florida primitive

it is not so much where we are but when
tarpon springs, florida, dodecanese street
where we can watch manatees swim sometimes
in that dark water, across the sidewalk from our table that tips,
air spiked with greek shouted from the kitchen
over the clash of pot lids like cymbals.
you and i eat snapper before it was overfished
and i wonder how someone can cook fish
and leave the eyes, roasted and unseeing
but still seeming to accuse us, its consumers,
the eaters of flesh so prettily called psari plaki
heavy with olive oil and tomato, but we are still
murderers, the baked eyes and scales insist
through lemon juice and basil. here the pelicans
are insolent and perch on the railing
and watch us eat too, sideways
as cardboard signs on the patio
tells us in urgent scrawls to not feed the birds.
still, one dares us to do it, watching one-eyed like the fish
he can tell we eat what he eats and I would share
but pelicans don’t share, they bite
so we shoo him away. sometimes
we are too close, reminded by fish eyes
and pelican stares that we are not so far off
from hunting and gathering.

***the prompt today at Octpowrimo is a place, so I took you to Tarpon Springs with me.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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16 Responses to florida primitive

  1. Green Speck says:

    Quite an interesting place 🙂

  2. nelle says:

    …or prey ourselves.

  3. Leo says:

    We are still hunters and gathers, I guess, most of us can afford to outsource the nasty, bloody, sweaty parts…but sometimes, our guilt doesn’t fare well under staring eyes of victims! Well done. enjoyed it! By the way, if you ever get the chance to swim with the manatees, do it. They are wonderful, gentle creatures. You will never forget it. Leo

    • Oh, what a pleasure that would be–swimming with manatees. When I lived in FL, I did get a chance to spontaneously swim with a pod of dolphins once at a very low tide–something I will always cherish, as it taught me something. And yes, I prefer my food not to accuse me mutely as I eat it–wimp that I am 😉

  4. Lots of eyes in Tarpon Springs ~ must visit ~ interesting poem

  5. wow wow , wow! so well done. beautiful poem, well masterly, sorry, very superebly done! Btw, see what you have done without meaning to, Susan! now I can no longer eat fish without seeing those sad empty eyes accusing me! and to think that I was deceived by the title of the poem into thinking the poem was going to examine the florida debate!

    • Thanks, Noel! I still eat that Greek roasted fish, my favorite–I just try very hard not to look at the eyes—reminds me of my father’s tale of a dinner in Thailand (or was is Laos–not sure) where he was treated to roasted critter heads, amongst other things. He talked about that experience often–still not sure whether it was positive, traumatic, or both. Whatever the case, he ate under the weight of those accusing stares.

  6. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I really enjoy the energy and “the crowd” here. The pace of the poem (and your descriptions) bring this out. Very vivid, very true to life.

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