Ekphrastic after Grimm’s Fairy Tales: The Frog King, John Baldessari
1. Nobody sees the frog under their feet as he pops the valve of an inflatable pool toy. One shaped as a palomino, naturally. This is how knights fought in medieval times, you know. 2. The frog considers where to deploy a submergible mine. Why? Where? Who to thwart? The frog licks his eyes. 3. As is royal custom, the frog keeps a desert terrarium as an oubliette for his political prisoners. Sagely, mice can run down the ladder, but they can’t climb back up. Of course, there’s no water. It’s a desert terrarium. But oubliette misnames it – it’s more of Saturday night show. 4. Father of the bride to be, father of the spots on a ladybug. It must be irritating to look down to see that your executioner is a common pond frog. 5. [ CENSORED ] 6. The frog requires his ministers and generals to watch him swim in a bowl. This is strategic planning at its finest. Decisions of utmost gravitas must be made underwater. 7. Either the kiss worked its spell too well, or the princess wasn’t much of a princess to begin with. The frog skipped his princeling stage and went straight to the crown, much to his new queen’s dismay after several drinks. 8. The queen sleeps one off again. The staff say this happens with disquieting frequency, lately, but at least it keeps the palace doctors busy. 9. The story skips ahead a few years, I think, as we see one of the frog’s daughters finding what’s left of him on a sidewalk after the coup. A kindly guard tries to comfort her, but since he’s a seal, the barking flipper clapping just makes everything that much worse. 10. Reprisals in rope. I assume whips are involved, possibly chains. 11. Still life of what didn’t happen after the princess-kissing, with elephant; see above. 12. We’ll suppose the man in the goggles was the target of that mine, after all, which would explain the plane. Was it wise to set a mine trap for a man with a plane? The frog was a frog. He couldn’t grasp the concept of flight.