Sous Rature



Dorothea Lasky



Being anything is in the face
            After Courbet’s The Dead Girl

I don’t want to be anything
Said the girl to the mirror
With the sword by her side
Like a library of ashes
Her face was
Like a pale note in a sea of others
One pale violet, so whitish
It is not purple, a child
One fly, so much a virgin
The skin of its abdomen
Is as light as the dawn
As it turns and turns
In the air of the room
Who ever wanted to be anything anyway?
I never did
Want to be locked away
The way the fly is in one room
Attended only by angels
Dressed in white frock
Girl, we are the pelicans
In a tropical ocean city
Awaken! Awaken!
I am bringing you a sprig
Of fire-green flowers
And little yellow birds as graceful as the sun
And fruit as meaty as any meat
With its pulpy flesh
I will walk among the angels to get to you
And when they are not looking
I will bring you with me here
Take you with me here
Out here into the world


The man on the bicycle is without hope.  He is not me.

There were many people who I knew throughout my life
None of them belong in this poem
Wild thing, you are so gracious and gorgeous
Your legs
And all
Ideas and poems die
When you don’t express them
They die too
When you do
Make them into poems
Essays never die when you make them
Into dances
I want to make all my essays into dances
And then forget them
We all forget everything
You got so angry
And full of sleep
But then you forgot it
You forget things you do
In a way which is different than someone who is dumb
Oh no but you are not dumb
And you are so attractive
Even if my mind were erased again and again
I would still be blindly drawn to you each time
Even if in each new life
I was a blank mind
My eyes would dart around to find yours
Even if you did not exist I would find you
And make you up
And if I couldn’t
Find the words to make you
I would have nothing to say
And say nothing for all eternity
And all the bastards who expect me to say something
For all eternity
Would have to resign themselves
To listen to the crickets chirping
By the daygreen moon
And while they were snug and quiet in their lonely morning beds
All they would have to listen to are crickets
Before the coming of the morning rain


The living room

The living room did not exist
I wanted to go and lay on the carpet
In the middle of the afternoon
I knew the carpet was dark grey
And in the afternoon sun, I would take a nap
But the room did not exist
It was gone like everything else
In its place was a black bird
That flew and flew
Through the sunlit heavens
With bitter songs in its head
That sounded like two tin cups
Ringing round the world
Intergalactically the world does not seem so large
When things leave as they do
It is not so
What it was before
It is not so large
The black starry dome
Is a room you sit in and smoke hash
What is hash?
I don’t even like drugs
What I am trying to say is this:
A great red universe exists and I can’t get to it
Somewhere there is a home for me
And I can’t ever find it
O Lord, please let me find it
I have been willing to fly anywhere
On a jet plane to get anywhere
On a spaceship I would board with
My suitcase and dog, her head ringing with yellow stars
And rung around a great heart
That keeps popping like a red balloon
Somewhere there is a room
Where I can sleep the whole day
And when I wake everything will be so snug
I am what I awake into
I am what needs to be wrung
From a soaking wet thing
Touch my lips and they are damp
With glistening joy
That was once like stars
But is now something like a forest




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