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Catfish Cantos YouTube playlist: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlyOBlEtTq65geNzxIz8uYD5CzizBfjES

CATFISH CANTO I: A STANDARD AND A DRONE
A standard is a standard,
and a drone is a drone.
Well, why not throw a bomb on ...
No, no!

Listen to the King of the Jungle!
He's a bastard, but he is our bastard,
and we are
too big to fail.

We are
cowards. We
play choo-choo in the jungle.

You there on the street! Is that
Latin you are reading?
I beg your pardon?
No, the 21st. It is
something new.
With new names.

Holy tradition, save us from the
deviant! To Thee we pray, Thou art our
reference. Can't there be silence
in the mountains?
Drip drop, drop drop, what is this
sensation? Is that
you? There are voices of peace
in the jungle:
Chick-a-dee-chack, chick-a-dee-chack, and:
Cocori ho! Cocori ho!
I think it means good.

Did you see that cat on
Facebook? What a laugh. And if it rains,
we'll take a cab.

Real city, your cars like petals
carried on ant paths. Your night-lights
fading, pointing to
references. Cave paintings
on the walls.

We celebrate the new millenium
with war. When the terrorists are killed
there will be
we will be
everything's gonna be
something's gotta be
something. Trust me.
A new dawn.
Can you play this Beethoven again, please. Thank you.
So elevating. So
dead. What
a relief! He would only
talk back. He was not
an easy man.

Who are all these voices? They frighten me
like ghosts. Is this seat free? I just need to
sit down for a minute. Are you American?
Yes, I thought so. You look so prepared
for your second century. Good luck!

And here is the news:
Terrorists.
Can we please drop this bomb now.
I'm gettin' bored, sorry.

Real city, the wind brings
no sound.

Anis Hamadeh
25 June 2013
CATFISH CANTO II: WHERE IS MY GROUP?
Excuse me, have you seen my group?
Sorry, I need my glasses.
No no, wait!
I am for global justice, you see.
Only, I don't find my group,
and a monster haunts my nights.

This is not my street,
or is it?
I remember the face there
on the election poster,
and that one, too.
They line the street
like crabs.
But what is this stench?
Is it meat? What is this?
I used to go there, I think,
but I cannot today.
In the river, seven flights below,
barbels lure in darkness,
reaching out,
flirting.
This way, polliwog, I will show you
fear.

Down here
is the realm of the catfish.
There is no one else around.
It can smell you.
You're away from the herd.
So delicate you are.

Moon sweat on the blanket.
I must remember the name
of my leader. My
adviser. Mon semblable, mon
frère.
In the East and in the West,
catfish, catfish, unsuppressed,
old and stout, unseen and wise,
pulls the curtain from your eyes.

Yesterday, when I watched the news,
the colors were so different.
Where have the jaunty words gone,
verbiage and vodka?

It was so easy when
all of us
were guilty,
especially them,
and nobody was
better.

Now there is nothing.
And the catfish says:
"Trust
your inner voice,"
but it's a monster. A
beast. Last week it took
a poodle right from the shore.
I don't know what to do.
They say the catfish is
a terrorist.
So many sought to kill it. They came
with red heat pokers, guns and
articles in the New York Times.

Come back to the herd, dear,
this is not for you. Did you have
a bad dream? I know.
Oh look, your brand
is all worn out.
Let's go and fix it!

Anis Hamadeh, 2014

Published also at:
http://dissidentvoice.org/?p=54103
(May 11, 2014)
CATFISH CANTO III: THE DISSIDENT
Now, this is the chair
of freedom. In it sat
the elected one.
The pioneer, the
chosen one.
You can take a little flag
on your way out,
as a souvenir.

In our country we have
no dissidents. We have bonus cards and
democracy. We have
God. When the battle started,
the chosen one cried:
“God, help us
disembowel the enemy
and flay his daughter's skin!
We praise you much.“
And there was peace.
So don't spoil it!

You are not going to eat this colossal
fish alone, are you?
Hey guys, come on over,
here's a treat. No no no,
not you! You're this whistleblower guy,
ain't-cha? The traitor. Where is your
flag? God, this is to die for!
In the desert I sit, the dissident.
Oh, we have no desert,
they would say,
we have democracy.
It must be something
in your head. A
crack or ...
Ouch!
No, it's this overstretch again.
Does anyone have an aspirin?

Now, which Roman emperor
created those magnificent baths
that were free for all?
Yes, Emily?

