Saturday, March 31, 2012

Negative Capability Poetics

Negative Capability Poetics

Negative Capability

The idea being—
To apply Keats’
Negative Capability
To Sylvia Plath

The way that—
John Berryman
Applied it to
Mistress Bradstreet

The way that—
Susan Howe
Applied it to
Emily Dickinson

The way that—
Jack Spicer
Applied it to
Federico Garcia Lorca

Poets Working Together

“to meet the work
with writing”
—Susan Howe
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

She doesn’t trust writers—
She only trusts the story
And the place

The story & the place—
Tied together in strange
Mysterious, profound ways

She trusts the story—
To form its own voice
Like Spicer “After Lorca”

To take Lorca & duende—
Outside his language and
Recast it somehow ours

Like Howe reading to—
Rewrite Emily Dickinson
To Unwrite the Male Muse

It takes another poet—
To do the urgent task of
Undoing Johnson’s editions

The actual physical act—
Of where the Line breaks
In Dickinson’s letter-poems

And Emily’s poem-letters—
The textual problems
With Harvard Lit Crit

The way males treat Emily—
Her handwritten productions
Chauvistically manhandled

Instead Howe meets Emily—
Working thru writing not
Explaining or translating

To meet Emily in time—
Not just place to place
But writer to writer

Mind to mind—
Friend to friend
And poet to poet

Disintegrating Male Archives

Not to tribute Emily—
But meet her in tribute
“My Emily Dickinson”

Nixon’s Archives—
Full of perpetual lies
And political ironies

The gaps & silences—
The erasures and the
Watergate cover-ups

The same with the
Plath & Dickinson archives
Such stupid Male Lit Crit

What do we know—
What does anybody know
Who rules these Archives?

Are Poets reliable?—
Is Poetry any more
Reliable than Prose Lit Crit?

Subversive Narratologies—
The politics and poetry
Of Plath and Dickinson

Beginning with fragments—
Bits and pieces of a text
Ensorcelling the reader

Ensconced in euphoria—
Wordhorde weirding way
With Negative Capability

Sunday 21 Dec. 1817
Hampstead Sunday

What quality went to—
Form a Man of Achievement
Especially in Literature

I mean Negative Capability—
When a man is capable of
Being in uncertainties,

Mysteries, doubts, without
Any irritable reaching after
Fact and reason (Coleridge)

Letting go by a fine isolated
Verisimilitude caught from the
Penetralium of mystery, being

Capable of remaining content
With half-knowledge. A poet
With this sense of Beauty

Overcomes every other
consideration, OBLITERATES
all other considerations

Friday, March 30, 2012

Little Red Riding Hoodlum

Little Red Riding Hoodlum—For Anne Sexton

Excuse me, my dears—
May I present to you this
Handsome young boy

He’s sixteen & he needs—
Some money fast, that’s
Why he’s a little hoodlum

He doesn’t have time—
To read the Brothers Grim
His wallet is simply barren

He’s willing to sell it—
To hustle & prostitute his
Bad boy body for ravishment

He’s like a dog in heat—
His male secrets whimpering
He unzips his Zipper and…

Bingo!!! Viola!!! Jesus!!!—
What a piece of Sculpture
Presto!!! Wanna see it again?

Well, of course, my dears—
He’s not perfect and he’s got
Some unusual Endowments

He was a Thalidomide baby—
So he’s got flippers for shoulders
His arms are strap-on dildoes

He’s kinda club-footed too—
Wears his boots like flat irons
But he wears his Martyrdom well

His pubes are a matted—
Mass of Fallen Angels all
Splattered with strings of pearls

He’s innocent as a Snowflake—
Such a malformed young Eel
Needs to be pampered a lot

Yes, down in his pink crib—
Something makes up for his
Various maimed deficiencies

A special pipeline direct to—
The meaty faint smell of the
Masculine mystical Occult

He’s got a big bad Wolf—
Down there making even his
Nice Grandmother kinda horny

She consults Astrologers—
Palm readers are brought in
To feel him up & finger him down

They all admire the kid’s Trophy—
He blushes redder than a Ruby
Red as a Radish outta the garden

Everybody’s thinking the same thing—
Surely it’s Bad Seed or an Evil Ovary
Requiring an elaborate cover-up

Red Riding Hoodlum was brave—
Like the hunchback carrying its hump
Carnival sideshows would make him rich

This Idiot Child was only good—
For one thing and that was to all day
Long Masturbate his Meat away

It was the same old Twice Told Story—
He had a Rumplestiltskin Rump that
Spun gold outta shit from his Asshole

He had a simply huge Cinderella Cock—
A big Boa Constrictor Fairytale Snake
The Seven Dwarfs fought over it

Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel—
The Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty and
The Seven Dwarfs queried the Mirror

“Mirror, Slutty Mirror, up on the Wall”—
Tell us Queens of the Fairy Land now
“Who’s got the Kingdom’s Biggest Cock?”

Boss Cupid

Boss Cupid

“how we wanted
to let him come”
—Anne Sexton
“Sylvia’s Death”
The Complete Poems

He was so cute—
When he was a boy
Nude with wings, arrows

Later, grown up—
People never forgave him
For doing what he did to them

No wonder he grew up—
To be such a male slut
A gigolo hiding in disguise

Was he only kidding—
Being such a big shot
All the fairies thought so

Yesterday I found him—
Hiding in a purple crocus
Getting a quick blowjob

Central Park was trashy—
But he was getting his work
Done, in the bushes

He let them blow him—
His mother got so sad
He used to be so Str8t

He’d wash himself up—
Smoking Daddy’s cigar
Young teenage Cupid

He got so skinny—
But that’s how they
Liked it, lean & mean

Sylvia & I don’t care—
If he’s str8t or gay
He’s our baby boy

How can there be a—
Queer Easter or Xmas
With a faggy cupid boy?

After Lowell’s class—
Mary, Sylvia & us girls
Plus our Bad Boy Jesus

I don’t know if
He’s hiding or flyin high
Sly white trash boyz

Our young chauffeur—
Driving fast down to hell
Orphée hustler kid

They say he’s dead—
Isn’t that what those
Dead boyz do best?

