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The Frog Prince by Karen Alkalay-Gut
published in Volume 1, Issue 1 on January 15th, 1994

All those princesses retelling the stories of their lives, 
giving information not previously available, 
or only lately understood - convincing you,
poor reader, that princesses in fairy tales
are real people too you know, and as such deserve
their side told.  Even the woman now my queen,
I believe, has had a bash at it, explaining
- probably - how it was worth kissing a frog
to get to me.

I always liked them beautiful -  
What Proust said, "As for the women of beauty, 
we will leave them to the men of no imagination," 
just made me put down Proust
and pick up some sly lady-in-waiting.  
You know how they tell women, 
"It's just as easy to fall in love
with a rich man as a poor one"?   
I go further.  It's only possible
to really feel something if she's got
a perfect ass, hungry breasts, eyes that seem deep
as mine, and - this is in addition - an all-abiding hunger
for me.

And no bitch.
Except for my narcissism,
I'm perfect - smart,
handsome, rich.  
I'll never understand why that witch
put a curse on me.  Unless of course
she wanted to have me and I
never looked her way.

I remember now she did once come around to talk
before she toadified me,  
muttered something about Emily Dickinson,
"I'm Nobody, who are you."
I was busy listening to my answering machine
while she went on with
"How awful to be somebody -
How public like a frog -
to tell your name the livelong day
to an admiring bog."

"Maybe it is only the media that ruins your minds,"
she said, looking at my wellstocked library
of videoclips, "makes you think that your identity
as men derive from the marketable quality 
of your female conquests.  What do you want
from life?  How will you get satis
faction?  Tell me something to prove
your kind is worth investing in."

I didn't think I had to prove anything
to someone who had nothing to offer me
in the world.  Maybe if she'd been
a movie maker she'd have had a chance.
But I decided to try
the silent treatment on her
- it usually works with admiring women
you can't get rid of any other way.

"Kiss me goodbye, then, boy," she said,
and I screwed up my face and scrunched my body away
as if age and ugliness were con
tagious.

So I woke up the next morning 
a stout-bodied amphibian
with a hunger for a pond
and a lily-pad.
And I read the instructions on my pillow
about the need for being kissed, left the castle,
and began my quest. 

It wasn't easy being green.  I just didn't exist
for all those princesses with the magic lips.
Had to learn all kinds of tricks
to get close to them.  Told one of them about 
my centrality to French cuisine, 
encouraged a second to see (ahem) 
my identity deep in my throat,  
Whispered to another (flawed) beauty 
that I could cure 
warts.

Even the one who finally did it for me -
the one with the golden ball - 
was conned, cooerced, threatened,
before she eventually 
fell into my trap.

I'm not complaining.

I got what I wanted.

And a few nights on the town,
a couple beers, a bunch of blonds,
got me back to what I was before.

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