Panhandling Discourse by Bob Hicok

We beg differently in Bombay than New York.
I sense there’s no link, between days, between the flowers
on this hill and the flowers I might imagine
on the train that my hands would arrange
if given a little country of their own. That was tomorrow
that this happened, that I thought of a way
into dirt, to breed color and a fragrance
like the inside of the sun. This is why
I’m looking forward to you, this is why people
are my bibliography. Once you feel
it’s your own hand floating beside your head,
that you’re walking in beautiful if dirty robes
beside your beautiful if clean suit, that the money
you give, you give to your own mouth, there’s no breeze
you can’t name. If I leave myself in the rain
often enough, one time I’ll come back and I’ll be gone.
Dying is the only way to live, and a dollar
only costs a dollar. Every twenty seventh word
should be absolutely. Think of the agreements
that would break out like fire touching air
with all the fingers it can muster. Can you spare
some change? Absolutely. Would you like
to touch my earlobes? Absolutely. Is the eye a kind
of tongue? Absolutely, and here I go, licking.



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