08.02.2019
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

 

BOB HICOK

Crash course in civics

If you squint you might see me holding a candle
against the night/to your eyes a thousand miles away 

I am a bald and mortal statue of Liberty in pajamas
in Virginia confusing fireflies by appearing to be
trying to be one of their kind, am lit and think-singing
Paul Simon your way, "They've all come to look for
A-mer-i-ca," an ache I repeat in my head
to and of my heart, to and of you hoping to be free 

Whatever that means, this is the country
that wants to figure that out, freedom's our brand,
our throw-back jersey and ginsu knife, our Hemi-powered V-8
with turbocharged longing to find a home, and glory be to all
who want to be like us, who jones for the chance
to be citizens of a country that refuses to have a past, only the future
good enough for us 

I say welcome, say cut the Rio Grande in half
with the slow knife of your crossing and join the rest of us
hoping to get hamburger on sale or new shoes for the kids
or new kids for the shoes or new teeth for the smile
bright enough for all the happy days to come: America
isn’t a place but the idea that something better awaits
those who don't wait, you're American if you're restless
and desperate and don't know why, if you yearn to stand
in a clearing or on a mesa or in the middle of a mall
and scream There has to be more, for there does
and there won't be and everyone I know
is trying to get to some other side of something,
whether a river or the afternoon or cancer
to find out what happens, what the end of the story
of needing to have a story is, which is the only real country
humans live in, that burn to know what can't be known,
and if you find America, please tell me where it is

—-

Bob Hicok's ninth book, Hold, is published by Copper Canyon Press.

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