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FISH FUCKING / Michael Blumenthal 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 a good 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 female larvae which she, 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 72 · The Missouri Review 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 Miro 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 Atitlan 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 longer 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 Michael Blumenthal The Missouri Review · 73 as a fish could hold his loved one, naked in the water, And say to her, softly, Liebes, mein Liebes; 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 skywards, The sun fondling our cheeks, it was as if each time we...


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