Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #338 - Weekly Poem: "The Fish in Your Pocket"

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #338 - Weekly Poem: "The Fish in Your Pocket"

Hi Mom, So many things to write about right now, but this is what I had planned for today, so I am going with it. There's been breaking news the last two days about a rape case at Stanford in which a boy was let off easy with a minimal sentence for a sexual assault of an unconscious woman.

Writerly Wednesday? There's no day of the week with even a letter "p" in it, so there's nothing to share alliteration with poetry. I want to make this a regular feature for a while, so I may plug it in, normally, on weeks when my step son does not graduate high school, which is all the rest of them, on Wednesdays. This week the feature supplants Throwback Thursday, which will probably go out Friday.

I used to fancy myself a poet. I took poetry classes at K and WMU. I taught creative writing at KVCC, and I participated in writer's groups. I tried to publish poetry and had some limited success. For a time, I carried a notebook with me everywhere and diligently filled it with scraps of verses and ideas for things. I still have a notebook near me at all times, but I also have technology and can use it in various ways to record and save ideas.

Eventually, I saw myself as a fiction writer more than a poet. I was still interested in poetry, though. I would read it and occasionally I would dabble in the writing of it. But mostly, for years now, I have not gravitated to poetry as a creative outlet, and I do not see myself as a poet.
And yet, I have all these poems that I have written. By no means, do I have several books worth.
But I could probably keep this rolling for well over a year as there are 70 poems in my poetry folder (though I suspect that there are multiple drafts of some and others are just not good enough to see the light of day).

I am sharing this poem without rewrite. I see ways I could revise. I have almost 30 years of sophistication and experience since I wrote it originally in 1986 or 1987. I see words I would change, lines I would drop, and various other changes I would make. Perhaps I will revise some day, but not today.

I wrote this poem at a time I was trying to experiment with incongruous things, inspired by surrealism's juxtaposition of contradictory or incongruous items, such as a steam locomotive barreling out of an empty fireplace hearth. When I struck upon the idea of a fish in a pocket, I had the idea for the love poem you can read here.

Clearly, I am WAY too in love with words and language and play clever word games with the concept. I have far too many darling phrases in this poem that I engineered the sentence structure simply to preserve, even though these phrases may not make sense or be necessary to communicate the core idea.

I liked the metaphor and its resonance with slippery, floppy, flaccid things. Merging wet images with aquatic creatures fulfilled particular interests of mine.

In the 1990s, I turned this poem into a mini-comic and had it illustrated. If I can find the digital files or ever get the urge to scan the whole thing (if I can find a copy), I may share this again.

I think when I wrote it that I made an attempt to give the poem some kind of structure. The stanzas are uneven and do not have a consistent number of lines. But each ends with a kind of couplet and the whole thing ends with a revision of that couplet form that is meant to remind the reader of a sonnet without following any of the rules of the sonnet. There's not rhyme scheme, but the poem employs quite a bit of sound in both alliteration and assonance that is definitely part of my love for words and some of the darlings that I created and could never part with. I am not sure what some of the phrases mean, though I do like the way the first lines of stanzas two and three mirror and create an expectation fulfilled at the end. This aspect may be the strongest part of the poem for me.

One thing that I found about the poem, now, 30 years after writing it, is that the vision I had for a fish in your pocket felt unique in the late 1980s but now in the 2010s, I was able to search the title on the Internet and find several images for fish in pockets, the best of which I shared up top.

And now, the poem... I hope you like it, Mom.

by Christopher Tower

If I were a fish in your pocket,
I would slide us through the sea
as easily as the drive to work, whispering
rhymes spun like eggs, oval smooth.
If I were a fish in your pocket, we would
meet hand in fin; paddle swim along the solemn
waterway broken only by the beached seals
and the lonely pride of turtles.  Were I pocketed
in your jeans, my fish smell could free your desire.

Would I flounder, flipper, and fidget,
a neighbor to lint and forgotten pennies
in your pocket?  Multiplying desire quickly
like salmon along the waterways of your thighs,
I would chortle like a dolphin mating.
We would cherish the wet slip of childhood yearnings.
I'd be capable as a Swiss Army Knife to heal
you, if I were a pocket fish.

Would I flipper, fidget, and flounder,
unraveled by pocket pressures?
If you join me, hand over fin,
to seaside, we can push the berthed mackerel
and walrus, swordfish and squid back to water.
And if I rest in your pocket, I can breathe
the inspirational hymns that bring you
to the coral church of fish.  Only beneath
glassy waves can we taste the supple
secrets where fish eggs are hatched not eaten.

If I were a fish in your pocket, I would unlace you,
succor and foray, filet and unemploy you.


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 340 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1606.09 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
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