fish tales


Fishing rights – and debate about them – formed a backdrop to my entire life. If it wasn’t in my childhood, listening to my grandfather angrily railing against Native American fishing rights, or studying/hearing about Native American fishing rights and meeting the cause’s activists, it was later the way fishing, fish, fish quotas pervade and form the Icelandic culture, even now. Moving to Norway, and later Scotland, fish tales continue to follow me (or I them).

It never occurred to me that discussions about fish, fish survival, populations and existence, and the rights to access said fish, weren’t universal to everyone who lives in a society that, in one way or another, is engaged in fishing. I suppose the distinction is whether a society relies on or merely engages in fishing. In many places I have lived, livelihoods were built on fish – and cultures revolved around fish-related identities.

how many pieces


The Civil War
Anne Sexton
I am torn in two
but I will conquer myself.
I will dig up the pride.
I will take scissors
and cut out the beggar.
I will take a crowbar
and pry out the broken
pieces of God in me.
Just like a jigsaw puzzle,
I will put Him together again
with the patience of a chess player.

How many pieces?

It feels like thousands,
God dressed up like a whore
in a slime of green algae.
God dressed up like an old man
staggering out of His shoes.
God dressed up like a child,
all naked,
even without skin,
soft as an avocado when you peel it.
And others, others, others.

But I will conquer them all
and build a whole nation of God
in me – but united,
build a new soul,
dress it with skin
and then put on my shirt
and sing an anthem,
a song of myself.