No wonder they crucify—
Cute hustler boyz nude
Up there on the cross

Death Boy

Death Boy

“that ride home
with our boy”
—Anne Sexton
“Sylvia’s Death”
The Complete Poems

The death we said—
We both outgrew, the boy
We wanted so badly

The boy we talked of—
So often each time after
Three extra-dry martinis

The boy we told analysts—
About poems without plots
The boy we drank to

The boy we wanted so badly—
And for so long, the boy of
City roofs & dumb prayers

The boy we waited for-
Under our hearts, our cupboards
The sleepy drummer boy

The boy in the Boston taxi—
All the way home, sadist
New York fairy boy

How we wanted him—
To do his job, a necessity
A window in the wall

All the times we wanted—
Knowing we stored him up
Year after years, old suicides

And then in Devonshire—
When you finally laid down
The death boy

He was our Boss Cupid—
The boy who was inside us
Waiting to be born

All My Pretty Ones

All My Pretty Ones

All My Pretty Ones
Unreading Myself
Male Confessional Poetry
John Berryman
Yeats’ kitchen
Death Baby

All My Pretty Ones

Miss Lowell wasn’t ready—
We outdid even her whining
Away way back then

Sylvia & I sitting in class—
Watching him do his schmaltzy
Skunk Hour Drag Routine

Nantucket Burlesque—
“Gimme a break” Sylvia says
“Male confessional poetry yawn”

“He’s possessed” I say—
“Just another pretty one” she says
We skipped class for cocktails

Unreading Herself

Sylvia used to take pride—
In being a poet but now
Male flowers depress her

Down the steep slopes—
Of Parnassus male
Stink oozes, smells

Corpses of male poets—
Rotting in Mausoleums
Don’t last very long

Poets embalmed—
In male academe, worms
Sweet-toothing away

Male Confessional Poetry

What Lowell & Berryman
Worked thru, you know
All those Male moods

Or did the moods work—
Thru them instead drawing
Out some Male curse of theirs?

Letting male plot swallow—
Up their dialog like some
Old lurking Male River Styx?

John Berryman

You had your Henry—
Or did Henry have you?
There’s no privacy
Being a poet

Spilling your beans—
Flinging your Linguini
Drinking in the bars
Hangovers & Sonnets

Yeats’ kitchen
—for Ted Hughes

There in Yeats’ London kitchen—
Things keep changing all the time
Suicides & murders come & go

Did Hughes murder her?—
The keyboard keys leering back
Each key a glaring eyeball

Ted Hughes descending—
Slowly like Norma Desmond
Down the Staircase

His eye sockets full of—
Sunset Boulevard old whore
Phone numbers haunting him


Tulips taking root in her—
New England pussy forcing
The world back at him

Thank goodness the clock—
No longer strikes the hour
Like nails into her wrists

The landlord has a nice—
Blue plaque outside to
Celebrate Yeats once here

But all Sylvia has is a—
Beat-up oven they moved
To the Flat downstairs

Death Baby

She’s a death baby now—
Her eyes turned upward
Two burnt-out light bulbs

Her lips stiffened into—
A pale pout not a
Queen bee any longer

She dreams nightly—
He baby dreams blue as
A blueberry Popsicle

Bacon & eggs stink—
The rhythm of marriage
Has gone bye-bye

Coffee hisses like snakes—
Her tits erect like pimentos
Caviar still in jars

Crabs instead of lobsters—
Assia gave them to Ted
He gave them to Sylvia

The smell of sawdust—
He’s quartering her on the Floor
Slicing her tell-tale tongue

He threw her to the worms—
How they feasted on her
Until she was all gone

Hustlers & Tricks—for Gerard Manley Hopkins

Hustlers & Tricks
—for Gerard Manley Hopkins


The hustler is father to the trick—
How can this be? It seems so queer
And gay and that’s the reason why

The hustlers are wild—
Suck what sense you can outta
Them before they become men

They’re more manly than—
The man who cruises the streets
For young men that can be had

They give more than they get—
Each excruciating squirt what makes
A young man a man all the way

Daddy Badboy

Daddy Badboy

“Daddy, I have
had to kill you”
—Sylvia Plath, Daddy

Daddy Badboy, I killed you—
You kept dying ahead of time
Man-heavy, a bag full of God

Ghastly your uncut dick—
Big as a Frisco seal with a
Pink head smeared freakish

Black & blue & greenish—
Bruised beautiful & nauseating
I used to pray to become you

My young hustler friend—
Daddy badboy your dick
Stuck way down my throat

Ten inches is a long ways—
Slide it slow, slide your root
Way down past my tonsils

You can hardly speak—
Gurgling & guzzling obscenely
Your Pretty Prick all mine

I was always scared of you—
With your neat little tight pubes
Your manly butchy mustache

Your thick gobbledygook—
Your expensive pouty smirk
Always playing hard to get

Every queer adores a Fascist—
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you

So erect in bed, Daddy badboy—
The cleft in your big thick Penis
Your dick-slit an inch long

I could get my tongue-tip—
Deep inside you almost all the
Way into your pretty red heart

I liked to pull your nice nut-sack—
And taste all that gooey glue
Cumming outta you, you, you

And I loved the rack & screw—
Pulling your soft telephone cord
Off at the root, outta the wall!!!

Killing the man that was you—
Hundreds of times drinking your
Cum like a vampire hot for jizz

Ten inches was all I wanted—
Ten inches was all I needed
To know a young stud like you

There was a stake in my big—
Fat faggot heart that was you
Always you always you

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

I was doing just fine—
For a little small-town fag
Then one day the Sky fell down

It was Dead-Eye Denouement—
That’s for sure sweetheart
What else can I possibly say?

One look & I was done-in—
All the way down, down, down
Like a helpless Fallen Angel

I got so totally weak—
I ended up down on my knees
In the junior high basket room

Ronnie and I were the—
Basket boys for Seventh grade
Gym that’s when it happened

If Angels could walk & talk—
If they could schmooze with us
About their Brazen Beauty

Then Ronnie Cumwadbowsky—
Was surely God’s gift to Man
And Especially to Faggy Me

Suddenly I realized that—
The Serpent in the Garden and
The Seduction of Eve was TRUE!!!

What a snaky Schwanz!—
Ten inches of soft veiny Anaconda
Slithering between Ronnie’s legs

It made me so weak that—
It was easy for him to slip it in
And get it all the way down

It was so wide that it spread—
My virgin lips apart like Moses
Parting the Deep Dead Sea

The Deep Dead Sea of Love—
The Deep Throat Teenage Sea
The Dead Sea that Did Me In

It was all so exquisitely Deepl—
As if it were meant to be so and
Viola!!! Exodus Time for Me!!!

My ears sprouted outta my head—
Like a pair of BMW handlebars
He revved it up & off we went!!!

It made me wanna gag and—
Vomit when Obscene Plentitude
Came Squirting & Oozing Home!!!

Suddenly everything became—
Sullenly, Seductively, Sensuously
The Way it was supposed to be

Like it was just Waiting to Happen—
Something clicked inside my Dummy
Faggot Brain and Bingo I was Queer!!!

