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THE WOMAN WHO SHOT ME & Other Poems by Bill Hickok


“After the second shot, I began to feel / the mantle of the martyred carpenter. / Turning the other cheek / would only cause serious trauma / to my already dwindling life’s blood.”
— from the title poem of Bill Hickok’s THE WOMAN WHO SHOT ME & Other Poems

Cover design: Anika Paris

“Bill Hickok’s lyrical The Woman Who Shot Me reads like a pillow-book of personable back-stories. Bulging with all of life’s male stuff — aims vs. goals, family, fortune, shame, love, wine, women, Kansas City-proof jazz, savvy, fish and game — this thickly beautiful, late-life collection shines like a golden retriever.”

California poet laureate emeritus

“There’s the wisdom of coon hunters and Oxford dons here, wrapped in a time comprised of downhome gospel, Shakespeare, and the under breath of heartbreak. Hickok stares down death and inanity with humor; inventive, no-nonsense (‘Mary Magdalene of LAX’), first-class imagery; and a mastery of craft that leaves you — O happy day — unaware that it exists. No one writes like Bill Hickok. No one. Read him: you’ll be enriched and wounded.”
author of Daddy’s Money and Satisfied with Havoc

“Bill Hickok’s poems are authentic, from the heart, and blessed with hard-earned irony, subtlety, and wisdom. He also knows that ‘every poem is a prayer.’ My top favorites in this collection are ‘Hummingbirds of Gethsemane,’ ‘Past Perfect,’ ‘Middle Ground,’ and ‘Bombs Away,’ a powerful anti-war poem.”
author of Music of Time: Selected and New Poems



Back then nobody had tattoos
except sailors and drunks.
I was both. Blessed by the sea
and battered by rum.
You will get no apologies from me.
I kept the main sail on course,
I did my job. My word was true,
and I kept the wind out of my mouth.
A taciturn man, they said, without
a sextant to my brain or
a compass to my heart.
Tattoos are popular now.
Tramp stamp, trailer trash, muscle beach,
under the wing, heartfelt, and ginger snake.
Take me home banana boat.
My tattoo is an anchor on my chest that has sunk
to the bottom of the sea.
Time for a new tattoo, a new irrevocable contract
more sure than marriage, less sure than death.
Who can forget his mom,. his first love,
the rose, the viper and the twist of permanence?
Not I, sir, they are always with me.
For myself, I will take a single unguarded
musical note to sing my song.
I will place it on the back of my wrinkled hand
and cast my anchor to an ongoing tide.

© 2011 by Bill Hickok


by Bill Hickok,
Paperback | 98 pages | $9.95 USD
ISBN 978-0-9647053-2-6

Whirleybird Press, 6415 Hillside Street; Shawnee, Kansas 66218

Contact Gloria Vando

Available August 2011


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