At the trial of Bob Hicok

~for the poet

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Our expectations have outgrown our bodies
And yet, clothing companies
Still substitute the word beach for bitch
And think themselves clever
And when a poet sits down
Before his keyboard like a stenographer
At the trial of his life, now it's not enough
To enter the record of words being born
From the intangible nothing of thought,
The translation of sight into sound
Noted by the treble clef of pounding hearts,
No, the poet must consider
The rank of his status
Among the census of all unspoken things
And wonder if he even has permission
To speak at all,
Because life is a beach isn't it,
And it's more of a beach for some
Than it is a beach for others
Who just struggle to see the sun,
And it's often hard to discern
Which birds are singing
Among the myriad flitting things
Caught in the interplay of light and dark,
That shadowy realm of branch, of leaf, of bough,
But nevertheless there's music
Working its soundtrack magic,
Making the mundane seem less than mundane,
Making the nuance and minutiae
Of ordinary lives into some kind of beauty
Even the struggling must notice
Every now and then while wiping the sweat
From their brow, because isn't there hope
To be found in the existence of a struggle,
The fact that there even is a struggle
Means something is worth fighting for,
Even as poets find themselves on trial
For daring to acknowledge it
And for wanting to, for believing in the power
Of the search rather than admitting
Everything has already been found,
All the birds already have names,
And when they find the poet guilty
Of writing them down
What else can he say except
Adios, beaches.

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:

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