Posts Tagged ‘fish’

The Trout And The Flounder

08 Oct


YES, LIKE MILLIONS OF OTHERS, I watched the debate last night between the two "major party" nominees for the US presidency last night. The entire event was a Nashville snoozer. Enter Obama, McCain, Brokaw. Exit. An embarrassing snoooozer. Just plain awful political theatre. But this morning, just before opening my eyes with full awareness, my brain did its own version of the shuck and jive by churning out a quick metaphor consisting of a rather short string of bizarre images, tossed together with no particular connection to my own political sensibilities, but indeed rich with Jungian and Freudian innuendo and provocation.

The Flounder

First scene. I was standing on a balcony overlooking a rather frisky river. I seemed to pose no particular function in my presence there on the balcony for the first few dreamscape frames, but was statically admiring the choppy waters and the lush green forests hemming the river's edge on all sides. Only then did I notice the fish. Whole schools of fish, shiny silvery flounder in fact, the river thick with these oddly shaped flat fish. Subsequently I noticed, standing to my right just a few feet away from me, was none other than Senator Barack Obama, his white shirt rolled up to his elbows holding a long cast reel, and not being a fisherman myself, the reel was of no special distinction to me. Out the corner of my eye, I could see that Michelle Obama stood a few feet further away at the far edge of this deck balcony. She was encouraging her husband, cheering up his fishing skills, but neither of them seemed to notice me standing just three or four feet away, a stranger in the mist. Suddenly I became aware that I was clutching a long stick in my hand, not quite but nearly as formidable in length as Mr. Obama's shiny reel. Remember, this is that sort of dream, where quick non-sensical edits are the norm, so without linear thought I find myself probing my branch stick into the water just at the point where a large baited flounder and the Senator's hook were converging. In a flash, the end of my stick was tangled in his rod line. Both Obama's immediately sensed alarm, and turning glared solemnly at the culprit. I was speechless, of course, but gained enough composure to soon begin an apology just at the moment the scene shifts.

The Trout

Scene Two. I am standing in the main room in a cabin, perhaps the same cabin owning the balcony I'd just been intruding upon. There is a fiercely glowing log fire in the aged brick fireplace off to my right. Directly to my left on a stand is a large basket of fish. I first intuit that these fish are not flounder but are trout, fattened rainbow trout perhaps. As I gaze around the room, noticing the kitchen is oft to my far left, Just beneath a window along the wall is a larger table attended by two shadowy figures fussing over another large basket, but no, this time it is a large kettle of fish. Suddenly one of the shadowy figures turns around, and I see a woman. It is Cindy McCain. It is then that I recognize her husband just as he whips around, rushing the basket of trout near me, and leaning in, flashes that grin, that infamous bearish grin of his, while grabbing the basket of rainbow trout and hurling the entire undressed lot into the flames.

Senator McCain then returns to the kettle still on the table and begins gutting each fish, also rainbow trout, with an unseen knife, one at a time until I begin to notice the strong fishy odor which seems to be emanating from the fireplace, but, of course is probably the overpowering stench of guts that McCain is now creating, and awaken. To my amazement I detect a strong odor of fish rot as I immediately begin to ponder this dream, and continue to suck air into my nostrils until I am positive no real fish odor exists in the room. It was all in my head.

Very odd dream. But believe me, this story, while part of a sleeping dream state, was a very real event. I have recreated the arrangement of images and impulses as I experienced them to the best of my abilities.

To even attempt a rational interpretation of this very vivid experience today would be too exhausting. I shall return. Perhaps after the election.

Get Reminded Of The Time I Tossed Chickens Into The Sea

19 Aug


Gabriel Thy, Child Harolde's


Originally published on August 19, 1997

Sueball celled in from Saint Thomas last night before reboarding the liner. She & her Aunt Lou are a fog of champagne sizzle, two larks clinging to a swizzle stick. I could smell the fun on her breath from here. It's brutal without her at home for this long, but you know me, I'm soaking up all the quiet I can. I miss her, but it'll be Labor day until we baby dance together again. With that clanging in my left ear I've carried since London '92, my days and nights pass eerily as if in the dark woods or high farm, bull crickets and the silence of nothing but the fan. Alone, no pressure to succeed, no terms of regret, no inkling of failure or gestures of redoubt. Hints of a new routine, say for instance an evening walk around the neighborhood, a dip into the city, a relaxing drink in the backyard nirvana will probably not happen. She tells me I don't know how to relax. I tell her she is correct.

