Last week I gave you a Monday poem, and that was going to become a regular Monday thing, poems every Monday. “Monday poems.” But yesterday, Monday, for one reason or another (I took a nap, was cowed into going to the gym, took an overlong shower, fell asleep), I did not give you a Monday poem. Here, let me make it up to you.
This is a poem called 'Straightforward' and it's by Bob Hicok. Thanks to the Georgia Review for tweeting about it the other day. It contains the phrase “driving/And crying” which delights me, because of the band called (what else) Drivin’ and Cryin’.
There’s no way to know how many things I’ve seen: one million, two.
Picket fences. Stalin’s underwear. A woman nursing
while bouncing on a trampoline. I saw a man
in a stamping plant put his hand in a press
and turn his possible waving
at a giraffe, possible plinking of middle C
into paste. And when I saw you
crying behind me going 70 in your ’99
Corolla, I thought, let’s go smell
a few cedar trees. The other options are
we get drunk as an avalanche, an abattoir, or keep driving
and crying, or pull over and you show me the shape
of your hands around the throat of wind, I tell you
I want to kill myself in French
and you think I’m sharing a recipe
for cake, when the truth is
I want to kill myself in English and know nothing
will ever take this desire away. I own four acres
and however many beetles that is, cloudshadows
that is, it’s a lot of cedars, a lot of prying
my lungs open in the cold
to this scent that cuts an awakening
through everything, I call it jumpstart, call it suddenease
with tincture of deer scat. That’s all I’ve got to offer,
really. Listening and that. Lending you a few bucks
and shotguns shells and that. Standing beside rivers
and that. But mostly that.