The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Bob Hicok

The bright side


The broom was dour.
I took it out for a beer.
People at "The Coven"
thought I was being ironic.
Could have gone to "The Rabbit"
or "The Aardvark,"
any of the menagerie
of zoo bars in this town.
I wasn't thinking.
We almost got our asses kicked.
People are touchy
about their innermost selves,
even witches. But the broom
wasn't dour. That's on you,
man, the broom said,
sipping beer with thirsty straw.
You're projecting.
I had a projector as a kid
but no movie to play on it.
Snagged it from a dump
where people heaved
bunged-up shit
that was still useful.
I even found another
little boy there.
Except for having an asshole
father, he was fine. My parents said
we could keep him. He and I
watched flickering light
on curtains and walls
until we were old enough
to not want to join
the army. He grew wings,
not metaphorical wings
of freedom but feathery wings
of leaving. When he took off,
he sounded like an entire summer
of cicadas. I miss him
every time the sun comes up
and plays the movie of the day.
Broom and I leaned on each other
for the drunk walk home.
Brooms walk funny.
Like a person
cut in half or a horse
cut in quarter or a mop
left entirely alone.

Bob Hicok

TV is more a large than a medium


The Poetry Foundation has so much money
and so much love for poetry
that they brought Wordsworth
back from the dead to record him reading
"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
for the first episode of "Dead Romantic Poets Live
on PBS," only he wouldn't,
he insisted on reading a new poem
about his daughter Caroline, a response
to "It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free"
called "Liar Liar Pants on Fire" that begins
"It is an awkward evening, solemn and cheap"
and goes on to scold the poet
for abandoning his illegitimate daughter,
they shut the recording down
when he started crying, when they realized
the formerly dead cry differently,
no one knew this, that once begun,
they can't stop, it was more wheezy and slobbery
than romantic, eventually the producers
had two gaffers kill him with a set
of Franklin Roosevelt's golf clubs
from "Antiques Roadshow,"
it was a Mashy niblick did him in,
this was the genesis of the endlessly popular
"Killing Dead Romantic Poets
With Obsolete Golf Clubs
Live on PBS," about which Ken Burns
has written, "Not since "John Ashbery
Hits Tee Shots on the Moon" has our love
of golf and ambivalence toward poetry
found such rich expression,
though the real star of the show
is our love of killing," which you can hear
if you put an ear to America
any night of the week, the soft popping
of gunfire in the distance
not unlike popcorn
coming to life in the kitchen



BOB HICOK's latest book Sex & Love & -- is just out from Copper Canyon.



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