No, I've stayed inside avoiding the heat, but I've noticed these inner stirrings. Today is twenty degrees cooler, but even so, I hack away at this terminal, working, planning, fooling myself I'm living life with some great plan to succeed. Me, I just do what I can, and try not to aggravate or be aggravated by every whim and weasel this world has to offer. Guess I'm still stewing over Blumstein's bluster because I don't know where it came from, life?

Life is not always a home-brew. Life is what happens to you when you are busy making plans for something else. You said that before, but that's the steel and the gristle of it. Nothing's any more clear than that. Now the chicken farm is gone. My mentor (of hard work) has been dead for ten years, and the farm I helped build, torn down. Life? Yeah Bob, lemme sit at your feet, such wisdom.
Life? That word just swooped in on me and I cannot fathom why or how he intended to mean it other than demeaning me. But, I'm way off the path of solitude when I let Bob crash my peace. He gave a blanket apology. Back to the crickets in my bad ear, the purr of the fan at my feet, and the allure of the Internet where anybody can be somebody and everybody can be nobody, but none of us can ever know the difference until we do the work.

I associate this aural reverb with Lofton Creek FL, the chicken farm days, the cabin, the unbelievable stench of forty thousand birds that one learned to ignore, the long lonely weeks without ever seeing much less talking to or being heard by another human being, my daily summer skinnydipping with a bar of floating ivory soap, vegetarianism for the most part except the hand-picked smoked birds the landlord had stashed in the chest freezer, the daily diet of cheese and grapes and rye bread, the flood of imaginary lovers, the hurricane waters, and I busy, by lamplight writing my first serious, pressure poems of a lifetime, poems I still read with enthusiam today (aching to plug online), those ten mile hikes into town, Dylan Dog who looked and acted just like Nickel Dog, getting buried in three hundred year old literature checked from the library, Will Durant, and a steady feed from PBS.

I was 24-25. Young, thin, even skinny. Long sun-bleached blonde hair to my shoulders. Some say I looked like Jesus. Others John Lennon. Without the beard, Peter Frampton. Full of zest, vigor, and the peaceful easy feeling the Eagles sang about. Life is not always a home-brew. Life is what happens to you when you are busy making the bed you will sleep in tonight. We've heard all this wordplay before, but that's the steel and the gristle of it. Nothing's any more clear than that. Now the chicken farm is gone. My mentor (of hard work) has been dead for ten years, and the farm I helped build, torn down. Life? Yeah Bob, lemme sit at your feet, such wisdom.

Have you heard the recent uproar about the thousands of fish sporting nasty abcesses on their smelly scales first in North Carolina, and now the schools that prowl the Chesapeake? After nearly a year of mystery, these problems are being blamed on chicken farm runoff, a feathered excrement tragically high in nitrogen and ammonia gases running off into the streams and creeks straight into the ocean waters. That's some high octane chicken gas that survives the plunge into the sea. Chickens. Who knew back then...


Polyglot Wittgenstein

04 Feb

Quarrels I brought to authorities
for which I was fish-bowled,
such as when on a calculated whim
I gave a vow, a pledge
of allegiance

of one thousand collard green symptoms
pratting particular a peculiar persuader,
outstretched paw netting loudly,
preaching television sainthood
out of the fish’s mouth.

The bum prophet,
returned his mistress much more
than killing her son for a sign
the ages had dealt in blow of scripture,

and Wittgenstein never forgot me, either.
Under the sun nothing knew less
than that camera I took on sound advice
lathering misquotationals without clue.

The ultimate passage from logic to freelancing
specialty wisdomatics flying northward
toward the bear and glad tidings,
moonlight red infrastructurally

correct as by law and by prostitution,
the victimless philosophies of cold
and behold, cash and flash, pairings
of quick understandings still stamped.

The minds of many who died not hungry
reads the line separating this from that.
And ample enough soup to go around the world
save the stupid revolutionaries fumbling

the galls and testicles of good people
of every race groping a deep graze,
too simply fool-ruled to use the best,
the rest, and not be buried in treasure.

Justice in summer foliage falls between
cracks both the lion and the lamb spring across
where boo-kings crush meanings from life,
dream wreckage and Wittgenstein snorts fair.

In catacombs mighty hair warriors take leaven
bread beneath waters covering young history
unexplored, lost yesterday down grammarian spells,
even Stephen could not vouch for, nor Paul

in his vest of holy trousers turned inward.
Stretched bloody naked and attractive,
mosquitos did never squat where lovers sweat.
But Wittgenstein took me shoulder first, I cleared.

My throat hollow where men before me came never before,
and I felt like new names nothing forbade, not especially
the weak, the calm, the floored, nor the wronged angels
sweeping up avenues long given over to party politics.

