Friday, August 10, 2012

The Other Plath



The Other Plath
Ruby Red
My Mother
Boy in Fog
Moors Mannequins

The Other Plath

“You are the one”
—Sylvia Plath
“Nick and the Candlestick,”

Young Nicholas—
The other Plath

The Peter Pan Boy—
Ariel’s young Viceroy

Sylvia’s young son—
The other Hughes

The other Plath—
Who’d figure it out

The one who knew—
Flying the coop

Sick of the—
Yorkshire Killer


“a stake in your
fat black heart”
—Sylvia Plath
“Daddy,” Ariel

Birthday Letters—
Imagining her body

Head in the oven—
Feet on the floor

Rewriting the poetry—
Revising her Ariel

Turning her readers—
Into peanut eaters

Draining her royalties—
Milking her Estate

Ted selling Sylvia—
On the cheap

Selling all her poetry—
As lifeless souvenirs

Making a mint from—
Emory buying it all

Selling her suicide—
Her stitches & sutures too

Ruby Red

“ruby the pain”
—Sylvia Plath
“Daddy,” Ariel

I’m Sylvia’s son—
My light burns blue

She died of boredom—
That’s what poets do

But that’s just a lie—
Poets die like you & me

Sometimes victims—
Of murder most foul

I was the baby boy—
Born in the barn

Sylvia’s divine child—
Jesus in the manger

I gulped for air—
How did I end up here?

Without the Star above—
And the Wise Men below?

Mommy Dearest

“the language obscene”
—Sylvia Plath
“Daddy,” Ariel

My father was going—
To kill her again & again

That’s what they told me—
That’s what Ted did

Every year or so—
He’d do it to her again

Trying to get even—
For what she said and did

Sometimes monthly—
Sometimes yearly

He practiced at it—
Murdering my mother

Doing it with words—
Digging her up again

Resurrecting her for—
A repeat performance

Boy in Fog

“I disappoint them”
—Sylvia Plath
“Sheep in Fog,” Ariel

The moors slip off—
Into moody darkness

My father Ted Hughes—
Regards me sadly

He sees Sylvia—
In my eyes and face

Then he looks away—
His face ashamed

How does a father—
Tell his only son

That dark waters—
Run deep thru heaven

Moors Mannequins

—Sylvia Plath
“The Munich Mannequins,”

The Yew Trees—
In St. Peter’s Cemetery

Blow in the wind—
Like underwater Hydras

Murder is terrible—
Especially for the children

The absolute sacrifice—
It means no more idols

What does a son do—
Listening to a conversation

When he hears the dialog—
Black Phone off the hook

Listening, listening—
His mother’s dead voice


“a counterfeit snake”
—Sylvia Plath
“Totem,” Ariel

Running away is useless—
Alaska isn’t far enough

The past is killing me—
How can I ever forget

Ted tried to hide it—
From me and my sister

His constant spiel—
They must never ever know

It would surely do them in—
If they ever found out the truth

His own guilt hunched—
Over the evil Black Telephone

Sorry Wrong Number—
But he keeps on listening

The guilt of murder—
Who’s that on the other end?


“seeing is useless”
—Sylvia Plath
“Totem,” Ariel

I was the aborted baby—
Beheaded, embalmed in spice

Flayed of fur & my future—
Gutted like a dead rabbit

My eyes, my teeth, my face—
The same as Sylvia Plath

I was the other Plath—
The Plath that got away

The Hughes gang heavies—
Bunch of Yorkshire hoodlums

Surely they felt endangered—
If I ever found out the truth

How could I not find out—
The gossip, the libbers, the dykes

So I fled to Alaska in America-
To get away from Ted & Company


“the zoo of the new”
—Sylvia Plath
“Child,” Ariel

I started off with clear eyes—
Filled with color and ducks

That was way back when—
When the zoo was new

Regent’s Zoo in London—
Not far from Fitzroy Road

The timber wolves howling—
Late into the London night

They stalked their cages—
Like my wolfish father did

It could have been—
So much more different

Not troublous and dark—
The moody monstrous moors


“it happens”
—Sylvia Plath
“Paralytic,” Ariel

Well, it happens—
But really so what?

Life is just a douchebag—
What else is new?

Deaths, murders—
We want them anonymous

Funerals say goodbye for us—
But still the dead aren’t dead

Their mouths are full of—
Shiny Black Lagoon pearls

Their ruby lips whisper—
On the Black Telephone

I cannot hear them—
I cannot hear my mother

I can imagine her though—
Fingering her forehead bruise


“the spot,
dull purple”
—Sylvia Plath
“Contusion,” Ariel

Everybody could see it—
That’s what they said

The dull purple bruise—
Contusion on her temple

She must have fallen—
Hurt herself somehow

Surely not the big—
Heavy glass ashtray

Smashing up against—
The side of her forehead

After she burnt the letter—
Saying she wanted a divorce

Her husband flipping out—
Ted hitting her hard

Knocking her out—
Then stuffing her in


“crackle and drag”
—Sylvia Plath
“Edge,” Ariel

Ted Hughes perfected—
And getting away with it

Smirking with innocence—
Playing the abused husband

Quite an accomplishment—
But really not that difficult

Men have been doing—
The same thing a long time

Blaming the victim for it—
Whether abuse or suicide

Sylvia was just a fruitcake—
It’s over, time to move on

Time to start making money—
Getting the Plath business going

Bleeding her blood-jet dry—
Milking the Estate’s royalties

Living off Sylvia’s dead genius—
Making a mint off the bitch

Court Green a cottage industry—
Playing the cards just right

Sidestepping Miss Larkin—
And brown-nosing the Queen

Even though her Highness—
Is used to such things

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