Compare Yr Childhood To How Yr Father Handled Catfish
1) Night digging with shovels of light / the aroused orgy of earthworms churn in the black cake flesh beneath my father’s benediction of beer / a holy transformative act offered these creatures / busy stretch crawling through our fingers like drunks rolling home
2) Tolerate the brisk flies munching your ears at the river / the dervish ecstasies of their black seed bodies stumbling through the air / their hot electric praise song psalm for the spiked jewelry of the river / holy ghost dancing in my father’s palm like a fresh-bathed infant and shining like Reno money
3) Toss the rivers perfumed bounty into an igloo cooler / a crib for purgatories eggless black sperm to run infinite loops until dizzy and confused / The mad gasping of the largest one—smooth as a boxers bicep / paraded through witness of neighborhood drunks as if prom king / How they all tearfully confess their preference for Old Crow over blessed water / Bare witness how every living thing is blessed and saved until baited by sin and tossed into the tanks of hell
4) Hold down the leathery, armored samurai / delirious with color / swatting away sunlight / with its church fan tail / Peel the skin down like stockings for the buttery musculature beneath, / its cologne close to rain / Click open the coin purse of its belly, / boil a bath of baby oil while dusting the baby in a vestment of spices / Align a plate with the wet gold leaves of their palm hot bodies / Open your mouth as if to offer grace, but say nothing
Cave Canem fellow and VONA graduate James Cagney is a practicing poet and writer from Oakland. He has appeared as a featured artist at Miko Kuro's Midnight Tea: Midnight In Mumbai, S.F. Litquake and East Bay Beast-Crawl. His poems have been published in journals Tandem, Eleven Eleven, and Ambush Review.