IT FEELS LIKE LOVE
When he and I are together, it just feels like loveAnd when we are talking and laughing togetherIt feels like loveAnd when we are hugging and going places togetherIt just feels like love, it feels like loveAnd his eyes on me and the way he looksAnd what he says and the way I feelAnd the things he does and the feelings I getAnd the songs that play and my mind a racingAnd the Spring racing before us and the sun and moonAnd the low light of the eveningWith the dark trees silhouetted and the birds aflameIt just feels like loveIt really doesI don’t knowI must have said it all wrong
Oh, the sentences, the odd narratives by Dorothea Lasky that make up her second poetry collection, Black Life (Wave Books, 2010). I admire her performative confidence, the arms of her poems calling look, look. Lasky is a poet of sentences, of gestures, both grand and small, and many times concurrently, even contradictory, but rarely in opposition. Lasky is the author of grand gestures, open-heart narratives and a sometimes too-wise, nearly naïve narrator with childlike cruelty, writing “I’m not weird, like death / I am a turquoise woman who is gentle” (“YELLOWBIRD”), “But likeable in their strangeness / To thank a stranger is strange but I do so anyway / Because he is a child / Because that is what they think of me” (“THANK YOU TO JASON M. HELMS”) or her “POEM TO MY EX-HUSBAND,” that includes:
Dear husband, I miss you so muchStrange men who write bad poemsTell me I disrupt their wivesI don’t even think they have a brain, let alone a dickI would disturb nothing about themIf I ran into them on the train I wouldn’t even noticeHow bland their jokes and voice
For those waiting for a follow-up to her magnificent first collection, AWE (Wave, 2007); who else do you know but Lasky has written a poem about their earlier work?
EVER READ A BOOK CALLED AWE?
Have you ever read a book called AWE?I have. I wrote it. That’s my book.I wrote that book. I wrote that one.Some people read it. They said,We will make your book.I said, Really? I love you.They said, We love you, too.I said, Good thenI will love you forever.They said, Great! And looked scared.Some people I loveDon’t love meOthers love meThat’s goodWhen you sit in a landscape of snowAnd you’re a bird, that’s AweWhen you look over a big green fieldAnd the dead soldiers lie all around you, that’s LoveThat’s Love and AweSay itThat’s Love and Awe.There is nothing better.Or if there isThen I don’t care
Lasky’s deceptively straight lines don’t mean straight narratives, and I appreciate her odd turns of phrase, her odd sense of humour (or, being American, humor). Shouldn’t the strength of any work come out of its unexpected places?