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Fish Fucking
by Michael Blumenthal
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Unnatural Selections: A Meditation upon Witnessing a Bullfrog Fucking a Rock

by Jim Dodge

Amalgam of electric jelly, 
constellated neural knots 
in the briny binary soup, 
as surely as stimulus prods response 
brains are made to choose. 
And through a major error in pattern recognition 
or a significant cognitive fault, 
the bullfrogs brain has selected 
a two-pound rock
as the object of his rampant affection, 
a rock (to my admittedly mammalian eye) 
that neither resembles
nor even vaguely suggests 
the female of his species.

He does seem to be enjoying himself 
in a blunted sort of way, 
but since the rock so obviously remains unmoved
one suspects it's not the blending of sweet oblivions 
that fuels his persistence, 
but a serious kink in a feedback loop-- 
or perhaps just kinkiness in general. 
The less compassionate might even call him 
the quintessentially insensitive male.

Assuming a pan-species gender bond 
and a common fret, 
I advise my amphibious pal, 
"Hey, I don't think she's playing hard to get.
That's the literal case you're up against, Jack--
true story, buddy; stone fact.
And I'd be fraternally remiss if I didn't share 
my deep and eminently reasonable doubt 
that she'll be worn down
however long and spectacular the ardor."

Ignoring my counsel
as completely as he has my presence,
the bullfrog continues his fruitless assault 
with that brain-locked commitment to folly
which invariably accompanies 
dumb, bug-eyed lust.

But, in fairness, 
whose brain hasn't shorted out in a slosh of hormones
or, igniting like a shattered jug of gas,
fireballed into a howling maelstrom 
where a rock indeed might seem a port? 
One can only conclude
that such impelling concupiscence
serves as a species' life-insurance, 
sort of a procreative override 
of any decision requiring thought, 
thought being notoriously prey to thinking, 
and the more one thinks about thinking 
the thinkier it gets.
Therefore, though the brain is made to choose, 
its very existence ultimately depends 
on the generative supremacy of brainless desire--
for with all respect to Monsieur Descartes 
you am before you can think you are. 
Dirt-drive compulsions riding powerful desires
render any choice moot, along with 
reason, morality, taste, manners, 
and all those other jars of glitter 
we pour on the sticky and raw.

The hard truth is we never chose to choose:
not the brains we use to pick
between competing explanations for our sexual mess
nor these hearts we've burdened with our blunders 
in the name of love.
Do whatever we decide we will, 
the choice isn't free;
we live at the mercy of more pressing needs.

Thus, urges urgently surging, 
we mount a few rocks by mistake.
A bit more embarrassing than most of our foolishness, true--
but so what?
The power of the imperative 
coupled with the law of averages 
virtually guarantees enough will get it right 
to make more brains to be made up 
about exactly what steps to take 
toward what we think we need to do 
on this stony journey between delusion and mirage--
when to move, where to hide our dreams-- 
a journey where we finally learn 
freedom is not a choice 
a brain is free to choose.

Fortunately, my warty friend,
the soul is built to cruise.

Copyright © 2002 by Jim Dodge. Reprinted with the permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved.
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