I was Queerer than a 3-Dollar Bill—
Queer for Ronnie All The Way!!!
Like Maria Montez the Cobra Queen!!!

Ronnie played Hard to Get—
I followed him like a dog home from
School everyday wanting some more

Some more of that Serpent Love—
The Juicy Jizz-Jet that had no Shame
Getting him off until he was Lame

Talk about Greasy Groin Gestalt!!!—
The only thing that mattered turned
Out to be a Crash Course in K-Y Lit!!!

Ronnie had lots of Bad Attitude—
And that made things even fucking
Better with him Fighting every Squirt

He didn’t wanna do it all the time—
Not like me and my greedy fag lips
Simply dying to feel him Lose It Bad

I wanted to become his Ten Inches—
I was consumed with Penis Envy and
Had wet dreams all night about Him

I woke up in the morning tasting it—
Ronnie on my breath and smelling his
Stink coming outta my Armpits!!!

If my Lips had been Pussy Lips—
Then surely I’d have been totally
Completely Pregnant back then!!!

Friends complained I wasn’t okay—
I told them I was in school everyday
But my Homework was Cocksucking

They just sadly shook their heads—
Knowing all too knowingly that I
Was undoubtedly Addicted to Dick…

All the way to Graduation—
I was a Bilge Pump for Skanky Love
When he got married I nearly died

That was the End of our Affair—
But at our Fifteenth Reunion I got
To know his 15-year-old Son!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Be Lit Crit

This Be Lit Crit
—for David Orr & Philip Larkin


They fuck you up—the literary critics
They may not mean to—but they do
They fill you with—their fuck-ups
And add some more shit—just for you

But they were—fucked up themselves
By fools in university—English departments
Who half the time—were sloppy-drunks
Bitchy queens—at each other’s throats

The Muse means—misery to critics
It deepens like—a str8t regret
Not outta the closet—stuck with a bunch
Of ugly fucking—Lost Weekend jerks

Lit Crit misery—comes to poets too
It deepens like—a bitchy review
Miss Orr & Miss Logan—NYTimes queens
Dishing dead poets—like Rich & Crane

Ducktail Romeos


Kotex & Kents

After her divorce & black eye—
We lived alone in a little shack
Down on West Seventh

Across the street—
The Hood Mansion with its
Old Civil War ivy-turrets

She’d send me on cold—
Winter days up to the corner
Store on State Street

Kotex & Kents—
She was still young &
A good looking redhead

The Hood Mansion—
With its Civil War dead
Gothic Americana

Miss Howard—
The Spanish teacher
Living there for years

Torn down for a dumpy—
Apartment house so
Much for the proud past

Down the block—
Roberts-Blue Funeral Home
Living Dead Sixth Avenue

Your typical bleak—
Midwest boyhood bummer
Bildungsroman soap opera

Kotex & Kents—
A bored divorced mother
Black-eyed romance gone bad

Ducktail Romeos

You know the type—
Your slutty older sister’s
Cute boyfriend type except
They were my mother’s

The kind of guys—
Who’d take their time
With me when Mommy
Dearest wouldn’t put-out

They were the pits—
The worst types of guys
The greaser ducktail
Elvis Presley types

It was just awful—
Like when Mother would
Say no that’s when they’d
Get me to say yes

The kind of cute guys—
Who’d lie & cheat & then
Treat you like a little whore
After getting what they wanted

It began with a little—
Kiss or 2 and ended up
With lots more than that
Going on in the backseat

You’ve got your mother’s—
Cute eyes and pretty hair
They’d say & the next thing
I’d be down on my knees

Back then it was just—
A blowjob quickie then
Later a rim-job and then
A slow fuck in the bedroom

They’d get their big—
Thick tongues down my
Pretty boy throat, they’d
Rotor-rooter me real good

Duck-tail Romeos—
And naïve little me just
A typical small town Juliet
Just like Mommy Dearest

I couldn’t help it—
I didn’t wanna really do it
But once he got me going
It was awfully hard to stop

Kotex & Kent cigarettes—
The story of my so-called life
It’s lucky I wasn’t a girl then
I’d have been pregnant fast

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dream Song 62: That Mytholmroyd rabbit catcher

John Berryman

Dream Song 62: That Mytholmroyd rabbit catcher

That Mytholmroyd rabbit catcher—
Running his fingers thru the guts and
Entrails of the rabbit he’d caught

Gladdened by the young male—
Hunter’s instinct slicing & dicing the
Mother rabbit with unborn babies

Sylvia came into the kitchen—
Looked at Hughes’ enorceling face
Getting into the blood & guts of it

Getting his fingers into the—
Squishy, gushy guts of dressing
A trapped rabbit from the moors

Sylvia felt the horror of it all—
Deep inside here own intestines
Her own body, her own motherhood

She threw him outta the kitchen—
Wouldn’t let him butcher rabbits
Ever again in Cottage Green

Dream Song 46: I am, on the outside

John Berryman

Dream Song 46: I am, on the outside.

Quid pro quo on the outside—
What for What, Tit for Tat and
You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours

Incredible smoothness rules—
It’s just business as usual with the
Usual harmless interactions

People are fucking each other—
Blowing and getting blown nicely
Professors and students so gay

Drinks in the evening—
Cocktail parties for getting
Tenure, good grades so easy

The worse anyone feels—
Is being slightly used & abused
It comes & goes each semester

Fools elect fools—
Chairpersons come & go
An MLA scholar says “Christ!”

The spoken word nicely fucked—
The written word even better
Academe a funeral of whores

Promotions and raises—
Based on blackmails and threats
Of better wages elsewhere

Poets undertaking the top job of all—
The memory of a lovely fuck in bed
That young freshman chick so cute

A tit for a tat—
A quid pro quo here
A scratched back there

Dream Song 8: The weather was shitty. They pulled all his teeth

John Berryman

Dream Song 8: The weather was shitty. They pulled all his teeth

The weather was shitty—
They pulled all his teeth, his dentures helpful
Messed with his bridge game

They ditched all his lovers—
Got underneath his skin, bitchily saying
”You don’t understand anything. So there.”

The weather was shitty—
They pulled back his sheets till he shivered
Pleading “Please not the electrodes again!”

