LISA MARIE BASILE
Brothel Books, 2011
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Through a series of intimately interwoven vignettes, Andalucia paints an engulfing dreamscape, at once lush and treacherous, both pale and aflame. The speaker in these poems has fallen in love with some sort of colorless and exotic hell. Disturbed by her “bad girl” past, laden with guilt and abuse, she revels in the sea, in the arms of centaurs, inside of tear jars. Like an antique travel diary turned mythic, Andalucia illuminates the simultaneous feelings of elation, delusion, and fear that go along with letting oneself get lost in one’s own land.
“Drunk and dolorous, talkative and handsome, Lisa Marie Basile’s chapbook Andalucia is a perfect confection of decadence decorated with hounds and leopards. Sweet and old-fashioned like an exotic candy you can’t quite place, you will want to devour it. “You don’t need a sea to be happy / do you?” No, you just need to read Andalucia by Lisa Marie Basile.” — Kathleen Rooney, author of Oneiromance (an epithalamion)
I wear short dresses when I visit Alejandro. You
have legs for many miles, he says. So I show them.
If I take my legs away, would he still see me? I
linger on his skin. I am the mosquito, but he drinks
my blood. He sleeps on the floor, on his back. He
is covered in flies. I step over Alejandro, and his
fingers linger on my toes. He is wet from seas.
I step again over him, teasing, teasing. I cannot
seem to feed all the flowers. The red ones, the hard
ones. The fat ones. They grow. I cannot tame
them. I cannot groom them. I cannot control them.
I say hola and they grow and grow. The more we
talk the more they grow, and we talk, and we talk.
We talk about beauty and the way a body is
supposed to look. We talk about the way a woman
should be shaped and we talk about my hips, my
lips. Too round, too powerful, too godlike. You
cannot trust a woman who looks like a woman, he
says. She might destroy you. Look, I am
unribboning! My bones are peeling as petals. I am
hungry. I say I cannot seem to stop stepping over
and over him. You know that I look up your dress
every time, he tells me. I know that. I know that is
how I can keep him there, buzzing. I am burlesque
vultures swooping overhead, and it feels good.