“The Fish Poem” – Elizabeth Bishop

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I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
– the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly-
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
– It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
– if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels- until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.


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And another depressive post from me…

I have a tendency to get depressed around this time of year, and life has just been…meh…lately.

My brain is basically telling me that have never been able to be happy sober, and a lifetime of damage and bad experiences have left me with little hope of acclimating to “straight” life.

Christ, that looks so melodramatic written out. I guess I have a few people I could ask for help, but it’s just so against my training to show weakness. Like, fuck, I volunteer, even strangers talk to me about shit that’s worrying them (downside of being in public frequently, I guess…) I’ll buy homeless people breakfast but I can’t tell people I’m really thinking about getting back into drugs and letting that be a passive suicide versus living in the damaged vessel that is me in this dying world?

Life just seems to be a complicated variety of meaninglessness, I can’t really see much point in anything… it’s not like I’m going to be able to change things for myself or others in any meaningful fashion… there’s so much hate and division in this country… it’s all so overwhelming.

So many of us are cruel, and there’s so much unnecessary suffering that just isn’t looked at or listened to.

It’s not like no one tries connecting with me, I just kind of stall and act polite but disinterested until they go away. I’m sort of reconnecting with someone from back home, but they might not be the best choice for “sober” and “happy”, but I’d be lying if he wasn’t intelligent and simultaneously seems to understand me.


I mean… I’m managing a respectable life, but I feel like my soul is dead. But maybe I always feel like I’m on the edge of a break down, but what kind of a life is that?

I’ve never been able to think of the future in any considerable fashion without verging into a panic attack, even in high school.

Maybe I’m just not made for this world.


Sad Down South

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  1. Outlaw Shit – Waylon Jennings
  2. I Hung My Head – Johnny Cash
  3. To Love Somebody – Lindi Ortega
  4. Wild Horses – The Flying Burrito Bros
  5. Weightless Again – The Handsome Family
  6. Pineola – Lucinda Williams
  7. Death of Me – Headwater
  8. My Head My Heart My Gut – Fish & Bird

“Advice to a Girl” – Sarah Teasdale

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No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed;
Lay that on your heart,
My young angry dear;
This truth, this hard and precious stone,
Lay it on your hot cheek,
Let it hide your tear.
Hold it like a crystal
When you are alone
And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.
Long, look long and you will be blessed:
No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed.