Let me show you a frog. It will not be a real frog, but a frog in the form of a word, which is a frog nevertheless, a frog of the mind, which is a Platonic frog, a chimerical frog, a frog whose reality is lingual, syllables and swamps, reeds and reading and cattails and sedge. An imaginary frog. The image of a frog, yes, certainly, an image, a picture, but if you’re a generous person, excitable, munificent, a little eccentric, genially inclined to get into it, prepared and ready to fully imagine a frog, plop the entire creature with its webbed limbs and beating heart and amazing tongue and sticky saliva into the pond of your mind, we’re on to something, we’re interrelating, we’re bringing a creature into being, you and I and language, this web of words, this integument connecting us, allowing our imaginations the capacity to carry a frog from the hypothetical to the squishy and immediate, the sliminess of its skin, the softness of its belly, the prominence of its eyes, the squirm of its legs, the membranes between the toes, if you can do that, I thank you, the frog thanks you, you will be an invaluable member of this enterprise, this endeavor, this amphibious journey, you will help to fulfill the forgery of this frog, the fraud of this frog, which is also a veracity of frog, true in every detail, provided by you, your mind, with a swamp in it.
When was the last time you saw a frog? Me, I haven’t seen one in years. I did see a dragonfly recently. I thought it was a butterfly at first. But it flew with such evident intent, such vigor and mercurial speed, I knew it couldn’t be a butterfly, that kind of flutter from which reveries are made, but a shiny primordial thing, something out of the cretaceous, huge cypresses and longnecked sauropods grinding algae and plants with enormous peg-like teeth, would you call that reverie, I guess you could call that reverie.
Reverie is Cretaceous.
Thinking is Cenozoic.
But really. What do I know about thinking? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. That’s a total admission. A confession. I’m filling in spaces. I’m creating intervals. Octaves. Rhythms. Melodies. Distortions. Gropings. Grapplings. I’m swimming. I’m sweating. I’m addled. I’m rattled. Totally unraveled. At some point in one’s writing fingers scampering all over the keyboard you turn into Chopin.
Or think you do.
And that is called thinking. Mental activity. Brain waves. Images.
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so, said Hamlet.
And what of our frog? The frog, being amphibious, is intrinsically ambiguous.
In Ecuador, rare frogs are being saved from poachers on the black market by a scientific company called Wikiri by raising them in terrariums. They are then put into an ethical “bio-trade.”
Wikiri manager Lola Guarderas holds a glass frog whose translucent skin reveals its organs and beating heart.
I imagine holding a word, the word ‘frog,’ whose translucent letters reveal its inner organs of etymology and meaning.
The word ‘frog’ in Spanish is ‘rana.’ As in: La rana saltó al estanque: kerplop.
The frog jumped into the pond: kerplop.
Kerplop is universal.
Onomatopaeia is universal. It’s also hard to spell.
If you hold the Word ‘onomatopaeia’ in your hand you can see its internal organs and heart beating: lub-a-dub, lub-a-dub, lub-a-dub.
What is this obsession between language and things? Is it because language is a membrane? A living organism created by tongues and vibrations and air?
In a word: yes.