Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hazel Tells Laverne

Katharyn Machan Aal (b. 1952)

last night
im cleanin out my
howard johnsons ladies room
when all of a sudden
up pops this frog
musta come from the sewer
swimmin aroun an tryin ta
climb up the sida the bowl
so i goes ta flushm down
but sohelpmegod he starts talkin
bout a golden ball
an how i can be a princess
me a princess
well my mouth drops
all the way to the floor
an he says
kiss me just kiss me
once on the nose
well i screams
ya little green pervert
an i hitsm with my mop
an has ta flush
the toilet down three times
a princess


Anonymous said...

I love this poem I was first introduced to it through a masters Secondary Literary Education Class

Anonymous said...

if someone could please explain this? thanks! =)

Anonymous said...

seriously, what does this mean?
do you no any good analysis sites for this poem?

dan said...

that last one (mine) was a crummy answer.

I don't necessarily know what it means. I think it's just supposed to be funny that the cleaning lady would emphasize what the frog said instead of the more remarkable fact that she encountered a talking frog. The poem refers to the fairy tale of a prince that was turned into a frog and required a woman's kiss to be turned back to a prince.

I found the poem in Robert Wallace's Writing Poems. Here is how he introduces it:

What is amusing may have underlying seriousness. That is so, too, of this dramatic monologue in which Katharyn Machan Aal empathetically lets Hazel, a charwoman in a Howard Johnson's, speak for herself. Ironically, we see the fairy-story allusion that Hazel misses. Notice how the poet uses dialect and line, controlling the flow and inflections of what Hazel says.

The only other thing he says about it is:

Irony may deepen and enrich by making the reader aware of things (or aware of them in ways) the speaker doesn't see, as in "Hazel Tells Laverne." It may even contradict the whole drift of what the speaker is saying.

dan said...

I don't think I got the frog story description right. Check it out here:Frog Prince

Anonymous said...

This poem is ironic and if you try to understand it you won't be able to. Maybe if you try looking up the history of the poem like what was going on when it was written; where the author was when it was written; the allusions in it. And sometimes in order to understand things you have to take the complecated out of it, think five year old.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are confused... This poem alludes to The Princess & The Frog. But it's about how women were treated in the 18th century. It was a male-dominant world and they had no respect for women. Because of this, women had no respect for themselves either. When the frog tells her she has the chance to become a princess, she doesn't believe him. She doesn't believe she's worth something better because she's just a maid, and just a woman. Hope this helped! =)

Anonymous said...

All of you are wrong,
This poem is about the loss of innocence. It is satire on society, this lady has been courrputed by society so much that she calls an obviously magical frog a pervert because the ideals that society run so deep in her psyche.

Anonymous said...

I think many of these opinions are valid. It all depends on interpretation, but I think that the ideas of loss of innocence can fit well with the concept of low self esteem for women, since that is a modern problem for lower class women.

Anonymous said...

Poetry is subjective. It means whatever you want it to mean.

Jasz said...

So, I thought it meant that this woman who grew up in the ghetto gets the chance to be a princess and she is in shock, so she freaks and flushes it down the toilet ---- ruining her chance of becoming more than a ghetto kid. Then, when the last "me a princess" is written in italics... it is because she thinks about what the frog has said and shew realizes, "Wow, somebody might actually see a person like me as a high class?" and it makes her feel good because she has never viewed herself as nothing more than low-class.

On the other hand, I have been researching views about this poem, and most people seem to think that throughout this entire experience this maid is a confident woman who knows where she stands and that is why she flushes him down the toilet. She doesn't need that frog to be a princess because she is already top of the line. (Even though she is NOT, due to her lack of grammar.) This makes her appeal very sassy with lots of attitude.

Which one do you think?

I Am The Experiment said...

This poem has always been a favourite of mine. First read it in high school. One of those poems that I can see acted out in head.

Joan said...

Yes, there is humor, but an underlying issue of self-worth permeates the poem. The narrator can't see herself as a princess, as is mentioned more than once.

Unknown said...

No there is actual meaning to this just like almost every poem. It wasn't obvious to me either, at first. I did an analysis on this poem in college and almost forgot all about it until just now!
The girl thinks she could never be a princess, never be so important. It's symbolic. When she doesn't believe him is symbolic to when she believes she could never be a princess. (I think she was a maid or housekeeper or something but can't remember exactly). Her having to flush 3 times symbolizes her having to "swallow the pill" so to speak of her being utterly disposable and unimportant-it's a hard pill to swallow. And even at the end, when the words "me, a princess" are no longer written on the same line are symbolic of her place in the hierarchy compared to that of a princess. (which, in her position, she was obviously not on the same level)

Unknown said...

Yes! In college, this was something we had to write about and this is where it came from! Idk why so many think it's about the loss of innocence or just humorous.