SYLVIA (for Sylvia Plath)

SYLVIA PLATH

Sylvia,

You sat in the centre of an iron ring

distilling

 glass houses and jewelled windows

As clean as porcelain.

Your German brain made everything

An equation.

You heard children’s cries in the wires of

Your womanhood

And pictured horses tearing you

Limb from limb.

Why the auto-destruction?

Was Daddy calling out to you

From another region?

Did you have

A little girl’s need to sit at the feet

Of a killer?

Did you want star-power,

Your books sold on a scale unimaginable?

You always loved the feel of a winner.

Sylvia,

You are there

You have fallen into legend,

Biographies abound

Pale college girls sing their lipsticked praises

To your heartbreaks and your gilded monuments,

To Ariel, the Woman God in the Bible.

The yellowed pages of your poems

Still startle,

The intricate designs so finely wrought,

Miniature kaleidoscopes of thought,

Arctic inventions.

Mathematical  mirrored light.

You were a worker bee, alright.

Sylvia,

Your name rolls off the tongue

You were so young

Blonde bombshell,

Marilyn Monroe with an abstract eye,

You won’t ever die.

THE HORIZONTALIST

Lies flat or lays flat

Not a living thing on his mind.

Up or down like a pancake.

Down is better,

Down –

A tunnel into disappearance,

Space under the floor of the pillow,

Unlinked widespread

Carpets of form.

 

Practice sleep,

The one consolation.

Deep.

Neither hot nor cold

The neutral state

No body no taste.

Soundless music.

 

Up is different.

The sky’s the limit

A network of pinpoints,

Thought smudges

And crossed out plans,

Inhalations and breathed out

Despair.

Was she there?

Who was she?

Then spirals occur

And

Her face again becomes a blur.

Everything connected,

Everything infected with her.

Your head sits on a rock

And you’re tired.

 

You’re tired

But you don’t turn over.

THE ANGELS OF MAY

The angels of May make the seven

gray steps down and enter the clean sunlight.

Along the sidewalk, they move in pairs or in clusters

In solidarity on their way away from the severe

dark building where they learn to be good citizens.

 

In the ripple of Spring, in their plaid wraparound

skirts, sharply pleated, worn (their choice) up enough

to reveal burgeoning limbs caught between hem and

long socks, there are glimpses of the quality of

destination explorers have gladly died for: These are

perfectly in bloom art flowers!

 

Now, at lunchtime, they wave and frolic, dash and

dive, giving up squeals of  glee and bursts of temper

in gamely fashion under the city branches, some on swings

kick at the sky with outstretched legs, as if they wanted to

leave the world;  some sit in groups on the grass in bonding

arrangements, making sisterly gestures, at ease in their abstractions,

and on this oasis,  what secrets shared,  what plans hatched,

what crushes formed in their eager young hearts!

 

And when a silent bell sounds it is time to put down the recreations and

return to the cold building where instruction is bought for future advantage

when they will  be harnessed to their adult woes, although for the time being,

 they float automatically in procession, resigned to the remainder of their day

 like angels in the afternoon.

MY LOBOTOMY

Between the words there is rest.

Between the blizzard and the trunk full

Of rats

I pause.

 Before a crown of stars,

The afternoon glorifications.

 

Yesterday my brain was successfully removed

 Under fluorescent duress

 Inside the white room

By busy gowned chaperones

Whistling as they worked.

 Ten thousand glasses of water I ingested

At particular intervals between

 bouts of spittoon mouth and

Terrible outcries:

For revenge.

For mercy.

 

All of the procedures they followed

Scrupulously

No doubt.

My head now feels as slippery

As an olive.

So please,

Thank the team for me.

NO EXIT

Bitterness,

I have come to know you well.

I drink you every morning

as my coffee,

which is such a soothing mix

of warmth and sweetness tinged

With acid.

It asks:

What is it like to kill,

What would it be like?

Would it assuage the pain,

the nagging discontent

I carry as an invalid on my back?

Whom to bestow it on?

No one special,

only the act,

lancing the pimple, so to speak,

and the spray of white goo

on the mirror would suffice,

like my mother demolishing

my teenage acne,

with her scent nearby.

Is that a recipe for relief,

for the bitterness

that lives in my gums,

 jaws clenched and ready?

You may see it in the lips

Downturned, sullen,

a picture of contained rage

as a memory passes,

a regret perhaps.

