Sunday, April 12, 2009

National Poetry Month, Day 12: Michael Dickman

If you have been following my blog this month, you might remember Day 1's poem, "Slow Dance," by Matthew Dickman. The poem below is written by his identical twin brother Michael. There was an article about these two in a recent NYer. And I remembered that the poem below is one I'd saved last year, to return to. I even sent it to a few folks, but I didn't make the Matthew to Michael connection until I read the article. In any case, here it is. A poem I covet.

We Did Not Make Ourselves
by Michael Dickman

We did not make ourselves is one thing
I keep singing into my hands
while falling

for just a second

before I have to get up and turn on all the lights in the house, one after the other, like opening an Advent calendar

My brain opening
the chemical miracles in my brain
switching on

I can hear

dogs barking
some trees
last stars

You think you’ll be missed
it won’t last long
I promise


I’m not dead but I am
standing very still
in the back yard
staring up at the maple
thirty years ago
a tiny kid waiting on the ground
alone in heaven
in the world
in white sneakers

I’m having a good time humming along to everything I can still remember
back there

How we’re born

Made to look up at everything we didn’t make

We didn’t
make grass, mosquitoes
or breast cancer

We didn’t make yellow jackets

or sunlight



I didn’t make my brain
but I’m helping
to finish it

Carefully stacking up everything I made next to everything I ruined in broad

daylight in bright

This morning I killed a fly
and didn’t lie down
next to the body
like we’re supposed to

We’re supposed to

Soon I’m going to wake up


There is only this world and this world

What a relief

over and over

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