January 27, 2004

I can track a single bee to the hive

Two poems by Bill Hicok:

Spam leaves an aftertaste

What does the Internet know that it sends me
unbidden the offer of a larger penis?
I’m flattered by the energy devoted
to the architecture of my body.
Brain waves noodling on girth, length, curvature
possibly, pictures drawn on napkins
of the device, teeth for holding, cylinder—
pneumatic, hydraulic—for stretching
who I am into who I shall be. But of all
messages to drop from the digital ether,
hope lives in the communiqué that I can find
out anything about anyone. So I’ve asked:
who am I, why am I here, if a train
leaving Chicago is subsidized
by the feds, is the romance of travel
dead? I’d like the skinny on where I’ll be
when I die, to have a map, a seismic map
of past and future emotions, to be told
how to keep the violence I do to myself
from becoming the grenades I pitch
at others. The likes of Snoop.com
never get back to me, though I need
to know most of all if any of this helps.
How we can scatter our prayers so wide,
if we’ve become more human or less
in being able to share the specific
in a random way, or was it better
to ask the stars for peace or rain,
to trust the litany of our need
to the air’s imperceptible embrace? Just
this morning I got a message
asking is anyone out there. I replied
no, I am not, are you not there too,
needing me, and if not, come over, I have
a small penis but aspirations
for bigger things, faith among them,
and by that I mean you and I
face to face, mouths
making the sounds once known
as conversation.

By their works

Who cleaned up the Last Supper?
These would be my people.
Maybe hung over, wanting
desperately a better job,
standing with rags
in hand as the window
beckons with hills
of yellow grass. In Da Vinci,
the blue robed apostle
gesturing at Christ
is saying, give Him the check.
What a mess they've made
of their faith. My God
would put a busboy
on earth to roam
among the waiters
and remind them to share
their tips. The woman
who finished one
half eaten olive
and scooped the rest
into her pockets,
walked her tiny pride home
to children who looked
at her smile and saw
the salvation of a meal.
All that week
at work she ignored
customers who talked
of Rome and silk
and crucifixions,
though she couldn't stop
thinking of this man
who said thank you
each time she filled
His glass.


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