I have been a bloodless fish tossed about
with wild blank eyes -- whiter than the foam that smashed me
into rocks that flaked my scales and sent them scattering
gold vermillion flashing at the knees of stinking fishermen
that bent to taste me,
one hand in the folds of their trousers where they started to stiffen
and the edges of their boots all caked with guts.
With salt crust forming in the corners of their lips they turned
to face each other, to shake hands or
compare rod size -- I made this community!
A limp queen rotting into water where I lay with seagull shit and algae scum
that floated and coated the mouths of babes and still I heard
carried in the wind to sluice my innards from cliff faces
and flavour all the oceans with part of me.
I have been a wailing cadaver, slinging hooks to ships
and several first mates drunk recalled a mermaid, though they can’t
stand the stink of the sediment under their fingernails at night.
With the lack of light and of course my flesh decomposing (and the horrible secret that is
a love flavoured thus)
their fingers slid black slow like leeches through the ear holes of sleeping dogs
into nothingness, where at once they drowned.
At the funerals they served me, and I was someone’s miracle
serving a thousand angry guests with too-tight suits and fingers used
to fuck their mistresses under the tables with.
Their wives drank clam chowder
and this is not an extended metaphor, the clams were clams
I was the bloodless fish
that made each and everybody sick! Some made it to the bathroom
but, taking their plates with them, they shoved me grey
into their mouths and into others’ mouths. I have been
aphrodisiac and ipecac
I have been curdled on this brave man’s shirt and the tongue
he stuffed into a gaping mouth.
I have been. But then, under his cool gaze I cannot lie
I felt no longer the reviled flesh that tempts the bones
to break and mouths to bruise
and I could only feel the blood rush through my scoured veins,
the pain from sudden wrenching over years by every gluttonous freak was erased.
I found instead that I had hands and that my hands were shaped for him
I found my feet -- but as they were crushed,
from the heavy dance of men with short attention spans and whiskey blooded eyes,
I lay down in the woods with him and fooled the buzzards
that circled us noiselessly, waiting for us to die
And we lay for thirty years under a tireless sun with red ants and our fingers in our hair
waiting for the oceans to dry.