They installed two-way mirrors—
In his bedroom so they could ogle at him
Making love to old cheap prostitutes

The weather was shitty—
It weakened his eyes just awful
He stuck burning thumbs into his ears

They rubbed him raw with the—
Same old pulp palimpsest storylines
Then they took away his crotch

Dream Song: Interview with John Plotz

John Berryman

Dream Song: Interview with John Plotz

“It's personality—it's Henry”
—John Berryman,
Interview with John Plotz
Harvard Advocate Oct. 27, 1968

I called The Dream Songs—
One poem rather than a group of poems
In the same form for a couple of reasons

It's personality, it's Henry—
Henry thought up all these things
over all the years arguing with Miss Eliot

Henry had this strong disagreement—
With Eliot's line—the impersonality of poetry
An idea which he got partly from Keats

From Keats letter to his 2 brothers—
Promulgating Negative Capability Lit
Something that’s been misinterpreted

Negative Capability, that is, when—
A man is capable of being in uncertainties,
Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching

After fact and reason (e.g. Coleridge)—
Instead letting go by an extra-fine isolated
Verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium

The Penetralium of mystery—
Being capable of remaining content with
Half-knowledge and just letting go

Letting the poet’s sense of Beauty—
Overcome every other consideration and
Holding onto that Thread of Verisimilitude

Poetry comes out of Personality—
I’m thinking of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"
I'm thinking of that as well as Hopkins

Any one of the Hopkins sonnets—
Making the eighteenth century far from
Being impersonal but rather just the opposite

Dream Song: Interview with Peter Stitt

John Berryman

Dream Song: Interview with Peter Stitt

“But what I was going on
to say is that I do strongly
feel that among the greatest
pieces of luck for high
achievement is ordeal.”
—John Berryman,
Interview with Peter Stitt
Paris Review

Certain great artists—
Can make out without it, I suppose
Titian, Goya & Milton couldn't

Mostly you need ordeal—
My idea is this: the artist is extremely
Lucky who is presented with the worst

The worst possible ordeal which—
Will not actually kill him. At that point,
he's in business. He’s in the groove.

Beethoven's deafness, Goya's deafness—
Milton's blindness—that kind of thing.
It made their work happen back then

And I think that’s what happens—
In my poetic work when I’m not sitting
Calmly on my ass as I think, "Hmm, hmm”

Like with Whitman & his long poem—
Whether Henry is going to do the same
Thing as if he’s got any choice in doing it

But instead being knocked on his ass—
Thrown flat, and run over by a Mack truck
And all those other kinds of things

Short of senile dementia that is—
At that point, I’d be out, but short of that
I don't know, I hope to be nearly crucified

Dream Song 131: Come touch me baby in his waking dream

John Berryman

Dream Song 131: Come touch me baby in his waking dream

Let me touch you, baby—
Henry said in his waking dream
We haven’t done it in a long, long time

Poor disordered Henry murmured—
To himself in his sleep to his ratty pillow
Forgetting she’d left him years ago

He can't remember ever being unkind—
But she’d got the fuck outta his life and
Didn’t leave anything behind

Henry climbed up the high ruined stairs—
Getting more & more insane the way
They say they do and act and stare

Many of his close friends were half-sane—
They’d take a look at a Rorschach blot
And read it like National Enquirer dirt

That’s how Henry ended up insane—
Teaching dumb cluck undergraduate
Child idiots the Art of Rorschach Verse

Dream Song 61: Full moon. Our Narragansett gales subside

John Berryman

Dream Song 61: Full moon. Our Narragansett gales subside

Full moon, Narragansett gales subside—
And the land goes bankrupt, more or less,
Less or more & young men still die

In the valleys, in the mountains, far & wide—
The Roman legions and their expeditions
Help finance the usual businessmen of fear

The solemn moon somewhere tonight—
Doing time like some poor slob prisoner
Caught up in gears of whips & chains

While Miss Cheney the Commander—
In Chief of Chicanery lies low and gets
A new heart to cheat & subterfuge

So many turkeys, so little time—
Henry’s given up counting the pig sties
Each generation done in by the Lies

Henry's feeling fail and old—
The campaigners and ponzi artists just
Don’t give up, the beltway’s sullen glory

Dream Song 130: When I saw my friends covered with blood

John Berryman

Dream Song 130: When I saw my friends covered with blood

When he saw his friends covered—
With blood dying in Viet Nam for Nixon
He thought this is the end of the dream

Now he’d wake up but that was—
More years ago than he wanted to reckon
The élite group is still running the show

Why did he never wake up—
When covered with blood seeing all
His fearful friends, shipped in body bags

His nerves got bad with the strain—
Cronkite every night on TV saying
“That’s the way it is & your were there”
What a bunch of incredible bullshit

He saw himself stretched out—
Along with all the others in the transport
Plane taking them all back home

His blood had all flown away—
Leaving him & his Baby Boomer friends
Dead, crisp, ready to be fed to the dogs

“élite theorists, in historical and political studies, maintain that all forms of complex social organization inevitably become dominated by a small group, an élite (literally ‘the elect’, or ‘chosen’).”

Dream Song 47: April Fool's Day, or, St Mary of Egypt

John Berryman

Dream Song 47: April Fool's Day, or, St Mary of Egypt

 Thass a funny dream, Mr Bones—
When you looked down & saw your feet
Sweet toesies on the threshold

Considering your broad shoulders—
And all those thousands who have them—
All of you mimed & maled so supple

Seeing your feet, in a visit, side by side—
Pausing on the sill of The Tomb, shrinking:
“No. They are not worthy.”

Fondled by many and prayed to—
Your Crucified nude body hanging there
Plucky followers from outta the suburbs

To dare kiss it in broad daylight—
The thing that makes them fall prone
The profane traffic gridlock

The rush-hour of the godz—
You let them worship you obscenely
And God has never visited here

Dream Song 101: A deep lake, with many seagulls

John Berryman

Dream Song 101: A deep lake, with many seagulls

A deep lake, with many seagulls—
Mercer Island off to the north in the
Distance, he was showing Mother around

An extraordinary vivid dream—
There was this ancient, haunted mansion
There on the grounds of this lunatic asylum

Bill Gates trundled up the walk—
He was late getting home from work
He asked him if he ever saw the inmates

“No, they never leave their cells”—
Then he was upstairs taking a shower
He called out “A drink” while showering

He can't go into the meaning of the dream—
Except to say he had this sense of total Loss
Afflicting him during the whole time

The absolute disappearance of any—
Continuity & love for anything at all
That everything wasn’t what it seems

Dream Song 127: Again, his friend's death made the man sit still

John Berryman

Dream Song 127: Again, his friend's death made the man sit still

Again, his friend's death made him—
Sit still and freeze inside for awhile it was
Like some newly discovered Halloween

It seemed like Halloween—
Suddenly Trick or Treat or Suicide
His friend's death suddenly outta the blue

Henry felt the chill too—
Maybe longer than he did since
The guy had been a close college friend

Maybe even closer than that—
But they’d lost contact over the years
He’d gone to Korea rather than Viet Nam

His suicide was smoking cigarettes—
His major had been journalism and he’d
Fought the tobacco companies hard

