You don’t expect a man best known for cutting off a cop’s ear to be an accomplished poet.
Perhaps one of the great movie tough guys of the past twenty years or so, Michael Madsen doesn’t initially seem the type of guy to pick up a pen and ponder his innermost feelings. But, in addition to appearing in movies like “Reservoir Dogs,” “Donnie Brasco,” and “Kill Bill, Vol. 2,” he’s actually written several poetry books, the latest of which is the bizarre and deeply fascinating 46 Down: A Book of Dreams and Other Ramblings.
The poems in this newest volume deal with the facts of his life – his family, his pets, his past and the unusual brand of fame that comes with being a character actor (the book’s title refers to the time that he was an answer to a crossword puzzle). Madsen isn’t prone to the pretentious self-important ramblings of many celebrity poets, but is honest, straightforward, at times profane but never really vulgar. As the title indicates, he is a bit prone to rambling (for instance, the poem “The Doer” contains the line “I’ve good nights and good days/ good sleep and good chicken wings.” Huh? Chicken wings?), but even his most bizarre musings seem to come straight from the heart.
Much like his screen persona, his writing voice is witty, tough and oddly affecting. He’s often even profound, as in the touching, intelligent “Yesterday", in which he reflects the part of his life that has passed. His writing, like his acting, is never boring and, often quite memorable.