New Poems From Plath Workshop

We free wrote from the last three lines of Lady Lazarus ”out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air” and I had come to the workshop after my radio show where I was talking to Michelle Green who is wonderful. We were discussing representation for women in writing and how can we have confidence in our art when we are not represented which is the fuel for this poem. Erica Jong’s fear of flying was written in part about this part of the fear in the title is fear of what it means to be a woman who writes. The second poem is my Plath tribute using her images.

Miss Representation

Out of the ash I rise with my incomprehensible hair
that glamour of youth and innocence a veil to cast
between me and my intellect and I still I rise
and eat men like air and I will eat their foolish words
and let their fuckeries give me strength

Opening the jaw wide a snake dislocation
stasis is no longer an option
I must eat their words to make room for mine
there are too many of them rank and sulphurous
all the books on all the shelves stacked with them

if boys have all the best lines and you are always cast in a supporting role
and you are told the verse held in highest regard
is penned by dead white men
are you surprised women feel they need permission to write?

I have wasted too many of my own words
on the fuckeries of men who have shared my bed
hoping this thought could telephone myself
in these weak moments of desire

give over the strong jaw breathe into the lungs
the strength I was lacking manipulate that jaw puppet like
open the door gather their clothes and return to the cell,
an empty bed and a clear conscience

Before I lock the door I whisper in my ear
‘’You will never learn to be your true feminist self
when you let fuckeries occur in your bed and your head’’

For Sylvia

The mirror is a lake sudden and enormous
a flat surface teeming with life underneath
she can name you all the fishes and crustaceans
not shirk from their telescopic eyes as I would
She dwells either in twilight or scorching sun
perched on a rock an anomaly in a striped two piece
sobbing and holding a red balloon she hides a blade under a shell
scents bladder wrack, kelp, candy floss, cotton candy to her
beaches smell the same in all hemispheres
A white hot day where sand startles the eye reflective
she will reside like a mermaid until she shivers
waiting for the rising of her familiar companion
she traverses night terrors anchored to the moon


About Quad

The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.
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