Bob Hicok

Her My Body By Bob Hicok

Her My Body By Bob Hicok

Her My Body about the left nipple of the woman in the bathroom. She is drying her hair, the woman whose left nipple is sore. We looked this evening for diagonal cuts or discoloration or bite marks from small insects that may be in our bed. It is a good bed, a faithful bed. A bed that won’t be hurt b... »

The Smiths, As I Understand Them By Bob Hicok

The Smiths, As I Understand Them By Bob Hicok

The Smiths, As I Understand Them There’s a box at the hospital in which to deposit children unlikely to win the Nobel Prize. They cradled their son past that box, though he’d been born with a pillow factory where his heart should have been. That first night, they took turns putting ears ... »

The Maple By Bob Hicok

The Maple By Bob Hicok

The Maple is a system of posture for wood. A way of not falling down for twigs that happens to benefit birds. I don’t know. I’m staring at a tree, at yellow leaves threshed by wind and want you reading this to be staring at the same tree. I could cut it down and laminate it or ask you to... »

Another Awkward Stage Of Convalescence By Bob Hicok

Another Awkward Stage Of Convalescence By Bob Hicok

Another Awkward Stage Of Convalescence Drunk, I kissed the moon where it stretched on the floor. I’d removed happiness from a green bottle, both sipped and gulped just as a river changes its mind, mostly there was a flood in my mouth because I wanted to love the toaster as soon as possible, an... »

In The Loop By Bob Hicok

In The Loop By Bob Hicok

In The Loop I heard from people after the shootings. People I knew well or barely or not at all. Largely the same message: how horrible it was, how little there was to say about how horrible it was. People wrote, called, mostly e-mailed because they know I teach at Virginia Tech, to say, there’s not... »

Toward Accuracy By Bob Hicok

Toward Accuracy By Bob Hicok

Toward Accuracy We’re high enough that what I call fog might be cloud. Not Everest high, or Chomuolungma, “Mother Goddess of the World.” If we named things what they are, our sentences would be monsoons, long rains of sound. Morning is “the time I suspect I am a horse,” dusk “the light which treats ... »

Feeling The Draft By Bob Hicok

Feeling The Draft By Bob Hicok

Feeling The Draft We were young and it was an accomplishment to have a body. No one said this. No one said much beyond “throw me that sky” or “can the lake sleep over?” The lake could not. The lake was sent home and I ate too many beets, went around with beet-blood tongue worrying about my draft car... »

Learning To Swim By Bob Hicok

Learning To Swim By Bob Hicok

Learning To Swim At forty-eight, to be given water, which is most of the world, given life in water, which is most of me, given ease, which is most of what I lack, here, where walls don’t part to my hands, is to be born as of three weeks ago. Taking nothing from you, mother, or you, sky, or you, mou... »

Translator’s Note By Bob Hicok

Translator’s Note By Bob Hicok

Translator’s Note There is a tradition in Laparone that the first man to wake each morning must sweep shadows from his porch lest night pull the long limbs of sunlight into its mouth and devour the day. Serto wants to be the broom melting dark and light in the moment of their divorce. This tea... »

Epithalamium By Bob Hicok

Epithalamium By Bob Hicok

Epithalamium A bee in the field. The house on the mountain reveals itself to have been there through summer. It’s not a bee but a horse eating frosted grass in the yawn light. Secrets, the anguish of smoke above the chimney as it shreds what it’s learned of fire. The horse has moved, it&... »

Man Of The House By Bob Hicok

Man Of The House By Bob Hicok

Man Of The House It was a misunderstanding. I got into bed, made love with the woman I found there, called her honey, mowed the lawn, had three children, painted the house twice, fixed the furnace, overcame an addiction to blue pills, read Spinoza every night without once meeting his God, buried one... »

What Would Freud Say By Bob Hicok

What Would Freud Say By Bob Hicok

What Would Freud Say Wasn’t on purpose that I drilled through my finger or the nurse laughed. She apologized three times and gave me a shot of something that was a lusher apology. The person who drove me home said my smile was a smeared totem that followed his body that night as it arced over ... »

Dropping The Euphemism By Bob Hicok

Dropping The Euphemism By Bob Hicok

Dropping The Euphemism He has five children, I’m papa to a hundred pencils. I bought the chair he sat in from a book of chairs, staplers and spikes that let me play Vlad the Impaler with invading memos. When I said I have to lay you off a parallel universe was born in his face, one where flesh is a ... »

Mortal Shower By Bob Hicok

Mortal Shower By Bob Hicok

Mortal Shower I met my butt in a Pittsburgh hotel room. My face still looks like my face but not my butt, my hair no longer resembles an ad for Jell-O pudding, people thought it was chocolate pudding for years, so thick and rich. There was fog in the bathroom and then not fog, I faced my face and th... »

Unmediated Experience By Bob Hicok

Unmediated Experience By Bob Hicok

Unmediated Experience She does this thing. Our seventeen- year-old dog. Our mostly deaf dog. Our mostly dead dog, statistically speaking. When I crouch. When I put my mouth to her ear and shout her name. She walks away. Walks toward the nothing of speech. She even trots down the drive, ears up, as i... »

Duke By Bob Hicok

Duke By Bob Hicok

Duke He was hit back of the head for a haul of $15, a Diner’s Club Card and picture of his daughter in a helmet on a horse tethered to a pole that centered its revolving universe. Pacing the halls, he’d ask for a blow job he didn’t want. The ward’s new visitors didn’t know this request was all the i... »

O My Pa-Pa By Bob Hicok

O My Pa-Pa By Bob Hicok

O My Pa-Pa Our fathers have formed a poetry workshop. They sit in a circle of disappointment over our fastballs and wives. We thought they didn’t read our stuff, whole anthologies of poems that begin, My father never, or those that end, and he was silent as a carp, or those with middles which,... »

