Conjure by Michael Donaghy


Michael Donaghy

Many of the poems in this book are about relationships: between father and son, lovers, twins. There are also poems on the theme of religion, the past and alternate worlds. Notes at the end of the book help to clarify some of the poems. The mood of the collection is melancholic but it's also philosophical and witty. A moving and intriguing book.


Welcome to the afterlife. Or life.
I'd know that clammy pallor anywhere, the
vertigo that Chuang Tzu must have felt
who dreamt he was a butterfly, just once,
then spent a lifetime puking up his rice
because he really was a butterfly
now dreaming he was Chuang Tzu. Breathe.
Sailors say to look at the horizon,
the edge from which you've lately plummeted.
Trust me. I'm a connoisseur of quease.

from Quease

  • Dances Learned Last Night: Poems 1975-1995 by Michael Donaghy