"Fishing" as written by and Richard Shindell....
Please have a seat. I'm sorry I'm late
I know how long you've had to wait
I did not forget your documents
No time to waste, why not begin?
Here's how it works, I've got these faces
You give them names and I won't deport you
Make sure you face my tape recorder

Make no mistake, this fountain pen
Could put you on a plane by ten
And by the way, your next of kin
I know which house she's hiding in
So now that you know whose skin you're saving
In this photograph, who's this one waving?
I think you know, so speak up, amigo

It says here that by trade you were a fisherman
Well I'll bet you Indians can really reel them in
And if you get the chance
You should try to get up to Lake Michigan
Well maybe, but then again....

Where were we then? Is he your friend?
Well I recommend that you look again
Where does he stay? What is his name?
There is no shame. He'd do the same
So what do you say? I don't have all day
It's up to you. Which will it be
Good citizen or poor campesino?

My dad used to rent us this place in Ontario
He showed us how to cast the line and tie the flies
He used to say that God rewards us for letting the small ones go
Well maybe, but I don't know
Anyway, it's easy to bite. You just take the bait
You can't fight the hook
Hurts less if you don't try to dive

Senor, as you know I was a fisherman
And how full the nets came in
We hauled them up by hand
But when we fled, I left them just out past the coral reefs
They're waiting there for me
Running deep

Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Fishing" as written by Richard Shindell


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Fishing song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAh, I'm thankful that this song is up on Songmeanings.

    Richard Shindell is my favorite singer. His folk music is lyrically stunning, varied in form, and just plain great.

    Get his music!
    sakeboxon June 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh, I forgot to say what this song means...

    It follows a particularly direct and gruff INS officer that is interrogating an illegal mexican immigrant. The immigrant is just a pawn, the INS officer really wants someone else.

    He finds out the man was a fisherman by trade, and talks about doing his own fishing. Perhaps he is just remembering the experiences from his childhood.....maybe he is trying to intimidate the mexican.....

    Anyway, the end of the song is Mexican's response....which I read as being, "F-you", an unwillingness to snitch.
    sakeboxon June 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningStarting with the Central American civil wars of the eighties, The United States while keeping its military out of those wars, has provided information and material aid to governments in Latin America. that were (or perhaps still are) often waging brutality-filled wars on their own populations. In the song Fishing , a U.S Immigration officer is attempting to get information from someone who has fled a conflict, a refugee who he believes was on the "wrong" side of a given conflict, the side of those rebelling against human rights violations committed by their own governments. The civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala come to mind as some of the worst examples of this. Bruce Cockburn's If I had a Rocket Launcher comes from that same era, a protest against the tolerance by the United States of severe human rights violations that fueled those conflicts
    Richard Shindell has said that he wishes this song would be obsolete but that it still isn't. The U.S continues to
    atman100on January 04, 2013   Link

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