Where they can’t hurt me and Sylvia Plath

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For Mishka and Stuart Hoosen-Lewis

I am James Joyce, Jay Gatsby,
DH Lawrence, inspired by Robert
Lowell, loved by no one. I am river
floating by, I am loved, I am loved
by the sea, no one in particular. Be
more specific. I am mall-rat romantic,
Krotoa-in-bloom, I am lonely woman
and tall man. I work for corporate-
America, I work for the romantic
government, I am a blushing secret-agent
journalist taking off my masked costume
in spite of everything; they can’t hurt
me here. They can’t hurt our words,
Sylvia. Let us dance, then, in the arms
of our lovers, and our friends, and let
our words dance too, tongue of the
erotic-monogamous-woman. Red
sparrow fall-in-love, escape, find the
exit out, your soul, my soul belongs
to the dead, belongs to the poet, wife,
mother, masterful daughter, orphan-
chariot. Give my sadness, our sadness
elbow room, so fragile, so brave we
are, so fragile, so bold, so proudly defiant
are we, Sylvia, loved, loved for eternity-
marked-by-tragedy, by literary-words,
dramatic-words, genius-words, moral
escapist-words. I demand hemlock for
the angels to exit, to eat the sun to bliss,
to delight in killing off winter oranges.

This house is so empty, so rustic.
Put some pictures on the wall, and
brighten the place up a bit. Scrub, scrub
these old, wooden floors. Make it spic
and span for my man. We’ll have people
over. Oh, we’ll have friends of his over,
colleagues, teacher, and writer friends
of mine, but will they be impressed?
There I go again, I’m overly concerned
with unimportant matters. But what is a
girl to do? These rooms need a facelift.
Perhaps some paint on the bare walls.
In my dreams, I’m married now, and a
loyal, supportive and devoted wife. I
have to play chef, housekeeper, cook and
clean, teach, read, and write and work
on my thesis, and poetry, and book. Bow
down. I have aspects of Anne Sexton.
Making love is such a symphony, she said.
I even write like her a little, dress like
her, attend poetry workshops like her.

Also read

To that young woman eating watermelon

The sun

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