TIC Reading February 17, 2007
"Waiting for Godot"

See the artwork of Mike Elko, featured in this event.

"Waiting for Godot:" poem
Jim Coppoc

America waits in motion
this is not to say that America does not wait
only that it waits from the road
circling Pozzo and Lucky at 55mph
racing toward Godot,
speeding, even, with no particular

in this poem, I am Vladimir, and I am driving.
you, Estragon, are fumbling with roadmaps—
perhaps you’ve lost your glasses, perhaps
the maps are blank
we are together, you and I, in this rattletrap
gas-hog we have named for Beckett, eating
up generations of dirt then tar then asphalt
gnashing teeth against the concrete skeleton
of Eisenhower’s dream
my legs are stiff, your boots don’t fit
one more bathroom break before we
get there, you say, and you’re taking
the car without me. leaving me alone
by the roadside, dick in hand, waiting
for my bladder to open

it seems we are homeless
or at least our homes are never mentioned
it seems we are hopeless
or at least there has been no talk of hope
it seems this journey is a journey of desperation
Beckett replies, “it means what it says.”

it does mean what it says
but it never quite says hopeless
by curtain, or journey’s end, we know
that Godot is not coming, but you and I,
Estragon, have seen an entire nation.
we have heard Pozzo speak,
and go blind
we have seen Lucky dance
and lose his voice forever
we are waiting, Estragon,
even though we know Godot
will never come
we are defined, Estragon
by how we wait, and you
and I wait in motion
two brothers sailing America’s highways
in a ship made of steel and rubber
racing toward Godot
in the American night.
Jim Coppoc

Jim Coppoc
is an award-winning teacher, writer, and performer, and Lecturer in
English at Iowa State University. In addition to his creative and scholarly
efforts, Coppoc has spent most of his life exploring the many media of
performance art, having worked as musician, actor, stand-up comic, network radio
D.J., and performance poet. Marc Smith, the founder of Slam poetry, has called
him "one of the new breed giving poetry new breath."

Coppoc has published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, history and criticism in
dozens of literary journals and anthologies, including The Cortland Review,
Barbaric Yawp, Tryst, the Poetry21 supplement to The Wadsworth Anthology of
Poetry, and The Best of Chicago Poetry. Among Coppoc’s awards are runner-up for
The 2004 Frieda Stein Fenster Award for Millennial Poetry, and a nomination for
a Farrago Zoo Award in the category “Best International Performer.” Coppoc’s
first full-length book of poems, Blood, Sex & Prayer, was published by Fractal
Edge Press in the summer of 2005, and he is currently revising the manuscript
for Reliquary, a book of flash nonfiction due out in 2007.

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