(For John Rybicki)

John, I’ve been holding in the howling.
It wears me out to parties and dinner;
a cheap evening jacket, its pockets bulging
with receipts and bent daisies and freight
trains and God and nickels and it spills
from me, John.  The animal sneaks
through the tears in my seams,
it opens my mouth and it spits.
The stain on the sidewalk,
it looks like my face, John.

Used to be, I would bleed on command.
Now I’m chasing rivers with a spoon,
trying to save something for later.

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ROSS HICKERSON is a full-time caretaker for an ailing parent, a part-time poet, and wants to be an electrician when he grows up. He currently lives in a log house, on a farm somewhere in central Nebraska. No, really. Ross is a two time National Poetry Slam competitor and Lincoln, NE City Champion slam poet. This only impresses people from Lincoln, NE. His poems have appeared in Paddlefish Review, Thieves Jargon, half a dozen chapbooks and his friends' nightmares. Ross has performed in fifteen states and is embarking on a cross country tour in June, 2010, kicking off in Massachusetts, and will also be breaking doors down at Hampshire College in April, where he hopes to find at least ten people who either give two tugs of a dead dog's cock about truth and beauty, or actually read entire biographies. An early supporter and organizer of the Nebraska Writers Collective, Ross has been promoting and supporting the arts in Nebraska since 2006.

Ross Hickerson's photo is courtesy Mike McGee.

11 responses to “You Fucker, I’m Spilt”

  1. Becky says:

    I love this. I’d say more, but I’m sort of embarrassed by the poetry-inappropriate nature of my gravatar.

    Storm Trooper Cat approved!

  2. Ross Hickerson says:

    Considering that I once heard a poem wherein a person’s breath was likened to a fart passing over poop, I think it’s safe to say that you can at least attempt to get away with anything, as far as poems are concerned. For my part, you don’t ever have to apologize to me, for anything. Kittens can wear storm trooper helmets.

    Thank you.

    • Becky says:

      Wow. That’s something.

      I’ve never heard anything quite like that.

      Did the poem actually use the word “poop?” For some reason, that’s where I hang up.

  3. Ross Hickerson says:

    I’ve been trying to forget the smaller details, but I don’t think so, no.

  4. Irene Zion says:


    This is a beautiful poem.
    I found myself reading it aloud, over and over.
    Please post more.

    Also, thank you for introducing this ignorant reader to John Rybicki.

  5. Ross Hickerson says:


    Thank you! I’m glad that you like this.

    Also, I’m glad that you like John Rybicki. He’s important.

    • admin says:


      Welcome! You need a gravatar. A gravatar is the little picture that shows up next to your comments.

      Getting a gravatar is simple. Just go to http://www.gravatar.com, sign up for a free account, upload a photo, and you’re done.

      Just make sure to use the same email address when signing up at gravatar that you use when commenting & posting here at TNB.

      Many thanks,

  6. Simon Smithson says:

    I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what to expect from the title, but it all came together well. Now to find out more about this John Rybicki guy. I hear he’s important.

    Welcome aboard, Ross.

    • Ross Hickerson says:


      Thanks for the welcome! I’m glad you liked the poem! I’m excited! About stuff!

      I recommend his book, “We Bed Down Into Water.


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