PEOPLE DO REALLY BAD THINGS People do really bad things But I don't pay attention to most of them I knew that Alex was my real friend When he told me the one night That true love can not be calculated or contained Despite the orb of blue fire I always hold right up to my lips It is hot and earthy And full of red and green stars But the one I love is not a plant to grow you in The one I love goes driving thru the streets My true friends have always been poets Laura, and Eric And the other people The endless need of people crushing everything too, the sublime Most of the time I am not the coral Most of the time I am ashamed of my happiness But that's because most of the time I do it in private But not when my true love comes around Then I do it everywhere There is no place I would not be willing to make my true love sing Even on the mountain where the seaweed is upturned into the heavens Even then I would take his gentle hand with me anywhere Even then I would not forsake anything he's done Even if he did really bad things I'd dive into the rich waters to help him ZOMBIES Some people are zombies Some people live with zombies I live with a zombie Zombies have flat affects They are so frustrating I turn into a demon When I encounter Blue-eyed nightmare Curve my smile into its What level water makes the eyeless eye Oh yeah, that we are thrown out like trash When we die Oh yeah, that there is no elevation And I throw myself in front of a train car And again in front of the vehicle Then in front of a plane A boat, an endless thing The sun burns out a corpse that is black and blue And I live on with my own self And I turn into a lyric when I see that zombie And I turn ferocious when I meet that zombie because The zombie is so much like me But is the ugly parts of me, too In that it has no style No green operatic hat And that it holds small brown lumps of dirt in its pockets When in my own I hold the flowers That I have picked from the zombie’s pockets To give to you THE DREAM OF THE CLASSROOM I heard you Show me mercy So all I want now Is to show mercy to you What's the problem It starts in school Then the decisions set in That last a lifetime I put my headphones in I could have sworn I heard the rushing of the sea The years advanced I was 25, now 36, soon 60 Being a poet No I was always 8. No always 17. Long live the youth The real poets Among us And when I left the class I meant to say: Betsy, you are a really good poet I meant to say: Poets, you are really really nice people I meant to say The variable sea is green I meant to ask for things that could help in the understanding of the ocean Not palm trees But beach glass Not things that matter But things that really matter So thank you for the time You helped me get across the street Your boat and the red sweater You let me wear And thank you for the warm cup of water The blue-green drink I meant to say I meant before I left to say thank you I meant to say thank you thank you Thank you for the kindness you gave me I meant to say Thank you for having me here Thank you for saving my life And I thank you for finding yours Under the searing teeth Under the animal arm In the orange bed That so quietly is by me In sleeping
Dorothea Lasky is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: Thunderbird (Wave Books, 2012), Black Life (Wave Books, 2010), and AWE (Wave Books, 2007). She is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including The Blue Teratorn (YesYes Books, 2012). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and Boston Review, among other places. She has taught poetry in a variety of settings, including New York University, Columbia University, and Wesleyan University. She currently lives in NYC and can be found online at www.birdinsnow.com.