Samaki wa Pagatori

A substance of influence
at first invents language, forget Babel, my love,
Think of code, a secret whisper, what becomes, in the end,
The familiar but elusive whisper of the lover.
That not yet forgotten thing lingering,
At the waste end of memory,
not that I know anything
About such a place.
Such a place, such a place, such a place.


Think of two lovers
Whose only language is silence,
Meditation, and sex in a hostel house,
the fish of purgatory listening,
listening, listening.


Or, a new beginning:
It invents the possibility of language in Bobby the Fish,
So that twenty years into the conversation
Bobby the Fish is still trying to make out
The first letter of the first word ever said
In a world some of us believe to be the first and only one:
‘In the beginning was the mercy fuck…’


Water, though, is Bobby’s first language:
Drowning in his first sexual climax,
And his last.
So that the pout becomes both supplication
And admonition
to the god of water.


And if there are other worlds,
Where fish hunt men with harpoons,
Broken nets, Benghazi currents?
What are we to say of these men?
Or the fish,
Who adopt accents and evening dress,
Walk to famous restaurants and order tuna
In white wine?
What would their great psychologists say,
If they were not still sulking
And mending nets
To be captured in later?


Hi, Bobby. Welcome to Nairobi.
Fear nothing.


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