On the Subject of Lust

An excerpt from the Author Q & A session for The Suburban Review #8 on the subject of lust and the poem “Fourteen” by Samantha Lê.

By: Dinu Kumarasinghe, associate editor. 

On the subject of lust and the poem “Fourteen” by Samantha Lê.

DK: How is lust dangerous? How does youth affect that danger?

SL: Whether it’s a lust for life, art, food, sex, or adventure, lust is one of the main ingredients of passion, which enhances its attractiveness. It makes the palms sweat and causes the heart to beat faster. It encourages risk-taking. I think in every life, there should be a little room carved out for lust. But, lust can become dangerous, especially when it’s given a place at the altar in one’s life, where it manipulates ethics and reason and negatively influences the decision-making process. When this happens, cravings become obsessions, acting as the erosive agent that destroys a person’s connection to the world. As lust spins out of control, the identity is absorbed, and the moral center is set askew. The by-product that this type of lust inevitably spits out is always chaos. No one can live a balanced or meaningful life that’s 100% motivated by lust.

Often, youth calls lust by the wrong name, confusing lust for love, intimacy, sexual awakening or even empowerment. But, without the necessary life experience to act as a guide and an unwavering understanding of the relationship been cause and effect, actions and consequences, it’s easy to lose oneself to such an intoxication. As the result, youth is often exposed to the dangerous nature of lust because youth innocently and willingly puts a mask on such danger and calls it friend. [Read more.]


From:  “Q&A with Samantha Lê,” The Suburban Review, No. 8, Melbourne, Australia.  Dinu Kumarasinghe, asso. ed., 5 November, 2017.

“Fourteen” by Samantha Lê is published in Melbourne’s The Suburban Review #8


I’m honored to announce the publication of my poem “Fourteen” in The Suburban Review #8, Summer 2017 issue.  Available now online.

About “Fourteen

The sonnet is one of my favorite forms—a compact love song that packs a punch.  In “Fourteen,” I used this traditional form to explore a contemporary subject.  This poem is about a fourteen year-old girl whom, motivated by boredom, decides to experiment sexually without grasping the magnitude of such acts or her own developing sexual powers.  [read poem, page 27]

About The Suburban Review

The Suburban Review is a literary collective based in Melbourne, Australia.  A quarterly digital journal of short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and art.  Digital issues are AU$7.00 each.


In Honor of World Poetry Day

I arrived at the downtown café after the lunch crowd had already gone back to their nine-to-five desks.  I ordered an iced soy latte and sunk into a seat at one of the outdoor tables that butted up against the busy sidewalk, drinking up the passing attention and sunshine.  The café’s regulars were subdued in the early spring light, talking amiably, mixing their voices with birdsongs.  Tourists walked to and fro, carrying shopping bags and flashing mouthfuls of talk.  Bodies swayed to the music of the street.  In the distance, a storm announced its arrival at nightfall.  The electricity in the air alerted the senses.

I sat in plain sight and counted out syllables on the tips of my fingers, forgetting that while we coffee-shop sitters watched the passersby, we were also being watched.  My thumb traveled efficiently from fingertip to fingertip; it wasn’t its first counting job.  My lips mumbled each word aloud while my head nodded along to the stressed sounds.  Iambic pentameters swam laps inside my head and traveled to my fingertips only to circle back around.  Every so often, I’d pause and scribble in my notebook before resuming the count.  Thumb to fingertips.  Lips shaped sounds.  The bitterness of espresso on my tongue.

Sunlight crossed the street, but I was too involved in my craft to be aware.  People became moving shadows.  Voices were wind sounds.  Shakespeare would’ve approved of the attention I paid to my English sonnet.

On my walk back to the car, there was a homeless man on the sidewalk.  He smelled of sweat, marijuana and burrito.  He stood on stiff legs with forehead pressed against the side of a building.  And in the shadow of that brick wall, he was counting his fingers with his thumb and mumbling aloud inaudible words.  Are we both poets, or are we both lunatics?  Does it matter if there isn’t a difference?