The Killer

Ted Hughes

The Killer

“Wolves are singing in
the forest for two…”
—Ted Hughes.
“Life After Death,”
Birthday Letters

Ted closed—the front door
Of 23 Fitzroy Road—behind him
Leaving the hissing—death
The gas in the oven—Sylvia’s
Head on a towel—already
Dead—strangled to death
By his strong—killer hands

Standing in the dark—listening
To the howling wolves—in the park
The cold still night—he killed her
The snow—there on Fitzroy Road
The pallor of the corpse—upstairs
Her dead brown eyes—upturned
Looking at her—angel of death

The wolves—of Regency Park
Howling—in their zoo cages
He stands in the dark—death
Triggering—something in him
The killer instinct—women
Finding him irresistible—snaring
Them—when they’re vulnerable

Eerie—the wolfish coincidences
The coroner’s—calm inquest
Lupercal—ancient Roman
Fertility festival—she-wolf
Who suckled—Romulus & Remus
In the grotto—their London flat
Palatine Hill—haunted by Yeats

Pushing Sylvia—over the edge
So easy—the same with Assia
Corpses of his—two Lovers
And a child—he never wanted
Ominous signs—Yorkshire Ripper!!!
Ted Hughes—Killer Poet Laureate!!!
The Queen’s Heavy—Royal Thug!!!

The blood-jet—of British poetry
The Difficulties—of a Bridegroom
Getting off on—strangled screams
Wounded bunnies—dying rabbits
Guilty pleasures—of killing your
Wife & mistress—snuff-movie orgasm
Ted’s miserable marriage—sexual rages

Sylvia Plath—lusting after him
Predatory Wolfman—dangerous
Biting him on the cheek—bloody
Avid for—his Mytholmroyd manhood
Wanting finally—a real hunk to love
Primitive poet—young male animal
Wanting him—deep inside her

Sylvia & Assia—snared by him
The panther’s tread—up the stairs
Slouching Panther—afterwards
Heptonstall Cemetery—his lovers
Tossed into underground—trash
Faking it as usual—poor husband
His ersatz—fake shamanic journey

Building his mythology—a scam
On Orphée—his wife down in Dis
While upstairs—in the flat’s kitchen
Waiting for morning—the corpse
Already dead—murder most foul
Done in by—a sneaky lupine creep
Stinking rotting—in folk-tale time
Sylvia’s future books—down the drain

Ariel—her supreme achievement
Stolen from her—by her killer husband
The Usurpation—of Sylvia Plath
Her Book—his jealous Narratives
Dishing his critics—with Birthday Letters
His typical vain—pervasive tactic
Placidly “unwriting”—what Sylvia says

Ted Hughes—Paparazzo Sniper
Skanky stand-in for—Bully Big Daddy
Ten times worse—than crummy Otto
Psychodramatizing—himself proudly
Ham-handed—Yorkshire Bad Boy
Pouty paraphrasing—Sylvia’s words
Full of guilt—still slashing out at her!!!

The Wolfman—gnawing on her bones
Resenting his dead wife—snarling at
Anybody getting too close—the Murder
Scene off-limits—Hughes full of self-pity
Score-settling viper—like what’s-her-name
Always getting in—the Last Word
Making a profit—off Sylvia’s voice

No time for daffodils—kids
Dirty diapers—smell of baby shit
Ted’s grim celebrity—pushing it
Ahead of himself—his Sisyphus cock
Victimizing himself—blaming Sylvia
Her faux-suicide—kicking the victim
Rather than—admit wild bloody rage

Poor mute hostile—Yorkshire boy
Killer thug—of the moody moors
Eroticizing death—those little deaths
How they excited him—Sylvia caught
In the Snare—finding out his Secret
The Sanctity—of his Traplines desecrated
How dare Sylvia—Violate his Temple!!!

The two of them—out on the moors
Sylvia suddenly knowing—the Awful Truth
Horrified—finding more than just snares
Tearing them up—knowing she’d be next

Mytholmroyd—Mythic Malignity of Death
Ruling her husband—The Rabbit Killer
The Woman Killer—The Yorkshire Ripper!!!!

Feeling the same—tight constriction
That would kill her—like the rabbits
Horror too deep—to uproot or ignore
Sylvia’s mind—Slaughter House panic
Feeling Ted’s fingers—squeezing tight
Dying to hear—her squelched screams
Grabbing her—as she fled from him

This is the way—Murder works
Lies, lies—then grief and death
His tight hands—around her neck
His narrow wolfish eyes—hunter enraged
His Face—no longer her husband’s Face
Strangling her to death—in a Thicket
The ocean below—the pounding surf

No longer—Husband and Wife
Tightening fingers—around her neck
She was Prey—and Ted the Hunter
Each stifled breath—a little death
That’s what excited him—making love
Lycanthropic sex—turning her blue
Suffocating her—Lust and Anger!!!

A full-moon—down in the reeds
By the cliffs—breakers down below
Sylvia fainting—into Negro darkness
Where shadows lurk—knuckles pop
His huge shoulders—corduroy coat
Two slanted—evil Werewolf eyes
A Lon Chaney Jr—horror movie!!!

At the last moment—Sylvia bit him
On his St. Botolph’s—lover’s cheek
Startling him—probably saving her life
Dybbuk girl—doppelganger of death
Fleeing for the parked car—trying to
Escape the Hunter—once her husband
Who loved death—better than sex

Jumping into the car—scared to death
Pushing down hard—on the accelerator
Even tho—the Killer banged his way in
Thru the window—dangling there
Reaching for her—her sexual maniac
Husband—homicidal English poet
Shouting at her—as they drove off

Night-Ride Ariel—getting her anyway
Disguising her murder—as suicide
Erasing her Voice—stealing her words
Out of her mouth—out of her Life
Vile ventriloquist—Palimpsest pimp
Bleeding her dry—publishing her work
Leaking out tidbits—plus his inane lit crit

Ariel—the Feminist cult book
He subverted it—her original Text
Not until Collected Poems—later on
Pulitzer Prize 1982—telling the truth
Re-establishing—Sylvia’s reputation
Ted forced into letting—her Craft
The Ariel Narrative—her Muse
Come back alive—once again

The life—of any great poet
Unlike most—people’s lives
Means only—one thing when
One says—“the Literary Life”
The dialogic imagination—at work
Its occult intertextualities—writing
Her Life—thru her poetry

Poetry—exquisitely Ariel-esque
More confessional—than Sexton
Echoing—sad Robert Lowell
Evil-eyed—like Adrienne Rich
Beyond Elizabeth Bishop’s—closetry
Like Roethke’s—troubling detritus
Kafka-esque tears—beyond Yeats

Eerie Dialogs—with Ouija Boards
Transmitting—transmuting herself
Otherworldly—her maturing poetry
Streamlining it—transgressing it
Beyond—New Criticism constipation
Daring to mention—other Holocausts
Women, Lesbos—even LGBT poetics

Where is Sylvia’s—Voice now?
Now that her Killer—is deceased?
Now that the Poet Laureate—is dead?
What about—the secret Ted Hughes?
Do murderers go—guiltless into Night?
Do Yorkshire Rippers—gently sleep?
Does it take an Ouija Board—to speak?

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