Fishing by John Grochalski

reading raymond carver poems
he writes an awful lot about fishing
eating fish or being by the ocean
he does it with a verve that i cannot understand
i think the closest that i can get to capturing his feeling
is if i were to write about
masturbation, pizza or taking a shit
it’s interesting to me where one finds their serenity and joy
fishing or cooking or knitting or playing golf
sometimes i can find mine in a bottle of vodka
though sometimes it works to destroy me too
of course carver went through all of that
the “alcoholic” thing…for lack of a better word
fishing is probably the safer bet over cirrhosis or death
i guess i’m trying to say that i never got much out of going fishing
being on the docks or in a boat on the water
casting my line with the hot sun beating down
my old man tried to get my brother and i into fishing
when we were kids
he bought us fishing poles and everything
a huge styrofoam cup of worms wiggling around in black dirt
took us to this man-made lake in west virginia
and tried to show us how to cast a line
like he did as a kid fishing in the allegheny river
of course neither of us took to it
my brother was more into physical sports
and i was fine to eat potato chips
while i vegged on the couch in front of reruns on the tv
the day ended in arguments and frustration
and a kicked over container of worms
nobody spoke on the way home
the fishing poles got tossed angrily into a corner of the garage
only to resurface years later with the trash
maybe if my old man had read raymond carver’s poems
about fishing
he would’ve gotten the nostalgia and solace that he needed
instead of taking me and my brother out there
on such a goddamned day in the sun
to cast out lines and whine and argue
turning the day instead of bonding and bliss
but into one of raymond carver’s
sad and ugly short stories
where everyone fails and stalks off angry and alienated
and just alone
in the end.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

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