But it didn’t do any good—
Dying when he was only fifty-six
I felt like a mourning widow for years

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dream Song 324: An Elegy for Henry and

John Berryman

Dream Song 324: An Elegy for Henry and John Berryman

Henry & John went underground—
They both worked hard, making poetry
New constantly, for so many years

Their high-jinks delighting us—
The English Language their classroom
Teaching & learning at the same time

At dawn they both stayed in bed—
Propped up with pillows writing only for
Themselves and each other

The being through & going through—
Galleys & page-proofs to be read
they could only take it lying down

In the sweet silence of their bedroom—
To whom was not denied the mysterious
Late excellence which is the crown

All their trials even their last poems—
The language alive & schmoozing
Here in this Land of the Living Dead

Dream Song 87: For John Berryman

John Berryman

Dream Song 87: For John Berryman

I’ve been hearing rumors that—
Henry may be returning to our life
Again both adult & more difficult

There exists rumors that he’s—
Still remote and sad and quite
Beyond the knowledge of his wife

He will come in silence this—
Distinguished one essaying once again
The lower slopes, keeping up my hopes

Heading not for some kind of cult—
But for the enigmatic faces, unsurveyed,
Calm as a forest glade

I can only speak for myself—
And I’ve already said too much since he
May be there groaning in some hospital

I wouldn’t interrupt him doing his thing—
Resuming, as the fates decree, his lot
Bracing himself for whatever

Dream Song 100: How Sylvia Path came by the courage

John Berryman

Dream Song 100: How Sylvia Path came by the courage

How Sylvia came by the courage—
How she got the courage, Henry thought to
Himself one hot night in July

Where it came from, did once the Lord—
Frown down on her ancient cradle thinking
“This one will do before she dies”

Thirty-one years of indignities—
Looking upon her mother & father with
Shame & rage she still endured

Then a Fullbright pilgrimage—
When thunder clapped some promise
In that far away Nation of Words

Hughes growling & sweating—
Growing & using the genius of this woman
Her great strength, superhuman hope

No, no, not all used up at all—
Henry sensed a mystery, mumbling to himself
Taking another look at Ariel

Dream Song 11: His Muse goes. The Muse comes & goes

John Berryman

Dream Song 11: His Muse goes. The Muse comes & goes

His Muse goes—
His Muse comes & goes
Bashō’s came & went too

Bashō came, came & camped—
The dragonfly’s mother was there too
It seemed like a good place to be forever

While he was drawing his first breath—
Skinning his knees, he was so beastly
Making love with Charlotte Coquet

Bakhtin rocked in his niche—
His muscled Dialogical Imagination
Beneath a tent of Heteroglossia

Over many fierce decades—
Harmless haikus coming & going
Was she coming & going too?

Coming together in pairs—
Going that way too, coming & going hot
Other times coming & going a lot

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dream Song 45: He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back

John Berryman

Dream Song 45: He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back

I stared at ruin & ruin stared straight back—
I thought we were old friends there in bed
As I felt him up and felt him go down

It felt so familiar being with him—
Like all those lost rich secrets, the ones
I thought I lost way back there in the ruins

Once again crossing our paths—
Unsigned letters where eyes once met
In some strange crowded Asian city

Directionless at midnight—
Trembling to a telephone's last entreaty
To come back to me one last time

Reaching the wrong decision again—
Realizing we weren’t friends anymore
He didn’t wanna know me anymore

This time I was a stranger—
Making amends for all the imposters
Wanting to make it stick but well

Dream Song 117: Disturbed, when Henry returned with a hustler

John Berryman

Dream Song 117: Disturbed, when Henry returned with a hustler

Disturbed when Henry returned—
With a handsome young hustler
I thought of razors & skating-rinks

He picked him up downtown—
After all it was the Christmas season
It was just merely a little hobby

They were there in bed—
Like in those old National Geographic
Magazines in the dentist’s office

I felt horribly elated & vague about it—
Chilly as the Snow of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Getting my tooth yanked outta me

I’d lost my love for Henry years ago—
At least that’s what I thought but now
I felt like poor dying Gregory Peck

Desultory and rotten feeling about—
Wasting all my time being a writer
And running around like an idiot

Dream Song 122: He publishes his boyfriend’s bottom in staid pages

John Berryman

Dream Song 122: He publishes his boyfriend’s bottom in staid pages

He publishes his boyfriend’s bottom now—
In the staid pages of The New York Times
Way back in the Singles want ads section

Ridiculous Henry has no fucking shame—
Once tranquil & chaste, tied up in a hammock
Like Richard Burton sobering up again

He fell off the wagon down in Mexico—
Defrocked and losing his tenure at lovely
Poughkeepsie State Teacher’s College

Ava Gardner sings her obsequious songs—
And hopeless lullabies trying to calm poor
Henry’s braying at the dingy full moon

It’s hopeless though even with the help—
Of the two nude young dancing Mexican boys
Cute Pedro and Pepe with their mariachis

Many have thronged & drifted away—
Deliciously stoned within the seductive
Night of the Iguana & never returned

Dream Song 77: Seedy Henry rose up shy

John Berryman

Dream Song 77: Seedy Henry rose up shy

Seedy Henry felt shy in de world—
Even when he shaved & swung barbells
Duding up at Gold’s Gym each day

He did thousands of miles—
On the ecstatic elliptical machines
All the way to NYC and back

Ah those were the days—
When he strut into class with
One of his books in either hand

But now Henry tires of the winter—
He’s squeamish & not very comfy about
The ponzi-scheme ruin-prone Scene

The so-called City on the Hill—
All those gone Camelot nostalgia boyz
Poor impenitent Henry weeps

Once such a fierce & airy occupation—
Raving away so many of Henry's years
It’s a wonder that his mad books survive

Dream Song 35: MLA Convention

John Berryman

Dream Song 35: MLA Convention

Well, my dear assistant professors—
Full professors and lowly instructors
May I shay a thing or two?

Here we are at the MLA again—
This time in Mississippi down here
In Yoknapatawpha down South

My wife got booted out—
When I got seduced by a pretty
Young undergraduate named Sue

It happens all the time—
Academe is one big Whorehouse
Tenure is for us polite gigolos

The chairman gets nervous—
With all the screwing that goes on
But that’s how theses come & go

My naïve dumb little chickadee—
Sue became the new chairman soon
She was good at fucking footnotes

Dream Song 172: Your face broods

John Berryman

Dream Song 172: Your face broods

Tell me, Sylvia—
Were you brooding in the oven
Was it all just too much for you?

