Bob Sykora

Bob Sykora is the author of the chapbook I Was Talking About Love–You Are Talking About Geography (Nostrovia! 2016) and serves as a poetry reader for Split Lip Mag. A recent graduate of the UMass Boston MFA program, he can be found online at and @bob_sykora_.





In Vermont, the trees can barely stand

the end of winter, all their petrified


leaves lie on the ground eyeing up

at almost broken branches, who soon


will follow pounding the earth with the heft

of their passing. In the grass, I wait


for the entire sky to come down and meet me—

a blanket of blue, or black with so many


freckles. I wait for the crushing infinite

nothing to hug me to death. I’m sorry


if I sound morose but I can’t seem

to put my life back in order. I’m looking


for structure in the fringes of history

books. Stories not so much forgotten


as deemed unimportant. I picture

Charles Fourier, growing gray


while constructing the perfect society, people

in perfect harmony. How did he dream up


such a community when he died alone

with so many cats? How long before


they found the body? Was it blistered

or rotten? Did the cats get hungry?


Was he angry to find the ice caps

didn’t melt into lemonade, his perfect


new world never came to be? Tossing

furniture, thrashing the apartment


until he fell limp on the floor, cat

licks slowly turning into nibbles. Fourier


found utopia in equations, a perfect set

of measurements he mostly obscured


in his writing. The Fourierist communities

would all droop into dysfunction. The geometry


of perfection was never quite right.

How do you pick up the pieces after utopia


fails? Where do you go? Josiah Warren turned

to anarchy, tried exchanging goods for time


instead of money. Charles J. Guiteau

assassinated president Garfield after


he was kicked out of Oneida.


ppppppppppppppppppppppppppMuddy potholes

I don’t know how to handle pull my car over


on the road home. The mechanic chuckles

and points me to a place to spend the night


on the cheap. The hotel sweats and they’re chasing

utopia on the television: it’s on HGTV again,


and it’s on CNN, the evening news, every channel

is trying to figure out what’s wrong, how to patch up


all the holes in our homes, in our country,

in these damn muddy roads. The ceiling


pants all night, New England drooling

as I close my eyes and sleep right back


onto the roof of your apartment, when utopia

was sharing shandies with you while a red


July sky set herself behind grumpy old

Boston. You laid down a sheet and I knew,


for the first time I really knew, I loved you

as we shouted Fuck Boston over and over


at the early moon. And utopia was closest to me

then, when it was nowhere near my mind,


the two of us skipping dinner we talked

so late we almost fell asleep up there, the starless


sky groaning. Let’s do it again tomorrow

and the next day and maybe Charles Fourier


felt the same way, drunk on ideas

like I felt drunk on possibility. Maybe utopia


can’t remain because the sky won’t sit still

and we’re always tumbling through the big


freckled nothing, so bright in Vermont,

hardly there in the city.


ppppppppppppppppppppppppppI wake up

to an anonymous room, blankets kicked off


a moist bed. So little sleep and so much time

has passed and utopia is nowhere to be found.


But the car is fixed, the road is calling,

and up above there is nothing but clouds,


big and gray and lumpy with questions,

barreling on ahead as far as I can see.

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