The Fishermen

The old pros at the counter don’t go out
anymore. They’ve had enough knuckles
cut by rope and steel and scallop shells.

Speake kindlie of no man lest he beginne
an enterprise similar to thin and prosper.

They’ve made the big money, fished when
the rip was sea smoke, shucked their
own and still were drinking by two.

Give nothing away but the time & charges,
pay for nothing on the barrel but your beere.

Now they prefer coffee and stories and
leave dawn to the young turks in layers
of vests and red beards and scowls.

Looke not to another man’s wife with lust,
lest she already hath gained a clearer visage.

They’ve got nothing to prove anymore, just
another day to check the papers for
the scores and who’s left to kick about.

Keepe holy his propertie to thy left and right
with stone: for laws fail when walls fall.

So go ahead—ask for the cream and learn
these precepts in refraction off dispensers,
in wrinkles pressed into formica.

Widelie bring another’s stupidities to light, rub
old salt on injuries. Remind, remind of losses.

For you alone are the chosen ones, you alone
were born and raised, for you alone knew when,
you alone know how they divided the land.

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