The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

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FEB 2016 Issue



The Ghosts

Anne Sexton’s ghost just said, I’m watching you
Then sent me to her Book of Beasts
What is a Ghost
A light peppery air being
Or a solid, jelly thing
The book
I’ve died before
But no one believed me
And I came back here
To haunt my beloved
Then breathing
And we washed in words, now dead again
Now back again, I am no longer jelly
I’m water, a peachy lilac color
Both born into blue
For someone or something could be watching
Some are watching as I write this
The ghostly comediennes I share this speech
Or, you know that hum
That goes and flows
That’s ghosts
Who will be reborn eventually
The trick is to make friends with all of them
The trick is let the darkness out into the moonscape
And funnel the light into one strong sound
Only I can hear the sounds of my ancestors
But you can too
What is a ghost
A ghost is a mountain
It’s green it’s frightful
It’s written in Latin
But not the kind we read anymore
What is a ghost
It’s a flower
Big and weeping with purple colors
A weeping world, not vacuous
What is a ghost
It is my father
It is my dog
It is a dream
I dream of people
Do they or do they not exist
If you think this world exists
Then I think you do too
If you think you are breathing now
Then I promise the ghosts breathe down upon your neck
What is a life
If it’s longing, then fuck it
Sister, take me back to the beach
Let’s watch the sunset and then the moon
If it’s only this then put on my mask
And send me wheeling down the halls
I’ll spend the rest of days
Talking only to the children
If children are ghosts
Then put the capes upon them
And paint their eyes with terracotta
Then make them cakes all day long
Then tie the brightly-colored streamers
If babies are ghosts then have many of them
Then make the new new again
If you are a ghost then let me kiss you
And feel your faintest undertone
If spring is ghostly then take me in it
Then leave me in the fields until I’m eaten
By bees and breads
Until I can come here
Come here clean again
Wheel me down the halls
I’m old I’m old
Give mercy to my sisters, the bees
But not to me
I’m not old
I’m young
Always young
Oh youth
Won’t you go already
Same drone
From here to neverending
Bathing spirits
Submerged in blue light
Acid lake
I’ll sink in
In hot pink outlines
The wooden lake
I’ll sink in









Floral pattern

I feel super needy today
The worst part of admitting this
Is that no one will care
This the pattern I see
When I close my eyes too quickly
Not a pattern of being
But a floral pattern from the 70s
Yellows and oranges
You know social media
Is bad for me
People are too
I am 37 and still a child
In my thinking about people
So I avoid them entirely
I smile
But that’s about it
I’ll never know anyone
Ego dissolving
Not anything
I will never be anything
But that’s ok too
What if anything
On the beach the flowers are
What wild
What was ever wild
He wrote the last thing I could be
Not a relationship
But in art
He said what we were was art
Not a need
Not even an art need
What is an art need
So full of culture
What is a cultus
My silly sublime
Bright turquoise palm flowers
Over a magenta hue
Palindrome in the night
Asking me
For my prediction
And upon divination
I said it was a great love in a museum
No I meant me
No I mean myself
Darling all night
I have been flickering off on off
Heavy as a lecher’s kiss
The neon lights of the overlay
The room that will always be timeless
Not an intrapersonal concern
But an art one
The moon
No door
But a face in it’s own right
My mind
A bloodhound
For oblivion
Already in the house
Answer your phone
Call me
Call me I will answer
From inside your house
Dripping my wares everywhere
Answer me
Was I really so unreposed
Naked corpse
So slowly working
Answer me
Was I really so
Palindrome of shadow and light
Not a thing of worth
But a barmaid
That’s all you wanted
In the lilac light
Where I gave up
My most sacred to you
Without a second’s thought
And you answered the phone
From another sphere
Laughing at me









Become a person

The bee died upon entering the water
What happened to his honey no one knew

I left one fig and one kumquat
In each dish for the host

There were the yellow trunks of trees
The memory of Spain

There was the memory of being
The memory of love

Let the water take you in
So your neck is just a stalk, the head blooms

Let everything go away
You are a person

Be a person
Become a person again

The happiest he ever made me
The table in white

Where upon we list the white seashore
The White Sea, the white seahorses

They said I loved him better than anyone
The white seashore

No I never knew him
The bees

The bees They know everything

Be a person
Be a person again









Why I Hate The Internet

When one is on the Internet
In the middle of fear
You can find a Mashable article
About abandoned shopping malls

Each image more horrible than the next
Each click to a burned out neon room
To an article then
About Courtney Cox and Pennzoil

Why am I tired of the Internet
I have no friends here
I write down words in my room
For a thousand hours and no likes

So, instead of the Internet I will make a little shop
In an art gallery and tell no one
In my dirty leopard coat it will be 1992 forever
Burned out hamburger sign in the foreseeable distance

Why am I tired of the Internet
Well where is my pussy, my old old pussy
No, my pussy belongs in the hallowed books of yore
Not in this time, or online








Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea Lasky is the author of four books of poetry, most recently ROME (W.W. Norton/Liveright, 2014). She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in New York City. 


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

All Issues