The Squashed Frog

"Hopalong Mud Puddle" was birthed three years ago, looking joyful and mud luscious (1). I had visions of kids jumping from puddle to puddle, gleefully spraying mud hither and yon.

As long as yon

Wasn't on


You see,

I have young memories of wearing immaculate white socks which I wasn't allowed to expose to mud.

Recently I looked more closely at "Hopalong", and it suddenly took on a more menacing appearance. The frog at the top looked apprehensive and frightened. His tongue seemed bloodied, his body racing to escape from the color blobs threatening to choke him.

Did the image change, or did I?

Before the white socks, before being forbidden to enjoy the earth oozing around me, I discovered scissors.

A hole is to dig, right?

So I used the scissors

to cut up

my Mother's favorite quilt.

I felt triumphant.

She was not amused.

"Hopalong" is not a still life. It is filled with pure, unadulterated energy, raw, unvarnished, ungarnished. It has abandoned logic, regulation, emasculation, and espoused instead vivacity and an uninhibited capacity for truth. But whose truth?

I never met who. Did you?

There are questions that I cannot answer.

Zen, for example, asks, what was your original face before your parents were born?

Where were our leaders when Paul Revere named his horse Ebola and warned us "the viruses are coming, the viruses are coming"?

Worldwide, leaders were heedless. They were too busy counting votes and lining their pockets with threads taken from your pockets and mine.

We are compelled to itch, twitch, for answers where there may be none. It's easier to let religions think for us: say ten Hail Mary's and all will be well. Chant the right prayers and you will be saved. Maybe science is threatening because it offers questions instead of answers. Questions will never lull you into a soporific blanket of content.

Another question that I cannot answer: why was I considered a breach birth?

A breach of expectations and traditions. I didn't know my place


In other words, I was


a boy.

What does it mean

to be a Not?

It means you are not

good enough.

So I bad


Farewell to expectations.

I plunged into the mud of experimental art.

I jumped onto the possibility that my frog is being squashed.

Is he?

I also grabbed a pair of scissors recently and cut my hair. It made me feel empowered, like I had some power over my frozen-in-place life. I liked the sense of rebellion - who says I have to shell out big bucks for a socially-approved, with-it style? It made me giggle, and there is little enough to giggle about these days.

Somewhere my Mother is surely smiling.

And I, the King of Questions, the Douanier of Doubt,

am haunted by the question:

Will I ever see my family again?


squashed or not,

is not


c. Corinne Whitaker 2020

(1)Thanks to e.e.cummings for this delicious word.

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