Why Poetry Can Be Hard for Most People

- 1978-

Because speaking to the dead is not something you want to do
When you have other things to do in your day
Like take out the trash or use the vacuum
In the edge between the stove and cupboard
Because the rat is everywhere
Crawling around
Or more so walking
And it doesn’t even notice you
It has its own intentions
And is searching for that perfect bag of potato chips like you once were
Because life is no more important than eating
Or fucking
Or talking someone into fucking
Or talking someone into something
Or sleeping calmly and soundly
And all you can hope for are the people who put that calm in you
Or let you go into it with dignity
Because poetry reminds you
That there is no dignity
In living
You just muddle through and for what
Jack Jack you wrote to him
You wrote to all of us
I wasn’t even born
You wrote to me
A ball of red and green shifting sparks
In my parents’ eye
You wrote to me and I just listened
I listened I listened I tell you
And I came back
No
Poetry is hard for most people
Because of sound

More by Dorothea Lasky

Me and the Otters

Love makes you feel alive 
Johnny my animal you have no idea
How beautiful you are to me in the morning
When it is 5 a.m. and I am lonely
Everyone is dying around me
I eat spinach bread to keep my sanity, I am
Like Lisa in the mental unit with my father
I am Muriel who throws tables
I play blackjack with the clowns
Oh yes I do all that for a salad
Your black hair is better than a piece of fate
I find in the sky when I am looking
45,000 miles above the earth
For things that make it all worthwhile
I do this for you but you will never know
How dear you are to me
You chop leaves in your house in New York City
Dream of glamorous women and even too they are great
No one will ever love you like I do that is certain
Because I know the inside of your face
Is a solid block of coal and then it too 
Something that is warm like warm snow
I hold the insides of you in my palm
And they are warm snow, melting even
With the flurries glutted out of the morning
When I get on the plane the stewardess tells me to let loose 
My heart, the man next to me was the same man as last week
Whoever those postmodernists are that say
There is no universal have never spent any time with an animal
I have played tennis with so many animals
I can't count the times I have let them win
Their snouts that were wet with health
Dripping in the sun, then we went and took a swim
Just me and the otters, I held them so close
I felt the bump of ghosts as I held them.
There is no poem that will bring back the dead
There is no poem that I could ever say that will
Arise the dead in their slumber, their faces gone
There is no poem or song I could sing to you
That would make me seem more beautiful
If there were such songs I would sing them
O they would hear me singing from here until dawn

To be the thing

To be the name uttered, but not to have the burden to be
To be the name said, but not heard
To not breathe anymore, to be the thing
To be the thing being breathed
To not be about to die, to be already dead
To not have to disappoint
To not have the burden of being late
Or punctual
To not eat, to not have to eat
To not feel anything
To not be the one whose affect is criticized
To not pick up the fallen over boxes
To be everywhere but the boxes or plates
To not break the plates
To be beyond breaking
To have been broken 
To not bear the burden of not being present
To not have to feel the pain of being hurt
To have transferred that pain over
So that hurt is only part of the imagination
And the imagination is everywhere, is every color
To not contain color, to be color
To not make sound, to be sound
To not have language, to echo, to plan language
To be the stream of words
To not be sad for
To not have those to be sad for
To not eat alone
To not fuck those who do not find your corpse attractive
To not fuck
Or stuff
To be ashes and non-placed
Not displaced, but to not be in any place
To enter the ocean on not a whim, but a physical force
Where there is no center
Where there is no safety
There never was
There was never any anger
There was never anything to look at
I never looked at anything
I just went and walked
I tried to love
But love is hopeless
And I have lost all hope, so bleak I am beyond
I am beyond what might be considered low
There is low nor high, space or time, I have 
Gone away from that which is uttered
I have not burdened to be spoken of or spoken for
To croak everyday to the livelong bog
I do not speak a thing
I exist
No, no I don't
I never did
And you may have
But I never did 
And you may have called out for me
But I was already gone
And I am already there
That which you speak of
I am already spoken for
In a world of light and ashes
They all call my name
They have waited for me
And now I know
I was always
Already there 
With them