The pregnancy of words

By Bob Hicok b. 1960 Bob Hicok
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
in life, to have no clue
what a natural disaster is
when that disaster is us. That’s what I love
about the shrug, it says zilch
sans le mouth and becomes
more aerobic the more you admit
the less you know, you know? It’s a jumble
out there, kids, with slips and slides
and elide’s eally ool, depending
what’s lopped off, as in light of   hand
or slight of and, but I better spot
before you pots how sparse
this parsing is. Besides, what can I say
about language other than it’s an anal egg
in need of one glorious u. Words
or sword — pick your poisson. Every time
I try to peak into speaking, the bag
of gab to learn what our noodles
are really up to, I get flummoxed
that the tools I use
are the stool I stand on
to see a way in or out. I can’t even tell
if  I’m more trapped or rapt,
if meaning’s mean or play’s
a dumb waiter riding numbly
up and down. But have you noticed
read becomes dear
if you ignore the world
as you find it and find it in you
to swirl the word, in the way
solve and loves are the same
bones, different skeletons.

Source: Poetry (May 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2014
 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 Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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