Online Video Series: Theresa Persico with “The Nature of A River is to Run”

Thank you to WHUS for letting us use their space, and of course to Theresa for reading!
Filming: Elizabeth Sankey
Editing: Daniela Doncel
Interviewer: Amanda McCarthy

The Nature of A River is to Run

It’s not that I don’t love you,
It’s the fact that doors have slammed
So hard that they’ve shaken the house.
It’s the fact that I’ve seen women
Breaking their teeth on vodka bottles.
The fact that their breathing
Stopped when their lover left,
And their insides became cracked
Ribs and depression pills.
It’s not that I don’t love you,
It’s the thought of all the blood
Surging out on the way to the
Emergency room
Because she didn’t love him back.
It’s pale faces, fluorescent lights,
And white sneakers,
Trying to tend to heartaches.
It’s not that I don’t love you.
It’s the memories of throwing up with
Tears, and shrieking from my lungs,
“Why wasn’t I enough for him.”
It’s not that I don’t love you.
It’s that my mother’s tears
And my father’s nightmares
Cling to me like dirty water,
Coating my skin with silt and regrets.
It’s not that I don’t love you.
It’s that I do.

“Hi, my name is Theresa Persico. I’m a freshman at UConn Stamford, and I’m a major in English. I started poetry probably as like a coping mechanism, and probably because it was my own kind of thing, like none of my friends are really cool about it, so, it was like a me thing. I grew up, my parents were divorced when I was younger, and I developed an eating disorder, so it was more of like a coping mechanism and it was a way I could like control my own situation as a way of not doing those things, but as a way of like doing something healthy, and like doing my own emotions and working them out with like how I could perceive other people’s emotions.

I people watch a lot. I look at those people, as like a person, I’d be like, and I’d make up a whole little story about them and be like what would their life be like if I did this this and this and then I’d like write poetry about like what I think their life is like.

I’m really into the movie Heathers. Like, that is a big influence on my writing, and I love- I love Winona Ryder. She’s amazing. But I like to use like a lot of music, like the music I listen to is like blackbear and Logic and a lot of them like express their emotions very openly, and they basically like just write out their problems in like a musical thing- which is- poetry kind of is in a way- it’s just like that without like music in the background. So it’s the base of me like writing that, and you can use like the refrain as like what the chorus would be. So it’s kind of like a mix.

Open expression to me in poetry kind of is like you’re being able to express your emotions. Like you’re not hiding behind the screen or behind your pen, or you’re not like, trying to like make yourself fit into somebody else’s mold, like you’re not trying to twist yourself to fit somebody else’s image. Like, you’re you, you’re you, and you’re not trying to like impress somebody that doesn’t matter anymore because you’re just trying to impress yourself, which takes nothing, because you’re gonna keep going anyway. So, I feel like that’s really important to me personally. It’s like, it’s more of like able to express myself, that I feel like, a whole load of like stress that leaves off me, like it’s basically talking to a therapist without having to actually pay the money to go to a therapist. So I feel like that’s really convenient.

For me, imagery, it’s like, when I think of the imagery it’s like the first part I’m thinking like, cracked ribs and depression pills, it’s like, like I physically feel, like I want you to feel like when you read it, that she’s being beaten down by her own, like, distraughtness over something. She’s physically being torn down. It’s like, you’re just like so distraught over like this one guy, who like, eventually won’t matter anymore. And then, it’s like, I don’t know. It just, it kept going, so it’s like, it’s not that, it’s like you’re afraid to love somebody, so it’s like the nature of a river is to run because rivers always run so it’s like she was gonna run away in the end anyway. “

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