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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.

Shaving Your Father's Face

Michael Dickman
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 nothing better
than shaving your father's face
except maybe
shaving

your mother's legs

My bedside manner is impeccable

The white foam
stays white


*


In the evening
his face attracts moths and women
sons 
daughters

It's as if his chin is made of Christmas lights, you have to shave the moths and family off
     it takes forever

The wings get all over your fingers

I like to use Merkur Super
platinum coated
stainless
steel

You could write on water with it

Rust free
Rost Frei

Made in Germany
so it will

last and last


*


Shaving my father's face
I'm not shaving
my face

I'm shaving my brain

Lifting
the gray folds
to get at
the pink parts

Stuffing toilet paper into all the tiny holes I cut so it looks like a field of red flags waving
     paper tulips
     love notes

The universe wants a close shave
it wants its hair
high
and tight

You could bounce a dime off dad's skin

My hand
on your face can you
feel it

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

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

Michael Dickman

Michael Dickman

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

by this poet

poem
You don't have to
be afraid
anymore

His super-outfit is made from handfuls of shit and garbage blood and pinned together
   by stars

Flying around
the room
like a mosq-
uito

Drinking all the blood
or whatever we
have

to save us
who

need to be saved


*


I whispered     To the
poem
I sit down for dinner
with my dead brother
again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

Passing the forks 
around the table, passing 
the knives

There's nothing to worry about

One thing I want to know is who's in the kitchen right now if it isn't me

It isn't me

The kitchen is full of flies, flies are
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