Triste / Lisa Marie Basile

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dancing girl press, 2013

Lisa Marie Basile writes a poetry of sensual, passionate dissolving and devious wit. It’s a poetry of bodies recombined into secret rituals and “homemade mythology.” Triste is a journey of lush textures and surprise.

-Joanna Fuhrman

One day, there was an atomic bomb beneath my lawn in a shape vaguely like yours, and digging carefully, I realized to love something is to think you could explode.” In Lisa Marie Basile’s triste, the overwhelming urge of the body can rip it apart (“the winter wet peels my edges and my plaster starts to curl”) or transform it into landscape. Sometimes the speaker is present in the urge; at other times “presence” itself is fleeting and language fails (“me, forgetting my language…. It came out in all the wrong colors”) Victorian nightmares; loss of innocence; Kafka deposited into True Blood with a Grimes soundtrack. “You find in-grown wings within my chest cage. I want to use them so badly but don’t know how.’ Holy shit!”

-Bruce Covey

Lisa Marie Basile’s triste: mourning stories is at once timeless and fascinated with time. Shifting between prose and verse, Basile explores the impermanence of life. These persona poems are hot and unruly as fever dreams, enticing the reader with glimpses and glimmers. Burning flowers and clawfoot bathtubs. Buzzing powerlines and blue lemons. Reading this book feels like staring into a baroque Magic Eye. As the poems pile on, a narrative emerges: what does it mean to become human? “It is all either fat/ or muscle/ or something else” – something ineffable, like the trace of a lover’s touch remembered years later. Ghosts call out to each other and to us, compelling us to listen.

-Lily Ladewig

The stories in triste are dark dreams, black lace ball gowns and jet mourning beads... a ravenous collection that breathes desire, longing, sensuality, a hankering for what was and what we are left with. Basile uses glowing language and stirring images, triste is a burning despair that assaults all senses.

--Helen Vitoria

LMB is also the author of the chapbook Andalucia (Brothel Books) and the upcoming collection A Decent Voodoo (Cervena Barva Press). Her work can be seen in PANK, >kill author, Moon Milk Review, Prick of the Spindle, elimae & Pear Noir! among other publications. She is the founding editor of Patasola Press and is a writer for thethepoetry. She is an assistant editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal. She can be seen performing for The Poetry Brothel as well. She received an MFA from The New School.


She works with bodies,
pulls each in carriages by a dourine pony

there is milk in a vase at her doorstep
to clean the teeth of a cadaver

she envisions bodies
doing the foxtrot after expiration

wrangles the music from their thick red brush,
& she does this because all organs must be remembered

must not just be kept inside like a trinket in a chest,
must not be shelved like old molasses

must bark like hounds in the night
sometimes she wants to eat their light

but eats a lark instead, because she wants to possess its bone,
because she wants to be a part of something