My latest book of poems Dark Energy was published in 2013 by Grolier's Established Poets Series. The fairytales in it have been done on stage in NYC and will be done again in a production I'm directing. One of my three musical dramas is about to tour Europe and will come into NYC for a seven-week run at 59E59 THEATER.
Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel, almost starving, fed
On sacramental pumpernickel bread,
Were led into a petrifying wood.
They played with animated animals
As children or the persecuted do,
Surviving but emaciated, till
They came upon a crippled witch’s house,
Made of cakes and honeyed bread and candied vines.
They ravished them until the witch came out
On crutches, she said, “From the First World War.”
Her mouth was black, her eyes were Nazi red.
“I’ll fatten you on lies,” she bluntly said,
"Which you will swallow, knowing you’ve no choice,"
Then led them in, and music stirred their souls.
Vases were full of roses, lilacs, ferns.
On tables were dark chocolates for their hearts.
And, though she didn’t say they were, sweetbreads
She plucked from other children’s guts.
They ate so fast, they quickly fell asleep.
A crescent moon gave way to Aryan sun.
She lifted Hansel, lay him in a cage
And, while he rubbed his head in disbelief,
She ordered Gretel, “Fatten him on meat,
And rice and cheese, sacher torts, and pie.
This mixture will make all of him taste nice:
His hands, his feet, his eyeballs, and his ears.
I’ll sing for you and put to sleep your fears.”
Her lullaby entranced Gretel to feed
Hansel who ate till his small stomach swelled
But he secreted a long chicken bone
Because he knew all witches are compelled
To re-enact their evil ways each day.
He knew that in his stepmom’s witches house.
So when she’d pinch to see if he was plump,
He’d stick the bone out like a soldier’s stump.
Fed up at last, the witch lit the waiting oven
And ordered Gretel to creep in and test
To see if it was getting Auschwitz-hot.
Gretel delayed. “Fatwa!” the witch exclaimed
And stuck her head in, stupid in her vice.
Gretel shoved her, bolted the oven door:
“Now howl, Mother. We will taste what’s ‘nice.’”
Strong as a Sabra, she unlocked the cage
And led her brother out, uneaten, free.
They scooped up all the witches’ cakes
And brought them home. Poppa was overjoyed.
The witch he married, Tyranny, was dead.
They danced and sang and on the future fed.
Little Red Riding Hood's Breakdown
Little Red Riding Hood, traumatized,
Her mind a blank till she was sixty-three,
Grandma’s age, when she was analyzed
And freed from masochistic misery
That wrecked her adult life. Although her smile
Was charming, her conscious actions kind,
Her maddening innocence managed to beguile
Sadistic men who’d help her lose her mind.
She asked to be devoured where she stood,
Offering her custard, hungry for the lie
That the wolf was Grandma, that she should
Be gullible and offer herself to die.
When we’re molested at an early age,
Before our consciousness absorbs the fact
And depression strikes with repressed rage,
We suffer nightmares we must re-enact.
So pre-pubescent Little Red Riding Hood
Endured a wolf earlier than her tale,
A stranger in the flower-sprinkled wood
Whom she enticed, succumbed to. Later, pale,
With deep black eyes, sexually dressed in red,
Indulged by Ma as she would murderous men,
She sent the second wolf to Grandma’s bed
Where he would wolf her down from feet to head.
-both poems from Dark Energy
©2016 Frederick Feirstein
©2016 Frederick Feirstein