Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Autopsy

I saw this poem in the recent issue of The New Yorker, and I wasn't 100% sure about what the overall message was. I am hoping that someone can read it here and give me a little guidance because it's pretty intense. By reading it, I feel like I want to know what it's all about.

My Autopsy
by Michael Dickman

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 boats, contain invisible Japanese poems

You eat the forks,
all the knives, asleep and waiting
on the white tables

What do you love?

I love the way our teeth stay long after we're gone, hanging on despite the worms or fire

I love our stomachs
turning over
the earth


There is a way
if we want
to stay, to leave


My lungs are made out of smoke ash sunlight air
particles of skin

The invisible floating universe of kisses, rising up in a sequinned helix of dust and cinnoman

Breathe in

Breathe out

I smoke
unfiltered Shepheard's Hotel cigarettes
from a green box, with a dog on the cover, I smoke them
here, and I'll smoke them



There is a way
if we want
out of drowning

I'm having
a Gimlet, a Caruso, a
Fallen Angel

A Manhattan, a Rattlesnake, a Rusty Nail, a Stinger, an Angel Face, a Corpse Reviver

What are you having?

I'm buying
I'm buying for the house
I'm standing the round

Wake me
from the dash of lemon juice,
the half measure of lemon juice, apricot brandy,
that make up paradise


There is a way
if we want
to untie ourselves

The shining organs that bind us can help us through the new dark

There are lots of stories about intestines

People have been forced to hold them, alive and shocked awake

The doctors removed M's smaller one and replaced it, the new bright plastic curled around the older brother

Birds drag them out of the dead and abandoned

Some people climb them into Heaven

Others believe we live in one
God's intestine!

A conveyer belt of stars and saints

We tie and we loosen

and forgettable

So, what do you make of this poem? The sections, the references, the repetitions? What does this poem mean?

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