A Carpapalooza: An American Anthem
I can write about colonialism, Disney, riots
& inoculations. Centuries of American history
before me: Pocahontas' bust, Rosa Parks
arrest records, Elvis Presley meeting Nixon
but with only an hour to go before recording
a poem at The National Archives, I'm in
Starbucks obsessed and struggling
with the queerest piece of literature
in the Archives- Eat The Carp. The Bureau
of Fisheries urges Americans to Eat The Carp.
This resilient variety of fish that lolled the tea
gardens of Japan & became the staple
for gefilte to Jews is 43 million pounds strong
at the turn of the 20th century. We were coaxed
to eat carp croquettes, jelly and caviar. Before
there were Mcnuggets, there was the Carp.
These over-sized gold fish that multiplied
from Carolina to California with the force
of horseless carriages pounding through
our streams. How do I pay homage to this
tenacious piece of protein that has fortified
our American bellies. For weeks, I have labored
over composing haikus to the Carp, Neruda-like
odes to the Carp. Howl Allen Ginsberg-style
to the Carp. Sketch a Jackson Pollock splatter
of concrete poetry all over our marbled
Carp-ital City to the Carp. I even wanted to write
something personally ethnic like a Filipino riddle
to the Carp. Ultimately, this is a Carpe Diem poem
to the Carp. So I say to you live and roam free
as the Carp. Seize the Carp! Roast the Carp
till our appetites are lit into star spangled flames
leading us into a new dawn of Omega 3's
& prosperity. Oh Lord, give me Carp & the power
to forge and be prolific as Carp. Though I can't pay
my student loans & while I haven't found a husband
on Plenty of Fish, Scruff, Tinder & OK Cupid. I am
Ok Carp, Gung Ho Carp, Play The Carp, Watch me
star in Les Carpelables, the musical: "Carp On High,
Hear My Prayer..." Carplohoma: "Carplohoma
where the carp come sweeping through the plains..."
Give me Carp crispy-fried in Crisco & well done!
Oh Lord, serve me a sweltering sausage of Carp
smeared with a smack of sriracha, a kiss of mayo
& mustard on a whole wheat bun.
Copyright © 2014 by Regie Cabico. Used with permission of the author.