Life Is Not a Novel

by Paula Goldman

“Let sleeping dogs lie,” you say
rolling over when I tell you
Molly and Leopold Bloom slept
head to tail end, stopped

having sex.

What is it like to walk away
from the stove, not worry about
weather in Morocco? To sleep
in Van Gogh’s wheat fields
or float on Rothko’s islands?
What is the trick? Is it too late
to learn? Do you dare disturb

the Universe? I want to.

I sit back in an elephantine
chair from an Edith Wharton
novel and dwell on Lily Bart’s

choices. Mine are not so awful.

“Life’s not a novel or a picture
by Picasso,” you repeat once
too often in an ear I cut off,
send along to your office.


Paula Goldman’s book, The Great Canopy, won the Gival Press Poetry award, and was honorable mention for the Independent Booksellers’ Award. Her work has appeared in Oyez Review, Slant, Passager, Ekphrasis, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Manhattanville Review, Cream City Review, Comstock Review, Harvard Review, The North American Review, Poet Lore, Poet Miscellany, Hawai`i Pacific Review and other magazines. Her poems have appeared in Boomer Girls published by the University of Iowa Press, The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry published by New Rivers Press and most recently, Conversation Pieces published by Knopf. She was first prize winner in INKWELL’s (Manhattanville College) poetry competition and the Louisiana Literature Award for poetry. She holds an MA degree in Journalism from Marquette University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Former reporter for The Milwaukee Journal, she served as a docent and lecturer at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Her manuscript Late Inamorato was a finalist for the Gival Press Poetry Award. New poems have appeared in Cæsura and Arlington Literary Journal. She is nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2017.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Life Is Not a Novel

  1. That’s defiantly on the 2018 bucket list of reads.

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