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Premonition - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The fish floats on its side, crumpled
in the corner of the tank. I worry
that it's finally dead, walking closer
until I see the slightest movement.
"Hi fish," is greeted with a flip or
a flop. Sometimes I sing. And
then I toss in more bloodworms,
steering them numbly toward
the edge. I feed the problem, pretend

I'm serving up a cure. For a long
time the fish sought shelter in the
volcano, its back wedged up inside
the hollow so tightly that you had
to look hard to even see it. But
now it's always out, steady
reminder that, even if we're not
dead yet, we will be. I wait.

I watch. There was a flick of the
tail a minute ago, though as I write
this the beaten blue form floats
lifelessly, full of a life that won't
go gently into the toilet or the
backyard, wherever we deposit
our losses. I know it's wrong

of me to make everything into a
sign: the clock on the bedroom
wall that's been reading 7:50
for months, the blood that's dripping
down inside us, whether bruise
or blot, the way each coupling
feels more frantic than the one
before it. Something is rising.

I can see it. It's waiting to be
plucked from the water, dark
harvest of the reality we only
pretend to overlook. The other
day she wanted kumquats,
explained, "They're sour, sweet,
and bitter at the same time."

The difficult part is remembering
to let them linger on the tongue.
You have to wait for it. Too soon
and it's murder. Too late and you're
spending hours looking at a dead
fish. Melancholy means the space
between, staring at the moment.
I'm doing my best not to blink.

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5 comments or Leave a comment
kdotdammit From: kdotdammit Date: April 29th, 2005 12:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
wow. this is so full of foreboding. I woke up feeling actually refreshed and happy and new. Now I feel a scared and sad. It's a great poem though to have that kind of impact. It put barbed wire around my heart.
myarchway From: myarchway Date: April 29th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Your poem is beautifully written - I wish I knew better how to travel through the psychic landscape. I think it is brave and wise to stare at the moment and face the darkness.

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 29th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thank you. I'm in a strange space these past 24. A cloud is passing over the sun. Still, it's a sunny here, so I'm sure it will be all right.

I love reading your entries and comments. Each one is like the best kind of gift a person can receive.
counter_memory From: counter_memory Date: April 30th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I think this would work beautifully as a prose poem.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 30th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing. I like to play with caesuras and line-endings, but I'm not sure I want to do what it takes to make the poem more obviously "poemish."
5 comments or Leave a comment