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I don't want to talk about
their beauty
swimming in water
sometimes invisible
except for the pale blue lace
of their tails.

I don't want to talk about
the grace
of a great blue heron
gliding across water
to its station in the shallows
where it waits for a meal
with due diligence & patience
as if it were winter
& frozen there.

I don't want to talk about,
as I eat these fish,
the loneliness of my heart.

Nor damselfly's & dragonfly's.

Nor the curious head of a turtle
popping up
here & there.

The voice of a redwinged blackbird
as if it were speaking
directly to you
tells you the meaning
of the rattle of reeds & autumn leaves
in your beautiful nightmares.

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The following comments are for "EATING BLUGILLS"
by gomarsoap

Always a Pleasure
I always look forward to your work, Gomarsoap. At first I thought this was a pre-emptive strike against vegan protests. But as I re-read it I decided it was about wanting to enjoy a good dinner. And dammit, I love that simplicity.

( Posted by: viper9 [Member] On: August 19, 2006 )

Bob Notavegan

Yes, you shouldn't talk with your mouth full, Bob, but I'm glad you wrote it down.

Watch for bones.

~ John

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: August 19, 2006 )

Eating Blugills
I like this one very good thanks for posting

( Posted by: wanda [Member] On: August 19, 2006 )

Bagel Tape
Like a fish through peanutbutter halls, this one sailed north for dinner!!! Muskets love the a gunpowder lunch. Much kitten debris!

( Posted by: PeriwinkleMoses [Member] On: August 19, 2006 )

Bolo butter sans with milk ju fee are also good. Hold the kits.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 20, 2006 )

Bluegill comments
Thanks for reading and commenting. I had trouble ending this poem - the last stanza strikes me as too wordy, too much of a mouthful.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 20, 2006 )

cool fish poem
made me hungry.

( Posted by: wanker [Member] On: August 20, 2006 )

I used to spend a lot of time fishing for trout and catfish in the south. Caught more bluegills than anything. This poem brought me back to those places, the beautiful imagery in your words made it seem real around me.

But the ending, somehow, doesn't fit. Maybe another stanza? Or less. Not sure what it is about the ending, but it just didn't settle well.

Sorry to be so picky. :(

( Posted by: chinadoll [Member] On: August 20, 2006 )

chinadoll: Thanks and you're not being picky because I have a problem with the ending, too, especially the last line - I'm not even sure what I mean by "beautiful nightmares." When I figure that out, I'll know what to do with the ending. So thank you for your input! Hope you still find time for some fishing. Catfish AND trout? Must have been a very nice area.

I wrote this piece while I was at a friend's apartment where we had just fried up some bluegills we had caught a few weeks ago. My friend, who is a woman and an excellent poet and catcher of fish, suffers from terrible nightmares on a nightly basis. When we caught those bluegills there were a lot of redwinged blackbirds around (one of my favorite birds), and she felt they were talking directly to her. I think I tried to cram all of that into the last stanza. Why I used "beautiful" nightmares, I don't know, because her nightmares are anything but beautiful. I think I tried to get some of her and some of me into the last stanza and it didn't work. I like this poem so will eventually come up with a resolution.

winchime: I appreciate your coming back to this and your suggestions. Whatever I decide to do will probably involve moving words or lines around or shortening the last stanza. Some kind of simple rewrite.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 20, 2006 )

This is really well crafted metaphor, the way Robert Frost used pastoral settings that he experienced in such a way that even the city dweller gains some deeper meaning.

It really reminded me of Florida, and at the same time I can think of Wyoming -- like "Nor the curious head of a turtle popping up here & there." For some reason reminds me of prarie dogs, or gophers..

I really like this one


( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Fish-fishin' (or does enyone remember Elvin Bishop?)
I live a mile from the James, and catfish and trout are both plentiful. I sit on the bank and read or write or draw. He fishes. It is a sport of patience to be sure.
I loved the natural quality to this. I like steak, but can't think of cow eye-lashes and feel I shouldn't be a vegan.
I like the last stanza now, after knowing the story. Prior, it was a little unclear.
Always nice to read you-

( Posted by: emaks [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

There's a reflective and meditative atmosphere here that I really like. It becomes almost a spiritual activity, the eating of these fish, or it's like a whole process, from nature to dinner, like composing something, or like a journey... or maybe I've had too much coffee?

I liked everything in the last stanza except "beautiful nightmares" which would be fine with maybe a further expository couple of lines, or whole other stanza. It's a good way of summing something up, but I'm not sure what it is that's being summed up, if you know what I mean?

Also, I could have done without the turtles. But that's largely because I hate turtles. Don't know why. Just do. Anyway, enjoyed this, thanks.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Bluegill critiques - thanx
MsMaks: I know an Elvin Bishop song about fishing that has a recipe for "carp balls" in the lyrics - "yeh, you'll love them carp!" Hilarious & great song.

BWOz & Guts: Fishing to me is first a spiritual activity and helps keep me sane. Small lakes & ponds with reeds, lilypads, frogs, turtles, insects, birds, muskrats, beavers, etc. - helps keep me grounded in the natural world - a feeling of being part of the world, not just of the world. Also, lots of little dramas going on. So I'm glad any spiritual quality came across to you. Cleaning & eating anything you catch is an extension of the initial experience - reverential, but anything but solemn.

