It Feels Like Love

When he and i are together, it just feels like love

And when we are talking and laughing together

It feels like love

And when we are hugging and going places together

It just feels like love, it feels like love

And his eyes on me and the way he looks

And what he says and the way i feel

And the things he does and the feelings i get

And the songs that play and my mind a racing

And the spring racing before us and the sun and moon

And the low light of the evening

With the dark trees silhouetted and the birds aflame

It just feels like love

It really does

I don’t know

I must have said it all wrong.

Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica

BY DOROTHEA LASKY

I wanted to tell the veterinary assistant about the cat video Jason sent me

But I resisted for fear she’d think it strange

I am very lonely

Yesterday my boyfriend called me, drunk again

And interspersed between ringing tears and clinginess

He screamed at me with a kind of bitterness

No other human had before to my ears

And told me that I was no good

Well maybe he didn’t mean that

But that is what I heard

When he told me my life was not worthwhile

And my life’s work the work of the elite.

I say I want to save the world but really

I want to write poems all day

I want to rise, write poems, go to sleep,

Write poems in my sleep

Make my dreams poems

Make my body a poem with beautiful clothes

I want my face to be a poem

I have just learned how to apply

Eyeliner to the corners of my eyes to make them appear wide

There is a romantic abandon in me always

I want to feel the dread for others

I can feel it through song

Only through song am I able to sum up so many words into a few

Like when he said I am no good

I am no good

Goodness is not the point anymore

Holding on to things

Now that’s the point

poem to an unnameable man

You have changed me already. I am a fireball

That is hurtling towards the sky to where you are

You can choose not to look up but I am a giant orange ball

That is throwing sparks upon your face

Oh look at them shake

Upon you like a great planet that has been murdered by change

O too this is so dramatic this shaking

Of my great planet that is bigger than you thought it would be

So you ran and hid

Under a large tree. She was graceful, I think

That tree although soon she will wither

Into ten black snakes upon your throat

And when she does I will be wandering as I always am

A graceful lady that is part museum

Of the voices of the universe everyone else forgets

I will hold your voice in a little box

And when you come upon me I won’t look back at you

You will feel a hand upon your heart while I place your voice back

Into the heart from where it came from

And I will not cry also

Although you will expect me to

I was wiser too than you had expected

For I knew all along you were mine

woo!

finally, after months of not writing any poetry whatsoever, i finally write one.  took dorothea lasky to get me out of the funk.

also, the poem is not fantastic.  but who cares, i wrote!

small preview:

That’s what we called them, minyanaires—
it was a ploy to get people into shul
during the week and it was when “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” was popular
and everybody watched average folks be special
which is what being a kohen is, really… 

Q & A with Dorothea Lasky

image

Dorothea Lasky is the author of ROME, as well as Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE. She is a co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney’s, 2013). She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn. Her website is www.dorothealasky.com 

Twitter: @DorotheaLasky

* * *

First poems you read or loved:


Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I know it is technically a work of fiction, but it reads like a poem to me. I remember staying up one night when I was 10 to read it for the first time and feeling very proud by the time the morning sun arrived that I had finished. The images have stuck with me all my life. Then, years later, at age 15, I first read Sylvia Plath’s “Fever 103°” and I thought: I want to write poems like this!

Favorite poems or book of poems:

Sylvia Plath’s Ariel  (obviously, see above question). Also, The Bernadette Mayer Reader by Bernadette Mayer, The Poems of Catullus, H.D.’s Trilogy, Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, and Anne Sexton’s Live or Die.

What was the last book of poems you read:

Virgil’s Georgics

Your favorite motto / quote:

Live for today and then live some more. Carpe diem!

Your favorite occupation / hobby:

Running and making/collecting jewelry.

Your idea of happiness:

Having no obligation on my time.

Your idea of misery:

Being trapped and controlled.

Your favorite virtue:

A sort of kindness of grace

What you appreciate the most in your friends:

Their openness, loyalty, and creativity.

Your favorite prose authors:

Franz Kafka, Isak Dinesen, Lydia Davis, Gustave Flaubert, Flannery O’Connor, and Ivan Turgenev.

Your favorite artist or musician:

My favorite musician of this very moment is Drake, but this will change. (Although I will love him for all eternity.)

The natural talent you would most like to have:

Singing, dancing, and acting. I would have loved to have been a movie star.

What is your present state of mind:

A wide field of being.

What can’t you tolerate:

Cruelty and self-righteousness and people who are sticklers for meaningless details or rules, who choose not to acknowledge that life is at a constant ebb.

What is your favorite food or drink:

Diet Mountain Dew, cantaloupe, and actually all fruit.

What is your least favorite word:

Cut

What is your favorite word:

Violet


—questions answered January 7, 2014

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