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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 28, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I wrote the first few lines and liked their optimism. The rest of the poem is just me seeing where those lines wanted to take me.”
—Bob Hicok

My Most Recent Position Paper

A little bit of hammering
goes a long way toward making
the kind of noise I want my heart
to look up to—or have you ever
gone into a woods and applauded the light
that fights its way to the ground,
and the shadows, and the explosions
of feathers where blue jays
have been ripped into the bright
and hungry future of hawks—
and there’s this—writing an etude
by pushing pianos off a cliff
until one of them howls or whispers
just so—like a vagrant
slipping into a clean bed
or a man lifting a dying child
toward the sun and begging help,
rescue—if my eyes could speak,
they’d be mouths—the tongues
of my fingers ask to be words
against your skin—and when I
was a librarian, I lost my job
for exhorting patrons to sing
“Bye Bye Miss American Pie”—
it's not what we do here, I was told—
yet I know this is a world
made by volcanoes, and don’t want
to keep this awareness of kaboom
to myself—so have picked up
my zither and begun walking
and strumming like an idiot
who thinks music is all
a body needs to feed itself—
and though I haven’t eaten
in years, I have been fed.

Copyright © 2016 by Bob Hicok. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Bob Hicok. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok was born in 1960. His poetry collection This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007) was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. 

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He says fire is the basis for all forms of the mouth.
He asks, why did you fill the boy with your going?
I didn't know a boy had been added to me, the river says.
Would you have given him back if you
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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
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