I first encountered the poem below, by Bob Hicok, in an issue of Poets & Writers magazine and was absolutely throttled. He inspired me for a season to write, write, and write. I am absolutely envious of his voice and talent, and I admire his down to earth attitude about writing. This quote gives a sense of what I mean: “I am willing to be the guy shooting a bazillion foul shots. And I fundamentally don’t believe in what I do. When I look at the product, I am not that impressed with my writing. But in the act of writing I feel incredibly powerful.” He may not be impressed, but as I implied, he certainly left a positive impression on me. For me, Bob’s voice is a perfect tension of a modern sensibility that is able to conjure the sense of listening to something ancient and profound.
This is the story I’ve tried to tell. Guy
exists. Father mother sister brother.
Oh pretty stars, oh bastard moon
I see you watching me. The trembling
years leading to sex, the trembling sex.
Death as garnish. Death as male lead,
female lead, death as a cast
of thousands. God in, on, as, with,
to, around, because who knows
because. All the while feeling air’s
a quilt of tongues, that spaces
between words are more articulate
than words. It’ not like you’d hope,
that anyone can make sense.
Look around you, let your ears
breathe deep — almost no one does.
Have another drink. When they throw us out
there’ a place down the street
that never closes, after that
we’ll climb a fire escape and praise
the genealogy of light. The Big Bang
sounds like what it was, the f***ing
that got everything under way.
That love was there from the start
is all I’ve been trying to say.