The machine powers up bad. Time
to grow summer, hours of green
and forgetting. Learn to fake it,
right, Señor Somebody,
Sir Hurts-a lot & beauty hack,
everyone’s et cetera and star-
fucker, leech. Vertigo troubles
the old bones, this side of the galaxy.
Order in moonlight.
Sprout yellow legumes, rack
the portable fruit bombs.
Fly my gone-fishing
flag. I’ll carefully
studies my I.Click here to read Peter Ramos on the origin of the poem.
This began as an experiment I learned from poet Carmen Giménez Smith in which one takes an existing poem and transcribes it in reverse order. She got this from a letter of Emily Dickinson’s in which she mentions reading a poem in reverse (from the bottom up) to a different but equally enjoyable thrill. I tried several Dream Song poems by Berryman, but none seemed to work as a prompt for my own poem. But somehow, after revising and combing and then switching out all the words and then starting again, I got this very Berryman-esque Berryman tribute (“…Dream Desk,” etc.) poem. In it I tried to invoke or perform the Berryman “self” which, as I take it, works wonderfully for this kind of tongue-in-cheek confessional in which a number of plastic comedic and neurotic selves, slightly cartoonish yet no less “real” than any other self, vie for visibility.