Two Poems by Catfish McDaris

Editor’s note: “My Magnum Opus” was nominated for the 2010/11 Best of the Net Awards.

A Spring Ritual

When the lilacs bloom
their purple scent intoxicating
the air, the white bass run
in the Root River

My ladies & I catch
three & cook them over
a pungent fire on
green sticks with herbs

Most fisher folks take
stringers full & stop
at a place & clean
their catch for hours

They look at us quizzically
as we feast & wiggle our
toes in the icy rushing water.

My Magnum Opus

As I paint
I think about

Van Gogh painting
sunflowers & irises

Degas painting ballerinas

Cezanne painting fruit

Gauguin’s Tahitian women

Frida Kahlo capturing sadness

Neruda & Li Po painting
with words

I wonder if any
of them ever

Painted a bathroom
with ordinary
white latex.

Catfish McDaris is from New Mexico. He’s traveled by thumb, freight train, and the shoe leather express across the U.S. and Mexico. He lived a summer in a mountain cave above a hot springs and a winter in a ’63 Impala in Denver.