Ships vs. Shops
When the net comes aboard it is mostly trash, mostly small sharks fin-flapped, tails struggling vis-à-vis our stratagem. The net is passed overhead, litter-like. Stiff rope and radio crackle. The light’s askew. Light is a small disturbance on the sea and the white flash is a gull. I find fifteen wings at the high-water mark. I find no fish and one owl. Water rushes from the deck, cod slide across the metal. Then the machete, then fish heads buoyed in wake.
Now let’s reckon with retail. The museum used to be the main cube. Now the store’s the cube. The museum used to be on display but now we parade our purchases. We show off that we’re browsing. Often browsing is enough. To enter the cube is to reveal your taste (it’s exceptional). Taste changes people and to practice taste is to wish to be changed. We lower a net in the dark and discover
the net hauls a new ship. It is just the right size. The crew fits perfectly. The new ship’s old crew, the dead crew, there’s no sign of them. There are some rays in the hull with their fins sliced off, and where there’s blood, gulls. Gulls, you are welcome! That’s how I take the bell’s ring as the screen door swings: here is a tune, please empty your pockets. The shopkeeper heads home to shower. He is calling it a day. There is a shower on the ship too. There is much visible ink, many Celtic crosses.
Let’s be honest about the bounty. Remember how you encountered a squid? It wasn’t aswim; it was for sale. At the deli counter, or in the dark, the captain can hardly see beyond his reflection. Night is the one-eyed mask taunting Odysseus, “Swindler!” That he was a mariner can’t be denied. And I haven’t even mentioned the sail/sale thing.
I’m on a ship reading about the ship. I’m at the store looking for a new monitor. The sample screen shows a man on a ship watching a show about a ship. I’m in the shop watching the ship-watching captain. Gulls float upside down at the bottom of the screen. I swim through a garden of jellyfish blooms. I drown not knowing which way is up. Then comes the lowering of the big chain curtain. This is how we haul the catch. This is how we prevent the theft.