Two poems - Lisa Locascio

Lisa Locascio's work has appeared in The Believer, Bookforum, n+1, Santa Monica Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and on the Tin House website. The recipient of many awards and honors for her writing, which has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, translated into Italian, and anthologized, she is the first Anglophone writer to be granted an interview by Roberto Bolaño's widow Carolina López, a project which earned mention in The New Yorker and The Los Angeles Times. She holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and a MFA in Fiction from New York University and has taught at USC, UCLA, Colorado College, Mount Saint Mary's University, and New York University. Lisa is Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University, co-publisher of Joyland Magazine, and editor at 7x7, a magazine of ekphrastic collaboration between artist and writers. Her anthologies Golden State 2017: The Best New Writing from California (Outpost19) and Retro 5: The Best of Joyland (Joyland) will be published in 2017. Her novel, Jutland Gothic, will be published by Grove Atlantic in 2018.


It must be grandiose as its muse. Big as a university library. It must have a face and hands and a tiny shrinking penis going full-cat-freakout before a giant vagina dentata, the way they do when the carrier comes out for a trip to the vet.

I must be the red and great fangs in your nightmare stripes. All dark emanating from the spaces between. My legs. My ears. My teeth.

Determined to indulge you this morning, in deference to your fear I was not even so pretty. A professional across a table.And then we began our discussion and you complained that the text in question utterly lacked eroticism. You felt no heat for its men, no differentiation, just a list of dicks. The author’s eyes switched, a tail. Savoring the best hint of real power you will experience in this life, you turned her nervousness in your palm and said you felt in her writing greater desire for her car.

Could imagine her waxing it with her great breasts.

Had imagined.

An illusory breast-waxing of which the narrative needed more.

The author blinked on a smile of allowance. Now I recognized you.

Remember when I was interviewing for a job in Tulsa and you took me to the hotel bar and gave lyric to all that fair skin of mine? Remember when we were in New York and you kept me after class to rhapsodize about your rediscovery of eros as I fiddled with my backpack strap? Remember when I was the girl student in the suburbs of Chicago who wanted to fuck you will all her fiery young heart and in your classroom you danced and joked with me and told me to leave before we had too much fun, and then after graduation you never spoke to me again?

Sometimes my desire makes me scream until I pass out. Sometimes it’s God, on my left arm, and sometimes it’s the knife I stalk you with, on my right.

You are in a black room with a creature whose size you cannot know. The beating of her house-sized heart shakes the world. Her bite is a concerto. Teeth deployed one at a time to exquisite effect.

Raise your eyes. Don’t resist. Don’t try. You don’t have to, not anymore. You don’t have to do anything. Not anymore. Let go. It’s okay. You want to. Close your eyes. I’m here. It’ll only hurt for a minute.


Once it was that moment before going when one turned and thought better. Now it is the thinking better. Now I think it is not what it is not.

Harness, fairness, whip. Cracked it grants seventy years’ best luck; shattered, the dance starts. So we go up and down, me in your arms, the light from the sky dousing us, drying—

Long in the telling. My anxious pregnancy.Knocked up, chimera blooming in my gut, rooting in my blood.

Touch me. Feel: my lie.

There is a lie in my heart and I want to tell it. Beautiful balloon. Air into flame and flame into air. Rise into the violet sky. Get off. Tell all.