the xo xo
Love is the answer to God’s Question
by Dorothea Lasky
Art cannot be without love.
There are no paintings done out of hunger.
That is longing you are thinking of, not hunger.
In you, I am sitting alone on a frighteningly sunny day.
The yellow sun rays making even my fingernails seem blue.
My ankles are completely shaven.
I am like some kind of freak,
But you see, now love is on my side.
I am eating tropical jelly beans and drinking coffee.
I have just gotten satsuma body wash and
Elderflower eye gel and orange essence facial cleanser.
Later I will take a bath in bergamots
And the bathroom will fill with moonsun.
The clear milky light will flood on me.
Completely bloodless, I in the white tub, surrounded with greenish fruits,
Will be almost not breathing.
The great event which is beauty
Can only happen when one is full.
You to me are like leaves on candy.
All of a sudden the candy is growing
And from the candy, blue flowers and leaves grow.
Made entirely of sugar,
Their grainy pores give food to the soul.
(I don’t love this poem– but I completely agree with it.)
I hate hippies but I love love
another thing I agree with: THIS BOOK CALLED POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT
the contemporary poetry book should be like its own ecosystem.
a poem should capture one perspective of the study of that ecosystem
this is not a project but an exploration made by one who is at once scientist and mystic.
an exploration is exciting, and therefore pleasurable. and pleasure and terror are usually overlapping, or maybe the same thing.
THEN AGAIN I really appreciate The Curmudgeon’s Review of POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT
Luke Degnan: You wrote on your blog that “the best contemporary poetry today is the kind that gets its formal structure from hip hop. That is what I try to emulate, at least.” What specifically do you try to emulate? How does this take form in your poetry? If it doesn’t, how would you like this to take form in your poetry?
Dorothea Lasky: I think that I try to emulate hip hop in maybe two ways. I’m most interested in emulating it in terms of its form—its syntax. But I think that there is another way. I deeply respect hip hop in the ways in which it deals with pain and life and that it’s able to sum those up in a way that’s entertaining and for lack of a better word, danceable. In terms of form, I think I’m most interested in hip hop because it plays with the power dynamics between speaker and listener. I’ve always been interested in how you can put power into the form of a poem. Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets, and what interests me most about her poems is how she owns a poem and how she is able to take that power over the reader and contain it in her syntax. There are various ways that hip hop can gesture towards that. Either by saying “I’m The Best” in every way possible, but also being able to do something that the listener cannot by creating syntactical structures that are danceable or get stuck in the listener’s head. I think that the means by which hip hop achieves its power is something I’d like to emulate, and certainly think that the poems that I like, that are being written today, might emulate this power play whether they intend to or not. It’s a kind of music that is in the consciousness of people today—a consciousness of vast power differences, pain, aggression, and beauty that deals intimately with language.
I haven’t spent much time with Louise Gluck’s “mock orange” but it’s partner in crime, “the triumph of achilles,” is one of my favorite poems of this century.
The Triumph of Achilles
by Louise Gluck
In the story of Patroclus
no one survives, not even Achilles
who was nearly a god.
Patroclus resembled him; they wore
the same armor.
Always in these friendships
one serves the other, one is less than the other:
is always apparant, though the legends
cannot be trusted–
their source is the survivor,
the one who has been abandoned.
What were the Greek ships on fire
compared to this loss?
In his tent, Achilles
grieved with his whole being
and the gods saw
he was a man already dead, a victim
of the part that loved,
the part that was mortal.
corollary: not to love would be god-like. but then ms. gluck would have nothing to write about. Its unclear whether the word “triumph” refers to Achilles’ conquering blood lust, or his submission to his human capacity for love.
submission and sacrifice as triumph
MOM OF SHOES is wearing my first pair of designer boots in her latest post!! CHLOE 4 inch boot. my 16 year old self is smiling inside my 22 year old body which could care less because these puppies have absolutely no traction and in the winter months are a major safety risk for my tail bone.
oh man. I WANT TO LICK THESE. oral fixate. take what you love into your head. MANIFEST THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IN YOUR MOUTH CAVITY.
lets draw upon the infinite wisdom of 10 things I hate about you to solve this one….
Bianca: There’s a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.
Chastity: But I love my Skechers.
Bianca: That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.
as for men….