Where We Live

from Boring Postcards U.S.A., Martin Parr, Phaidon Press 2004

 

 

Where We Live

By Michael Dickman

 

                     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

 

 

 

“Where We Live” appears in Poetry (December 2013).

____________________

Michael Dickman, a 2009 Hodder Fellow, is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts. Dickman was born and raised in the Lents neighborhood of Portland Oregon. He has received fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Vermont Studio Center, and he won the 2008 Narrative Prize. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Field, Tin House, Narrative Magazine and others.   

 

 

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