Three poems

In de aanloop naar Geen Daden Maar Woorden Festival publiceren we teksten van & over de optredende artiesten. Vandaag: poëzie van Matthew Dickman.

WALKING THE DOGS

I haven’t done drugs for three
days so I name each one after
my sister and mother and brother
and take them out with me
on a walk, each one taking turns
leading, each one the leader
of a pack that was bred in the mid
seventies, each leash the color
of glass and the density of a star,
I hold each leash like something
that has returned home after being
lost, I walk them under the oaks
and maples, under the lilacs
and cherries, they walk through
the shadows like the team
they are, each caring for the other
like I always wanted them too,
each giving room for a paw, a tail,
sometimes smelling each other
to make sure they are alright,
we are all alright the thing that
is not god whispers to me,
you are not alone, you are not
a shovel or a horse, even the stem
of the rosemary bush is really
excited that you have made it
this far, see how it shivers
in the early spring breeze, see how
it’s a breeze to be with your
whole family, to be the porch
they all sit on after the dinner
and cake, with mugs in their hands
and wine in the mugs, and how they
lift their noses into the wind
and sniff and look
to see if you are there, if you are going
to do what you promised to do,
if you are going to live and call them
sometimes and tell them you love them.

*

ALLEY POEM

Now I get to be alone again
like I’ve always wanted to be
and there’s nothing anyone
can say about it, especially me,
especially since I’ve been
begging for it, isn’t that what
they say? He was begging for it
which is awful but especially
for girls and now I’m alone
like a red fire truck, thank god,
a red fire truck buried
beneath the earth of stuffed
animals, the air around me
thick as a mouth or a bar of soap
cause I was asking for it,
after all, and after all sometimes
I can just lose it and shake
the baby I am, grab it
by the shoulders and shake it
into scrambled eggs with toast
for a face and no afterlife
for him and no T.V. either
and no dessert since he did not
do all his chores, though
punishing him by making him
stay in his room will do no good
since he’ll like it too much. Better
to drag him into an alley
where he won’t know where
he is and tell him to shut up
and make him sweep or sing
or get him drunk and lie
him down on a bed of snow
or take off all his clothes
and point my finger
and laugh and tell him to jump
and tell him to beg, and shoot him
in the head, shoot him right
in the brains, right in the heart,
and say, you were asking for it,
and then hold him like I do
so he doesn’t feel alone, not like that.

*

MONTPELIER

I’m in the world again
without my mother or father
who seem, more and more
like Russian Dolls, like I could
unscrew my mother’s head
and then the slightly smaller
father’s head
and then my brothers
and sisters and me and finally
the family unassembled
like we are meant to be, like the first
days before the planet earth
when god was still gas,
wasn’t even a wave yet, a piece
of coral, an eye hiding
in the head of a fish
that would, in one million years
be able to see on its own.
I’m walking in the snow
because there’s snow on the ground.
I’m thinking about snow
and brains in brainpans.
I’m thinking about you and your
hands, your voice and how it’s exactly
the voice of everything warm.
I’m loving you like I used to
love older boys in my neighborhood,
the shade of them
and the violence of them,
the nunchucks and the silvery
throwing stars of the mouth
and above all the quiet of their
bodies, how they could appear,
a tremble of dark light
and pollen—that kind of quiet.
If only we could bring them all
back to life. I have this thing I keep
doing with Band-Aids
and the third smallest knife I own.
I know you know how it feels
to be a blister, all that blood
and tissue and poison turning into
a kind of ultimate, dominate
pressure, like a diamond was being
formed. That’s what my body
has been getting at,
working for— why it’s been
renting out its extra rooms,
saving up, going forward,
marking its calendar like an Advent
made out of the broken glass
of a cockpit, the long strings of silk
that makes up your arms
which are also made of water.
See how it’s ok, I can’t even die right
without wanting you. I know—
I’m in Montpelier, the great
high seat of Vermont, the trees
are all green and the embarrassed
ghosts of mosquitoes,
dressed in glittering nail polish,
are coming to take me all the way home.


Matthew Dickman is een Amerikaanse dichter. Met zijn debuut All American Poem (2008) won hij de Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Hij heeft twee dichtbundels en drie chapbooks op zijn naam staanMatthews werk verschijnt regelmatig in het The New Yorker en gaat vaak over menselijk contact en liefde. Daarnaast verwijst hij vaak naar de Amerikaanse samenleving en populaire cultuur.

Tijdens GDMW draagt hij voor en wordt hij geïnterviewd door Ellen Deckwitz.

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