Bob Hicok

From the grab bag of desire
May 19, 2016 Hicok Bob

From the grab bag of desire


I keep meaning to walk up to you,

stranger, and tape my head to yours

to make a more powerful magnet,

or pick you up and carry you

sixteen inches to give you rest,

or take your skirt and put it on

my erection or knit your shadow

into a mint julep or cut off my ears

and sew them to your tongue

so you’ll come close

to being heard, but I have a cat

to pet and she is demanding.

O wake up, silly weasel,

is what my name translates to

if you feed it from one

on-line language interpreter

to another for three hours

while getting a little drunk, a little happy

you’re here but not eternal.

I say you but I mean me, I say drunk

but I mean stoned, I say hello

when I keep meaning to hold a star

or the Ganges. Yesterday

I made a handle for the bell

I hear in dreams calling my lost thoughts

to supper, but how many years

since my last hot cocoa, since a woman

in a black skirt and white blouse

leaned over my shoulder

to teach me long division

but only made me want to kiss

the way she smelled? There’s no one day

when everything will have happened,

no two days we can rub against each other

to light a fire. I keep meaning

to get to the bottom of something,

like thistles or Iceland or loneliness,

but always at the end I get nostalgic

for my confusion and go back

to being the open mouth of a guitar

waiting for the wind to come along

and know just the right thing to say.


Bob Hicok is an associate professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech and of English at Purdue. His first book, The Legend of Light, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press and chosen as an ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. His books include Elegy Owed (2013) and Sex & Love & (2016), both from Copper Canyon Press.