The turtle has to stay - I love those little rascals. "Beautiful nightmares" I'm certain will have to go - at least as written.

Tina: You should consider writing about your childhood in Australia - "catching yabbies and swatting flies" is a pretty good line in itself. I'll have to google "yabbies" to see what kind of fish it is.

I live in the northern US - in the southern states bluegills are commonly called "bream" or "brim." I also catch red-ear sunfish - down south they call them "stump knockers" or "shell crackers."

I thank everybody for their comments which will be a great help when I revise this piece - this was the first draft just as it spilled out all at once (while my fishing/dinner partner was "dozing" from a little too much wine). Greatly appreciated.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Fried bluegill tales
Bluegills are tasty, their tails too. When I was a kid, we even fried their eggs in a skillet. (Hillbilly cavier) I like the poem, Bob. I like the twists in it. It turns a person around a couple of times. I think your ending lacks one word; underwater.

beautiful underwater nightmares- or beautiful nightmares, underwater. Something like that. It seems to complete the teist for me.

As is is fine too. Let the reader imagine the ending as I have done. that is the fun here.


( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

I think bluegills are a real delicacy - sure can't buy them in a store. These days I fillet them so the tails and fins get discarded - but I've tried them and they're good when nice and crispy (hope this doesn't horrify tinalouise!).

Thanks for your input - more food for thought regarding the ending.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Keep it

I think the ending is well placed, and really not too wordy. To me, it explains or gives a reason for the other lines before it and adds a little bit of "the world is really a scary place if you're a bluegill" kind of approach.

I think you should put more of your fishing thoughts down, maybe do a series for diffent kind of fish you've caught. I like the lazy old cat fish that will swallow your bait and lay there for an hour before you know you've got a fish.

As you describe so well in your RE: comments, there is a whole little world that goes on in the fishing ecosystem -- a lot of little dramas and tension, and disaster, and sometimes extreme surprise. In this piece you really captured that well, and like I said, I could imagine many different episodes happening at the same time, different places I've lived, events I've seen ... some very understated metaphor, but there just the same.

Can I see one in a bass?

good words


( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Oh btw
I forgot to add, I would strike the "&frozen there" line in second stanza. Let the heron be patient like winter --- good enough image I think -- winter probably means different things to different people, but we all know there is a great deal of patience that must be used in winter.


( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

BWOz - at the ending, I wanted the rattle of reeds and autumn leaves to signify how life is transitory and fleeting, as if the redwinged blackbird is personally reminding me of even my own mortality. The last stanza will stay pretty much as it is but I have to do something about the last line because it has to make sense to me.

I'll take a look at "& frozen there," but I'll probably keep it.

I've written a bunch of fishing-related poems over the years and have slowly been putting a manuscript together. I can definitely show you something in a bass. I usually fish for bass and panfish where I currently live. Sometimes catfish depending on where I'm fishing - powerful forces, those catfish. And beautiful.

Thanks for the input and food for thought.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Blue-gills revisited
I meant bass, not trout. And I meant anyone, not enyone. Glad to see you know Elvin. "Fishin'", and "Traveling Shoes" are two that fly to mind and make me smile.
Very interested to know that "Brim" are your "Blue-gill". John cathces Brim to use as bait for the catfish.
I hate fish because I was raised Catholic, but I love being by any body of water. There is always so much life everywhere. Winter can be stark, but still found, and summer heat brings multitudes of venues for assessment.
Turtles stay, I say. I even like to see the snake heads emerge, and discover that it really is a snake, and not some wayward stick.
Again, enjoyed...

( Posted by: emaks [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Yeh, Elvin is a great trip. Who cares about the typos in comments, anyway? Small brim do make good catfish bait - I've caught a few that way. I probably would have put a water snake in the poem but hadn't seen one that day. Nice to know that you are a water-person. Funny, but I love freshwater fish, but not too crazy about eating saltwater fish. Can't believe all the comments I got on this piece - thanks again. Friday night! Eat your fish, Elizabeth! I'm not Catholic but have cousins who are - they would always groan when Friday supper came around.

( Posted by: Gomarsoap [Member] On: August 22, 2006 )

Really pissed me off when "the church" no longer felt the need to spear-head the fishing industry. Somehow, I always envisioned a mutitude of souls floating up to heaven mumbling "damn fish" under their breath...

( Posted by: emaks [Member] On: August 23, 2006 )

Hi, BWOz
Hey, I just remembered, I can also show you something in a Sheepshead. Ever catch one of them freshwater drum?

You're up kind of late. Thought I'd say hi.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 24, 2006 )

one of your best
I think this is one of your best poems. Truly lovely.

I too have a problem with "beautiful nightmares" - can't connect it with anything else in the poem. I feel like you were addressing your friend's private world. Is she, somewhere, being lured and caught?

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: August 27, 2006 )

Oh, well... I wonder why I missed such very good poem, and you're saying you're not yet contented with this. I too felt the spirituality in this poem. I would choose this type of spirituality more than anything else, like I choose the religion of Poetry. What else can I say... they have said it all and I regret I am late. But this poem will definitely make me ponder for days... as I would recite prayers while riding jeepneys, holding a pamphlet.

Thank you for this. :-)

( Posted by: peterpaulino [Member] On: December 28, 2006 )

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