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 card-burning brother
going to war. Other brothers became holes
at first base at war, then a few holes
Harleying back from war in their always
it seemed green jackets with pockets galore
and flaps for I wondered bullets, I wondered

Report from the black box

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 makeup and a sofa
from the director’ s living room and the black/
womb/agora/séance of theater inviting us to feel
together alone. I recall I don’ t recall
the question but its scope on his face

The pregnancy of words

Eros scrabbles to rose and rage
to gear or gare, as in Gare du Nord,
where I trained in to Paris from not
smoking pot in Master Mad, I’ m sorry,
Amsterdam, with its canals
called grachts and clocks
that bonged my homesick hours
at different times. Which is smite
for you violet types, a flower
that says “love it” if you listen. Me, I do
and don’ t feel it matters that evil thrives
in live, that we tinker and smash
everything down to bits and then
try to patch a path back home, it’ s our lotto

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 if my voice is coming home.
It’ s like watching a child
believe in Christmas, right
before you burn the tree down.
Every time I do it, I think, this time
she’ ll turn to me. This time
she’ ll put voice to face. This time,