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Found Poetry: Melee at the Cod Fish Races

July 27, 2009

Milbridge Days

it escalated into
a pushing contest
and just kind of
kept going

it blossomed again
on a side street

and in the middle
of the Cod Fish Races
it really got
a little out of hand

Yes, a drunken brawl and general disorder at the Milbridge Days’ Cod Fish Races Saturday. If you were wondering what cod fish races are:

The races are held in a baseball field on a 90-foot course. Each team consists of four people who must dress in four pieces of firemen’s gear and then run across the field clenching a greased, dead, 20-pound cod. About midtrack, firemen spray a stream of water from their hoses through the running codfish-wielding racers who try to dodge the dousing. [Bangor Daily News]

But it’s not the regimented wackiness of cod fish racing; it’s the disorderly break from civil Norms that festival is all about:

The ancient concepts of jubilee and saturnalia originate in an intuition that certain events lie outside the scope of “profane time,” the measuring-rod of the State and of History. These holidays literally occupied gaps in the calendar–intercalary intervals. By the Middle Ages, nearly a third of the year was given over to holidays. Perhaps the riots against calendar reform had less to do with the “eleven lost days” than with a sense that imperial science was conspiring to close up these gaps in the calendar where the people’s freedoms had accumulated–a coup d’etat, a mapping of the year, a seizure of time itself, turning the organic cosmos into a clockwork universe. The death of the festival. [Hakim Bey]

Punching someone in the face because one thinks they deserve it, may not be the most creative use of one’s freedom, but fuck, it’s more autonomy than I exercised this weekend. I’m such a tool, all I did was walk out the in door a couple times, and nervously set the cruise control at 9 mph over on the highway, (and even then, I reflexively touched the brakes when I saw a state trooper up ahead.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2009 7:56 AM

    Drunken cod fish racing sounds like a good time.

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