Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sylvia & Virginia

For Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Anne Sexton and any woman (ourselves included) who has been mistaken for the definition of "crazy."

sylvia & virginia

they missed the point,
those professors who would have
wed & bedded you
dead & silent;
who dream of it still,
and mold you into models
for young girls gliding past their desks
from september to june.

unrequited men
seduced by the graceful sting
of your words
lay claim to your deaths,
careening past explanation
to simple loneliness
forcing heads into ovens,
rivers down
noose-addled gullets.

the wild smack of writerly doom
did not lead you down
those chilled paths alone.

it was not just the unfinished writing.

amnesia romanticizes
dashed promise and mad poets,
forgetting it was no good
to be a 21st century woman
in the 1900s.

no good to explain it, either—
they still smother you as
the old ones did,
& build you a room of your own,
shut away from the world
nipping at petite heels.

impossible, to choose
between love & art.
yet all our profound words
are short & clipped,
with no room for overlap.

we have no easy words
for complicated women
born too soon—

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