Kate Greenstreet and Bob Hicok Poems




from The Last 4 Things by Kate Greenstreet


We were in the fields, cutting the corn.

We ran through the village, we thought there was a fire.

That was a hot summer when the war was over.



They stop to say hello


Is he crying

Heís one of the people


Carrying a pathway

A sacred heart on every wall


It isnít that he canít

pull the trigger


Countries try to hold on

to the little ones


Dust gathers

in the corners, shifting dust


Find a house

Communities of people still exist


If I could choose?

Something modest.


12,000 lbs. of total recall.

Is it a funeral? a dance? politics?


The ghosts look cold. He

carries it hard.


Such a tiny thing, but a black chair would be somber.

Unstable. Disfigured by anger.


In that time frame, little shards appear,

trying to be teeth. A condition formed


by countless mysterious malfunctions.

It becomes the fall you take.


Walk past it all again. Bridge of Fists, Bridge of Straw.

The Bridge of the Honest Woman.


Dear, I will remain here when you go

(I was always saying)






Greenstreet Poem translated by Bob Hicok, Version 1


On a species of openness


Dear, everyone has abandoned the country

for the day, leaving their rooms, the sky



I will remain here when you go, drive by

the basketball hoop

hoping to be a halo for the swish.


Now that the horizon is mine, I'm determined

to line up all the chairs in the field

as if for a movie, putting your black dress

on one, your tiara on another, you get the point

that I'm setting the objects free

to watch light flicker in whatever manner

it deems appropriate to the narrative.


It's feeling you want, but how

does this one language of touch

become this other language of telling

what is touched?


For Christmas, I was given a watch

with a compass on it, I am certain

only of the direction the moment is facing.


It is east-southeast o'clock.


When you return, I'll let the world go,

you can take over keeping it alive

on your eye.


Tiny, isn't it, once you let it inside,

once you wear it against your name?


Like the weight of the crack in a robin's egg

I was always saying

about what you were always saying.


That jagged, difficult birth.





Greenstreet Poem translated by Bob Hicok, Version 2


On the mistakes in "On a species of openness"


I meant, 12,000 lbs. of total recall.


I would start there and add a pound every day

until we hit critical mass, the one with smoke,

with Christ winking down at me

from the cross, looking over at the nails

as if to say, boy, fetch a hammer, I crave



Why does no one do that, break into the churches

and set the Lord free, give him a Yoo-hoo,

a kite, is it a funeral we worship as the start

of life?


Such a tiny thing, trying to know the place of memory,

if what we recall or make is the jagged, difficult birth.


Sometimes, looking at the field, I imagine a bridge

hovering between the nothings, connecting not there

to not there, and in the traffic of these absences, see you

on your side seeing me on my side, like we're twins

of the same pointless gesture, being alive,

but it is such a beautiful bridge, stone one moment

and steel in the same one moment and fog in every moment,

and we begin, I don't know, to walk without asking

how we got there.



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