Bob Hicok

Two Poems

Every fact an arti­fact

Lost and sep­a­rat­ed was worse than lost
and togeth­er — we would die alone
with our thirsts instead of togeth­er
with the har­mo­ny of our thirsts — no one
to gath­er our bones into a sin­gle pile
of all the shad­ows a larg­er pile of bones
would cast — but then my noise
found her noise and we man­aged to die
togeth­er — I don’t know why
you’re read­ing this poem — it doesn’t
exist — I haven’t been here for years,
drink­ing a beer, think­ing of bury­ing
a mir­ror for some­one to dig up
in a thou­sand years — my face
look­ing up at them from the hole –
like the mir­ror I found when I was a kid –
the woman naked — telling me it was OK
to stare — it’s nor­mal to want to see eter­ni­ty

Introspection works bet­ter when you turn it around

My dop­pel­gänger comes over
to bor­row the car, robs a bank,
gets arrest­ed, I go to bail him out
and am told that a man can’t bail him­self
out of jail, it’s just not done,
soon mir­rors will be fly­ing our planes,
a guard says to me through bars,
and you wouldn’t want that, would you,
though I would, I real­ly would
want to see my reflec­tion fly­ing a plane
all the way to Brazil, see it guid­ing
a boat up the Amazon, see my reflec­tion
dis­ap­pear­ing for­ev­er into a wilder,
more nat­ur­al state of being, I would want that
if I could have that, though is that
even a thing you can have, the giv­ing up
of the self, doesn’t the giv­ing up
of the self chal­lenge the whole notion
of pos­ses­sion, I think it does,
for if there is no self to let go
of the self, what’s the point of string,
aren’t we bal­loons, pret­ty bal­loons
ris­ing, sad bal­loons falling,
isn’t this a par­ty and didn’t you
promise to bring the cake?

Bob Hicok’s most recent col­lec­tion is Words for Empty and Words for Full (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010). This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), was award­ed the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. His oth­er books are Insomnia Diary (Pitt, 2004), Animal Soul (Invisible Cities Press, 2001),a final­ist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Plus Shipping (BOA, 1998), and The Legend of Light (University of Wisconsin, 1995), which received the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and was named a 1997 ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. A recip­i­ent of five Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim and two NEA Fellowships, his poet­ry has been select­ed for inclu­sion in six vol­umes of Best American Poetry.