in FERAL

Every one of my poems, muppoems, look to find the rainbow connection, but each is individually unique. They are all the same in that each has helped me to love my self and helped me to believe in some higher power unequivocally. Some of them are particularly special to me because not only were there connections through the screen, but at the same time I was in the writing process, there were related connections in my own real Time. This is one of those poems. Unfortunately, it is still too fresh and personal to talk about, but I have no problem sharing some of the connections between my poetic page and The Muppet Show stage: 

& Before a prosody class, I had only written one pantoum in my life (I had thought). In Season 2, Bernadette Peter’s sings “Take a Little One Step,” and I read somewhere that pantoums were like taking 2 steps forward and 2 steps back, and so that’s how her poem started out conceptually. When we discussed pantoums in class I was struck by the ancient history and the Malaysian roots. Puppetry also has an ancient history, and the first kind were shadow puppets, which also have Malaysian origins. So I started brainstorming which episode could fit. The only shadow puppets on the show that came to mind were in Ethel Merman’s episode, and I already had written a sestina for her episode. In Season 5, ventriloquist and puppeter, Señor Wences, is a guest star, and that entire episode is dedicated to the art of puppetry. And so this was how the concept started for this Green Metal muppoem. What’s amazing is that I checked my ancient history and looked at my old poem I first wrote watching his episode, and I was shocked to discover that I wrote a pantoum for him already! I must have been high at the time or so much time had passed I had no recollection. The poem I wrote was about an experience I had as a young boy in a treehouse. This was the pantoum:

You Show Me Yours, And I’ll Show You Mine

In a dead house that was a tree
All the boys were there, all three.
Only two looked down to see
The one that stood out on a trunk was me.
All the boys were there, all three.
They thought we were each making honey. The one that stood out on a trunk was me. For I was there to compare and study.
They thought we were each making honey. I was at a much higher degree.
For I was there to compare and study.
I was left alone, as the two ran free.
I was at a much higher degree.
It cost me a much greater fee.
I was left alone, as the two ran free. So it was not meant to be.
It cost me a much greater fee As only one looked down to see.
So it was not meant to be
In the dead house that was a tree.

& I was more impressed by this connection than I was by the poem. However, I did like the memories it brought back about building forts and treehouses, and the idea of bringing dead wood back to live trees, the same way that pantoum lines return. And so this what I started working from. What also ended up striking me though, is my pantoum for Bernadette Peters explores my childhood and enchantments in the woods and questions God, which are all themes that came back here as well, so I love that thematic connection. Now that I’ve made it, I think I will write another pantoum for Blue Water, and a pantoum for Purple Wind in the future. ~

& Let’s start with the title. In this episode, the Muppet, The Swedish Chef, sings Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking.” I thought about what it will be like when God gets so upset that He/She/They start walking over everybody. But the one wrathful God that gets my goat has always been the Catholic one, because it is the one I grew up, however there is wrathful God in many religions. What I’m attacking is not God, but people who use God’s name to commit acts of hatred and violence. I want to express that we need to start seeing God as more than the religious doctrine, so I said his boot size is 73 which is how many chapters are in the Roman Catholic Holy Bible. Now what really gave me a kick is that the Pope, of course, lives in Italy, and we all know that people say the country looks like a boot! ~

& The opening number has Pinocchio singing, “Puppet Man.” So here the first reference is to lies that grow like branches, and then the branches that lie in the end, and how they return. In the book, Pinocchio meets a Talking Cricket that warns the marionette’s wooden head that if he keeps on misbehaving that he will end up turning into a jackass. Well Pinocchio doesn’t like this, and he kills him right there and then in Chapter 4. Now in the Disney version, he is named Jiminy, represents his conscience, and doesn’t die. I am using the cricket to represent a conscience as well. I also use it to refer to silence, and also to refer to what I would expect might be the response of a reader after reading this thing. I really wanted to bring attention to it and so it gets a line all to itself. ~

& Señor Wences was a hilarious performer and had several catch phrases, so in in 1959, New York’s Joy Records released a two-side album with A, “S-All Right? S-All Right" and B, "Deefeecult For You – Easy For Me". ~

& This episode’s opening has Gonzo the Great referencing the Russian composer, Rachmaninoff. ~

& “Word salad ends” comes as reference to Orange Wood Muppoem #46, which is about my mother and Alzheimers. It is used as reference because in that episode puppeteer Bruce Schwartz is featured, and he returns in this episode to perform a Japanese ghost story with bunraku puppets. ~

& A clip of this episode is featured in John Landis's film, An American Werewolf in London. In the film, the main character has a dream where he is forced to witness Nazi zombies massacre his family while watching The Muppet Show. ~

& I wrote this poem in April, and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland is referenced. ~