Thomas Hobohm


Did he eat my heart whole, or bite by bite? Did he wash it down with milk, or another boy’s piss? Where is he? Is he still alive? If he is, does he still love me? If he is, and he does, would he tell me? If he is, and he does, and he would, why hasn’t he? Do I still need him? Does everybody really need a man? Then why do they always play Everybody Needs a Man at circuit parties? Why does all the music at circuit parties sound like that? Why do I keep going to circuit parties even though they make me feel so lonely? Did they always do that? Or is it because I’m sober now? How long have I been sober? Why did I quit drinking? When did I start going to the gym? Is it helping, is it hurting? Is there something wrong with me? With my body? Am I beautiful? On the inside, or the outside? And where is my wedding dress? Does it smell musty? Is it dry-clean only? Should I try it on? Do I look pretty? Can I kiss you? Will you dance with me? Why am I such an awful dancer? Why can’t I ever remember the moves? Where do the moves go when they leave my head? Do they go anywhere, or do they just disappear? Why do they disappear? And why do people disappear? Why did he disappear? Why do I keep texting him, even though he’s disappeared? Is he tired of me? Am I sick? Have I read too much theory? Is it helping, is it hurting? Do I know anything about desire? What is desire? Why are all the answers to that question so confusing? Is this desire, or love? Am I in love? Is love a place? Am I there? Am I there right now? If not, then where am I? Where did I go? What did I do there? Why did I do this, and not that? Can you see me? What do I look like? Do I look traumatized? Are you traumatized? Have you ever gone to confession? What did you say, there in the booth? Did it make you feel any better? Did it help, did it hurt? Have you read Foucault? Did you think of Foucault while you were in confession? Did that make it easier, or harder? Did it help, did it hurt? Should I try it? Should I go to therapy? Should I sleep more? Should I see a doctor? Can you see a doctor for this? What is this? Is it helping, is it hurting? Can you have this and still write poetry? Can you die and still write poetry? Can you live and still write poetry? Has anybody ever written poetry and lived? And what does that mean, anyway? And why do they want to know? Why do they keep saying Tell your story? Why do they want to know where we came from, where we’re going, why we’re running, why we’re crying, why we’re here, and not there, what time it is, and what time it’s not, and everything else, too? I mean, why do they even care? What do they want from us? What’s the catch? Is the catch that it hurts? To tell my story? And not to tell it, too? And why does language hurt like this? When did language happen? Where did language go? What is language doing? Is it helping, is it hurting?

         “I will not be answering these questions, and in a sense they   
          belong in the introduction to another book.” – Leo Bersani


Both. Both. The imaginary. In a way. He never did. In a way, he never did, and he wouldn’t. In a way, he never did, he wouldn’t, and he has. No. Yes. It’s got a great beat. Ditto. You’re bored. Of course. That has nothing to do with it. At least a year. It tasted bad. Nine months ago. Hurting. Yes. No. No. Neither. On fire. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. I am too. Neither can I. Who cares. The latter. There’s only so much space. There’s only so much space. There’s only so much space. You’re lonely. Probably. Yes. Yes. Hurting. I doubt it. Nobody knows. Because nobody knows. The former. No. Yes. No. No. At desire, like I said. Nowhere. Nothing. You tried your best. Yes. Me. No. No. Yes. I don’t remember. No. Neither. Yes. No. Not applicable. Neither. Yes. No. No; less, if anything. No. No. A coy little game. Helping. Yes, you’re doing it right now. No. You tell me. They want to know everything, just like you. Well, you keep offering to. They want to help. They want to help. Everything and nothing. The everything. Yes. Does it? Does it? Does it? Right now. Right here. This. Both.

From the Author: I wrote these poems in response to The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art by Leo Bersani. As Bersani argues, when one writes a poem—or paints a figure, or composes a piece of music, or chisels away at a sculpture, or…well, you get the idea—one always asks more questions than one answers, than one can possibly answer. I wondered what would happen if wrote a prose poem entirely in questions, and then attempted to answer each one.

Thomas Hobohm is a writer from Texas. They are the Web Editor at The Adroit Journal. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Drift, DIAGRAM, SmokeLong Quarterly, Cream City Review, the lickety~split, and Poetry Online.