Thursday, December 29, 2022

December 29: Two Flying Fish, Necessary Evils, Selfish World

Santiago makes himself a snack . . . 

Back in the stern he turned so that his left hand held the strain of the line across his shoulders and drew his knife from its sheath with his right hand. The stars were bright now and he saw the dolphin clearly and he pushed the blade of his knife into his head and drew him out from under the stern. He put one of his feet on the fish and slit him quickly from the vent up to the tip of his lower jaw. Then he put his knife down and gutted him with his right hand, scooping him clean and pulling the gills clear. He felt the maw heavy and slippery in his hands and he slit it open. There were two flying fish inside. They were fresh and hard and he laid them side by side and dropped the guts and the gills over the stern. They sank leaving a trail of phosphorescence in the water. The dolphin was cold and a leprous gray-white now in the starlight and the old man skinned one side of him while he held his right foot on the fish's head. Then he turned him over and skinned the other side and cut each side off from the head down to the tail.

I don't fish.  I'm not saying that I have never gone fishing, but fishing, as a pastime, is not something in which I indulge.  The description in the above passage pretty much explains why.  I don't like touching fish.  Can't stand baiting hooks.  Have never cleaned a fish.  Don't like seafood all that much.

But here is my takeaway from the above paragraph:  I would do all of those things I listed above if I needed to.  If you are a human being on this planet, you have to perform tasks each day that aren't necessarily glamorous, fun, or exciting.  In fact, most days are monotonous, dull, and uneventful.  Like cleaning fish.

We all have to do things like make dinner.  Shovel sidewalks.  Wash dishes.  Go to the office.  Work on a poem.  (Okay, that last one may only apply to me.)  Santiago is gutting and cleaning that dolphin because he has to eat in order to maintain his strength.  I have to shovel my front steps so that I don't fall on my ass going in and out of my house.

Of course, everyone's list of necessary "evils" is different.  Some people don't feel the need to make their beds every day.  I do.  Other people feel empty if they don't check their social medias.  I don't.  I feel kind of lost if I don't write something every day (a blog post, draft of a poem, journal entry, etc.).  Other people would rather have bamboo shoved under their toenails than do this.  

There are really only a few absolute necessities for most humans:  eating, drinking water, going to the bathroom.  That's about it.  I won't die if I don't pick up my pen and write in my journal today.  If I don't make the bed, the world will not collapse.  If I don't show up to work one day, the library will continue to function.  Eating,  Drinking.  Pissing,  Shitting.  That's all we really have to do.

For me, poetry and writing give my life meaning and purpose.  Maybe that's the one other thing all humans need:  purpose.  If all I do every day is get up, eat, go to the bathroom, eat some more, work, and then go to sleep, I don't know if I would want my life to continue.  

Poetry is the way that I understand the universe and everything in it.  When my sister died earlier this year, I turned to poetry.  When one of my best friends died in August, I turned to poetry.  If I'm struggling with my family.  If the world seems selfish and uncaring.  If a person I love breaks my heart.  Poetry.  Poetry.  Poetry.  

So you see, I would be lost without being able to express my thoughts and feelings and ideas through poetry.  For me, poetry is as essential as water or chocolate.  (Yes, chocolate is essential in my life.)  This evening, I received some news that really upset me.  Now, after close to three hours of processing it, I'm no closer to finding inner peace.

Perhaps, I'm too nice of a guy.  Maybe I need to be a little more selfish and uncaring.  Trying to make everyone happy is exhausting.  And impossible.  Maybe I need to start saying "no" a lot more.  Practice being an asshole, because only assholes seem really to get ahead.  I'm tired of a world filled only with sadness and disappointment.  

Perhaps that's the title of the poem I need to write tonight:  "Sadness and Disappointment:  A Parent's Lament."

Here's a sunrise that made Saint Marty smile today . . .