The poems in Susana H. Case’s new book, If This Isn’t Love, are connected by the idea of the telenovela so there is a storyline fluidity throughout with expected family and friends showing up, lovers and treacheries, familiar and often as sexy as can be without revealing everything (after all we are on television), and as comfortable as a novel is when we are placed in its settings, these poems are an accessible entertaining read with moments of truth in them that make me smile or shake my head.
In the video below, Susana reads poems from the book. These poems are also in the PDF that follows so you can read along if you want to. Enjoy.
I enjoyed the three poems that follow and, wanting to share, add them here.
Love StorIes For Girls
Every distortion I learned about love
came from romance comics
and later, telenovelas.
I blame the words love at frst sight.
Walking in the rain,
walking on beaches,
dancing on beaches.
Red sports cars.
I blame messages about the unimportance
of a career.
Unrealistically perfect bodies
and men with full heads of hair.
I blame super-long eyelashes
and the negative portrayal of eyeglasses.
The idea of nice girls.
I blame kissing. Really—
kissing fries the brain
and afterward, everyone ends up in love
with an inappropriate person,
and they’re never the same again.
I blame makeup that tears never smear.
I blame tears.
How To Write A Telenovela
who joins a group of cat-loving
A-student goth girl who falls off
a rooftop while feeing la polizia.
In a telenovela chapter,
include an average of ten
scenes before a commercial break,
with more dialogue than a movie
and lots of alternating plots.
Don’t forget a plenitude
of bullies, predators, thieves.
Provide iconic racy
moments while the marinara
is getting cold—kisses, smeared-
lipstick, dresses pulled off in one smooth
onto strangers’ bedroom foors.
Unrequited love, rapes,
tumors, mental hospitals, and secret
adoptions should keep the audience
tuned in for more.
Make the viewers wonder if justice
will be done to the arrogant
hero, if the underdog will overcome
growing up poor. Remember,
the man most evil is always rich,
wears custom suits. A woman
in his orbit often goes shopping
at La Galleria Piazza Garibaldi.
Extra points for: sesso a tre—
a sexual triangle, characters
switched at birth, and at least
one person in disgrace
with fortune and men’s eyes.
Be sure no one important dies.
When Patsy Lou Neal Lived On East End Avenue
Patricia Neal used to eat in the French Restaurant
on 81st Street. We shared a taste for duck,
crusty bread, walls painted with scenes of Provence.
The two blonde sister-hosts bustled about
in chic black dresses. This was before
Patricia had a stroke, got lung cancer,
but after The Day the Earth Stood Still,
in which she spoke to a robot, Klaatu barada nikto,
and prevented Earth from being destroyed.
By now the world has gone
to hell anyway. The restaurant is no more,
torn down for a condo; Patsy Lou is no more—
and that younger version of me?
Patricia married a cruel man she didn’t love
and left him. I married a cruel man I did love
and left him. So much is no more. Bits of life,
left on the cutting room foor.
Butter pats at La Mode were shaped like sheep.
If This Isn’t Love is published by Broadstone Books. You can check it out here:
To learn more about Susana H. Case and her work, you can check it out here: