn’t a dream
did you bring your broomstick
hold onto your heart

it wasn’t a dream. it was a place
I was stuffed and sewn together
hold onto your heart, hold onto the light
that’s all that’s left

sewn together
we know each other now don’t we
that’s all that’s left
spiritually, physically

we know each other
and now, well, … , I can’t say it
spiritually, physically
for 23 years, I’ve been dying to…

my pretty…
I’d turn back if I were you


Author’s Note: Recomposed line fragments from The Wizard of Oz (Film), Victor Fleming Director, 1939

M.C. Childs’ poems have been published in multiple venues from Abyss and Apex to Utopia, and have won awards from the Speculative Fiction Poetry Association. Prof. Childs is also an architect, urbanist, and the author of award-winning design books including Foresight and Design, The Zeon Files, Squares, and Urban Composition.

Backstory:  The Wizard of Oz is in my bones and I’ve been purposefully misquoting and recontextualizing it for years. Similarly, I enjoy found poems for their mythic resonance, and I’ve recently discovered that repetitious forms such as pantoums lend themselves well to found poems (particularly if you allow yourself to bend the form). 

Editor’s Notes & Image Credit: Miss Almira Gulch is a wealthy landowner who is a neighbor of Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and Dorothy Gale. She was created for the 1939 film to be a human counterpart of the Wicked Witch of the West both played by Margaret Hamilton. Using her status and power, she threatens to have Toto put to sleep for biting her.

She was introduced into the script by Noel Langley who envisioned her having a son named Walter who would have had the Oz counterpart of Bulbo. Later writers removed him leaving her childless in the final production. [cited from https://oz.fandom.com/wiki/Miss_Gulch]

Several images were recombined showing the duality of Almira’s alter-ego. Elvira [Almira] Gulch riding her Bike, “Wizard of Oz” (a GIF still from mattsko.wordpress.com) is overlaid by the witch and the landscaping (two separate images from pngegg.com).

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One Response to But this could never be like Kansas

  1. John Baumgartner says:

    This poem and its reading are simply “too cool for school! ” Thanks! You made my early morning coffee!

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