An indictment of those who boast of ending the lives
of beautiful creatures.


 Big Game Fishing

The great jaws open, a crushing bite,
the hook goes in – it’s piercing sharp,
but, oh, a shock, what fish is this,
that drives its spike right through my mouth?
What prey is this that stabs my jaw,
and won’t let go, some vicious tooth?
A broken rib or shattered spine?
I can’t escape the nasty claw that’s ripped into my lips and mouth,
can’t shake it free and when I pull,
it breaks my teeth and tears my jaw,
rips into my gullet, shreds
my tongue, the agony is fierce!

“Hey Joe, we gotta big one hey!
just look at the sonofabitch, it’s huge!
and wow, those fuckin fins are wide.
hey it’s a goddam bloody beaut!”

His ample guts flop over his belt
His stumpy legs shoot from his shorts
He puffs and pants, his fat neck sweats,
Veins are bulging, eyes, excited big,
Grabs a beer from out the cooler
It dribbles over his thin red lips.
The rod is tightly gripped, it bends,
The sailfin fish is fighting hard,
fighting for life, with all its might,
grinding its teeth against the hook,
knowing somehow that a crack appears,
a rent in the precious blue of life,
a crack where only grim death sneers

“Hey you motherfucker, hey you beast,
I’ll getcha, shit! It’s got some strength,
wanna take the rod, my hands are chafed,
hey wanna take the rod, it’s got some pace!
reel it in, real slow…don’t snap
it’s slowing down, it’s tiring, shit!
Ha! ha sweetheart, we’ll get you yet”

Confusion, where once I swiftly sped
sliced the foam, divided the waves
pierced the green and unguent gloom,
so easily chased the bass, stingray
the silver barracuda fish, that hang
in the sea like shiny blades,
the multi-coloured parrot fish,
could even crush the stony crab,
But now!
Upon the breast of the heaving brine
that was my mother, my terrain,
where I, yes ever, shaped like a wave,
rode the endless sun-licked sea,
felt the endless currents deep,
the endless shake of mothers embrace.
What is this monstrous beast, I eye,
catching a glimpse, ‘tween sea and sky.
See this grinning lump of meat -
a gross misshapen cackling beast,
what is this malformed creature, fish or fowl?
No wings, or claws, or scaly sides,
but yet has stabbed me, thrust a hole,
slashed me with a piercing bite!

“Gaddam! we’re nearly there, yahoo!
It’s tiring, it’s tiring, rein her in!
Spool in slowly bit by bit,
look at those fuckin sailfins wow!
Oh yeah, oh she is a beaut alright.
And this will make our great ‘grand slam!’
Wow! our ninth! yahoo! top shit!

How he grins, this one proud man,
Proud of the lives, he gamely snuffed,
Robbed from the belly of the sea,
Torn from out the proud sea’s womb,
Stabbed and thrust, and pierced and cut,
In steel capped boats with stinking plumes,
As petrol stains the velvet green,
And stopped the lives, oh so abrupt.
For what? so he can show the world,
He is a man.
It’s what men do.
To demonstrate to all the world,
The skill in killing defenceless beasts
It’s fun!
In cutting short a creature’s life
Or are they just large things that float,
And give you all a day of fun,
With bored sloppy wives who cheer
And as they writhe and twist and leap and turn,
Desperate, trying to escape,
She captures it on her video cam.

Weakening, too weak now to resist,
my blood is pouring, pouring out,
but still, I have my bite, my bite,
if only I could bite the head,
from off this stinking cackling beast,
but now a blow has stunned me hard,
rough arms drag me from the world,
I feel so heavy, so ill at ease,
I’m panting hard for every breath,

‘Hey get your camera, over here
big bastard, you gave us quite a fight!’

I feel the life begin to leak
oh let me, let me back to die,
oh let me, slowly, slowly sink

‘You got it! great, now I’m the best,
the world’s best, no-one can dispute!’

Oh let me back into the green,
into the green and tumbling sea,
yes let me go, even your stink,
is just beyond, just anything,
that I have nosed within the deep!
The beasts are shouting, cheering, yelping, shriek!
Is this mankind of which I’ve heard,
but never ever before seen?

‘Gotta full house now, bring out the beer!
yahoo, yaha! ya got the pic?
I’m the world’s greatest fisherman! shit!’

Oh let me slowly slowly sink
into the deep, into the blessed, blessed deep.

Copyright © 2009 Steven Berkoff


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