Seasons twisted upon each other and friendship convulsed.
Open arsenals recoiled, the serpent's head spit glass,
broken, images priced like art invested no plumage whereas
stock sold steadily until there were no other dead issues.

Bull edits charged emotional terrapins as runners
of illegal slow, dull, unimportant feet, dry glands
purposely banded as one, vehicles offering last rites
mankind waiving, inner harbor city lights removed.

Yet Wittgenstein never operated under served piffle,
could repair ugly scar tissue booking redress, obviously
lip-synched trade favors; in return the mantled box thumb
thugs ruled left to rights, or rights to be left

alone or without someone else's aloneness combined
to equip equations and co-efficients with unreal numbers
numbing outsiders, error friendless but with plenty
of food and street wisdom, meaning to write a book.

Where we all appear placed happily eager to be.
What to be is all in time and flesh is time.
Or trips to the Milky Way vacate shun or be shunned.
Like Uncle Sam's son colorfully primed for United States.

But where did Paine fail to speak his mind?
His friend broke off penal envy for the sake of
forsaking oven roaster birds war bred but blowing
off that same wind Dylan wore, a weatherman's cap.

Did any effort die by the hand of any clock?
Management problems rope eye emblems shattering mock success,
taxing poets improperly prospering, the plainclothesmen's plan X,
and optimums of the classes, share in Baalam's bra,

key pimped pragmaticisms perplexing the raw multitudes Freud
slew, licking time's dragon multiplied and automatically
disguised, guilty, as such a single atom prays au natural,
financially secure but fearing assailants silent

enough to warn miracles to cease and weapons to flourish
inebriating reason, samples exposing undecided votes,
serial mirrors helpless to utter a lie saith the surveyor.
Gather all flocks, mathematics, onions, ash or else!

That these feverish linear progressions plummet to bedrock
cup, and yet deliver a single soul from eternal damnation
boning up conquerors of Kierkegaard and worshippers
of the last breath of Wittgenstein I’d shouldered enough.

[ 1992, Washington, DC ]

Around The World In Eighty Days Crying Like A Fish

11 Jul

Knowledge, like money
Steals that which the flawless abide by
And starves them to emphasis,
Its basic need driving, bribing, grinding
Silly eccentrics sad to see you gladly
Won't let them share their sayings
We nonetheless buy we sell like accumulation seed.
What more need I confess?

Around the world in eighty days,
I can work on it. If I can get out of this old chair.
Like debutantes old balloons have burst,
Forcing hands of will to engrave my undeterminable echelon ways.
Everysuch is a motto of peace. In some circles we squared up.
There the martyrs burned their draft cards
In water. No one knows what the secret pays.
Fools of history wanting a chance,
The Homeland of Pretense

Webless seamless rechanneled unmeasured below,
Uncorking chatter of a population too disturbed to wink
Storms the barnyard and construction site flattery, so
Tall engineers can plan tomorrow amplifying blank choices.
Riding elephant ears I sigh alone since I must,
In swank obedience to the laws of gratuitous dust.
Sucking silk and abstract noises, I too am frankly human,
As if any scientist or poet could ever pin us down.
Cross the bridge river over rigid, as you also must, but remember—
Don't let your beginnings
Rule out mine... you are in place
Only to count out measure.
I was assured of a minimum wage,
I took it, felt satisfied
Til another day came.

Around the world in eighty days,
I cannot always always it. 99.9% lure. The other mere lie.
(Still waiting for the mathematical cure...)
Westerly planks of a downtrodden brow
Blow Wednesday evenings weekly as the tulip race leaves,
And drunken sentences growing longer, stronger in darkness.
Sage ambition, curdled rage, the caged bellows remarked
Grocer the codes we are spinning by
In simple acts of cultural bias,
Love's attrition a latter day event.
"Actually, in spite of yesterday,
Tomorrow can behave like today,"
Says the bum in search of his opposing thumbs.
Fools of history wanting a chance,
The Homeland of Pretense

Vows of virtues and safety,
You've seen my fragile ghost
Respect this place before, costing many
More hours hard labor, sensing the aftermath.
Time is clinging close to earth now, while
Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw,
Showing irate middle age nubiles and neanderthalistic laws
The difference between zero and nothing.

Around the world in eighty days
Crying like a fish,
The lazy page boy requires becoming
The prime novelist
Marching the streets
Someliness everywhere greets.
Life he kissed. And then sped off.
Fools of history wanting a chance,
The Homeland of Pretense

[ 1982, Atlanta ]


"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""