People craved meth, now oxy. Peopleare fickle bastards at the product level,though addiction itself is bankableas horse shit. Has there ever been a cultureused that as currency? The things to learnaccumulate. Like I've been playing out a ropebehind me for years, knowing they did thison ships to measure their speed, but not how.And where does pleasure evaporate into?I tried meth, oxy, coke, meditation, push-ups,running beside the train and on the trainand into the train, getting shorteras I get older and getting olderwith an iris pressed to my forehead,and still every animal in the forestruns away from me. Some peopleare a circle, some a straight line, others a messof squiggles, slashes, and ampersand-looking deals that might be snow. Those are mostof the people I know. I'd have jumpedoff the moon into a speeding carwith a noose around my neckas I fired a round into my skulldecades back if I weren't addictedto words the way a plumber'saddicted to water. Poetry has saved mefrom everything except poetry. Sometimespeople ask me what poetry is. I tell themI don't know what poetry is, but a poem'san obituary trying to be a prayer. [End Page 93] Usually they smile the smile that means,I wish I were cleaning crusty pansinstead of rememberingI just heard that sentence. In turn,I smile the smile that means,I apologize for being a fish on landlost at sea, and we move forwardinto the new awkwardness,which resembles the old awkwardness,but has that new awkwardness smell. [End Page 94]
Bob Hicok's ninth book, Hold, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2018.