"Punky's Dilemma" as written by and Paul Simon....
Wish I was a Kellogg's Cornflake
Floatin' in my bowl takin' movies,
Relaxin' awhile, livin' in style,
Talkin' to a raisin who 'caisson'ly plays L.A.,
Casually glancing at his toupee.

Wish I was an English muffin
'Bout to make the most out of a toaster.

I'd ease myself down,
Comin' up brown.

I prefer boysenberry
More than any ordinary jam.
I'm a "Citizens for Boysenberry Jam" fan.

Ah, South California.

If I become a first lieutenant
Would you put my photo on your piano?
To Maryjane
Best wishes, Martin.
(Old Roger draft-dodger
Leavin' by the basement door),
Everybody knows what he's
Tippy-toeing down there for


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Punky's Dilemma" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Punky's Dilemma song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentDo you know what MaryJane is? I gues everybody doesn't know what he's tippy toeing down there for.
    jeffknowles1on November 30, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is about the vietnam war. he is talking about all the things he wishes we was so he wouldn't have to enlist. it's like in the beginning on the song, he is tryin to not think about it. distracting himself from the harsh realities of polotics. towards the end he talks about a "draft-dodger" and how he's hiding trying to escape the draft.
    mynameischloeon September 18, 2006   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationPunky's dilemma is choosing between letting himself be drafted or dodging the draft. That's a true dilemma and was a common one during the Vietnam War. While fixing breakfast and smoking a little marijuana, he indulges in a little whimsical escapism by wishing he had the carefree life of a Kellogg's Corn Flake or an English muffin. In fact, being in Southern California would be a nice escape as well.

    As Punky begins thinking about being drafted and being in the Army, he imagines himself being remembered and missed in a romantic, heroic sort of way. His alternative thought is to become a draft dodger, not-so-secretly sneaking around the basement. Punky imagines himself as both Martin the first lieutenant and Roger the Draft Dodger. Which will Punky become?

    Artistically, naming Kellogg's Corn Flakes as a brand in the song was unusual in songwriting prior to the sixties. Simon & Garfunkel were probably showing a bit of Andy Warhol's influence who championed everyday items such as Campbell's Soup cans and Brillo boxes as art in the early sixties. John Updike did something similar at the same time by including packaging information word for word that a character was reading while eating breakfast.

    The last two or three bars of the song transition from "Punky's Dilemma" to the theme song of the 1954 movie "The High and the Mighty," a film starring John Wayne and Robert Stack. This is a musical pun in a couple of ways. The theme song was famous for its incredible whistling and the whistler in this song goes from "Punky's Dilemma" to "The High and the Mighty," as though Punky is escaping reality again, while the theme song title suggests that Punky is high.

    Ironjeffon February 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentor maybe.....as maryjane is cannabis, he's just a bit stoned and his wishing to be food is simply 'the munchies'. would also explain the apparent non-sensical stuff. (= possibly..
    No_One_Reallyon February 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSometimes i'd like to be an English muffin...
    Indoor Use Onlyon March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsuch a cute little feel-good song. i love it. it's nonsensical...i have no idea what it means. but it's great!
    howtobegoodon April 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti so agree with howtobegood it seriously is THE cutests song ive ever heard and always makes me smile the lines' which i was an english muffin bout to make the most out of a toaster ill ease myself down comin up brown' just imagine a little muffin hahah its soo funny and yeah complete nonscense but thats why i love it so much
    zippygetshighon February 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe happiest breakfast in the whole world. Wake and bake.
    fixableon May 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is desperately trying to seem without meaning and pointless. However, it is in fact an analogy about American politics. The narrator, is a chief political figure, who is trying to form his identity as a politician. Maryjane, is representation of the populous under his reign. The reason it is a womans name is because he is trying to romantasise the relationship he has with his people. The brief but simple message from himself, is supposed to be kind and romantic, but its soo annonomous and lacking in sincerity that he fails. He is the man who is leaving through back door, but he is distancing himself from that reality, by denying the First person that he associates himself with in the first stages of the song. At the start the wishful dreams of our narrator are ways of living out his life. Not neccessarily being A KELLOGS corn flake, but rather the idea of being one in the many without a unique identity. the ENGLISH muffin on the other hand, is a far more attention grabbing personnality. Note the difference in discriptions of the two. Kellogs is a faceles multinational company, while an Englishman is instantly recognisable as a man of dignity and class. The final reference to the millitary rank is the asperational hero. The idea of a photo on the piano, is him thinking ab$out how he will be remembered in the iconic/heroic (hall of fame of the masses). South California is either the place that he is returning to after his time in office (if he got at all) OR The place that he would have served as politician. This is the part that I leave to you. What do you guys think about this?
    gauthamanon January 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it is about politics i think it wavers on the fine line of nonsensical and true deep meaning, whether it is the most profound piece of poetry in the last 50 or so years or whether its just a fun song about breakfast foods and getting high it is one of my favorite simon and garfunkel songs and off of my favorite album. I think you can take your own meaning from it and make it your own.
    simonlovesloston June 20, 2007   Link

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