Friday, April 06, 2007


Lincoln's Dream

It is impossible to state just how in love I am
with my own body, the white snows of me,
the sudden involutions and crevasses of me,
my muscles tensed or slack in anger or fear.

This is why, wherever I go, I am in Lincoln’s dream.
A sentry stands by, the stairway is eerily lit,
light is a little milk splash on people’s faces,
the faces of my Cabinet, grotesque and funny masks.

Who is dead in the White House? I demand. Who’s not?
answers a soldier, pointing to a shrouded head
on my own body, encased like a gangly insect
on the catafalque, and the loud sobs wake me up.

Reader, when you caress yourself in the morning,
amazed that you are made the way you are,
sure that yours is the finest body of all,
remember, you are Lincoln having Lincoln’s dream.

--Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker ( I keep typing The New Orker, which I wish was a magazine)

My secret feeling is that The New Yorker has been on kind of a roll lately. I was seduced by "The Museum of Stones" a few weeks ago, and now this. Maybe it has something to do with David Orr snorting their dad's ashes all over the place--I don't know. Anyway, Dan Chiasson, all I can say is damn; if you wanted to be celebrated so badly, you should have published a poem about Lincoln feeling on himself in the New Yorker earlier.

P.S. I resisted the urge to expound more explicitly on the concept of your crevasses, not to mention your milk splash on people's faces. Perhaps next time.


nev said...

Oh, I so hated Museum of Stones. I never knew that Carolyn Forche person was so awful.

Tricia said...

She has a mane of hair, which is always nice--anyway, I am easily swayed by long relentless lists of things.

RHE said...

Ah, the Hair Movement. It made Jorie Graham a star. Perhaps it was behind Whitman's success, too, and Ezra Pound's ( But poor Wallace Stevens--too glabrous for success.

Tricia said...

In that I suffer with him. If future success can be measured by maneliness, I am doomed to be famous only among babies and old men.