Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game Fishing

The balustrade of women across the canal
backlit Byzantine like behind glass

not at all mannequin but twitching distracted
from the already closed deal. The pristine

professionals contact antiquity with urge
twitch and practiced convulsion. A glint

of silver tarpin snapping the line recede
into her ultramarine eyes when the filament

stutters and the door closes. The spoil of hooks
a sea carpet of scars across the mouth’s roof.

Our salary of damaged wills exchanged, our labor
transformed into potential energy, the dollar, weakened

dreams give way to waking, the mis-set alarm radio
announcing the forecast of sprinkler systems.

1 comment:

johnnypanic said...

Maybe I've got this wrong, but it seems to me that the transaction between hooker and john retains a certain unusual degree of personal humanity in the negotiation of the commodity value of labor. Admittedly, the inhuman fact of alienation occurs, but it is perhaps most evident in the measurement of time, the fact that one pays by the hour, or, if one is very wealthy, by the night or without concern for billing and payment, which are handled in another department in that case. Here, oddly, we wonder whether the alarm clock tells us that our agreed upon paid interval of sexual access has expired (or has been indicated prematurely, in one sense or another), or if we have slipped into the neighborhood of the romance of the one night stand, before we face the burning of Rome. And thus I wonder about the title and the conceit it carries. Game fishing, as a recreation, has a similar nostalgic potential, a faint residue of human interest in the personal encounter with the bloody and violent transaction of capture, with all its associated philosophy and disciplinary consolations. The sentimental recognition of the prostitute's mouth, so damaged from so many past hooks, seems to fit this parallel. But we seem to have scanted the idea I got from your description of this poem, which I heard before I read it. In that description, the glint seemed to suggest that both hooker and john are fishers of men, that they are mutually predatory, driven by the logic of the commodification that defines their entanglement. And all of this is a perception I think could be recognized by many people who could make neither head (given) nor tail (had) of this poem, though they might smell something fishy. I know I do: why this studied evasion of readers, who will not part with their time outside of class and homework unless they get a taste themselves before they do all the work? Kine that tread the grain, and all that.