I brood a lot myself—
Here at my table late at night
Suicide thoughts come & go

Ariel came on like a torrent—
Toward the end, all that pain
Agony and wrath of yours

In the beginning you knew—
You were a poet and when you
Became Mrs Hughes you knew

Brooding was the proper place—
The geography of grief never seems
To let any of us off the hook

I allow myself some resignation—
What else can I do about it when
I’m fighting the wronging tide?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Burning the Letters

Burning the Letters

“My fox is better than
an ordinary fox”
—Ted Hughes

Love, love, and well—
I was sick of it all, his Foxes
And Pikes and Gobbledygook

I got tired of it all—
Built a fire and dumped his stupid
Male manuscripts into the flames

Letting the fire eat it up—
Licking and fawning the Fox
All his crummy pack of male lies

So much for the Thought Fox—
All his letters and death rattles
Sulking, pouting in the wastebasket

His Yorkshire bullshit—
Mytholmroyd Mumbo-Jumbo
All his Rabbit-Catcher Crud

Letting the manuscripts burn—
The ratty paperwork melt & sag
The end of me pushing his career

Let him bend and cringe—
For himself now, the spry fags
At Farber have always wanted him

He’s just a dumb fish now—
A bodiless owl, another loser
Do all men pretend like him?

With a tin eye and a fake smile—
Butching it up in a housedress
Blind as a bunch of dead gimps?

Nothing consoles me now—
I haven’t lost anything at all
He was never mine in the first place

There’s nothing more to say—
Big Bad Daddy’s all the same way
All men just sheer Mendacity

I kicked him outta of my life—
Smashed the Schmuck to Smithereens
Time for me to be Ariel Dominatrix

After the divorce he’ll pay—
For child support & everything I say
Let Eliot & Auden pay for that!

So much for the Thought Fox—
And Assia’s grandiose Penis-Pike
And Dido Merwin’s tacky Facelift

He’s on his own now, my dears—
His pale eyes & groaning gutturals
His greasy hair & veins like trees

So much for male Braggadocio—
The dogs are after his Testicles
May pain be eternally his

Yummy Yaoi

—Momo Sakura
My Sexual Harassment (僕のセクシャルハラスメント
Boku no Sekusharu Harasumento)

Yummy Yaoi

In this spring nighttime—
All I can think about is
My naked boyfriend

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dream Song 4

Dream Song 4
—for John Berryman


Filling his young delicious mouth—
With a fat hamburger at Dick’s
Drive-In on Broadway

I cruised him hungrily—
Feigning a lack of interest but
Actually fainting deep inside

Henry’s eyes glazed—
He hadn’t been that hot in years
Dazed, delirious and despairing

The slobs come & go—
Dick’s Drive-In buzzes with
Fags and skinny college boys

Despite all the male beauty—
And hot bulging crotches
And sleek handsome curvatures

Henry’s still bored to tears—
The taste of his cheeseburger
Boring and the French fries too

Ted Hughes as Jack Palance

Ted Hughes as Jack Palance

“He looked like
Jack Palance”—
Janet Malcolm
The Silent Woman

Handsome & lean—
Wolfish in a hungry way
Killer On the Loose
You wanna die?

Palance & Hughes—
Murderous duo both
Male femme fatales out
On the film noir prowl

Palance good at it—
So was hunky Hughes
Knowing how to seduce
And manipulate Suckers

Like in the classic—
“Panic in the Streets”
An oily Big Easy hood
Greasy Palance superb

Smoothie with chicks—
Greasy with other crooks
Even seducing Tommy Cook
The kid’s exquisite bouffant

What could be more—
Rotten and decadent than
The New Orleans docks
Ancient Sodom seaport?

Even Joan Crawford—
Cool as an old kunt icicle
Melting in Palace’s arms
Mooning for his big meat

Seduced on a train—
“Sudden Fear” his name
Palance takes his time
Getting rid of her

Both Hughes & Palance—
Could keep men and women
Desperately on the hook with
Their lean & mean maleness

Miss Eliot swooned—
And Miss Auden mooned
Cruising Ted’s Yorkshire Cock
Sipping their chic martinis

How the Fag Literati—
Went for his big Salami
Mytholmryod throbbing gristle
Stud of moody moors

Going thru a harem of—
Beautiful young bosomy
British bimbos who like
Their men savage & mean

Feigning innocence when—
Caught, hiding behind his
Con job story blaming his
Poor suicidal wife Sylvia?

Isn’t that how it works—
Vain Male Prima Donnas
Poet Laureates slumming an
Old Anglo Saxon Whore House?

Friday, March 23, 2012


Sarah Ann Loreth "The Oven"

Suicide—for Ted Hughes

In the kitchen
As you stick my head
Into the oven

Just like an—
Old time Hollywood
Film noir murder

Stuffing the—
Cracks under
The doors to
Protect the kids

You couldn’t—
Stand all the
Crap and puke
Like a father

So you let—
Assia take your
Sweet precious
String of pearls

You’re just—
Another stupid
Pathological male
Liar, my dear

Assia isn’t a—
Dumb fucking
Cunt you know
She’ll find out

Yes, once you—
Were handsome
And I thought you
Were rare

Now you’re just—
Another impotent
Old Yorkshire
Male Whore

You were—
Once a Jewel
More valuable
Than the Moon

Now you’re—
Just a bag of
Shit you old
Dirty prick

Now I’m—
Silent up to
My neck with
Hate for you

Your ball & chains
Out of my life
And down the road

Let the sad nag—
Do what she wants
Living with a looser
Like you

You’ll have—
To kill her too
Someday soon
She knows too much

Even if you—
Murder me now
I’ll be back someday
To haunt you

So turn up—
The gas and
Stuff me inside
The oven of death

Do you still—
Disbelieve in
Vengeful ghosts?
See you, sweetheart

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Diving into the Oven

Sarah Ann Loreth "The Oven"

Diving into the Oven

“the evidence worn
by salt and away into
this threadbare beauty”
—Adrienne Rich
“Diving into the Wreck,”
Poems 1971-1972

I didn’t have time—
To say goodbye not that
I wanted to, it all came as
A rather sudden surprise

I burned the letter—
In the heavy glass ashtray
While he watched me
Knowing it was over

He’d already given up—
On me and I’d already done
The same with him, our so-so
Marriage was never that great

Ted was so much like Daddy—
Straight outta some dead Shoe
Just another Mytholmroyd hood
A dumb Heathcliff of the moors

I expected a gun—
Him loading it with silver bullets
Or maybe a sharp knife-blade
To slice my delicate white throat

Or maybe even body-armor—
A black rubber diving suit with
Absurd flippers to awkwardly
Dump me into the Thames

I could just see him—
Pretending to be like Cousteau
The Estate’s assiduous Captain
Aboard his dumpy schooner

