* first published in The Marbled Sigh

This poem connects with Jim Nabors' guest appearance in Season One of The Muppet Show. It is the very first in the Yellow Rocks book, and, therefore, the first of the entire collection. 

& This poem was criticized for being a bit boring and lacking an emotional pull. I see where this comes from, perhaps even moreso knowing how much labor went into it. I was intimidated as hell by this first poem in this puppet's project. It took a long time to write, but even longer to start writing.

& I had set out around 2005 to write 144 different and unique poems, and this one, #1, is the first in the series— that's what the numbers mean. The fact is, well it's 2023 now, so it feels like forever and a day to finally see this piece published. I made peace with the criticism that had followed by comparing my poem to a pilot episode of a TV show. Pilots are very difficult to achieve successfully. Two of the most important thinks Jerry Juhl did with The Muppet Show was to play with puns and double meaning, and so that was one of the main goals for me in writing this, and I think I achieved that.

& Jim Nabors is most famous for his role as Gomer Pyle, a good ol' boy in the U.S.M. Corp.  Although Rita Moreno's episode aired first in New York, I consider this episode of The Muppet Show to be the premiere episode.  I have always felt so because this episode introduces my main man, my Muppet, Scooter, who I find to be the unsung hero of the show. Additionally, Carol Burnett had always featured Nabors in the premiere episode of each season of her long-running show and considered him her “good luck charm."

& My feelings for Scooter is one reason why I chose to write the poem as a (anti?)heroic couplet.  I also chose couplets because it is revealed in this ep that Jim Nabors is a Gemini. Life exists by way of opposites, and the poem originated from a simple idea that all pupils of life will grow up having to walk through depressions of valleys. These valleys have contrary forces on both sides. The Muppet Show always plays with words, so here, the end rhymes are all homophones, except the "wind" book ends used to foreshadow the sixth and last section of the series, PURPLE Wind.

& The first season of The Muppet Show is the only season to feature the globe of Earth backstage.  This is one of the few episodes where we can see it, and this nerdy knowledge (along with the "Muppet Newsflash") is what sparked references to the universe and outer space.

& Every episode of The Muppet Show has a UK Spot that did not originally air in the US.  The spot in this episode was of "Dog Eat Dog."  In the US DVD release, this sketch was added, however two other scenes were removed.  One was of “The Danceros,” a dancing Muppet who ends up getting tangled up in his own two feet (both pairs). The other scene was of the musical number, “Gone with the Wind.”  I just love the way the Muppets perform this number, but I mean, I love it all. Still, this is super special to me because not only does the number remind us of how much we take our loved ones for granted, but also the weather.

& Scooter’s Muppeteer was Richard Hunt. Before joining with the Henson gang, Hunt was a weather reporter.

& Scooter represents a young eager student. The song "Indian Love Call" from Rose Marie made me think of one of Life's pupils on a sort of vision quest. All the Muppets have these big round black pupils, and so there is a play on this meaning of the word, just as every line has a dichotomous nature, either with itself or with The Muppet Show. Behind the Scooter puppet’s eyes, u will find nothing. His eyes bulge out within his glasses, leaving voids behind them. This makes a more literal reality out of the second line in stanza 14.  

& Scooter is privileged, and he got his job because of his uncle’s power, which might give new meaning to the first line in stanza 13, “on top by whom (not what) they knew.” 

& “Puppets need stars to be part of the whole. / Stars are just puppets circling a black hole.”  Without the guest stars, well, obviously The Show would not be as fabulous! But, they are also crucial because they allowed the Muppets to be taken seriously as an adult form of entertainment.  Of course, the whole phenomenon of stardom has reached new heights today, so I am definitely riffing. All the stars we see in the sky are circling the center of the galaxy, a black hole, perhaps similar to a pupil’s pupils?