Report from the black box

By Bob Hicok b. 1960 Bob Hicok

For Flaco

                                     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
was immense, as if he were the Milky Way
asking am I pretty, am I here for sure for real
for long and my breath was the quiet yessing
of tall grass against the shoulders of a cat
stalking the night. I actually opened my mouth
before I actually thought you will be stoned
and not in the good way, not with stones
of tongues, stones of fingers against my forehead
but the play was messy and tangible and full
of the etceteras I am full of and why
wouldn’t I want to talk with that is a question
the poem is asking you to answer wherever
you are without me is the problem
theater solves, since we sit together
in the dark with the dark because the dark
deserves a face a soliloquy a lover a bow
at the end. When I always wonder if the players
regret that the lights come up and they see us
as we are seeing them as they were,
what a weird mirror that is, showing one side
sudden appreciation and the resumption
of loose ends, the other the vast
and devotional possibilities of being kidnapped
by a dream and which side is which side
are you on?

Source: Poetry (October 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2010
 Bob  Hicok


Bob Hicok was born in 1960 in Michigan and worked for many years in the automotive die industry. A published poet long before he earned his MFA, Hicok is the author of several collections of poems, including The Legend of Light, winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry in 1995 and named a 1997 ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year; Plus Shipping (1998); Animal Soul (2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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