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Casting My Line Into Another

These waters are no good.
I've been fishing all day
And all I've caught
Is a shred of argyle,
A belt buckle,
A tangle of hair,
And a shoe lace.

I'm paddling out farther
To deeper waters.
I'm casting again
In another direction,
And while waiting for a tug,
I'll tell you the history
Of all my bad luck.

I was born an angler.
We all are, you know.
But my training was lacking,
For I was taught to fish in a puddle of sludge
With teachers who, more often than naught,
Hooked bits of me instead of tadpoles or guppies.

When I grew of age, I packed my tackle, line and rod,
And told my mentors what I thought of their "fishing."
Then I hiked to a river to find companions,
Who knew how to catch fish instead of me.

The river was crowded with anglers,
Full of tips, advice, and criticisms.
"Not there. Here."
"Not that. This."
"Not over. Under."
At first I obeyed
Until I succeeded to fish like they did
Catching the flies of fishers on the opposite bank,
Who, in turn, were ensnaring their hooks in our lines as well.

So I cut my losses and moved downstream
Where I'd heard the campers ate trout every night.
At the edge of a lake, I pitched my tent on the beach
Beside an old man who was grilling four fish over his fire.

"How did you catch those?" I asked that first night.
He smiled and pointed. "I cast my line in the waters."
"Of course, but how?"
"In the waters!" he repeated. "In the sea!"

Of course! I thought.
Why fish in lakes beside hobbyists and amateurs,
When I could fish the ocean with sea captains?

So I went to the sea, bought this dory and cast out.
And here I've been anchored off shore for a week
Without much luck—aside from that rubbish pile there.

I see you've tangled your line.
Ha! I used to do that too.
Give it here.
I'll untangle the knot.
Stop wiggling.
Look out! Ouch!
You've hooked my hat.
How dare you!
You're just like the rest.
Fine. Have it then.
I'm used to such abuse.
But I'll not keep your company.
I'm raising my anchor
And rowing deeper
Because I'm compelled to cast
My hooks into something.

Now outa my way.
And get your socks off my hook!

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