Tag Archives: sylvia plath

Sylvia Plath and so many other suicides

Hi readers.  Someone female sitting in the lobby late one night tossed The Bell Jar aside and groaned a curse.  Headed for the wagon yard, I reckons.  So I picked up Plath’s tome and read enough to remember everything else I ever knew, ever wanted to know about Sylvia Plath.  Most vividly I remembered a poem, Daddy, by Ms Plath.  Some University of Texas poetry course caused me to write a ten page paper about it once.

I learned to hate the thought Sylvia Plath and her lot shared this planet with regular human beings.  And after reading a while on Bell Jar, chunking it, I wrote this:

Virus of the mind

The drumbeat litany of hatred
And blame;
Of smug mindless naiveté
Numbs the mind.
Alienation is a welcome gift
From the universe
When it involves the inability
To identify with THAT.

The preoccupation with death
As though death is an unnatural state,
Created by a dark maker for the shallow purpose
Of providing a source of terror and sadness
For tiny humans;
Leaves me with a yearning:

Just once I’d like to see a poem
Just once.
A poem full of truths:

“I gave you permission
to hurt me and make me angry;
because of my illusions and expectations
you never agreed to satisfy
and didn’t
now I’m angry.

“I wanted you to behave a certain way.
Because I wanted it, I demanded it
In my expectations of you
without saying so.

“I wanted you to give up your choices.
I didn’t want it
because giving them up would make you
happier
Or more fulfilled.
I just wanted it because I wanted it.

“I’m used to getting my way.
I’ll hate you if I don’t get it.

“I’ll hate you fiercely
and if that doesn’t work
I’ll threaten to kill myself
Just to get you back.”

Or,

“I’m angry.  I’ve always been angry.
Life isn’t fair and it pisses me off.
I haven’t gotten everything I want.
Sometimes my parents weren’t kind to me;
Didn’t give me what I wanted.

“I talk to my friends and they’re angry, too.
The more we talk the more we realize life isn’t fair
And it pisses us off.

“We talk among ourselves
About how cool it would be
To kill some of those flawed bastards
We don’t like.

“We savor our anger; our hatred
We wallow in it
And think of different ways we’d like to kill
The bastards we don’t like;
How much we’d enjoy killing.
We all know
Because took a voice vote.

“Some nerd who wears his glasses crooked
And isn’t cool;
Some football jock who gets all the girls
We’d like to get;
We hate the girls and the jocks.

“Some sarcastic adult who isn’t cool
And doesn’t respect our views
About how the world is.

“We’d like to kill them all.
We took a voice vote
And we all agree.”

“We haven’t studied much
Nor read much
Nor lived much
Nor listened much
But that doesn’t keep us
From knowing how life is;
How life should be.”

“We’re angry and we’d like to kill them all!
We took a voice vote.

“And by God you’ll see
You’ll be sorry
When I kill myself!”

And the Ted Hugheses of the world , the Daddys

Sort through selective memories to avoid the truth

About this creature they loved.

From Poems of the New Old West, copyright 2003 Jack Purcell

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Beating Dead Horses – Lynching Poor Old Ayn Rand Again

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I gather from the email forwards that someone’s not satisfied Ayn Rand has been accepted as pathetic enough, wrong enough, dead enough to be left alone.  Subject lines by non-psychiatrists, non-psychologists are taking the trouble to declare her a lunatic.

Poor, sad, bitter woman trapped inside a self yearning for men to be hairier chested, more muscled-up, more knock-em-around, slap-em-down and screw ’em.  More like the good old days, taking what they want from anyone too weak to keep them from it.

I wonder why they don’t just leave her the hell alone.  The 20th Century had no shortage of miserable, confused people, plenty of them writers, submerged in bitterness and misplaced notions of how it could be better.

In some ways every time Ayn Rand and her wishes come up I find myself thinking of Sylvia Plath, similar in so many ways, but with a different slant on the sort of man Rand longed for:

Daddy   
by Sylvia Plath 

 
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time–
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You–

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two–
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.
12 October 1962
 

But nobody ever bothers dragging Plath up out of the grave and horsewhipping her.  What the hell.

Old Jules