I Am Not Your Sylvia

I had posted this poem earlier on this blog. I have pulled it out again to work on it. I have a reading coming up and this is one of the pieces that I will be performing. I am hoping to have it accompanied with the violin. I am not sure how it will all sound together, but I think it is a worthwhile venture to try out. This piece used to be titled Confessional Poet, and I wrote it about four or six years ago. Even six years later i still find it to be a work in progress. This is not its final draft as I feel it will develop more in performance.

Sylvia Plath,
I am nothing like her,
except the blonde hair.

The men, the pain, the education
All different…

“Crazy girl, crazy is the muse” You said.

I was supposed to be honored that you wrote me in a poem.
Your words painted me
into an exquisite portrait.
A masterpiece! A museum.

Muses are like children, silent till spoken to.

“The woman sits on the edge of the poet’s bed
she is putting on her bra as he teases.”
You sang, strumming strings against your guitar.

You were the poet. I am the woman.

You wrote this late,
hiking solitary mountains,
pen in hand, whiskey in thought,
writing of our last evening together:

My warm legs wrapped about your body, my flesh pressed to your (notion of lovemaking).

Come to me, come to me…”

Scribbled in pencil.

(I’m thinking about sex,
the way it drives everything. The way it controls—
everything gets complicated once you get naked.)
Naked— nude— fuck…

You said:
We can’t do this anymore, you said
I become too attached?
To my body?

Yes, my body that held a part of your body.
A moment. Perfect material for the next prose.

(I kept expecting something more,
some incredible release.
An inner body experience
flesh folding in, on, and over you.)

You wrote me in a poem,
immortalized my white bra,
and my bare ass
on your cotton sheets.

I left,
and this was poignant.
With each fresh letter you loved me more.
Yet, the taste you imagined to be mine
was something else rising out of the pulp,
like wet paper.
I felt a pulling, a taut thin string— no shit.

When we are rolling around tied in a knot of skin
and liquid am I the only one in the room?
Why is it that I feel like I am in this game alone?
(It is not as romantic as all that)

I told you once—
I was drawn to Tomas, Kundera’s character,
his dark eyes and face
his desire to be with every woman he met.
He did not desire for conquest,
he wanted to know their secret,
their secret smell.
I felt so heavy.
I wanted to know what it was to be light
even if it was unbearable.

I told you this once—
Across the table with coffee and later beer.
You locked the door
trapped me inside with language and lies.
You said you were like Tomas, my Tomas,
It was how you identified yourself, you said.
You were light and I was unbearable.

When we were new I wanted to peel your skin back,
slit you open, step inside and wear you—

Wrong thing to say, you said,
too intense,
too serious,
too afraid that I wanted to steal your soul like a succubus.
Or would I be an incubus?

And where were you, poet, when I crashed?
Where were you when I was drunk,
on the corner,
loosing hours,
hallucinating, hearing voices, scratching the concrete?
Calling me a train wreck I suppose.
Leaving me bruised and screaming
building your character sketch?

Writing about me in your bed,
loving my memory?
Running an imaginary finger down my translucent spine?
Holding your pen tight,
ready—for the muse?

Here I am!
I’m the one who punched the glass and walked over wet train tracks gripping a piece of two-by-four wanting to smash your face, my rage like an engine:
“I think I can,
I think I can—
make it to the other side of this mountain.

For a second I fell in love with a bi-polar boy,
he suffered from psychotic episodes.
I wanted to ride his nightmare. (Such a pretty horse to those of us watching outside the fence.)
I didn’t want to fix him I liked him broken.
Like all the sick romantics, but I knew the danger.
I let him go.
But here is the clincher in this jugular confession:
I was hoping to take a little bit of his madness and make an excuse for my own.

I am not your Syliva not your muse.
but I am something like her.
I too look into mirrors and carry stones in my pocket.
Where is the tape and rope? The gas? The children?
Not this time,
I’m taking myself back, Poet,
stripping the canvas,
smearing your paint,
and leaving my hand prints.

3 thoughts on “I Am Not Your Sylvia

  1. Quite a powerful poem and story…when you read it…perhaps you could post to YouTube or something..would love to hear you read this excellent poem.

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