FORGIVE ME IF I ASK WHETHER ACTORS FEEL LONELY
The actress on TV announces, we were on a break!
and everyone claps. So many beginnings
culled into a single punchline. This isn’t how it goes
in real life: so many endings in tired eyes.
Wednesday. The boy I love, hanging from the
ceiling with ankles blooming red like wrists.
Bodies are meant to be displayed. This is a world
that forgets that it’s a world:
Or maybe it doesn’t mind. Cry me a river,
the actress is wailing. She’s talking and she isn’t
talking. Zipper fraying. Mouth hemorrhaging.
I wonder if she ever feels lonely: the actress,
I mean. I don’t want to mistake her for a
moth-desecrated streetlight. I imagine her
turning like violets in her sleep, remembering herself only
when she steps on set. I want a world
for my own, a world that forgets my name. Silly me.
I already have one. Funny how a thousand
faces can reimagine themselves as pixels, how
it is possible to cry for someone who is
half-silvered behind a screen. On the TV, the
actress smiles like Dorothy, like Dolly,
and martyrs herself to the all-American housewife.
—from 2021 Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Why do you like to write poetry?
Naomi Ling: “I like to write poetry because it is a medium that can interpret not only creativity, but necessity. Too often do societal and worldly issues go ignored, and poetry is a way to spark conversation.”