Will Nixon
The Fish are Laughing


Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Award Series
Winner of the 2000 Chapbook Award
ISBN: 1-886350-72-8
32 pages, perfect bound, 5.5 by 8.5


These poems first appeared in: American Jones Building & Maintenance, Ashes, Ashes, Bryant Literary Review, Cumberland Poetry Review, Hedge Apple, The Higginsville Reader, Hunger, The Ledge, The Lucid Stone, The Monocacy Valley Review, Potato Eyes, Rattle, The Second Word Thursdays Anthology, and Slipstream.

A sample poem from the collection:


The year I learned the hangman's noose
I tied it everywhere: tire swings, clothes lines,
drawstrings on the rec room curtains,
hanging my pinkie purple during commercials.

The doctor says you only want attention
because of your little brother, Mom said.
Cupping her dishpan hands like horse blinders
she refused to see my purple finger, my eyelids folded

inside out like plum skins. My doctor didn't wear
a white coat or depress my tongue
with an extra-wide popsicle stick. In a bow tie
always tilted like a stopped propeller,

he played checkers and asked me easy questions,
like why I felt it necessary to pour dirt
down my brother's underwear. Because I like to,
I said, besides he doesn't care.

My doctor never frowned when I jumped his pieces,
not even three in a row. Do you enjoy pulling
his pants down in public? he asked.
He doesn't care. He's dyslexic. Ask my mom.

And what does dyslexic mean?
It means, I said, he throws a baseball like a girl.
He stays home sick in his bathrobe. He's fat,
and he eats ants if I tell him to.

My doctor jumped four pieces and chose red
for the next game. I think it means you should be nice
to him, my doctor said. Yeah, I said,
but you're not his brother.