There’s the ladder—
The ladder always hanging
Innocently down into the dark
Depths of the Oven’s guts

We both knew it was over—
Now it was time for him to
Play the final act out for me:
“The Rabbit Catcher” routine

I knew what it was for—
Others had used it many times
Before, an otherwise sundry
Maritime ladder into hell

I went down—
Rung after rung and slowly
The gas immersed me in
That Popsicle blue light

I went down—
My strap-on high-heels
Like clumsy flippers as I
Dived into the Dead Sea

I could feel him—
Shoving me further into
The Oven making sure that
I’d get plenty of gas

But now it was easy—
To forget what I came for
Among so many Wellesley
Wishes & Bell Jar dreams

I’d always wanted to be—
A chic Mademoiselle diva
A Manhattan chanteuse
A famous New Yorker poet

I came to explore the Oven—
Poetry was always a descent
The words were maps leading
Down into the Underworld

I came to see the damage—
If any treasures still prevailed
I stroked the bruise of my
Forehead, it was permanent

The thing I came for—
Was the thing I left behind
The wreck and not the story
of the wreck, the thing itself

And not the myth either—
My drowned face always staring
Back at the Fitzroy flat and the
Threadbare beauty I left behind

The sexy Yorkshire Killer—
The handsome Rabbit Catcher
The Haunters doing the Hunting
I didn’t even have a chance

This is the place and here—
I am Mermaid of the Wreck
My brown hair streams black
I am she: She was me

My drowned face screams—
Beneath my gangrene lips
Half-wedged and left to rot like
A Heptonstall water-eaten log


Sarah Ann Loreth "The Oven"


“But I would rather
be horizontal”
—Sylvia Plath
“I Am Vertical”
The Collected Poems

I’d rather be horizontal—
my head stuck deep in an oven
not a tree with my root in the dirt
sucking up minerals & motherly love

I’m sick of the sad beauty—
of garden beds attracting all those
sorts of pretty ahs and lovely ohs
I have no desire to unpetal myself

I don’t want immortality—
all I want is to endure one’s
longevity as long as I can
and then just call it quits

Tonight the last thing—
I want to see is the infinitesimal
light of all the stars and flowers that
have been stinking up my life

Give me the cool odor of gas—
while none of them are noticing me
I want to start sleeping forever now
the most perfect thing I can do

My thoughts are dimming—
it’s much more natural this way
just lying down & forgetting about
his ashtray against my forehead

Dishing Dido

Face Lift
—for Dido Merwin

“Writing is a self
that requires a
perpetual face-lift”
—Steven Gould Axelrod
Sylvia Path: The Wound
And the Cure of Words

Good news—for Dido!!!
She’s a born-again—Bitch Queen
Peeling back—the white bandages
The nauseous—wrinkles of the years
Three marriages—full of worries
She got so sick—of lime-green
Frog-husbands—such petty jerks

Now she’s pretty—as Cleopatra
Fizzy with Demerol—high as a kite
Beauty is back again—leaking out
Of every pore—of her lovely face
She feels precious—again knowing
No stretch marks—giving away the
Secrets of her—barren existence

Everybody raves—about her new face
She feels years younger—when she smiles
The stitches tighten—she thinks backwards
She’s twenty again—lounging on her
First husband’s—honeymoon lap
Years before—her lovely poodle died
Now in a vase—on the mantelpiece

Her new face—pink as a peach
Smooth as a—newborn baby’s ass
Only Sylvia's—curt smirk-face poet
Dishes Dido—from Court Green
Dares to say—out of the blue
That her rival looks—better as
Miss Havisham—widowed old nag

Withering Slights

Withering Slights

“Plath’s The Rabbit Hunter
speaks from the trap—at
the edge of death”
—Claire Raymond
The Posthumous Voice in
Women’s Writing from
Mary Shelly to Sylvia Plath

After her demise—
Sylvia got all the
Attention much to
Heathcliff’s chagrin

Arielesquely divine—
“Jane Eyre” Sylvia
Got the Estate busy
Burying her Deep

Most writer’s estates—
Try to enhance the
Reputation of the
Deceased Author

But Heathcliff and—
Olwyn were bent on
Bringing the winged
Ariel goddess down

Down from above—
Fighting tooth & nail
Editing & withholding
Her Books & Journals

Feuding & quibbling—
Writhing & slighting
Turning Plath into a
Hughes Cottage Industry

Harassed Heathcliff

Harassed Heathcliff

“And I am the cargo
Of a coffin attended by swallows.
And I am the water
Bearing the coffin that will not be silent.”
—Ted Hughes

Sylvia Plath kept—
Haunting Heathcliff
All the way to his last
Book “Birthday Letters”

She haunted him—
On the London busses
She skulked thru his
Uneasy nightly dreams

Taking a bath once—
Testing the water with
His big toe—BINGO!!!
There she was again

Poor Heathcliff—
Haunted by Sylvia,
The Feminists & the
Lesbos Libers as well

No wonder Heathcliff—
Was so snotty & snide
Overly sensitive about
The littlest things

Getting all upset—
Over Sylvia’s poem
“The Rabbit Catcher”
For some queer reason

The Rabbit Catcher

The Rabbit Catcher

“to suggest that Sylvia Plath
was anything but heterosexual,
Ted Hughes wrote to Jacqueline
Rose, would be, in some countries,
“grounds for homicide.”
—Barbara Johnson
Mother Tongues: Sexuality,
Trials, Motherhood, Translation

Yes, my dears—
Ted “Heathcliff” Hughes
As well as the Estate
Got so very upset

Withering Slights—
Echoing thru the Moors
The moody Mytholmroyd
Male Myth wasn’t ready

Aghast & Agog—
Poor Wuthering Heights
Surely it’s “homicidal”
To do Lit Crit this way?

To interpret Plath’s—
Poetry as Gay not Str8t?
To look critically at
“The Rabbit Catcher”?

And for Heaven’s sake—
To imply that Sylvia
Was calling Hughes
A “Rabbit Catcher”?

To imply that Heathcliff—
Sylvia’s esteemed husband
Was both a Rabbit Catcher
And a Yorkshire Killer?

