Lisa Marie Basile: Show Me Your Most Honest Self
Excerpt from her book "Apocryphal":
the letter says,
show me your most honest self
but I don’t want to be a body today,
it doesn’t feel right,
like something stuck up inside me
that wasn’t meant to go inside,
a whole life, fermented,
green as grass pale as flesh
a darkening, the ankle tied to the chair,
the wrists tied too knotted
for abandon. this dimension of you
so horrible, as leopards lounging
upon a leopard print chaise, I desire it. I put the photograph in a glass box
beneath our summer cellar and look at it,
I am afraid of photographs.
I am ashamed they will show where I really came from.
From particles of light, a slow holding of breath as if I
were filling with dirt & I am, because where I come
from is a place outside and it is not natural.
I use my body to tell stories, though not the ones of being
left or rolling in sand near the sea.
Javi knows I am scared to murder
that old me, and the bodies living inside of it, scared even
without pistols, even if I kill it organically, maybe by only
looking at it, maybe by saying you cannot have me. this is what
you do with pain.
you stand naked with the sun behind you. every silhouette
says death. every breast says death.
every time I show my breasts I die.
when the robe falls down I let it and then prop it over the
armchair and say, this is for everyone who hurt me. I get paid for
the naked, but I feel ashamed. I let him have me so I can
When we are done I wear the curtains and the light likes
me like a child. Javi says it is not in our nudity, but in the
covering, that we find sex. It makes no difference
Javi is enchanted by the room’s secrets, a gallery where
photographs have reduced people to their place upon
furniture & he captures me in an afternoon darkness
so saturated I become a pillar of ivory and smoke.
you are a castle of a woman he says, opulent. and this makes me real, o really weeping real
a slowburning sigaretta down my throat.
I am in 1967 Balenciaga.
because in me there is an inauthenticity hoping
for spectator [to be seen is to be real] & the speckled light of dusk is slicing the excess of me. what is left is
the venom-bodied apparition you will hard and hardly fuck. I am not a skinny girl. I will destroy you.
If I knew why we kill I would tell you. If I knew why the sun moved here the way it does [a blinking eye] I would tell you. There is no splendid reason
I live here now. I am damaged
I live in a small mustard room
the bed is shaped as heart, a reminder
to stay alive.
I live on the first floor, without the balcony,
so I can gaze up at the palm trees from their roots,
as if I am rooted.
As if I am rooted
but I am not, not I.
Not here. Unhinged as a doorway
for a faceless crowd.
I like to live with animals.
Men, I mean,
who drills holes for their body parts.
Let me be clear: I mean glorious holes,
for beasts of glory. Sometimes I wide open my mouth
I get scared at the last moment
I leave a pair of pink panties for the glory instead
I don’t know why I do it.
Soft light warm sand beach chatter
like clinking glasses
the sea is a conversation a girl should have.
They beasts they keep this place in business
as a beast does when hungry.
I do my part.
Editor's Note: These pieces originally appeared on our old site.
Lisa Marie Basile can be found here. She is a poet, journalist and editor, as well as the founding editor of Luna Luna Magazine. She is the author of APOCRYPHAL (Noctuary Press, Uni. of Buffalo), along with a few chapbooks, including Andalucia (Poetry Society of New York). Her writing can be seen in The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, xoJane, The Gloss, Hello Giggles, Billboard, Redbook and other publications. Her poetry and other work can be seen in PANK, the Tin House blog, Coldfront, Tarpaulin Sky, The Nervous Breakdown, Dusie, The Rumpus, Best American Poetry and PEN American Center, among others. Work is upcoming in Gargoyle and The Atlas Review. She’s been profiled in The New York Daily News, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, VIDA, Poets & Artists Magazine, Queen Mob's Teahouse and Alt Citizen. Relapse Magazine and others. She received an MFA from The New School and can be found here. @lisamariebasile