jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We Are All Fin Here



The funny thing is, I had the idea for this poem before I even remembered this week's Poetry Thursday prompt. The prompt: cliches. I was in the midst of trying to figure out what I wanted to say when I checked on the prompt. It is so hard to think, say nothing of think deeply, with two Smurfs running around calling your name around the clock. And kids, by the way, Mommy's not here right now. Please leave a message and she'll call you back later.

I'm not sure this poem says what I want it to, or even if it's finished. But here it is.

We Are All Fin Here

In the flat glass world of our ninety gallon fish tank
there is a goldfish without fins,
a lone lopsided swimmer,
top and bottom triangles chewed off by tank mates, lost
to fish anxiety, fish envy, fish hunger.
Eaten, maybe, devoured like so much tissue
paper torn from a tiny golden gift.
Naked back and belly, he moves
like a thick orange worm,
a waving oval creamsicle,
a tangerine snake with a forked tail.

There are days I feel a wet kind of connection
with this fish. Less like a fish
out of water than a five inch feeder without fins
undulating between bubbles
dipping my yellow head for flakes
bumping silently off the cool-headed catfish
swimming mightily next to me.

A wet connection, yes,
as I step dripping out of my house
and dive into daily life, slick and finless.

One of these days I will cast a line
crane my neck for a fisherman to hook up with
a sunburnt angler to set my hook
net me, filet me.
Some days it's sink or swim, baby.
A girl can only swim in circles
so long, before some dry lander declares dropsy.

A wet connection, yes,
as I circle the damp shag carpeting
searching for keys, and one bent earring.



* Must note: Last two stanzas came to me in sleep. Not sure if they work. Comments/critique welcome!

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fish out of water? This was very nice...I liked your description of the fish...the fins chewed off and the "tangerine snake with a forked tail" Great topic!

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God for sleep then, because those are two of the best stanzas in this piece. The entire poem is wonderful. I love how you carry the "wet connection" throughout the whole poem.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Beautifully written, thoughtful poem but oh that poor fish.....

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bent earring and the damp carpet were my favourite bits. They're so true to life. (Great writing with kids around, isn't it!)

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your dream blessed you and your poem. they fit nicely and i love the detail of the carpet and the earring and the question about this goldfish hoping for a fisherman to catch and filet her and while she waits for exciting and certain doom, she goes out into the world wet.

i love your gimpy little goldfish but me and my 55 gallon tank are green with envy over your 90-gallon palace. :)

1:54 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Poor little fishie....but a fine poem!

2:14 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

PS The last time I dreamed a poem, the line was "there are no fragile dogs in heaven." It seemed wonderful at the time.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

This was wonderful and I loved those last lines...super!

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about fourteen of these poems today, and they're, frankly, a dime a dozen. Except for this and two others. Excellent. I love poems about fish, and you keep the bar high. (Not a cliche, is that?)

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed your work for quite a while but I really felt moved to comment on this one... you absolutely captured how it can feel to be drowning in the mundane details of your life. great job.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really great poem. Thus far, I have loved all the poems you have submitted since I joined the PT crew. You have a very slow and measured clarity of language which I truly love, because it guides me through the poem: I feel like I can let go of control because I trust your words to carry me. You also find very surprising ways, aurally, visually, and image-ly (!!) to present the narrative. Realyl great work.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every week you make it a little more difficult to pick my all-time-favorite-jillypoet-poem; hopefully, then, I never will have to.

Because you solicited opinions, I'm going to--pardon the expression--swim against the current here and suggest that maybe the next to last stanza doesn't work quite as well as the rest of the poem. That one stanza breaks up the stuck-in-the-tank-forever-ness that the rest of the poem (including the final stanza) constructs so perfectly. At the very least, perhaps it's misplaced?

Nevertheless, another fantastic poem!

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of your imagery is just fantastic - and although my heart goes out to you and your gimpy little fish - it seems that you're both managing to swim along just fine.

4:09 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

this poem is...well...fantastic. one of my favorites i have read this week.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an amazing poem, love the alignment of such disparate beings. And I like the last stanza (though Jon has an excellent way with words.)

I "catch" on "One of these days I will cast a line" as it is generally the fisherperson who casts and the fish takes the bait. But perhaps you meant it just that way. It is poetry, after all.

What I take from this stanza is a desperate desire for deliverance, escape. "Get me out of here", anything (death?!) is better than lop-sided swimming. I wonder if that is really what you mean.

I really do love this poem, a lot. And you should probably ignore these comments!

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this poem. This is one of my new favorites by you. Great take on the prompt.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did I miss this?! What happened? Sorry so late to ring in on the action, but Girl! This is great. I love the last lines; they are perfect, they will keep surfacing in my mind all week as we all try to avoid those dry landers. Nice work.

9:40 PM  

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