the final pullout is next to the Johanniter-bridge

the night walks circles on a path
un-authorized
equipped with only a thick cane
leaning dark&meaning-ful
into the weak cone of a streetlamp

i can hardly see him as i bike by
realizing my watchman’s been asleep,
covered with the mud of–

“i need to name things” i think
“otherwise– “
a fresh wind blows powdery diamonds on my face
i cross the bridge

the water underneath’s a thousand stories deep
&who can tell exactly
what you’ll see once you’ve pressed the minus 20 button

when i swam there yesterday i saw the dark shapes of big fish
moving through their own world, undisturbed,
unrecognized, no passport in their pocket
as the border control stops them in their tracks
“can you identify yourself?”

i grab my swimsack (folded 7 times to keep my clothes inside dry)
shake my head
as i circle round a buoy, the ferry–

in the dim light of the lamp, the watchman bends his head

“i see you” i say// with a light nod to the shore
to myself more
&the fish rub glimmering scales, searching their bags for proof
with a lost expression on their face

.

 

for dVerse where we’re writing Watchman poetry today

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28 responses to “the final pullout is next to the Johanniter-bridge

  1. I became totally lost in this instantly, navigating the twists, turns, disappearances, reappearances. There’s magic in these words, as subtle as the movements of a fish…

  2. Nice personification in the opening of the night. The thousand stories in the water and the double play in that. The shadowy fish stopped to check their identity. Its fun. Swimming is so fun, like a full body hug from the water. And hope the waterman keeps good watch over you. Ha

  3. Yes, there is a touch of brilliance in this one, as metaphors slither, gallop, & hobble by. I miss having another one of your paintings as header for this; imagining golden carp, watchman’s lantern, ragged refuges, with the bridge in the background. I like your lines /leaning dark&meaning-ful/into the weak cone of a streetlamp/.

  4. I specially admire this part:

    he water underneath’s a thousand stories deep
    &who can tell exactly
    what you’ll see once you’ve pressed the minus 20 button

    Lovely weaving of the fish and sleeping watchmen and the checking of passports ~ I am envious of those fish actually, smiles ~

  5. This is a similar take as Bjorn’s poem to my mind, although a more playful and indirect way of voicing it. It has all the absurdity and satire of The Master and Margarita – fish with passports, folding swimclothes seven times to keep them dry – all magic and superstition, unauthorised circles…

  6. , undisturbed,
    unrecognized, no passport in their pocket….you made me smile. I love fishing and sometimes I make up stories about where they have been and what they are thinking. When I sing I catch them easier 🙂

  7. Enjoyed the details here. But…the watchman should never be asleep when it is his/her turn at the watch. It must be so hard for him/her in the dim light though.

  8. You and Bjorn both on the same thought here. The water a thousand stories deep – all the fish looking for home and safety. It is heartbreaking seeing this play out on the news and seeing the reaction to it.

  9. … ya … crossing the bridge … or stopping and watch the fish … or jump and join them … lots of options … hmmm? Love, cat.

  10. unrecognized, no passport in their pocket
    as the border control stops them in their tracks
    “can you identify yourself?”

    The woes of people movements articulated very well here, Claudia!

    Hank