Lisa Marie Brodsky

Brodsky’s 1st Psychoanalyst Session, Verbatim

Transcript from recording, 2007:

          My mother’s meals were cheese, pickles and crackers,
her sustenance. I will eat this
and     [inaudible]     only, now that she is so much gone
that there is no potion to bring her back.

          Once I cut my hair in hopes of shedding pounds:
it didn’t work.

As a child I put scissors into an electrical outlet; when I was 12
I     [inaudible]     my wrist against the shower door just to see     [garble]
and that’s when it all started.

          Why do
sunsets make me feel like I’m dying?
          To love out of fear. To fear out of love.

[singing]     Old man, look at my life…

Making     [garble]     last night, I cried and crawled
under the blanket. I made a tent with my knees.
          To love out of shame. To shamefully love.

When I was nineteen my     [inaudible]     said my ass looked good.
          To stifle the rage. To rage the relief.

I ruled the talent shows. Parents rolled their eyes when I approached
the puny stage. In first grade, I danced to “She Works Hard for the Money.”
No, they never mentioned where she worked.

What? It’s about time to wrap up?
Pink cellophane.
Tin foil camels.
               Buttons that say, “kiss me, I’m in therapy.”



LMB for Posterity

6th grade Math class was her 1st time to dream poems alive

The 2nd came at her first job at 16     (an Italian restaurant hostess).

There, great poemtears spilled on the pizza order
and she walked home writing odes
to the Greek waiter who sang French ballads
while folding napkins.

History was made in her high school library—

A plaque stuck sideways to the psychology section now reads:

          LMB sat here at lunch and devoured the Plath bio, Anne Frank’s diary, and that of
          Vivienne who killed herself; the journals scholars posthumously published.

                    LMB wondered if her mother knew where she kept all her books.

          LMB sat here reading “Prozac Nation” and gulping down her carton of milk.

But the unfinished downfall that will be anthologized and emphasized
in many memoirs and stories is this:

          LMB drowned in meds too early     and ____ too early     and obsessions too ____

          LMB, in her late __’s, stained wine-colored splashes of scream on her ____
          and lay under the ____ looking for her mother

          LMB can’t finish a thing she started

          LMB always needed an audience
          a backup choir
          a guide     a therapist     a ____

          LMB is a liar and ____
          But always love the ____ about her for she will ____ one day.

Despite a grand recovery, they need to scrape
years of paint off the tiny mansion     she called a heart.

But I heard she’s looking for a friend
scouring the shelves and stores for someone
to write to and with and for

I heard she’s searching for a poet yearning
for someone to speak the language of nots
and someone to untie hers

to play cat’s cradle,     start over,

          to share correspondence under a wild, astonished moon
                    round like an ‘O’

          round as a bubble swollen with words
          round as a bird belly
          heavy in flight.


Lisa Marie Brodsky is the author of We Nod Our Dark Heads (Parallel Press, 2008) and Motherlung (Salmon Poetry, 2014), which was honored by the Wisconsin Library Association as an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry. Her poetry has been published in The Peacock Journal, The North American Review, Mom Egg Review, Verse Wisconsin, and riverSedge, among others. In 2016, she was anthologized in Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry. Brodsky is a faculty member of AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop and works part-time as a job coach for adults with disabilities. Brodsky lives in Evansville with her husband and three stepchildren. You can find more information at