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Rome.

 I
 I always loved you And I didn't love him And I used you As a
counterpoint to what I didn't like But you weren't you That I
loved you And didn't love him Was some sort of thing That
wasn't true
II
In time spent with you I always laughed A million hours Of moods and
emotions Or that I perceived it so But really that young guy Who cared
about emotions Is dead And in his place a bitter man Growing fat and
embittered And more or less that potential Over and over again Your
calcified heart That I said I'd put up with If only I could talk to
Your calcified cock But really it was your dead heart That would have
done us in
III
Rome is about the coliseum Said the cashier in the local market Where I
went with my mother In the town I grew up in No longer a young man But
tunneling towards ferocity Not anyone could have predicted When my soft
smile Smiled at those who Only looked at me But now I look At the
cashier Straight in the eye As he said in Rome It was all about
governments Ruled by Cardinals But instead of clergymen I thought of red
birds My father and I used to stare at Through the window of our yellow
house So many years ago
IV
I guess I had to go to the woods It was part of this pilgrimage To get
rejected so vehemently Over and over again No it wasn't I wanted
the intensity that you sometimes promised You made the illusory moon in
the doorway You wanted me to stare at the ceiling How else to I believed
it was that young heart That I fell in love with Not the bitter one And
as we grow older my love You know it just gets older and older And mine
just gets younger Wilder My heart more an animal You know my love You
are already dead And you were when I met you at the Guggenheim And later
when you squealed at the fast cab Even though I should have been turned
off Maybe it was your weakness that made me think You weren't
already dead But you are You died that first year in the cold Just like
people told me So boring to think of Not Art Deco not the West But as
boring to talk about as the weather channel As boring to hear about as
the men discussing golf
V
In Baltimore the towns are so close to the capital That when I went
there with my friends to see Poets like the hot Adam Robinson I felt
like, oh this is Rome Like when I hid in the midst of it I said I could
stare at the ceiling in the dark In my warm bed But a person can make a
beautiful bed And murder you in it And that's what you did And not
fuck me in it I want to be clear About this bodily rejection That you
rejected my body so strongly That my poems about corpses will always be
about you You told me I was safe And then you murdered Women everywhere
The ones you don't care about Still the sister And I want you The
truth of it Me wanting you In dead linens Maybe to swaddle you And that
is what we do with a lover And no you're not that That you made
sure Maybe to hold my eye to yours So you can really see what you have
given up So you can truly see what you have given up When at 60 it might
hit you Until some said it was the rejection I was after What you have
given up When your sentimental heart Might let its hair down and see The
sun for the first time
VI
I remember the irony you said That it was this person This person in the
poem That first attracted me to you That this I is what might connect me
to you It turned me on you You silly little girl We are in the dirty
dirty forum And I have my swords And you are so shored up Are you even
defenseless No you have your back to me Rushing off to your home And I
am turning and turning for the crowd Have my dead tigers twisting for me
Playing dead My metal dress Perverse obsessions And it is only now That
I realize I am bleeding Now no air now dead And that it was your careful
strike That made it so
VII
Just a few days ago I cried in a purple frock Ready to meet my friend At
the French restaurant So tired I cried Not to my friend But to myself in
the mirror And I said get it together, Dottie And then later a week
later Adam said the night cools Then he said grow up Now I cry against
glass That only shows myself And say I will kill you A sexless tiger I
will say what is your life If not no one wants you Only to track blood
across cold snow So I said no I will kill the next competitor No I said
I will hold my hand out again When I meet him in the coliseum ground
VIII
We both know That the moon isn't you Or the him isn't you We
both know you aren't you You know you aren't you You are a
patrician in a nice house Going home to your family house We both know
you will never be Banned from the city to the countryside We both know
you are another rich bourgeois boy With little talent who will do
something simple We both know that you are a simple guy Who saw the
savagery of my body And pushed it away like an old serving maid
Disposable Forgetting even though you shouldn't have What I could
do to you Even you forgot that this sort of thing was possible And that
you should be careful You weren't careful Because part of you
believed every lie I told you Because most of you is dead And the parts
that aren't Will soon be
IX
Sometimes I forget I am dead already Love I am dead now said my friend
Sometimes I forget the emptiness of the arena That this page is what I
carve into And that everyone has gone home to their families And that I
feast on air My own dead desire That always wins as it loses Augustus
and Livy And the battle of Zama and the battle of Alesia The curved
blade The coin with my face on it The man you were in 50 BC Who picked
up the coin with my face on it Who put it in your pocket to give to a
sweetheart Until moments later another part of me Came rushing up and
killed you Just because you dared get in here In empty places My empty
heart Where only a dumb coward Would wander in On the way to the
marketplace
X
Under the arena they keep the animals Ready to be killed But don't
get excited These animals aren't you Red tiger black lion white
macaque blue macaw With blue eyes The fortune of admiration Don't
get too excited You aren't an animal But a man who killed me Now I
am in a dirty arena With no other human The sun has snow on it They
bring up cats, bears, a rodent And I kill them all Even the two-headed
beast with the snake for tail And fanned crown Is dead It's easy to
kill They bring up my own dead body Propped over with dead desire And I
kill it They bring up my daughter Her wolf eyes A sign of recognition
and with my hand on her neck I say goodbye Never bringing you up You
already went home 5 years ago And sleep so quietly and soundly With your
family and frankincense And your Christianity and Christmases And
bursting silver buckles This isn't about you This was and has
always been about The real Bloody and awful Twisting and twisting Love
is a strange dance I do with myself But I won't give it up Renting
a car 2000 years later To go driving the dark streets Full of ghosts
Classic nitrogen and the dogs in the distance One of those ghosts I
know, lover Will be you And when I find that ghost Only you know Only we
know What we will do with it 


DOROTHEA LASKY'S most recent book of poems, ROME (W. W. Norton/Liveright), is out this September. She is also the author of Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE (all from Wave Books) and is the co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney's). Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn.
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Title Annotation:two poems
Author:Lasky, Dorothea
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 1, 2014
Words:1633
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