Brian Turner

In the Fishouse: A Thank you from Brian Turner

Brian Turner has written and recorded a new poem, available only here, as a special
thank you for your contribution to From the Fishouse. Brian created this found poem
from lines and snippets out of the Fishouse print anthology.
Because of your generosity we can continue to provide audio of exciting young poets reading
their work, and continue to improve the way we reach into the community and
classroom to promote the enjoyment and education of poetry.

In the Fishouse
We watch the fire let loose the night’s national anthem,
green things whose songs could move the oldest tree to tears,
the wounds that open before the knife even touches the skin.
Sister, Brother—deep in the moth hour I could say certain things
and you’d know what I mean: the whole town is strewn
with horses and red doorways and burned fish; dreams,
like canaries, are sent down into our mineshafts
to discover whose teeth tunnel through the closets
of angels, where all of our words are heaps of burning feathers
that rise and rise with each retelling.
Outside, the empty streets shine with lamplight and dew.
The long winter rehearses its inhale-exhale through the invisible.
The world opens with light and the need for endings.
Desire, you’re in bed and dreaming of Wilfred Owen’s anthem,
booming it holy in the gospel of trumpet and flared bell,
the line of this symmetry a trench between one body and another,
where syllables tumble off the tongue full of Bombay
and Chang Mai and Alaska, full of honest self-scrutiny
voiced scale by scale, saying—the flesh knows this one thing,
and whether you’re a second-story man or the governor of Michigan
it doesn’t matter, because in the Fishouse we all drift out
on fiery canoes, filled with mist and tiny daggers, ravishing,
beautiful, our tongues saying “kiss me” on the streets of Paris,
kiss my belly, my waist, my chin rest, my rib, my sound hole
and pegbox, here, here in the Fishouse
where we praise the gods we left
and the gods that left us, blue flames all, singing.
This poem is brought to you by the letter B.

Turner comments: “‘In the Fishouse’ is a found poem bringing together words from these amazing Fishouse poets: Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Sarah Gambito, Ravi Shankar, Diana Marie Delgado, V. Penelope Pelizzon, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Tina Chang, Maria Hummel, Dobby Gibson, Christian Barter, Erika Meitner, April Ossmann, Mark Conway, Camille T. Dungy, Adrian Matejka, Stacey Lynn Brown, Tyehimba Jess, Rigoberto González, Steve Scafidi, Aimee Nezhukumatatahil, Dan Albergotti, Charles Flowers, Ilya Kaminsky, Sarah Gridley, Jeffrey Thompson, and Anne Marie Macari.”

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