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For John Guare

I used to live
in a mother now I live
in a sunflower

Blinded by the silverware

Blinded by the refrigerator

I sit on a sidewalk
in the sunflower and its yellow
downpour

The light of  the world
beads up on one perfect
green leaf

It scribbles its name on every living thing then erases it so what’s left is more of a whisper than a mother

Here it’s spring

Over and over and over again




I used to live
in a cloud now I live
in a crow

It’s tiny and crippled in there but I can find my way to the bathroom in the dark if   I need to

All the windows
in the crow are left open
and let the clouds in

Back in

They float past my bed and have nothing to say

Hello it’s nice to meet you!

From a telephone pole
tongues slide out singing
welcome home

Welcome home they sing



I used to live
in a tree now I live
in a king

He waves his arms in front of   him and endless migrations of   birds disappear into his coat

I like to sit up inside
his crown eating sandwiches
and watching tv

Hills shake in the distance when he shuffles his feet
Floods when he snaps his fingers

I bow inside his brow and the afternoon stretches out
Orders more sandwiches

And sells the slaves

and sets the slaves free

and sells the slaves
Source: Poetry (December 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Where We Live

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  • Born in Portland, Oregon, poet Michael Dickman grew up with his mother and twin brother, poet Matthew Dickman, in Lents, a suburb of Portland. He earned a BA at the University of Oregon and an MFA at the University of Texas-Austin’s Michener Center for Writers.
     
    Dickman’s elegiac free verse poems explore the difficult, often violent spectacle of personal memory; voice, in Dickman’s work, is a character unto itself, at once hopeful and spare, speculative and warped. As Rebecca Mead noted in her 2009 New Yorker profile of the Dickman twins, “Michael’s poems are interior, fragmentary, and austere, often stripped down to single-word lines; they seethe with incipient violence.”
     
    Dickman’s poetry collections include The End of the West (2009) and Flies (2011), which won the Academy of American Poets’s James Laughlin Award. A former Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, Dickman won the 2008 Narrative Prize and has received...

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