“This is a poem by a man I have never met, Max Mundan but it’s almost as if he could see into my very soul” –T.C Blog post, 2014
Max has lived every word he’s ever written”. Anonymous
MAX MUNDAN is the evil-genius-step-child that lurks within the heart of acclaimed poet/playwright/author and provocateur David M. Rutter.
Max/David squeezed and screamed his way into this life February 26, 1963,the eldest of 4 siblings; he was known as a “colicky” baby and early pictures show a small child with the face of an adult staring intensely, almost bitterly, out at the world.
Max’s childhood ran the usual suburban track, by turns prosaic and voraciously complicated. Ridiculously bright (he graduated from high school with honors), he nevertheless found the tedium and posturing of his upper class, Southern California home unbearable. He chaffed at the tennis lessons, the rampant materialism and the population that seemed to value position and wealth above all else.
Never one to settle, Max’s frustration with the confines of a culture beset (at least in the 1970’s) with petty racism and class distinction, lead Max headlong into rebellion, punk rock and of course, drugs.
After an ill-fated stint a Humboldt State University, where he squandered nearly all of his school money on large quantities of drugs and alcohol, Max staggered into a phase of life best described as “f*cked up art-gypsy”.
Max moved back and forth from Northern to Southern California, fathering a child along the way. He pounded the pavement as an actor in Los Angeles, tried his hand at being a talent agent and managed a coffee cart at a mall in Beverly Hills. The only constant during this period was drugs, drugs and more drugs.
The early 1990’s found Max living in an “as-yet-un-gentrified” warehouse in sweltering, post riot, downtown Los Angeles. He was in his 30’s,he was hopelessly addicted to heroin and crystal meth. He was broken.
Max will be the first to tell you, it’s not just the addiction, it’s every heinous, criminal, spirit-crushing thing you do to support that addiction that ultimately destroys an addict. He should know he’s done them all.
Why isn’t Max dead? That is a very good question. By all rights he should be, just like countless doomed addicts he sponsored, friends he let kick on his couch or celebrities we all read about. But he’s not.
Blame his family for their timely intervention; blame the nameless counselor who talked him out of methadone and into rehab. Blame 12 steps, a week of detox, 6 months at Cri-Help in North Hollywood. Blame every sponsor who handled a midnight crisis call, every person who accepted him back into the fold and most of all, blame Max himself, for having the fortitude and the strength to make the decision to stay sober each and every day, over and over again.
It’s that constant dogged stubbornness that helped Max crawl out from the hole of his disease, to re-learn everything from scratch, to reach out and try to help others and ultimately, it’s what helped him find love.
Happily married and reconnected with his only son, Max’s sobriety has held steady going on 18 years. The biggest test came in August 2013, when his younger brother, Matt, tragically committed suicide; a shock that’s left Max and his family reeling and struggling to make sense out of a world tossed off it’s course.
Is there more to this story? You’d best believe it but better let the poet himself tell you. If you look closely, you can catch a glimpse of that bitter child, peering out at the world, afraid, yet ultimately defiant, running naked and free behind the soaring words.
The best way to experience Max’s work is to DIVE IN, fists-balled, teeth clenched, knuckles white and heart seared open. So please, take a deep breath and JUMP! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. – TR