No Turning Back

No Turning Back

“Of that nightly
service, that cult”
—Ted Hughes
“Dream Life”
Birthday Letters

I descend each night—
Into my Big Daddy bad dreams

I’ve always been afraid to look back—
Trying not to remember each dream

But once you’ve dreamed them—
Your dream life gets clogged with corpses

Then there’s no turning back—
No possibility of poetry after Auschwitz

My crummy death-camp marriage—
All those day to day amputations

Not just Daddy’s gangrenous leg—
But also Ted Hughes’ adultery

No wonder I did what I did—
A bloody jar in the refrigerator

When did I become a priestess—
Savage dreams, secret poems?

Publish or perish with a new twist—
Surely I’ll never get tenure in academe

My bloody, sticky fingers so calm—
The Druids say fingers know ancient secrets

Primal, private, unspeakable—
Court Green my temple-crypt of horror

Under the thatch roof of my Dover dive—
Each night looking out the ratty window

Inhaling the smell of the graveyard—
The gas-chamber and ovens of St. Peter’s

Each night the sleepless electrodes—
Frying the Rosenberg’s brains

The death-throes of my lost love—
The hanged man’s spastic jerk

Rising from temple incinerators—
Hacked-off limbs & carnival freak stumps

How can I write Arielesque anymore—
After doing my unspeakable crimes?

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