A Private Public Space By Bob Hicok

A Private Public Space By Bob Hicok

A Private Public Space You can’t trust lesbians. You invite them to your party and they don’t come, they’re too busy tending vaginal flowers, hating football, walking their golden and chocolate labs. X gave me a poem in which she was in love with a woman and the church but the church couldn’t accept... »

For Three Whose Reflex Was Yes By Bob Hicok

For Three Whose Reflex Was Yes By Bob Hicok

For Three Whose Reflex Was Yes Nobody I know is a god. A mother and son fall into the river’s million hands, the river’s smash and grab. They go under, climb the ropeless water up, wave, open their mouths and scream wet silences as they slide back under. A man jumps in to save them, leav... »

Other Lives And Dimensions And Finally A Love Poem By Bob Hicok

Other Lives And Dimensions And Finally A Love Poem By Bob Hicok

Other Lives And Dimensions And Finally A Love Poem My left hand will live longer than my right. The rivers of my palms tell me so. Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish at the same time. I think praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think staying up and waiting for pai... »

A Shopkeeper’s Story By Bob Hicok

A Shopkeeper’s Story By Bob Hicok

A Shopkeeper’s Story I sell one bristle brushes. People seeking two bristle brushes I send to the guy on Amsterdam, who’s in a rush. I may have one customer a year for my one bristle brushes, a one-eyed lover of tanagers, she may have one dollar to spend in the moment light’s neither day’s or night’... »

Happy First Anniversary (In Anticipation Of Your Thirty Ninth) By Bob Hicok

Happy First Anniversary (In Anticipation Of Your Thirty Ninth) By Bob Hicok

Happy First Anniversary (In Anticipation Of Your Thirty Ninth) I don’t have much time. I’m an important person to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon I’ll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew, wanting to bathe in it, hoping the a... »

Prodigal By Bob Hicok

Prodigal By Bob Hicok

Prodigal You could drive out of this country and attack the world with your ambition, invent wonder plasmas, become an artist of the provocative gesture, the suggestive nod, you could leave wanting the world and return carrying it, a noisy bundle of steam and libido, a ball of fire balanced on your ... »

After Working Sixty Hours Again For What Reason By Bob Hicok

After Working Sixty Hours Again For What Reason By Bob Hicok

After Working Sixty Hours Again For What Reason The best job I had was moving a stone from one side of the road to the other. This required a permit which required a bribe. The bribe took all my salary. Yet because I hadn’t finished the job I had no salary, and to pay the bribe I took a job moving t... »

In Michael Robins’s Class Minus One By Bob Hicok

In Michael Robins’s Class Minus One By Bob Hicok

In Michael Robins’s Class Minus One At the desk where the boy sat, he sees the Chicago River. It raises its hand. It asks if metaphor should burn. He says fire is the basis for all forms of the mouth. He asks, why did you fill the boy with your going? I didn’t know a boy had been added to me, ... »

Sudden Movements By Bob Hicok

Sudden Movements By Bob Hicok

Sudden Movements My father’s head has become a mystery to him. We finally have something in common. When he moves his head his eyes get big as roses filled with the commotion of spring. Not long ago he was a man who had tomato soup for lunch and dusted with the earnestness of a gun fight. Now ... »

An Old Story By Bob Hicok

An Old Story By Bob Hicok

An Old Story It’s hard being in love with fireflies. I have to do all the pots and pans. When asked to parties they always wear the same color dress. I work days, they punch in at dusk. With the radio and a beer I sit up doing bills, jealous of men who’ve fallen for the homebody stars. When things a... »

Go Greyhound By Bob Hicok

Go Greyhound By Bob Hicok

Go Greyhound A few hours after Des Moines the toilet overflowed. This wasn’t the adventure it sounds. I sat with a man whose tattoos weighed more than I did. He played Hendrix on mouth guitar. His Electric Ladyland lips weren’t fast enough and if pitch and melody are the rudiments of mus... »

Report From The Black Box By Bob Hicok

Report From The Black Box By Bob Hicok

Report From The Black Box For Flaco A cooler head of lettuce prevailed, but when the actor asked his question and paused for us to watch him pause and think inside the pause, I almost answered as if we were in a bar, just the two of us and a balcony and spotlight. The two of us and programs and make... »

Calling Him Back From Layoff By Bob Hicok

Calling Him Back From Layoff By Bob Hicok

Calling Him Back From Layoff I called a man today. After he said hello and I said hello came a pause during which it would have been confusing to say hello again so I said how are you doing and guess what, he said fine and wondered aloud how I was and it turns out I’m OK. He was on the couch watchi... »

Full Flight By Bob Hicok

Full Flight By Bob Hicok

Full Flight I’m in a plane that will not be flown into a building. It’s a SAAB 340, seats 40, has two engines with propellers is why I think of beanies, those hats that would spin a young head into the clouds. The plane is red and loud inside like it must be loud in the heart, red like f... »

The Semantics Of Flowers On Memorial Day By Bob Hicok

The Semantics Of Flowers On Memorial Day By Bob Hicok

The Semantics Of Flowers On Memorial Day Historians will tell you my uncle wouldn’t have called it World War II or the Great War plus One or Tombstone over My Head. All of this language came later. He and his buddies knew it as get my ass outta here or fucking trench foot and of course sex ple... »

By Their Works By Bob Hicok

By Their Works By Bob Hicok

By Their Works Who cleaned up the Last Supper? These would be my people. Maybe hung over, wanting desperately a better job, standing with rags in hand as the window beckons with hills of yellow grass. In Da Vinci, the blue robed apostle gesturing at Christ is saying, give Him the check. What a mess ... »