Angela Ball

What is Pleasure
July 20, 2012 Ball Angela

What is Pleasure


The supreme pleasure of love

Is the knowledge of doing evil.

We know that all voluptuousness

Makes its home there.


There are other pleasures.


That of watching

Twelve or fourteen leagues of liquid

In constant movement.


That of contemplating nomadic peoples,

Who in their native dignity

Know nothing of mediocrity. Of the desire

To converse with Satan in the form

Of a dog or cat. Or the belief in progress

Which means that others

Will do our work and thank us

For the pleasure.


That of knowing superstition

Is the well of truth, and, should

They live in Paris,

How in every grand theatre

The chandelier is the protagonist—


Really a spellbound whore

Who enjoys flying up at the right moment,

Opening herself utterly,

Taking all requests.

Angela Ball directs the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her sixth book of poetry, Talking Pillow, was recently published by University of Pittsburgh Press. She currently lives in Hattiesburg with her two dogs, Miss Bishop and Scarlet.