Michael Dickman

Poems by Michael Dickman

Nervous System

We Did Not Make Ourselves

Seeing Whales

  Michael Dickman

We Did Not Make Ourselves

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 youíll be missed
It wonít last long
I promise


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

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

How weíre born

Made to look up at everything we didnít make

We didnít
make grass, mosquitoes
or breast cancer

We didnít make yellow jackets

or sunlight



I didnít make my brain
but Iím 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 didnít lie down
next to the body
as weíre supposed to

Weíre supposed to

Soon Iím going to wake up


There is only this world and this world

What a relief

over and over

THE END OF THE WEST (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)