Yet I do not know why

I carry such poisons. I know

all things are born to suffer,

to decay and die.

Does a flower know bitterness?

I am not above a flower,

only another evanescent thing

I encounter in the mirror.

But the rancour is static,

metallic, situated at the

bottom, a constant irritant,

the bullet that does not fire,

that has no focus, no target.

I have no real enemies, nobody

I harbour hatred for. I rarely hate people,

only myself on an occasional basis.

And why? I find no answer, I rather

appreciate me. Origins? I know this: I felt

it as a child when I knew nothing

about the past. Perhaps I inhaled

a generic truth somewhere along the line

that there is no Justice. Anywhere for anything,

and so we are stuck (I am not the only one)

in a perpetual state of futility, a swamp of impotence

that grates and itches and cannot really be relieved.

HAPPINESS (inspired by Donovan)

DONOVAN https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donovan

 

Happiness runs

Happiness runs on a magical ocean

Happiness runs on a mystical beach

Happiness runs thru you

And it runs thru me

It is freedom from

It is freedom to

All you’ve ever wanted

You have for free

See the balloons leaving now

The sky’s in place

With no specific destination

No reason for haste

We become suspended

In a private garden of space

 

Time has gone now

Gloom has disappeared

It is a world of appearances

As light as air

MANSON’S MUSIC

I live in this cell 23 hours a day,

One hour out for a shower.

 I walk the walk

I talk the talk

I watch time crawl

 all over me.

 

My brain,

 

 It’s plastic

Like the toys you sell.

I make it into little figurines

And give it to orphans,

Scorpions for Christmas

And Easter creepers.

 

Where am I from, you ask.

 

I was born in the toilet.

My mother fucked niggers.

I grew up eating buttons

For Sunday dinner.

 

Then I hit the street,

Slinked  down alley ways

After  stray cats.

Some people flagged me

And  I did a stretch at a boys’ school.

 When I tried to bust out

They stopped me and

Shot me in the hole.

 

From there it went

Home to home

I didn’t see the sun in years.

 

So,

 

Am I Jesus,you ask.

I suppose I am.

I grew into it.

I have died so many times

For  your sins.

Fact is

There is little else to do

In here.

 

And

 

I am also famous  for starting

World War Three.

With

My swastika heart

And Charlie Chaplin soft shoe

 

I became The Great Dictator.

 

Of course,

 

After all these years

You still find me quaint.

You send me notes.

You reinvent me

On MTV,

Where

Bug – eyed I smile

Through your bars

And dance for you

With knives in my eyes

Like a trained seal

For your applause.

 

But I have never lived in your

World.

Not really.

Nor cared to.

I live outside your laws.

I stayed honest.

 

And

 

My pride is hard.

You will never break it.

It is the only thing keeping me.

 

Otherwise

I might have flown away long ago

To windswept desert reaches

And places only the Spirit is

Privy to.

 

Because

 

actually

I am Indian

at heart.

Savage

 in nature.

You can see that In my clothes

And in my style.

And

If I have ever committed crimes

It was only to the unwise,

The upholders of all

Thin arguments.

 

I am

The Great Satan, you say.

 No, not that way.

Just your ugly face in the mirror.

You

keep me alive.

You

 keep me from you.

You made me immortal.

Beyond doubt

That

 Is

 true.

 

 

HATE THE SIN

You killed a little girl.

You slit her throat with a steak knife

And now you wonder how it all came about.

 

You were a thief

You loved Princess Di for her heart

You had never had any thought about killing anyone,

Especially a child.

 

Until that day

At that time

Under those circumstances,

 

It came over you like a blanket

Covered you in darkness,

The you of the kernel

 

The you you knew.

 

You became an unknown to yourself,

Whom you hated

Whom you loved

For a brief instant.

 

It made the killing easy

Until it kicked in

And it was too late.

 

The black dog of vile

Won the fight

 

The white dog of radiance

Fell asleep.

 

I don’t know who I became

But he has left me.

THE LION AND THE STRIPED CHILD

From my ball of stupor a glint at the edge

of my eye puts my limbs on notice. Stretch out,

neck swivels, sniff the air, nothing unusual here,

shadows, hardly a sound, nothing to fear or

get excited for, just par- my tired woolly life

in here. Go back down. Rest some more. But no!

