Photo Credit: Paul Rackman/Abbe edited
These poems are based on the fact I love to fish and feel extremely guilt ridden when I catch anything. I release them, but sometimes I hook a turtle which is worse than hooking a fish. I have written some “Lewis Carrol”, nonsense type poetry devoted to my angst and guilt. And I still fish almost nightly, with those two feelings latched to my side. This is one of my stories from Tales Beneath the Electric Blanket.
Green and Slimy – Turtles Revenge
Green and Slimy,
the turtles wobbled up from the lake,
dripping a trail of seaweed in the letters S O S behind them.
Arms locked, tails sharpened,
hurling canasta cards and dice,
“Down with the human” the turtles shouted in unison,
disguising their voices using a pig Latin oink,
which seemed quite odd seeing as they wore
the pinstripe suits of white collar terrapins.
There were eight in all–
more than the fingers on one hand,
more than the toes on a Hemingway cat.
Large, small, long snouts, wide mouths, accusing eyes.
A cadence of edgy anger as they marched
like militants with shields on their backs
up to my back door.
The largest of the group gripped my arm with a savage intensity
demanding I surrender my devices and potions.
Leaning back on a carapace paved with algae, he spoke,
“We have come”, he said with pupils blacker and meaner than octopus ink,
“To remove from you the things that fault your human character.”
to which I said nothing afraid perjury might froth from my lips.
“You see,” he took my head into his long, manicured claws
forcing my eyes to look upon the hoards chanting in Hebrew, or maybe Farsi?
Neither of which I spoke, but somehow understood by the captions
magically circling the words above their craggy heads.
“You see,” he continued, “how you have complicated our lives?”
I looked up his nostrils and two yellow snails winked at me.
“Whatever do you mean?” I asked.
He grabbed my fishing poles and broke them in half.
“Those are responsible for this,”
he turned a curvy profile to show me a hole in his cheek plugged with
old, chewed up Bazooka gum.
“Oh my,” I said as remorse trickled from my mouth like melted butter.
“Our blood is upon your hands,” and each turtle smacked a wet, red clawprint across my cheek.
“I never intended my hooks for you.” I stated.
He shook his wrinkled head, “It is not so much the hooks
as it is about the alchemy of white flour,
“Your human food has created an obesity crisis among the turtles. ”
I took notice that each protesting reptile was pot bellied.
“You bait the hook with soft, white puffs and expect only dumb fish,
but your magic food has all of us fighting and longing for more.”
Every one of their heads nodded in choreographed agreement.
“Not only have you made us fight each other for the bait,
the methane structure of the lake is different now,”
They all turned and lifted their tails,
a grueling chorus commenced sounding of hunters blowing duck calls.
Massive green bubbles emerged and burst mid-air
reeking of broccoli and seaweed with a touch of feculent fish.
I put one hand across my nose and the other to shield my eyes.
“I am truly sorry for this,” I apologized.
“Keep your white flour and hooks for your own twisted politics, maam, I
assure you, we do not share the same fetishes and fantasies.”
He signaled to the others by tapping his plastron
then kicked the remains of my fishing rods out of his way.
The others followed him back into the lake
leaving behind seaweed,
and the distinct smell of a German restaurant
while a swastika remained stamped into the grass where they had goose-stepped.
I took my bread and tackle box
and threw it all into the trash,
then went inside.
No more bribing the fish at the lake,
No more barbs through cheeks,
they were right, the pure ecology of lake creatures
was being corrupted by me,
toxic white flour and curved steel.
I picked up the broken pieces of rods
and walked back to the trash.
A single, red-eared cooter emerged from a downed can.
He was shoving what remained of the loaf of bread into his plastron.
We looked at each other with vague acknowledgment,
I turned to leave and he cleared his throat,
“I’m sorry to bother, but would you happen to have
any mayo and lettuce to go?” He inquired.
I ignored his question and walked back inside the house,
I had created a generation of reptilian carb addicts
all because I enjoyed fishing.
No longer can I tolerate the smell of cooking broccoli…