Late Show

Late Show
for David Trinidad

The way Linda Darnell
In “Fallen Angel” says
“So What?” to Percy
Kilbride in the dumpy
diner after she’s come
back from a night on
the town, the look on
Joan Crawford’s face in
her wheelchair when
Bette Davis shoves her
down the stairs in
“Whatever Happened to
Baby Jane?” the way
Marilyn Monroe drops
her purse and lets her
lipstick case go skittering
across the floor in the
Bell Tower after Joseph
Cotton strangles her to
death in “Niagara,” the
way Zsa Zsa Gabore
sneers at the men from
Earth in “Queen of the
Universe,” the way
Thelma Ritter slouches
and shambles around her
satanic apartment in
“Rosemary’s Baby,” the
look on Lana Turner’s
face in “Imitation of Life”
when she finds her own
daughter Sandra Dee
in bed with John Gavin,
the look on Barbara
Stanwyck’s face there
in bed doing her campy
hypochondriac routine
frantically on the phone
as she hears somebody
slowly crawling up the
stairs, the look on Vivien
Leigh’s face as she tosses
her keys down from the
window to the young male
hustler in “The Roman
Spring of Mrs. Stone,”
the look on Corey Haines’
face when he realizes his
own brother, Jason Patric,
is a cold-blooded vampire
cocksucker who can fly,
crawl around the ceiling
and who shamelessly
wants to suck off Haim in
the sudsy bathtub on
Saturday Nights Live!
the hysterical look on
Richard Barton’s face
tied up in a hammock
in “Night of the Iguana”
when he can’t get to
the two dancing naked
cute Mexican kept boys
of Ava Gardner, the
shocked disbelieving
but deceptively clever
look on Ann Baxter’s
face when snide George
Sanders devastatingly
reads Eve’s beads in
“All About Eve...”

Three Pink Poems for David Trinidad

Anne Sexton

Three Pink Poems
for David Trinidad


"Pink and smooth as a baby"
—David Trinidad, "Pink Poems,"

Ted Hughes Pink

Frequently in the woods—
In the moody Mytholmroyd moors
A simply despicable Pink
Ted’s Pouty Pink Penis

Sylvia Plath Pink

A young workman saunters by—
He catches bored Sylvia’s
Jaundiced New Yorker eye
Such a cute Fitzroy foxy stud
His nice cute tight butt as
Smooth as a pink baby’s ass

Anne Sexton Pink

Sylvia and Anne camp it up—
Over extra dry pink martinis
After Miss Lowell hamming it up
Between all those breakdowns
Celebrating his Pink Uterus

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Plath’s Prosopopeia

Stella Vine “Snow White in the Forest”

Plath’s Prosopopeia

“A. Alvarez famously
commented that some of
Plath’s Ariel poems seem to
have been written after her
suicide” —Claire Raymond
The Posthumous Voice in
Women's Writing from Mary
Shelley to Sylvia Plath

Plath seems to be already—
Dead in her Ariel poems
As if she were already one
The Living Dead

She seems posthumous—
As if she’s deploying her
Voice purposely away
From just Biography

Plath’s disembodied—
Posthumous Voice so
Very much like Brontë
Dickinson and Shelley

How can a dead poet—
Speak and why does she
Have to be dead in order
To be able to speak?

Sylvia is subversive—
She focuses on the
Bodilessness of the
Dead feminine Voice

She shifts the ground—
Of the project of elegy
And reclaims it for a
Feminine speaker

Sylvia’s self-elegy—
Steals into the male
Exclusive realm of
Elegy makes it hers

Staging this feint—
Of elegy spoken by
A dead narrator for
Herself is radical

Plath inscribes her—
Posthumous poetry
Historically not for
Female mourning

But rather to turn—
The pastoral topos
Into self-elegy that
Isn’t ruled by males

Invoking as well as—
Problematizing the
Voice of death lets
Her speak for herself

Plath mocks & mourns—
The traditional role of
Tragic poetess by making
Self-elegy her own

A critical vestige of—
Enlightenment feminism
Like the sublime work of
Mary Wollstonecraft

Arguing against the—
Notion that women are
Naturally only concerned
With self-decoration

Using Jacques Rousseau—
To shift the scandalous
And surreal dislocation of
Feminine beyond décor

Ditching the hysterical—
Woman displacement of
Grief into ironic death
Spoken thru Ariel poetry

Lady Lazarus doesn’t—
Return to life but haunts
The text speaking from
The Land of the Dead

Plath uses her Voice—
Spectral & disembodied
To posthumously speak
Even before she’s dead

Plath speaks as one—
Of the Living Dead before
She dies thus sustaining
The resurrected Poet

Plath’s Prosopopeia II

Stella Vine “Snow White in the Forest”

Plath’s Prosopopeia II

“in the elegy
longing is always
erotically charged”
—Claire Raymond
The Posthumous Voice in
Women's Writing from Mary
Shelley to Sylvia Plath

Text as theater—
“The Rabbit Cather”
As the longing in
Elegy for the dead

Jacqueline Rose—
Interpreted the poem
As encoding lesbian
Erotic longing

Ted Hughes—
Irate widower and
Literary executor said
“Grounds for Homicide!!!”

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell—
Applied to the sacrosanct
Masculine tradition of
Elegy excluding women

The male elegy genre—
Guarding itself against
Interpenetration with
The feminine genre

A place of force—
Keeping out Sylvia
From mourning for
Herself or another

The smokescreen—
Of slander thrown up
Attempting to reclaim
Str8t sanctity of marriage

The intensity of a Poem—
To generate the problematic
Of maligned maternity and
Gay perverted parentage

A shocking homicidal Poem—
Highlighting the role of both
Literary Executor and hardly
Divine pastoral Executioner

The Hunter haunts us—
Encouraged by the flap between
Rose and Hughes emphasizing
The male rule over the pastoral

The Hunter is written into—
Plath’s poem seemingly to
Perform the role of impresario
To the rabbit’s dead Voice

The narrator speaking—
Is the aphasiac whose
Voice had been torn out
By the roots & gagged

It’s a place of force—
That threatens the speaker
And forces her voice out,
Forces her to speak

Voicelessness suffers—
Gagging and tearing
Following the trajectory
Of the Voice in the text

Down thru the—
Rabbit hole & labyrinth
Of “The Rabbit Catcher”
The Voice torn out turns

The Speaker is speaking—
With a voice that has been
Violently taken away from
Her, shoved into her

How does the Speaker—
Speak since she too is a
Rabbit catcher, catcher
Of her own Voice?

The Speaker is chasing—
Her own Voice, the chase
Is the text of her poem,
Surviving her Voice’s death

The Rabbit & Speaker’s voice—
Merge in “The Rabbit Catcher”
Opening up Plath’s landscape
Aboveground while down below…

Each of us as Rabbit Catchers—
Chase our own Speaker Hunter
Voices uncannily tied to our own
Underworld suppressed prey

Plath’s poem stages the—
Subterranean recuperation of our
Already dead posthumous Voice
Prefiguring escape thru trope

The poem’s trap thru trope—
Posthumous speech becoming
Plath’s trap door, a trope door,
Escaping & reaching the Reader