Sunset in Wonderland
“I am always doing this. Walking around the old neighborhood, always
sixteen, moody and stealing cigarettes” (36).
I read Wonderland by native-Portlander Matthew Dickman.
I read not about a Portlandia-version.
I read about a place where an alt-right TriMet attacker is no surprise.
I read a Gen Xer’s recollections of the city I recall from my Millennial childhood.
I read about swastikas and inappropriate men touching women.
I read about skateboarders and homeless men.
I read about poverty and overt, violent racism and xenophobia.
I read about maple trees, crows, Rottweilers, cherry blossoms, and chain-link fences.
I read about pills, cigarettes, alcohol, beer, gender fluidity, and homophobia.
I read about starlings, sex, and Star Wars.
I read about disillusionment, the thick grime that covers Wonderland.
I read these poems because I am not a poet.
I read to conjure these ghosts from the past that haunt present-day Portland.
I read because this could be any city in any town but it’s not.
I read because while so many poets are obscure and abstract,
I read Dickman because his work is vivid and cutting.
I read that some poems were published in The New Yorker and other literary gems.
I read this and know these visceral poems affect people across the nation.
I read poems that are almost micro-fiction in their narrative power.
I read and read and read and want to read more.
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