(Sold out first and second printings)
Left. Spent. Departed. Moved Out.
In this collection of poems, Jimmy Nil Fishhawk makes the reader feel all of the above. Like the unkown depth of the swamp at night, the breathing, the noises of these works will suck you in. Although the swamp is a place where life teems, so many people imagine it with terror, as a breeding ground of death. No matter, for the poet of these poems does not shy away from unknown places merely because there are shadows lurking, for he knows that:
Here in the feverblack hollows
When the rest of the world is reeling
I fall beneath the stars
In mortal terror
As the Milky Way goes wheeling.
But as he keeps walking toward that nameless face in the darkness, he unearths the calling of all souls exploring the fringes:
In the black pits of the swamp
Beyond the railroad tracks…
Out here with the ghosts of the wild
I’m summoned to howl and to sing.
Fishhawk is the equal of the libeled creatures of the swamp. He is their voice at night when:
Outside, the moon climbs slow
behind black limbs,
Swollen, yellow, with its veins straining dark
Against its flesh as it pumps its way up
Through the atmosphere.
He nightswims through what may seem like a tremulous murkiness to most, but for the swamp prophet this brackish place is where he sees:
Where the water meets its bottom,
The flourescent plankton
Blinking in blackness mark their wakes,
Ten million tiny suns in the basement sky.