Adam Dickinson Poems

HANG-UPS

I hate my genitals.
They remind me of communism.
Who needs another vanguard party
ascending the staircase
à la mode?
Fish hang in chlorinated biphenyls
like unrequited high-fives.
I feel fat
just looking at their bleak schematics
for common ownership
and poor motility.
It's hard not to dwell
on equipment failures.
Fur hats get stained
with gravy trains and show trials
in all the unlaundered cornfields.
The problem
is my Bolshevik asshole,
my sick-building sensitivity
to the indignity of not degrading
in sunlight, or in soil,
or at the unpollinated end
of a spring break break-up.
Allergies are such a squeamish response to sex
and satellite states.
There's no use complaining,
the ombudspeople have already burst into leaf
and all the lines are bread.... more »

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE

make a roof for the people, and the people walk
down the street with resin for a roof, and the roof
has magnesium in it, and sulphur, and the people
walk down the street with resin in their hair, and
resins are always falling from the sky to the ground,
and the birds make a people in the sky, a people
of the resin, and the resin is composed of sky, and
it composes the sky, and the people walking down
the street are the strings of resins, and covering
their hair with their arms, with newspapers, with
umbrellas, the people are the birds of resins throwing
their landings in the air like people for whom landings
are uncommon, like people committed to the ex-
pulsion of landings, the resins coming down upon
them like people driven out of countries discovered
by resins or that have discovered resins in veins,
in the countertops of suburbs, and people walk
down the street with resins for hair, with countries
committed to colour, with the bonds between them
the birds circling, and people walking down the street
with hunched shoulders so as not to look up and
call the resins by name, call the resins in the name
of the birds, the people, circling and loosening... more »

CALL TO ARMS

The highway rollover wore him
like a loose jacket, a wind-snapped flag,
like a rodeo bull wears a cowboy,
sanded him down until his arms
were dusted off, re-written
in fibreglass and hooked script.
We were frightened by his make-believe hands,
smooth upholstery knuckles, unflinching
beach ball smell crossed
with baked bicycle tires.
We were frightened of the fishing trip
and the lightning that welded
him to the boat.
We were frightened of those shoulders
retrofitted into clothes hangers
for broken handshakes and bear hugs,
dialled phones and signatures
packed away into boxes
for accountants or the poor.
We practiced our own substitutions,
acting out ghost stories, declaring allegiance
to phantom limbs
while playing high-kick soccer,
awarding exaggerated penalties
for handballs,
offenders chicken-winged
and forced to pirate copies
of hoof-and-mouth disease
for overseas quarantined manicurists.
We wore hand-me-down turtlenecks
and packed scavenged finger-food
for the sergeant-at-arms.
In the sawtoothed canines,
masticating above us in climax beech leaf canopies,
we saw vestigial forests
of terminal arm hair, small sod
melanin huts, knob-and-kettle country
in the vascular ridgelines.
We took flu shots to change our appearance
on the inside, planted memories
of synthetic identities, dusted for fingerprints
in unauthorized hands.
Climbing through polite conversation,
we wore nosebleeds to conceal our altitude,
fake moustaches to hide harelips we'd affected
for counterfeit phonemes, and slipped
into pairs of scissors,
hiding in roughhouses built by play-facing dogs
and the first-draft carbon crystals
of burnt-out engine blocks.
We raised branches from sticks
and trained them into tepees and log houses
for bonfires,
schooled them
in the relative humilities for dry rot.
We placed orange peels
over our eyes and groped
for light sockets,
donned dandelion manes
and crawled through switchblade grasses
with sextants certifying the sky
for seeds.
Having had our wrists slapped,
we grew polycarbonate cups
out of sight in the carpal tunnels
and drank under water tables
at night, where we'd beat snowstorms
to death with flashlights
and proclaim republics
on the accumulated evidence of road salt
and body-counted shadow puppets.
We wore intestinal flora
as a countermeasure against
the invisible hand of decompositional self-interest.
We hung out with stray dogs
who did all of our terrifying for us.
The one with three legs limped along
like a pitchfork, its tines tuned
to the hiss of escaped air
from pierced plastic balls.
Back and forth its head swung,
ripping apart a cloud
or a man's shirt.... more »

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