This is Not a Poem About Sylvia Plath




Sylvia, Sylvia, Sylvia

You have ruined it for any other

female poet

that dares to write about

Mental institutions-the slightest whiff

of Psychiatric hospitals

or disorders,

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  


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