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I Had A Man

September 24, 2022

Simply because I knew a Dorothy and simply because I was curious why the name sound Dorothy would court me so early in the day. At the sink this morning distracted playing with the soap suds, a little sad nostalgia got a hold of me. What if she is thinking I don’t carry her in my heart anymore? We keep those who have died, we keep them alive in our hearts. The Dorothy I know was a different Dorothy, such an old name, unlike the Poet with a similar name sound – Dorothea Lasky– whom I met along the browser’s highway (a servant-angel). The Dorothy of my familiar; all her life she worked at the printers, cleaning their machines, but essentially her life’s calling was to teach young children about the scriptures. So quite early in her life through homeschooling of her own commitment, she qualified herself to be a Sunday School Teacher. I remember how all the kids loved her, so did I. The way they ran, I also ran to meet and hug her. She had so much hugs inside of her to share. By far older, the Dorothy I know also taught me how to make bazaar baskets from soft cardboard and crinckle paper. She use to help me pick up my dropped stiches. I always felt confident knitting when she was near to guide me. My Dorothy was lovely, with slight soft and gentle smiles, all over her eyes. I couldn’t quite catch her thoughts when a smile played across her face whilst sewing the costumes for the Sunday School Concerts. Dorothy I know, also had a man. She married him late in life, for companionship, they died within days of each from deadly covid. Right there at the tip of my heart it begins to ache.

Photo Credit: Sylvie Rosokoff

It’s the slight smile floating like a cloud in the sky, the smile in the eyes of Dorothea Lasky that caught my eye, in the soap suds I see Dorothy smiling at me. Dorothy was the kind of girl who wouldn’t lose her hat or cut her hair, it wasn’t biblical to do that and I doubt very much if she would’ve written poetry like Dorothea Lasky. Although I must confess she kept a forbidden romantic novel under her pillow for after-prayers- reading by candle light at night. The idea you may say is utterly ridiculous to go in search of a message, find a face – which turned out to be brilliant- like a match made in heaven dancing before me and smiling in the dust of the soap suds

I Had a Man by Dorothea Lasky

Today when I was walking 
I had a man tell me as he passed
That I was a white bitch (he was white)
And to not look at him
Or he was going to “fuck me in my little butthole”
I wandered away
Who is to say
I think I am a white bitch
My butt is big
But I believe my butthole is little
This violence that we put on women
I don’t think it’s crazy
Someone I know said
“Oh, that man was crazy”
I don’t think he was crazy
Maybe he could tell I had a look in my eye
That wasn’t crazy anymore
Maybe he could feel the wild cool blood in me
And it frightened him
Maybe he knew I was the same as him
But had been born with this kind face and eyes
Doughlike appurtenances
What about the day I left
What happened then
Dark bird barreling down upon me
In the gentle air, to take me in his beak
Pink and patterned house
Never-ending sister speech
To go along the coaster and never return
To never repeat
Did that one bitter eye know I have a voice
To say what my words have done to me
That unkind wind that blew through my brain
With no thought of me
Just to still the jungle animals
Just to feed the endless clearing
The giant
Green and simple
Face of the sea  

Along with Alex Dimitrov, Dorothea Lasky is one half of the Astro Poets, whose book, Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac, was published by Flatiron Books in October, 2019.

‘Faith in the imagination’ is a Dorothea Lasky mantra if you may.

She [Dorothea] intends to perturb, disturb, disrupt, and awaken.”

— Boston Review

“Poems are special because they make a space, a real space, where we can all go. This place is a city called The Imagination. It is whatever you want it to be, half-hell, half-dreamworld, half-Paradise, half-light and ashes, but poems are the special things that make it real forever.”

Dorothea Lasky, from “Poetry, Ghosts, and the Shared Imagination,” Animal (Wave Books, 2019)

“There is a kind of arrogance, a kind of supreme power, that when infused with a little real humility and expertise, makes a poem. Because the poem is always about the speaker.” – Dorothea Lasky was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She earned a BA from Washington University, an MFA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Masters in Arts Education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in creativity and education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dorothea writes with the awareness that what she writes, someday a real person will read her work and it will make sense to that person. With this in mind, she becomes vigilant and discerning to always consider the type of language she is using to convey the emotions or ideas she want to say in ways that are clear or accessible to a wide variety of people. Thinking about her reader she is driven to write with a profound love for the future. Oftentimes in her past writings, but not necessarily now, in the process of developing her thoughts she would imagine an immortal beloved who is both real and unreal and then begin to pen her thoughts.

In her creative process directing her poems to the you is a great assistance because it becomes like letter writing. It’s real, informal, and full of complex emotion all at once. Clearly I felt myself being the you as her smile brought me a message through the pages of the browser’s highway.

Everything is so context-rich, but at the same time, I don’t think poems should explain themselves. I think writing poems is about making sure they have as much integrity within them as they possibly can, so that if you dropped your poem into outer space, the person who finds it will have a real experience.” – Dorothea Lasky

  1. Another insightful glance into what makes a poet, poetry writing itself.
    I enjoyed Dorothy Lasky’s expression in the final quote about writing a poem so that it ploughs enough emotional real-estate to permit the reader to “have an experience.” Invaluable insights. Thank you!

    • Abundance of teachings and learnings. A banqueting table, there is so much to feast upon. Techniques and skills that are sharpened along the way. Having a consistent guide helps so much.

      Emotional Real-estate- a profound and valuable observation. I love it.
      Thank you for reading Poet.

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