In the silence of the night
the catfish goes unseen,
untouched. It grows
in the rivers, it grows
in the lakes. Wrapped in
brackwater.

So will you follow now
or what?
We haven't got all day.
What are you staring at?
Helloho!

The moon is so big tonight, look!
So white.
We need a home, everybody
does. I'm talkin' 'bout peace now.
OK, so you laugh, but
when we all have a home,
what could there be other than …

The catfish turns its head,
stirs up the ground, and now,
all mouth,
it sings: "Hatch, half a million,
in the cold,
brave little darlings,
two days old."

So what was this thing again
about the moon? We put a flag there,
you know.

Anis Hamadeh, 2014

Published also at:
http://dissidentvoice.org/?p=54209
(May 18, 2014)
CATFISH CANTO IV: THE WHEEL
Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
was getting old.
Her cards all used and her hands
like stubs of
burnt olive trees.

Here, said she, is the Drowned Calf.
I don't know if it's your card. This
is the Wheel, and this is the card
of our sponsor. Thank you!

Come on, there's nothing to it!
Now jump from the pier, will you!
The water is good,
and something's tickling
my feet.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The World's Got Talent Incorporated
proudly presents
a new star. She sings like a bird,
and further we heard ...
"Yeah, that's right!"
... you can, is that right,
foretell the future?
A big hand for Insomnia Perkins!
Far from the surface,
down in the deep,
little catfish thrives. Lush
are the banks
of the river. They feed
on everything. They don't think,
they feed. Some will
survive.

First of all I wanna thank everybody.
It's so great to be here with you tonight in HD.
I see crowds of people
dancing round in a ring. So many!
Now I turn the wheel of fortune,
and away we go!

It's a win-win situation. I know
what you think: fracking, climate change,
money crisis, corporations, international conflicts,
I know.
But what I say is this: If we talk together
to reach a consensus, we can really make it.
I don't like this negativity that I sometimes sense.

No, Mr. Hirosaki, we never speak the names
of the two cities. Yes, thank you for the bonsai,
quite futile, still … well.
Isn't it great that we're all together now!
Email me, I wanna show you
this YouTube video about
a leopard caring for a baby baboon
after having
devoured its mother.
Oh, you saw it? Cute, ain't it?

No, I'm fine. I mean,
you gotta believe in something, no?
My wheel is happy.
Sometimes,
when I cannot sleep at night,
I watch the moon and the stars above.
I'm more on the celestial side,
my mother says.

Daughter daughter, shun deep water,
don't get nearer to the mirror!
Fish will come and snatch your toes;
this is how the story goes.

I love my mum.
Mum's the word!

Anis Hamadeh, 2014

Published also at:
http://dissidentvoice.org/?p=54319
(May 25, 2014)
CATFISH CANTO V: THE GARDEN WHERE STORIES END
In the beginning was
the story. Y'all see de railroad track
down 'ere?
That's where John Henry with his
mighty hammer
challenged the machine.

In the delta, where
the gators grow so mean,
sweet waters meet
like flautists
in a strawberry field.

Sir? If you must smoke,
kindly leave the plot. (Idiot!)

A steam engine this is, a-steam-a-steam
engine this is, a-steam a-steam a-steam a-steam
Choo choooo!
Quick, more fuel, steam-a steam-a,
don't be cruel, steam-a steam-a,
ra-ta-ta ta-ta-ta
ra-ta-ta ta-ta-ta,
Hi ho, speed, my silver jewel!
So, was there any feedback on this
peace ad you took out? Well,
what did you expect
from life?

Hey, buster, what's up?
You're jumping like
a catfish on a pole.
Oh, it's a dance, I see.
You're an artist.
Great! No, art is great. I have
a niece that can
juggle with four oranges.

Faster, faster, silver steam,
dream on faster, dream on, dream!
Ra-ta ta-ta ra-ta-tar,
Let it ring from bar to bar!

In the garden where all stories end
cowers the unseen one,
the untouched. He has
many names. He
is there. He knows
his way around.
Listen, this
PTSD lotion they gave you,
is it any use?
It comes with a massage, right?
No, I'm just asking.

All this violence, I cannot ...
It's hard sometimes, you know.
Of course we had to do it,
sure. That's
common sense.

In the garden
where his story ends,
nothing depends
upon a silver wheel
barrow

leaning
against
the apple tree.

Anis Hamadeh, 2014

Published also at:
http://dissidentvoice.org/?p=54412
(June 1st, 2014)
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