Home > Poetry > The Fat Man Spoke of Fish
Colin Channer
Published: Wed Apr 15 2020
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
The Fat Man Spoke of Fish

The fat man spoke of fish,
only he was drawn,

head shaved athletic,
rug-beard cleaned up,

outfit black,
New Yorkish,

metal specs selected,
not got.

His précis—feria. Dónde?
Nicaragua. Portion, extra grande

doble! A guapote, lake-lurking
bully dealt with wicked,

scored and salted. Battered.
Taught its tender side.

Fit man spoke of fish,
then called for veggies—

well, for veg-adjacents:
hummus, falafel, baba-frigging-

ganoush. No pita sheets.
Was that shiver, lack of comfort

in the tight back booth?
His two new still-fat friends-them

nyamming chicken,
probing beef lobes.

Stew juice gouached
rice bowls.

New friends listened, sipping.
Water, Turkish coffee,

Gilbey’s gin. Followed reminiscing
to the gist: flesh missed.

Old friend, me, barely fit-ish,
eyed bread, impatient,

as my once-fat friend fed muse.
I ate soup with good mouthfeel—

and with relish,
turned alabanza for oil,

for cumin—for the give-in
to the blade by lamb fat,

for what I peppered: questions,
details. Town?

Granada. When?
A year, what the fuck.

With notes I’ll do duty:
dream fish deep fried

the way the ex-fat man
spoke it. His whale.

Take the vegan torture
off his mind.

See what's inside AGNI 91

Colin Channer’s most recent book is the poetry collection Providential (Akashic Books, 2015). Born in Jamaica, and raised there and in New York, he received the 2019 Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship from Brown University. (updated 4/2020)

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