Monday, July 04, 2011

Faved!: Michael Blumenthal's Fish Fucking



This is not a poem about sex, or even
about fish or the genitals of fish,
So if you are a fisherman or someone interested
primarily in sex, this would be as good a time
As any to put another worm on your hook
or find a poem that is really about fucking.

This, rather, is a poem about language,
and about the connections between mind and ear
And the strange way a day makes its tenuous
progress from almost anywhere.

Which is why I've decided to begin with the idea
of fish fucking (not literally, mind you,
But the idea of fish fucking), because the other
day, and a beautiful day it was, in Virginia
The woman I was with, commenting on the time
between the stocking of a pond and the

First day of fishing season, asked me if this
was perhaps because of the frequency with which
Fish fuck, and—though I myself know nothing at all
about the fucking of fish—indeed, I believe

From the little biology I know that fish do not
fuck at all as we know it, but rather the male
Deposits his sperm on the larvae, which the female,
in turn, has deposited—yet the question
Somehow suggested itself to my mind as the starting
point of the day, and from the idea of fish

Fucking came thoughts of the time that passes
between things and our experience of them,
Not only between the stocking of the pond and our
being permitted to fish in it, but the time,

For example, that passes between the bouncing
of light on the pond and our perception of the
Pond, or between the time I say the word jujungawop
and the moment that word bounces against your
Eardrum and the moment a bit further on when the
nerves that run from the eardrum to the brain

Inform you that you do not, in fact, know
the meaning of the word jujungawop, but this,
Perhaps, is moving a bit too far from the idea of
fish fucking and how beautifully blue the pond was

That morning and how, lying among the reeds atop
the dam and listening to the water run under it,
The thought occurred to me how the germ of an idea
has little to do with the idea itself, and how
It is rather a small leap from fish fucking to the
anthropomorphic forms in a Miró painting,

Or the way certain women, when they make love,
pucker their lips and gurgle like fish, and how
This all points out how dangerous it is for a
man or a woman who wants a poet's attention

To bring up an idea, even so ludicrous and
biologically ungrounded a one as fish fucking,
Because the next thing she knows the mind is taking
off over the dam from her beautiful face, off
Over the hills of Virginia, perhaps as far as Guatemala
and the black bass that live in Lake Atitlán who

Feast on the flightless grebe, which is not merely
a sexual thought or a fishy one, but a thought
About the cruelty that underlies even great beauty,
the cruelty of nature and love and our lives which

We cannot do without and without which even the idea
of fish fucking would be ordinary and no larger than
Itself, but to return now to that particular day, and to
the idea of love, which inevitably arises from the
Thought that even so seemingly unintelligent a creature
as a fish could hold his loved one, naked in the water,

And say to her, softly, Liebes, mein Lubes; it was
indeed a beautiful day, the kind filled with anticipation
And longing for the small perfections usually found only
in poems; the breeze was slight enough just to brush

A few of her hairs gently over one eye, the air was
the scent of bayberry and pine as if the gods were
Burning incense in some heavenly living room, and
as we lay among the reeds, our faces skyward,
The sun fondling our cheeks, it was as if each
time we looked away from the world it took

On again a precise yet general luminescence when we
returned to it, a clarity equally convincing as pain
But more pleasing to the senses, and though it was not
such a moment of perfection as Keats or Hamsun

Speak of and for the sake of which we can go on for
years almost blissful in our joylessness, it was
A day when at least the possibility of such a thing
seemed possible: the deer tracks suggesting that
Deer do, indeed, come to the edge of the woods to feed
at dusk, and the idea of fish fucking suggesting

A world so beautiful, so divine in its generosity
that even the fish make love, even the fish live
Happily ever after, chasing each other, lustful
as stars through the constantly breaking water.

0 poetic mutterings: