Andrew Oerke

The Hook


This morning my briefcase got stuck in a screw-

hole with a loose screw in it, so on my way to unscrew

the inscrutable at work I tried to detach my satchel

from the doorstrip and hooked my brand-new size thirty-

four pants on the crook of an armchair's elbow, and so

there you are: We get caught on all kinds of hooks, fish hooks,

George Foreman's formidable, sneaky left hook,

a pop song hook, a clothes hook, a shoehorn which is

bent like a hook for to sneak your foot into an English walker.

Then there's Captain Hook; and we get hooked on the wrong

this or right that, and some get hooked on whatever is available.

We get hooked on sprung springs and come-hither curled-up fingers

and on Shirley Temple's curlylocks and slice-of-honeydew smile.


We get hooked on drugs or on shop-till-u-drop.  I get hooked

on you but you, alas, never get hooked on me.  We say

politicians govern by hook or by crook, and they do.

Absalom was King David's favorite son bar none but

his gorgeous locks got hooked on a twig in a tree

so they used him for target practice.  Hooks

to hang things on and to use in place of a hand.

Here ends the sad but true tale of the good & bad hook.

This is the last page in that catchy little,

crooked little, tricky little book called "The Hook."

Andrew Oerke was a Peace Corps Director in Africa and the Caribbean, and for many years president of a private and voluntary organization, working in and visiting more than 160 countries.  Mr. Oerke was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship at the Freie Universität in Berlin.  His work has appeared frequently in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, and many other publications in the U.S., England, France, Germany, Lebanon, Malawi, Kenya, the Philippines, Jamaica, and Mexico.  In 2003, he was given the award for literature by the UN Society of Writers and Artists. 



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