17 May, 2009

Restless @ 3AM

I am reading an old article in an old New Yorker about the twin poets Michael and Matthew Dickman. It is a wonderful study in how imagination can extend beyond the circumstances of your birth and the situation in which you are raised, or your genetic make-up (in this case).

Here is a poem by Michael Dickman from an even earlier issue of the New Yorker (September 1st, 2008).

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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