Is he French?
Is he a Frog?
Shall we define our variables?
Let's let this green felt muppetoid
this 1970's memory
this golem, this homunculus
let's let Kermit be Kermit.
Just as, let's let whatever it is that we are, just be.
Yesterday, in meditation group, my friend describes the sounds of the peepers, the many million frogs fucking in the ponds and puddles all around her house. She says, they are out there, doing the nasty, and they will be doing it all night. It's so beautiful. That sound is magic, and reminds me of something that's so remote, and at the same time, so close by.
The French frogs fucking.
A field of bliss-sounds.
Why let ourselves think that this is remote, when it is in fact just here, just right here?
Yesterday morning I rose late, after rising in the middle of the night to the dog's distress-barking.
Took him outside
to poop, or really,
to croak out some juicy farts
under the full moon.
Brought him back in,
went back to sleep.
Rose late - dogs out, husband out, father-in-law out, mother-in-law in the bath - and left the house.
Authentic movement is the movement of French frogs fucking en masse.
It is the dolorous sweetness of an exiled mother walking desert streets, knitting together what beauty she can find, in the blowing garbage of nowhere. Nowhere to turn but to the sweetness she can find where she finds it, caught in the binding-straps of refugee tents.
Authentic movement receives Facebook messages daily from Maryam-in-the-camp, Maryam Not Her Real Name, who lost her unborn firstborn, trying to sneak into a truck to the UK. Maryam who sends me heart-and-puppy stickers, and also horrible trauma-videos of dogs being abducted women being abducted men having their heads beaten in with clubs.
Authentic movement runs.
It limps with the left leg, and then with the right.
It has a wounded wing.
It stomps along with the shuffle of duty burden heavy fucking routine, and then lets go of all that, to come home to the enjoyment body, field of French frogs fucking
in Canaan, NH, of all places.
peep peep peep peep peep peep peep peeeeeeeep
A whole field exempt from here we all are, making things terrible for one another, missing contact with one another, entirely too preoccupied with our ideas to see one another.
Maryam-in-the-camp is with her husband, though no longer with the unborn baby who liked it when she ate sweets in the the camp tea-tent. Maryam's smuggler wants to rape her. Maybe Maryam's smuggler is raping her, and that is why she sends me horrible videos via Facebook. She hasn't heard of the etiquette rules that prescribe cute-animal or liberal-indignation videos only.
Even though she is in France, Maryam is living in a field where it is hard to listen for the French frogs at the edges of the world, those faithful fuckers, not trying to get anywhere at all.
The camp I worked in was caught between speedy tracks: a cargo freight train line to the left, a highway to the right. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
And of course, all of the people also speedy, all desperate to be somewhere else.
The Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (in Lawrence Durrell's translation) writes:
You tell yourself: I'll be gone
I first heard this poem quoted in the audiobook version of Kim Stanley Robinson's amazing novel, Aurora, in which the descendants of a group of human beings sent out on a 170-year colonization journey decide to return home with the help of their increasingly sentient starship. They have come to see It was badly done. Even if their ship was equipped with French frogs, it was still no place for them. The travelers have come to see that either:
I know, I know. It's not that simple. My own story is a story of seeking French frogs elsewhere, having started off in France. Born in Switzerland, to immigrants on both sides; emigrated to the US, then Hong Kong, France, Ireland, England, Scotland. Even when I am in one of the three countries whose passports I hold, I feel like an immigrant. The French frogs like me OK, but they're not so sure I'm French. In the US, I can pass for some version of American, and so, after being briefly deportable, I've stuck around.
Marion Woodman says that becoming an orphan through leaving the incestuous atmosphere of the family is the gateway through which we open to the transpersonal. I think Marion Woodman is one wise frog.
Still, Maryam-in-the-camp, with her rapey smuggler, her miscarriage, the alternating photographs of herself as a blonde glamor-lady, and the videos of callous violence. My orphanhood is not the same as hers. Our orphanhoods are important in their connection. I have no idea what to do next, except: not disconnect.
Kermit the French Frog is the bliss-body, the body of enjoyment. Even if Miss Piggy's rendition of Peaches' Fuck the Pain Away recasts their relationship in a startling light, I believe Kermit can handle it. Kermit knows that you don't get to the bliss-body by excising and smiley-facing your way across the surface of this orphan planet, with its woes. You get there by knowing all of it, and finding the heart of compassion in its midst.
The morning after her miscarriage, and her most recent failed attempt to reach the UK, Maryam comes to the tent we've shanghaied for a popup beauty space. It was the mosque, but fuck it! Today we're massaging hands and feet. We're waxing lady-mustaches and cutting hair. Today, ladies are eating dates and plums, and having rainbows painted on their fingernails. Tomorrow, someone will burn the whole tent down. Fuckers! But for now, there's lovingkindness here. There are plump babies rolling on the mostly clean carpet, and there are some fine-looking orphans taking care of one another.
Today, we're finding the sweet spot, the frog pond, not on the edges of the camp, but right in the middle, two doors down from the rapey people-smugglers who wait to shuttle pain to more pain, or to less, depending.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.
108 Names of Now