There, in the distance, a little parcel, a striped little thing. Yes,

I remember, the way we were, a thousand years before,

the green world, the savannahs and skies, red and

bloody suns. We ran, my family and I, the ground flashing

under us, our blood pounding inside us. For the kill.

Everything tied to the kill. Things mattered then. I will. 

Shamble down, not to scare the little thing. Here. Such a sweet  marvel.

Plaything. Dear friend, as yet unaware. Mine, I swear. I reach

to touch the skin. It’s not there. I hurt myself instead. I’ll try again.

Same thing. Am I imagining this? I’m in a bad dream.

 I gnash my teeth, I want to break the screen.  I want to smash

 this dream. I want out. I want out of here.

STORY OF A MYSTIC RAPPER

What I Used To Be

 

I know I’m not young

but I like to have fun.

My girlfriends are many

I don’t give them a penny.

They like how I get off

a train or a bus.

I move them real neat

from their head to their

feet.

They know how I’m cool

They know I don’t drool.

I go to a shop

I know how to mop.

I pick-up a strapon

a real big one.

I wave it around.

Their eyes water

and they give the signal.

But I’m too chill

I’m not ready to kill.

I make them wait

I’m that great

the strapon king

with a busted wing.

I might be smoking a blunt

I might be hustling some cunt

I might be changing my teeth

I might be checking my briefs

I might be writing a cheque

For the bling around my neck.

I could be busting a rhyme

having a down time

ignoring the squares

their sneers and their stares

their obvious hate

for a dude who comes late

to the game.

But I couldn’t care less.

I’m in the end zone.

scored a touchdown

got ‘em going down.

I’m a rap man

not no scrap man

I live the lush life

got no lame wife

I live on the street

I’m easy to meet

for a deal.

Got something going on

gonna feel you out

gonna hear you out.

I could be your partner

in crime

could be your worst

nightmare instead.

In case you are not aware

I got good connections

got good protection

got people who

would make you into stew.

So don’t waste my time.

Don’t bug down on me

and try to be gangsta.

Cuz I”ll just blow you off.

You lie to me and you gone

man.

I ain’t no front man.

You ain’t no stunt man.

You be cool man.

 

Then I Went Away

 

You boys want some interior.

I ain’t coming down on any neutral

ground.

I ain’t no cousin or no dad.

Don’t believe in the Second Coming

or The Man From Glad.

This town’s a shit factory

so let’s make some money.

USA

I’m home grown.

Grew up easy and forlorn.

Had both my parents

born on the right side of the track.

Was spoon fed till I felt dead

with what I was supposed to keep

In my head.

Algarbra and Geoimetry

never felt right to me.

I knifed a teacher when I was only

three.

They shipped me to another country.

Worked in a factory

 of woe.

Never felt any purpose till

I quit to go

on a plane on a train on a bus

Just go and go and go

with not a thought for tomorrow.

Witnessed the most incredible shit

in all the lands on this earth.

Everywhere slavery abounded.

Everyone danced to the Man’s beat.

Even the most primitive folk

in a jungle or a boat had to

battle to eat.

Had the realization that

We’re just ants that crawl our way

around.

We try to avoid making contact

till we need a contract.

Then we hustle till the wheels

come off.

I ain’t no bigtime shmo.

I had a life of disaster.

I am old now

but I once lived in the lap of luxury.

Had it all I believed.

What more could a rich boy need.

Then it all fell down the drain

and I came to a point where I

contemplated the end.

I could not find a friend.

Just wanted out of the game

was whack on my name

couldn’t pronounce it in fact.

I needed a second act.

 

So

I changed my name.

Became a new person.

Read scholarly books.

One that hit had mystical roots.

Why not become a swami or a saint.

That seemed just the right slant

for a boy with a bug up his ass.

I got the appropriate gear

at a country bazaar

Robes and bangles and bling to boot.

I tried on my new suit.

It fit like a glove.

Now I was

a flaming swami.

So hurray for me.

 

Swamis need cool.

They don’t go at it hot.

They sit and they watch

with their eyes closed.

They’re inside not out.

They watch the whole deal

the cosmos within.

Then they put it together

The body the mind the spirit.

They attain some perfection

I’m told.

So I went at it thus

didn’t eat

didn’t sleep.

I just studied my navel.

I meditated for months

for years in fact.

Just looked at the way

things go

like a lazy river in fact

flowing up to the

center of me.

I had serenity.

Had lots of adventure

sittin all alone undisturbed

by the world.

Many attacks to my mind

came in flux. 

