Away from my Dream Desk


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.

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Click here to read Peter Ramos on the origin of the poem.


Photo:  “Out of Office” by Victor Bezrukov; licensed under CC BY 2.0

Peter Ramos:
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.