“Fish Heads” By Billy Malanga

I see the wrecks along side the quay
each morning, expressionless fish heads
gasping for pure oxygen.

I see the stunned ones; they are fish
with hooked mouths, pulled from shifting
deep seas, flopping on an old pier.

I see the controlled parched ones, with oily
exposed eyes. They are hulled in blinkered nets,
avoiding silence.

I see the reality of indifference; it is the sea.
They swim towards the shallows to avoid
choppy deep waters.

I see the courage it takes to maintain a gust
in a peaceful sail, away from baby oil, rescuers,
and dry pickled suits.


Billy Malanga (M.Sc. in Criminal Justice) is a first generation college graduate, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and the grandson of Italian immigrants. He played college football and worked for many years in a state prison system. All of these influences have undeniably shaped his way of thinking about his art. His poetry reveals his small victories and his struggles in redefining masculinity in an effort to better understand the beauty and brutality of the world around him. His poetry has been published/or is forthcoming in: The Adelaide Literary Magazine’s (2017) Award Anthology; The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature; Aji Literary Magazine; Burnt Pine Magazine; The Journal of Formal Poetry; Wraparound South Literary Journal; Spindrift Art & Literary Journal; Cold Creek Review’s (2017) best of the net, and numerous online journals. 

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