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About this poet

Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1975, Michael Dickman, his twin brother Matthew, and his younger sister were raised by their mother in the neighborhood of Lents. He received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dickman's first collection, The End of the West, was published in 2009 by Copper Canyon Press. He is also the coauthor of the forthcoming 50 American Plays from Copper Canyon Press. His second collection of poetry, Flies (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), received the 2010 James Laughlin Award.

His many grants, fellowships, and residencies include honors from organizations such as the Michener Center for Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Lannan Foundation. He was awarded the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University for 2009-2010.

In addition to writing, Dickman appeared in the 2002 film Minority Report with his twin brother, worked for years as a cook, and has recently been active in the Writers in the Schools program. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

From the Lives of My Friends

Michael Dickman
What are the birds called
in that neighborhood
The dogs

There were dogs flying
from branch to
branch

My friends and I climbed up the telephone poles to sit on the power lines dressed like
   crows

Their voices sounded like lemons

They were a smooth sheet
They grew

black feathers

Not frightening at all
but beautiful, shiny and
full of promise

What kind of light

is that?


*

The lives of my friends spend all of their time dying and coming back and dying and
   coming back

They take a break in summer
to mow the piss
yellow lawns, blazing
front and
back

There is no break in winter

I fall in love with the sisters of my friends
All that yellow hair!
Their arms
blazing

They lick their fingers
to wipe my face
clean

of everything

And I am glad
I am glad
I am
so glad


*


We will all be shipped away
in an icebox
with the one word     OYSTERS
painted on the outside

Left alone, for once

None of my friends wrote novels or plays, from the lives of my friends came their lives

Here's what we did
we played in the yard outside
after dinner

and then 
we were shipped away

That was fast—

stuffed
with 

lemons

From Flies by Michael Dickman. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

From Flies by Michael Dickman. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.

Michael Dickman

Michael Dickman

Poet Michael Dickman's second collection of poetry, Flies, received the 2010 James Laughlin Award

by this poet

poem
First I get a father
from some city
of fathers

One with a neck

bright 
red

And with all the tiny bird bones in my fingers carefully tip his chin back into the light like love
     so I can see
     so I can smell

I tell a dirty joke, then drag the steel across the universe

There's
poem

Something breathes
on a dead deer
and the hair inside its ears
wave

Headlights and
rubber

Water fills the black eyeholes that keep seeing everything reflected back from skidding
         black macadam

Someone cut your feet off

Someone moved your

poem
There is a way
if we want
into everything

I'll eat the chicken carbonara and you eat the veal, the olives, the small and glowing
   loaves of bread

I'll eat the waiter, the waitress
floating through the candled dark in shiny black slacks
like water at night

The napkins, folded into paper