Back to Issue Twenty-One.

a beacon's a candle that's overachieved



Let's be commies together. The share
and share alike kind. I have eight hundred
and twenty-three dollars. A broken left
big toe nail. This poem and a cat
sitting on my lap as I write. Syphilis
or a cold. A woman offered to hump
William Carlos Williams full of syphilis
so his brain would have spirochetes and his poems
the genius of madness. She was a sexual commie
but water's the biggest communist of all.
It's in trees, leather shoes, ampersands,
beach sands, and the poor rivers
never get to sleep. I dreamt my legs
were pogo sticks. Now that I've told you,
you're richer by an immeasurable degree
of hopping. One hopes to go higher. One bounces
to the eye level of a rose. Then one notices
the rose-of-Sharon towering above the rainfall
and commands one's thighs to work harder.
This is the School of Aspiration
you've heard so much about. When I was nine,
a boy climbed too high, fell into a silo
and ceased to be a boy. At school,
we turned our confused expressions
toward each other, each of us a mirror
of not knowing what becomes of the little hands
we carry at our sides. At roughly the same time,
with approximately the same tears, we began
to be older. We still enjoyed the story
that a big yellow ball rolled across the sky's
blue playground every day, but none of us
believed it anymore. This was the end of unity
and the beginning of the desire for union.
If you mail me an impression of your face
in a cloud, I'll kiss it and send it back.
Enough of this and we'll be an unstoppable
political force. You over there
feeling connected to me over here
feeling tied to the woman who stops by my house
six days a week, the mail just a front
for the old habit of lighting fires
in the distance for ships at sea to see
the shore they're trying to reach
without it killing them.  



the outer inner self



I have a horn growing from my forehead. Like my worst habits, it's
invisible to me. These include yelling at crickets to shut up.
Apparently I do this in my sleep. I've been hoping to build a
cathedral in my sleep. How cool would it be to wake up to Notre
Dame on the front lawn? You don't have to say very. The very is
implied by your existence. Any reasonable person is in awe of large
buildings created to meet God. As it's impossible to meet God, the
buildings are incarnations of our desire to do the impossible. The
horn grows down and over my nose. A lover once drew a sketch for
me. I loved watching her hand. It was muscled and veiny and
seemed to think for itself. Her face scrunched while she worked.
She looked like a rose struggling to bloom. Concentration is its own
little room. No windows or doors. I get that way kneading bread. I
often look up from kneading bread and realize it's changed from
summer to winter. She liked the horn. The dancer liked the horn.
The nurse liked the horn. I've dated many women who do
interesting things. They all believed the horn was a confession—the
horn is me admitting I'm ugly inside and not trying to hide it. But
they're all gone and the horn is here. This is worrisome to think
about metaphorically. It suggests I'm married to the horn. That
there's no escape from the self. But what better use of escape
hatches than the self? Don't say submarine. That's the obvious
choice. Say cloud. Say fire. Say if you could open your shadow,
you'd jump through.



Hicok 21

Bob Hicok's most recent book is Sex & Love & (Copper Canyon, 2016). Elegy Owed (Copper Canyon, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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