Hayley Green – How to Open a Can of Fish – Mouthy Tour

7 Sep

I’ve been fishing

in a bucket of buttons.

I wasn’t alone –

we used our faces as bait,

tossed lines across the internet,

knotted seaweed

and laid in wait.


We’re searching for beauty in a keyboard,

first dates on laptops.

Top prospects, a shopping list

of cyber women

of cyber women

of cyber women.


Spoken word doesn’t mean anything in this sea

but a well timed wink is poetry…



Chloe was a scientist.

So I planted flowers in molecules,

told her to find them;

She got on a plane to Ukraine

and never came back.

One down –


it’s a numbers game;

Emily liked games.

We played solitaire for a week

but I knew we’d never meet.

Crossed her off my list

of cyber women

of cyber women

of cyber women


of men pretending to be women.


Nicola was an old man with a beard.

Charlotte didn’t have a beard but was no longer a fish.

Janet told me her name was Zoe

and Zoe…


We fell in love over phone calls at midnight,

a twix and dairylee dunkers.

Dunked into real –

reeled me in

and left with me with nothing but a lie.


Zoe should have stayed online.


Heather thinks she knows how it feels to have scars –

tells me so in her opening.

HotGirl23 wants a poem.

LezzyLizzie wants a poem.

Blondebarbie wants a poem.

Wants a poem

Wants a poem

Wants a poem.


Here’s how to open a can of fish:

Hi, I’m Michelle,

I read your profile and you seem nice.

I’m honest,



like writing,

music production,

techonological repair,

Family Guy

and American Dad.

I’m looking for a long term girlfriend

but new mates are great too.

I’d like to chat and get to know you?


Shame her face wasn’t bait I wanted to be caught by –


I don’t want to be caught anymore.

There’s plenty of fish

but I’m tired of swimming

in waves of

cyber women

of cyber women

of cyber women.


One Response to “Hayley Green – How to Open a Can of Fish – Mouthy Tour”

  1. poetclare September 8, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    Hi Hayley

    This is a great poem. Really risky (the whole slightly filthy ‘can of fish’ thing) and strange.
    It’s a great opening gambit: ‘I’ve been fishing / in a bucket of buttons’ – I think of the buttons on mobile devices, and also the possible erotic charge of buttons! (though I’d consider a stanza break after buttons, as if it blends into the next couple of lines about faces and lines it starts to feel a bit confusing as a metaphor.) There’s lots of good word play throughout (real and reeled).

    I also really like your use of rhyme – bait and wait feels like a trap being sprung. And I loved the bathetic, flat couplet: ‘We played solitaire for a week / but I knew we’d never meet.’

    The ‘cyber women’ refrain really works for me to – it’s like waves lapping. Cyber makes me think of sirens – they are similarly illusory. The usernames are fun – the selves we create for ourselves.

    Questions: I didn’t really get the Chloe bit – what does it mean that you planted flowers in molecules? Am I supposed to think she actually left for Ukraine or is it a metaphor for something? Is this all a bit too quirky/random/personal for an audience to get?

    I also wasn’t sure about the Michelle section – I guess you’re saying this is a ‘good’ profile in your view but it feels a bit dull poetically and so she doesn’t sound all that appealing to me as a reader. Look out for redundancies (saying the same thing twice). Do Family Guy and American Dad do the same kind of thing? Do music production and technological repair do the same kind of work? Could this be tightened up or made more linguistically interesting? Also, IS this how you open a can of fish given that it’s actually all about the picture and so the speaker wasn’t ‘caught’?

    Think that’s it apart from a small proofreading note – Twix and Dairylea Dunkers are proper names so should be capitalised!

    Really enjoyed this and think it’s going to sound tremendous performed. Thanks for sharing, and let me know if you have anymore questions, best, Clare x

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