Go Greyhound

Bob Hicok

 
A few hours after Des Moines
the toilet overflowed.
This wasn't the adventure it sounds.
I sat with a man whose tattoos
weighed more than I did.
He played Hendrix on mouth guitar.
His Electric Ladyland lips
weren't fast enough
and if pitch and melody
are the rudiments of music,
this was just
memory, a body nostalgic
for the touch of adored sound.
Hope's a smaller thing on a bus.
You hope a forgotten smoke consorts
with lint in the pocket of last
resort to be upwind
of the human condition, that the baby
sleeps
and when this never happens,
that she cries
with the lullaby meter of the sea.
We were swallowed by rhythm.
The ultra blond
who removed her wig and applied
fresh loops of duct tape
to her skull,
her companion who held a mirror
and popped his dentures
in and out of place,
the boy who cut stuffing
from the seat where his mother
should have been—
there was a little more sleep
in our thoughts,
it was easier to yield.
To what, exactly—
the suspicion that what we watch
watches back,
cornfields that stare at our hands,
downtowns
that hold us in their windows
through the night?
Or faith, strange to feel
in that zoo of manners.
I had drool on my shirt and breath
of the undead, a guy
dropped empty Buds on the floor
like gravity was born
to provide this service,
we were white and black trash
who'd come
in an outhouse on wheels and still
some had grown—
in touching the spirited shirts
on clotheslines,
after watching a sky of starlings
flow like cursive
over wheat—back into creatures
capable of a wish.
As we entered Arizona
I thought I smelled the ocean,
liked the lie of this
and closed my eyes
as shadows
puppeted against my lids.
We brought our failures with us,
their taste, their smell.
But the kid
who threw up in the back
pushed to the window anyway,
opened it
and let the wind clean his face,
screamed something
I couldn't make out
but agreed with
in shape, a sound I recognized
as everything I'd come so far
to give away.
 
From Insomnia Diary by Bob Hicok. Copyright © 2004 by Bob Hicok. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Epithalamium by Bob Hicok
A bee in the field. The house on the mountain
Happy first anniversary (in anticipation of your thirty ninth) by Bob Hicok
I don't have much time. I'm an important person
In Michael Robins’s class minus one by Bob Hicok
At the desk where the boy sat, he sees the Chicago River


Further Reading

Poems about Music
08/22/08
by David Lehman
A Book Of Music
by Jack Spicer
A Score for Tourist Movies
by Mary Austin Speaker
A Violin at Dusk
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
Alexander's Feast; or, the Power of Music
by John Dryden
B-Sides from my Idol Tryouts
by Harmony Holiday
Beagle or Something
by April Bernard
Fiddler Jones
by Edgar Lee Masters
Get Up, Please
by David Kirby
Here and Now
by Stephen Dunn
Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio
by Carl Sandburg
Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness
by John Donne
Hymn to the Night
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Interlude: Still Still
by Robin Behn
Latin & Soul
by Victor Hernández Cruz
Little Fugue
by Marianne Boruch
Lost Fugue for Chet
by Lynda Hull
Lullaby in Blue
by Betsy Sholl
Mozart
by Caroline Knox
Ode to Lil’ Kim in Florence
by Barbara Hamby
On 52nd Street
by Philip Levine
Passing Through Albuquerque
by John Balaban
Poem for You
by David Shapiro
Record
by Katrina Vandenberg
Street Music
by Robert Pinsky
The Banjo Player
by Fenton Johnson
The Day Duke Raised: May 24th, 1974
by Quincy Troupe
The Everyday Enchantment of Music
by Mark Strand
The Guitar
by Federico García Lorca
The Last Evening
by Steven Kronen
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
by Edward Lear
The Supremes
by Mark Jarman
The Waltz We Were Born For
by Walt McDonald
The Weary Blues
by Langston Hughes
The World Doesn’t Want Me Anymore, and It Doesn’t Know It
by Sean Singer
Two Pages, 122 Words on Music and Dance
by John Cage
Untitled
by David Meltzer
Water Music
by Robert Creeley
Pockets
A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes [excerpt]
by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon
At the Playground, Singing for Psychiatric Outpatients
by Peter Everwine
At the Public Market Museum: Charleston, South Carolina
by Jane Kenyon
Blankets of Bark
by Sherwin Bitsui
Broadway
by Mark Doty
Chaplinesque
by Hart Crane
Gospel
by Philip Levine
Inventing Father In Las Vegas
by Lynn Emanuel
Pockets
by Howard Nemerov
Regarding Chainsaws
by Hayden Carruth
The Waltz We Were Born For
by Walt McDonald
Two Countries
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Poems about Travel
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely [On the bus two women argue]
by Claudia Rankine
And the Trains Go On
by Philip Levine
Baudelaire in Airports
by Amy King
California Plush
by Frank Bidart
Cattails
by Nikky Finney
Dark Matter
by Jack Myers
Evening Song
by Sherwood Anderson
Flying
by Sarah Arvio
I am Raftery the Poet
by Anthony Raftery
Looking for The Gulf Motel
by Richard Blanco
Manifest Destiny
by Cynthia Lowen
Out-of-the-Body Travel
by Stanley Plumly
Passing Through Albuquerque
by John Balaban
Road Warriors
by Charles Wright
Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape
by Christian Hawkey
Souvenir from Anywhere
by Harryette Mullen
The Bus through Jonesboro, Arkansas
by Matthew Henriksen
The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes
The Strange Hours Travelers Keep
by August Kleinzahler
The Tinajera Notebook
by Forrest Gander
The Traveling Onion
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Travel
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Travel
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Traveling
by Malena Mörling
Traveling Light
by Linda Pastan
Trip Hop
by Geoffrey Brock
Window
by Carl Sandburg
Window Seat: Providence to New York City
by Jacqueline Osherow