Thing cover


Dorothea Lasky

Copyright © 2012 Dorothea Lasky. All rights reserved.

Angels and demons

Angels on my shoulder
In the yellow mansion
I thought they were there to shun me
No the angels were the ones who embraced me
The demons ran around corners
I saw their straight hair
They knew I was there
The painting was the dream
Smaller yellow building around the corner
Little girl, was it you I was looking for
No it was the blond teenager
Who died in her sleep
Who warms my hair with her hands
Who is sweet as she looks into mirrors
Who wears a white shirt
But is not pure
Who was a human just like us
Who I was waiting to meet like this
For a lifetime


I remember what it was like to almost die
The very very low temperature to everything
I am so alone at this moment that dying seems truly close
But I am not dead
I am only sad
I am not dead
And neither are you
Living living living we are
And so I love you

The Mind

Prevalent thought
And all the ways we think
Is exquisite, like glass
And any person
Who tells you thinking is not important
Is wrong
I grew up in air
And saw the ways it turned
So too
I lived and took among me
A man who studied
The blank walls
All of my favorite friends
Are the people who move
In and out
They derail
They derailed
The mind is not the rational
It is the irrational
It is the irrational
That is worth living for
You think that knowledge is ordered
But you are sadly wrong
Knowledge is the divine
Unordered thing
If you know that the gods know
Did you know
That your gods know
Did you know
That your God knows
Did you know that I did too?
I walked along
And thought
Of you
My love
Your sweet eyes
Burned in my mind
Violet, or were
They nothing
No your eyes were nothing
Like the dawn
Is nothing
It rises over the mountains
And I don’t care about it
I only warm my hands on the purple furs
In my room
I only wrap my wretched sack with them
And light the light
And light the cold light
Until evening


If this is going to be the descent well then let me go
Let me go sinners with your rubber masks
Let me go lovers and angels
With your paltry blue powder dresses
And faces full of soot
For the young reddish skin of another
Is all I have left to give to my animals
You said it was all an act—so what
I wore the mask too
But you never knew so
You looked deep into my eyes as if you could find me
As if I ever existed, at all
And were not the house where the minted walls hunger
Where the green roof looks mournful
Where the walls hunger for you
Where the killing will happen
Where the moon is not our gentle mother
But a face with no mouth
To find it
And when you went to kiss the mouth
Of the moon
It was my mouth you found
Oh how scratchy the skin of the real mouth
Oh how it hurts to tumble the mouth of the real face
Oh how pointed the fangs from the real mouth
The mouth you thought was living
The mouth that was never living
The mouth that was dead for all time

The Bear

I met someone who was so much like me
I screamed
The other men just kept
Moving and moving and moving on
A priest had said the tower would come
In a youthful package
I went walking
Through the trees
I met the bear
He said I could be the person too
In the animal costume
Part dog
Or old teeth
I drank and drank
The fiery liquids
Of words
Poetry poetry poetry
You just keep moving on
One day I’m in an industrial park
The next I’m here
Waiting for something
Many days I am teaching the others
How to be
Oh how I love them
More than anyone
But there was someone
O gentle friend
I see your heart
And it is sweeter
Than even you think
It is
I think
It is sweeter
Than the bear’s
And that is to say a lot
He and I spent so many hours
Just looking up at the stars
From our home
On the everlasting


Arrogance is
Both the death and birth of self
Confidence is the beginning and end of man
I was hungry
I ate
But it was not
The food
That filled me
No it was you
Sitting there
With your eyes on me
Oh what is in the look
I had forgotten
The sun that had gone
The simple girl who insisted
On not being
At all
She waded through the waters
With the rocks in her hair
And I did not stop her
For once
I walked along the edge of things
And did not fall straight in

A thing like me

Instead of what I wanted to be
The thing found me
What I always was
A poem
I am
You're not
A poem like me
I love you anyway
Oh I love you anyway
Endless circle

The Hermit

I was quiet
As I went
Down the road
By the ocean
I was quiet
Or I wasn’t
You didn’t know me
You didn’t care
I was a unicorn
On a lonely road
And the sky
Was green, pink
And purple
Lonely yellow stars
Hung by the balustrades
And the moon was gel-like
Petty, and forgotten
Did we kiss, or fuck
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know anymore
I know the blue
Of the evening
Was lush-dark
And that the moon lit its face
On my road
What I’ve come to look for
I don’t see
What I’ve come to find
I don’t see anymore
Still you walk
Ten steps ahead of me
In the foreground
I can almost see
Your cloak
Will you turn around
Will you turn around
No you do not care
How I wander
All the things
I wanted
The other time
When the sky was mist
I don’t want
I don’t want
I don’t want anymore

Because I can't be

Because I can’t be anywhere
I am drinking a thick and viscous liquid
Dark red and pulsing
Of the tiger from which I came
Essence distorted in
So as to make the idea
So that I was a capitalist
And made a hundred businesses of my sadness
So that I made resource from my tears
Either ocean or flat
Knowledge or a demon
The house that still portends
Angry mouth
Angry hole
The black hole where no one dares to go
So what words as if
As if it were anything
As if I could look at you and love you
And that I could mean anything
Or be anything


I would like to thank Washington Square for publishing "The Bear" and Melissa Broder for inspiring "The Hermit."

Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea Lasky is the author of Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE, all published by Wave Books, as well as nine chapbooks, including Matter: A Picturebook and Poetry is Not a Project. She is a graduate of the MFA program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania. Born in St. Louis in 1978, she currently lives in New York City and can be found online at