Disney’s Nautilus
by Jonathan Yungkans

I got hooked on Bach through it
classical music and sea stories
James Mason as Nemo at his
pipe organ face twisting
the music increasingly distorted
and the klaxon sounding
time sink another warship

I loved the whole movie
but especially the Nautilus built
like some iron-plated sea monster
so when many years later
a replica sat in  the background
of a camera shot on Roy Disney’s
desk while he talked about
something else I spotted it
and said that had to be mine

a rainstorm at Disneyland
washed me within sight of it
the card payment I’d have
like the giant squid wrapped
around its hull that Nemo
and crew fought in an storm
green like an AMEX card
but Nemo and I both won
the Nautilus over my stereo
even when I don’t play Bach

IMAGE: Disney Nautilus Model issued in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The movie mentioned in the poem is the Disney version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Events transpired pretty much as in the poem. I got hooked on the film as a kid (along the with Gregory Peck/Virginia Mayo film Captain Horatio Hornblower) and saw the replica Nautilus one afternoon, watching the Disney Channel with my wife. I’ve probably had mine about 20 years and it’s not going anywhere. The Bach piece that Nemo (James Mason) plays at the beginning of the poem is the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. I’m still very much attached to it, as well.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jonathan Yungkans is a Los-Angeles-based poet, writer and photographer. Growing up in Gardena, California, not far from the Pacific Ocean and at the time still predominantly Japanese-American, left him with three things—an intense love for the sea, a deep appreciation for cultures other than his own, and the outlook (and resulting questions) of an outsider aware that he didn’t quite fit into his surroundings. Subsequent years as an ESL teacher and a publications editor for a multi-cultural Christian ministry only added to the latter two of these. His work has  appeared in Poet Lore, Poetry/LA, Twisted Vine Literary Journal,  and other publications.