This is Not a Poem About Sylvia Plath
Sylvia, Sylvia, Sylvia
You have ruined it for any other
that dares to write about
Mental institutions-the slightest whiff
of Psychiatric hospitals
of vague references to Robert Grave's White Goddess
the slight tiff with a mate or spouse
or anything remotely "confessional"
and we get swooning remarks: "Oh that reminds me of Sylvia"
I gave up painting because everyone told me
my work closely resembled David Hockney
I like you both, Hockney more.
His paintings inspired by the honey gold sun of Los Angeles
soulless hard edged buildings passing for houses
The human subjects show a subtle melancholic undercurrent
Isolation, in a riot of color
Poor florid, melodramatic Sylvia
Beating on your chest
Proclaiming your daddy a "black devil"
that bit your "pretty red heart in two"
A victimization so intense
imagining yourself to be a Jew
being "chuffed off to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen"
And your tarot pack, and your tarot pack…
Your ninth life finally spent
in a London apartment
Wet towel stuffed into the cracks
of doors, a thin veil to protect the children
Your pretty head
shoved into a gas oven
until you were dead, dead, dead.
Showing off your model legs...
Sylvia, Sylvia, older sister under
whose shadow I must crawl
Sylvia, I have had to kill you.
July 2, 2011