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Best Famous Bob Hicok Poems

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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 paintings to sigh is science.
In another dimension this is exactly what's happening, it's what they write grants about: the chromodynamics of mournful Whistlers, the audible sorrow and beta decay of Old Battersea Bridge.
I like the idea of different theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass, a Bronx where people talk like violets smell.
Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow kind, perhaps in the nook of a cousin universe I've never defiled or betrayed anyone.
Here I have two hands and they are vanishing, the hollow of your back to rest my cheek against, your voice and little else but my assiduous fear to cherish.
My hands are webbed like the wind-torn work of a spider, like they squeezed something in the womb but couldn't hang on.
One of those other worlds or a life I felt passing through mine, or the ocean inside my mother's belly she had to scream out.
Here, when I say I never want to be without you, somewhere else I am saying I never want to be without you again.
And when I touch you in each of the places we meet, in all of the lives we are, it's with hands that are dying and resurrected.
When I don't touch you it's a mistake in any life, in each place and forever.


by Bob Hicok |

Spirit Dity Of No Fax Line Dial Tone

 The telephone company calls and asks what the fuss is.
Betty from the telephone company, who's not concerned with the particulars of my life.
For instance if I believe in the transubstantiation of Christ or am gladdened at 7:02 in the morning to repeat an eighth time why a man wearing a hula skirt of tools slung low on his hips must a fifth time track mud across my white kitchen tile to look down at a phone jack.
Up to a work order.
Down at a phone jack.
Up to a work order.
Over at me.
Down at a phone jack.
Up to a work order before announcing the problem I have is not the problem I have because the problem I have cannot occur in this universe though possibly in an alternate universe which is not the responsibility or in any way the product, child or subsidiary of AT&T.
With practice I've come to respect this moment.
One man in jeans, t-shirt and socks looking across space at a man with probes and pliers of various inclinations, nothing being said for five or ten seconds, perhaps I'm still in pajamas and he has a cleft pallet or is so tall that gigantism comes to mind but I can't remember what causes flesh to pile that high, five or ten seconds of taking in and being taken in by eyes and a brain, during which I don't build a shotgun from what's at hand, oatmeal and National Geographics or a taser from hair caught in the drain and the million volts of frustration popping through my body.
Even though.
Even though his face is an abstract painting called Void.
Even though I'm wondering if my pajama flap is open, placing me at a postural disadvantage.
Breathe I say inside my head, which is where I store thoughts for the winter.
All is an illusion I say by disassembling my fists, letting each finger loose to graze.
Thank you I say to kill the silence with my mouth, meaning fuck you, meaning die you shoulder-shrugging fusion of chipped chromosomes and puss, meaning enough.
That a portal exists in my wall that even its makers can't govern seems an accurate mirror of life.
Here's the truce I offer: I'll pay whatever's asked to be left alone.
To receive a fax from me stand beside your mailbox for a week.
It will come in what appears to be an envelope.
While waiting for the fax reintroduce yourself to the sky.
It's often blue and will transmit without fail everything clouds have been trying to say to you.


by Bob Hicok |

The Maple

 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 live with me on the stairs with the window keeping an eye on the maple but I think your real life would miss you.
The story here is that all morning I've thought of the statement that art is about loneliness while watching golden leaves become unhinged.
By ones or in bunches they tumble and hang for a moment like a dress in the dryer.
At the laundromat you've seen the arms thrown out to catch the shirt flying the other way.
Just as you've stood at the bottom of a gray sky in a pile of leaves trying to lick them back into place.


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 he's a man who sits at the table trying to breathe in tiny bites.
When they told him his spinal column is closing, I thought of all the branches he's cut with loppers and piled and burned in the fall, the pinch of the blades on the green and vital pulp.
Surgeons can fuse vertebrae, a welders art, and scrape the ring through which the soul-wires flow as a dentist would clean your teeth.
And still it could happen, one turn of his head toward a hummingbird, wings keeping that brittle life afloat, working hard against the fall, and he might freeze in that pose of astonishment, a man estranged from the neck down, who can only share with his body the silence he's pawned on his children as love.


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, and the toothbrush with multi-level brissels created by dental science, and the walls holding pictures in front of their faces to veil the boredom of living fifty years without once turning the other way.
I wanted the halo a cheap beaujolais paints over everything like artists gave the holy before perspective was invented, and for a moment thought in the glow of fermented bliss that the bending of spoons by the will was inevitable, just as the dark-skinned would kiss the light-skinned and those with money and lakefront homes would open their verandas and offer trays of cucumber sandwiches to the poor scuttling along the fringes of their lawns looking for holes in the concertina wire.
Of course I had to share this ocean of acceptance and was soon on the phone with a woman from Nogales whose hips had gone steady with mine.
I told her I was over her by pretending I was just a friend calling to say the Snow Drops had nuzzled through dirt to shake their bells in April wind.
This threw her off the scent of my anguish as did the cement mixer of my voice, as did the long pause during which I memorized her breathing and stared at my toes like we were still together, reading until out eyes slid from the page and books fell off the bed to pound their applause as our tongues searched each others' body.
When she said she had to go like a cop telling a bum to move on, I began drinking downhill, with speed that grew its own speed, and fixed on this image with a flagellant's zeal, how she, returning to bed, cupped her lover's crotch and whispered not to worry, it was no one on the phone, and proved again how forgotten I'd become while I, bent over the cold confessional, listened to the night's sole point of honesty.


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 a cliff in a dream.
He's always flying in his dreams and lands on cruise ships or hovers over Atlanta with an erection.
He put me to bed and the drugs wore off and I woke to cannibals at my extremities.
I woke with a sense of what nails in the palms might do to a spirit temporarily confined to flesh.
That too was an accident if you believe Judas merely wanted to be loved.
To be loved by God, Urban the 8th had heads cut off that were inadequately bowed by dogma.
To be loved by Blondie, Dagwood gets nothing right except the hallucinogenic architecture of sandwiches.
He would have drilled through a finger too while making a case for books on home repair and health.
Drilling through my finger's not the dumbest thing I've done.
Second place was approaching a frozen gas-cap with lighter in hand while thinking heat melts ice and not explosion kills asshole.
First place was passing through a bedroom door and removing silk that did not belong to my wife.
Making a bookcase is not the extent of my apology.
I've also been beaten up in a bar for saying huevos rancheros in a way insulting to the patrons' ethnicity.
I've also lost my job because lying face down on the couch didn't jibe with my employer's definition of home office.
I wanted her to come through the door on Sunday and see the bookcase she'd asked me to build for a year and be impressed that it didn't lean or wobble even though I've only leaned and often wobbled.
Now it's half done but certainly a better gift with its map of my unfaithful blood.


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 they've made of their faith.
My God would put a busboy on earth to roam among the waiters and remind them to share their tips.
The woman who finished one half eaten olive and scooped the rest into her pockets, walked her tiny pride home to children who looked at her smile and saw the salvation of a meal.
All that week at work she ignored customers who talked of Rome and silk and crucifixions, though she couldn't stop thinking of this man who said thank you each time she filled His glass.