Summer 03






Again the taut monofilament line between fisherman and fish,
gossamer, glimmering, three pound bull red and two hundred
pound bastard battling in salt biliousness, fucker c'mon, come
home to daddy, ink-blot tail-muscle flicking in granite green,
gills pumping, mouth-cartilage refusing, two animals in oppo-
site atmospheres cut by the scissors of surfaces, glass sheet,
almost plexiglas, 10 lb test sunk through like solid sculpture,
bronze, at the outdoor art mart beside the thrashing sailfish,
contest, wills, death, nourishment, fresh red blood, the man
early forties, stubble beard, business failure, two kids, raven
haired wife-bitch, tortured with cratering fantasies of wealth,
accolades, ribbons, oral sex, congratulatory boxes, Europe,
the fish Executive Vice-President, Ben Franklin Life & Cas-
ualty, fat, bald, sweaty, heavy drinker — Black Label — swing-
er, fertilizer of thousands, clogged floater valve, this hook
in throat, block and tackle punishment yanking him to hell
the foreordained testamental destiny of the sacrilegious, barb
in poppers, swift intractable Adjudicator, some are fouled
through back or tail, unfair, but the souls of all infidels are
ripped from guts to float unredeemed and eternally in the
upperworld; the man: Orthodox, gold icon wearer, the on-
ly wholeness known is this standing upon the sloughs in an
inch thick fiberglass bowl, Mercury outboard, live shrimp,
Embassador Abumatic casting reel, singing to himself, haul-
ing up spam, the bump, the strike, the exhilarating instant
the magnificent beast breaks surface into the steel gray
light, whopper!, giant!, mother of trout! swivel and claw
with shrimp bits still attached removed from lip, the man
cold refreshing drafts, it doesn't arrive higher than this;
the fish: nihilistic, savage, mean as shit, shitting, a lifetime
of stuffed resentment and rage croaking out his mouth as
he lays upon mates in the red, blue, and silvery slime pit,
fry me you hypocritical bloodless white robed priest-cow-
ards on your Neptune-thrones, double standard bastards
clinging to cleanliness like a culture of dweebs, translucent
phosphor sacs flaring pure emerald green, gluttonless, for-
nicationless, covetousless, hedonisticless slipping through
cubes like a breathing death, tuna-fresh. The man: loved
but slaughtered the wife's raw eggs his whips slammed into,
wiped until wringing guilt with their hearts and spills of
shame with their hair, the fish issues cackles of cynicism
from his chair, eradicating the blight the man throws the
switch with holocaustal delight on his cold creel of criminals.


Gordon Massman has published in numerous journals across the US, Canada, and the UK (Harvard Review, Antioch Review, Prism International, Windsor Review, Fire, Georgia Review); his third small press book, The Numbers, was recently published by Pavement Saw Press.