Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor of Luna Luna Mag and the micropress Patasola Press. She co-edits Diorama Journal. Her work can be seen in Best American Poetry, PANK Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Nervous Breakdown and others. She is the author of the chapbooks Andalucia and …
Muscle memory’s stubbornness, or:
the places on my skin where
raw-red trails still pulse
the shape of your name.
PHL to ORD: Two dozen peanuts, battered copy of Actual Air, and too-easy crossword from the seat pocket all prove unsuitable distractions. From lift to landing, I think of you. You on the bus, or walking with hands stuck in jacket pockets, or however you made it home last night after your…
I don’t remember dreaming, only waking to a thin line of pink light slicing across the horizon. Then rising, pacing the long hallway in pre-dawn shadow.
I keep hitting walls. Not knowing what is next. The problem: I look at these photographs, describe what I see. There is something I am missing….
I used to think I was a poet
that my words would build castles on shores I’d visit
then I read a message in a bottle
that whispered self doubt into the cracks of my skin:
you lack depth and vocabulary
your experience centers you in the crevice of a book
never dancing among the pages
but sinking within the spine
with the empty words that have trailed
off corners of crusted eyes
But I forgot to acknowledge the skin we shed
from day to day
grows again and again
like how children build sandcastles
knowing the ocean will wash them away
like how monks spend patience on mandalas
only to wipe away time
like how doctors sew up innards
just to send naked bodies out to play
I am growing
to draw again
My words may not take minds to unknown places
or weave into the fabrics of baby blankets
my stones may lack the weathered look
and the ivy that grows has only just begun
but I’ll start my own renaissance
because I know my intentions may mimic
the dusty relics
but I’ll make an evolving masterpiece of myself
never to be hung or washed away
— “Never listen to drunken sailors” B.B.
We are here to make with you a lie detector test:
Do you think you’re a front-runner?
To be honest with you, we go to this masquerade hall
and there’s something so romantic about
knowing when I need more from somebody.
Who lied three times? I probably lied
about my sex life and that…
Sea of Crises
I’ve kept the funeral
flowers so long
they’re as dead as my father,
wilted to dust.
When people ask me
what they can do,
I say, “You’re doing it.
What I want to say is,
Because who chases a quiet ocean
I see the patterns you choose
like in the quilts your grandmother made new
and you’ll say they won’t ever wash out
because she laid them upon you
and I see the shapes of your lovers
how their hairs all fall away from their mothers
and I’ll feel softened
I’ll read about your encounters
with all the troubling mounters
demons dancing among harbors
ones you’d steer clear from your daughters
and I’ll wonder why you refrain from romance
when you so love to slow dance
and why you sink heavenly fingers
into such hauntingly eager demeanors
they trace you
giving you lines to fall into
when all I ever wanted was to hold you
— “Because who chases a quiet ocean” B.B.
reminded me of our summer selves
the things we said in breakback august,
sitting on your rooftop in the dragdown Brooklyn heat
we were always a little afraid of our fall selves
afraid of our ambitions,
afraid of actually doing the things we always dreamed about
afraid like a schoolgirl on a sunday night
talking about the things we will change come labor day,
talking about the people whose names we won’t carry around in our throats once the leaves change
remember the time we fell asleep with the lights on?
remember when i knew your 5am?
remember when you knew how my bones felt underneath you?
remember when you finally untied your bow of inconsistence?
my winter self has always been a summer shell
i am living out of my body come december
the sweet and wayward words of july,
a hazy sugary mess of a dream
remember the pretty girlfriends, the ways we still tried?
remember the taste of your birthday cake and how we left it in the moonlight?
remember the way that you burned coffee beans every single morning just for the smell?
remember the things i can’t recall?
let’s not be afraid this year,
let’s do what we feel is right in our sunridden bones
or we could defy growing older,
stay on your rooftop, dizzy with dreaming
don’t let anything drag us down this time