We Make Mud
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Peter Markus makes myth out of mud, a river, fish. By parceling his obsessions so obsessively, he creates a never-before-seen form of mud, a new species of fish, a river that flows backwards to its source: all of this rendered in a language that is uniquely and privately his own.
Our father was saved, that night, when he walked out into the river, when he walked out across the river’s muddy water. Yes, our father, he is right now safe and sound and he is more than just alive, down on the bottom of this dirty river, down here where the rest of this dirty river’s dirty river fish live like the dirty river fish that these fish are and will always in the river be. Us brothers, we go to see and to be with our father on those nights when the river’s other dirty river fish
this fish’s fish head, this fish, it would not die. Us brothers, with our fish-cutting knives fished up out of our trouser pockets, we couldn’t cut through it, this fish, this fish’s big head. We took turns, us brothers did, trying to cut off this fish’s big fish head. We even worked us brothers together, cutting at this fish’s head like brothers, one brother holding onto each end of the knife and each of us brothers sawing, back and forth, back and forth with this fish-cutting knife. Us
his eyes. With our eyes, us brothers, we look at each other. Brother sticks up and out a thumb. I take this to mean that what Brother is saying is that this big fish, it is a keeper. If you say so, Brother, I say to myself. And then I reach my right hand down inside my right trouser pocket. What I fish out from the inside of this pocket is the knife that us brothers use when we take the fish that we catch out of this dirty river home in buckets rusted with mud. What we do with these fish after we
by our hands, out back into the back of our backyard. Brothers, Boy said to us then, and here he stopped us in our walking up and out back. This is where I saw what I say that I saw, Boy said. Boy let go of us brothers by our hands so he could point up with just one of his hands up to the top of our fish-headed telephone pole, up to where those fish’s fish heads gazed down upon us brothers with their eyes and their mouths opened up wide for singing. Up at the top of this fish-headed telephone
could take this fish from out of my hand and take it home right now to fry it up and eat it. Us brothers, us nodding our boy heads yes, we know that this much is true, what this man Man is saying to us, but we look up at this man, with our eyes widening into moons, as if this is all something brand new to us. But what about tomorrow? is what this man says to us brothers next. And what about the day after tomorrow? Man stands there, like this, with this fish held up in his one hand, waiting for us