Wednesday, November 17, 2010

B-R-A-U-T-I-G-A-M / Your Catfish Friend

I just finished re-reading You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's Memoir by Ianthe Brautigan. After I read these words, followed by a quote from her father's last book,

"I'm glad I had the courage to wander alone with sharp objects tempting the release of a pain that has resided in me for so long. I have found that from my walking in painful places long enough, the knife edges, formerly so sharp, become dull. All they are good for, in the end, is to spread butter on toast for breakfast I will eat with my child. My flesh is safe. My father is safe. My words are safe in this pale new dawn that I share with my father.

"Where did that kid go, Mother?"
"I don't know, Father."...
"I don't see him anywhere."
"I guess he's gone."
"Maybe he went home."


I went to a bookstore to find that book. When I asked the young clerk if they had any books by Richard Brautigan, she asked me how the name was spelled. I spelled it for her. She said, "Hmmm. There is one book about places to visit in Orange County." I asked her what spelling she was using.

She said, "B-R-A-U-T-I-G-A-M?

So we tried again and found two books, each a collection of three of his novels and one including his last novel.

I mentioned this experience in the company of a group of friends this morning and one proceeded to quote this poem:

Your Catfish Friend
by Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."


Anonymous said...

I love being reminded of Richard Brautigan. Thank you for that. Wonderful catfish poem.

Taradharma said...

so funny, reading the Catfish poem I thought of Robin Andrea....and then here is her comment!

It's a wonderful poem. You have inspired me to read more....

Art Farmer said...

Amanda: this post was a "Eureka!" moment for me because loneliness has been replaced by my Friend and the herd living at the Art Farm and this poem SNATCHES how that feels better than I can even feel it, much less
describe it! Many gracious thanks, dear spiritual/art friend and love to you and Oboe and enjoy the Snow about to whiten our world!

Anonymous said...

thanks for this. he used to haunt this town, lived on fawcett street, such a treat to hear his name come up. nothing easy about him off the page, but on the page so much joy. kjm