But I stayed cool

Like I always am.

The Ugly Spirit inside

reared its head.

reviled me

tried to stop me

tried to make me dead

didn’t want me to know

what I had to know.

But I tried so hard to know

what I

am

My real name

Not my game name

Not my lame name.

A voice came thru

that assured me

I ain’t no gangsta.

No I gotta rap that

I ain’t no mean man.

I turned my life around man.

I had the epiphany.

that you and me

is the same

in the Ultimate Game

We just one pattern

all entwined

all the gangs

a mess of a thing

together like noodles

in Alphabet soup.

We’ll be eatin

but we’ll go on

yes we’ll go on

in ecstasy not in rivalry

not in violence.

And the man the policeman

he just an actor in a plot.

He don’t understand

don’t put no blame

on him.

One day he will realize

the error of his ways

and his old thing

will burn up in a flame.

This ain’t no sermon man

this ain’t no religion to follow

this ain’t no heaven or hell.

There needs to be

in the Law

I received

only one thing

only love and compassion

for each other and for everything

alive in this world.

Not because it is said by a priest or

The president.

Only because it is what it is.

 

The Return

 

I’m back on the field

back on the street

playin’ the game

cathin’ the ball.

Now that I’m whole

I stay above the fray

watchin from a distance

givin my all

but keepin a little.

I don’t talk trash

I don’t hurt or maim

That’s not my game.

They ask me why

I don’t make anyone cry.

I tell em what I brought back

The Truth about compassionate.

You in the right room they say.

It seems your head is not in place.

You not gonna make it here with that

bullshit about love and all.

That’s what Jesus said

and look at him today.

We killers here

We don’t love the enemy.

We fight for what we want.

We get what we want

by any means available.

We live for hate mainly.

It’s the logical choice.

We can’t  turn it off

down here in the hood.

 

I tell em straight.

You wanna hurt yourself

You wanna blind yourself

You wanna cut yourself.

Because anytime you do wrong

you are doing wrong to you.

You can’t feel it but you do.

Because you are that whom you wrong.

 

Of course nothing works.

Words don’t mean much anymore.

What do you do

with folks who don’t want to know

the truth of who they are

even from an old man

who’s been around the block

who’s been up and down

who been on the street

the same street they on

for a long time.

Do you walk on.

Do you keep on

tryin to make a change

in attitude

by logic.

 

But nothin ain’t logical anymore.

We livin by instincts

from a long time ago.

That ain’t no way to go.

If up is where we desire to be

there ain’t but one way to be free.

Jump back into Innocence.

All the other shit don’t make no sense.

 

It seem we all know this in our blood.

Everyone knows there is only love

worth being on the planet for.

Open the door

and walk right in.

That’s the advice of an old rapper

who’s hot on the charts

and don’t give a fart

if you believe him or not.

MIRROR

Actors on a lawn asked  questions

They have no answers for.

 Blanks,

 Their next part has not yet been written

 Their past ones nearly forgotten,

And when and why a tangle of chaos to them.

The audience cheers.

They are a known quantity.

 They are in fact every part they have ever played.

 

Does the mirror ever stop reflecting?

And when there is no image what does

The mirror become?

I am because I know you see me

Without you I don’t exist.

But do you lie?

Yes, you do

Because you are a cheap mirror.

AUTUMNAL BLUES

And, yes

Around us everywhere

The golden note

Autumnal glory, as you please,

Messaging the possibility

That ease may arrive

All dressed up as Sunday.

 

I lay in wait for Godot

With the same stumbling quality

With no ideology

No compass, no certainty,

All the spiderwebs that lead me here

That left me here bereft

The question marks looming

The leaves used up

The casual way they spread.

 

Perhaps I am dead

Like them

I had a home once

Where I belonged,

Now on my own I beg

Something miraculous must come

Yes, like the glory around us suggests

We are something other than

Appearance dictates

And presses so hard against

 

The thin film to

Evanescence and escape

Only motion and peace

And no suffering in the end

There is so much time to contend

And I am so tired of calling for

Something

Something

I don’t even know

What anymore.

LOVE THE INSANE

Love the insane

They sleep in a garden of fire

Their dreams are as alive as gold

They speak in foreign tongues

And drink the music of the spheres

 

Love the insane

As they pass you in the street

And touch you with a killer’s glance

Their rags represent perfect pictures of what

You are in fact

 

Bless the insane

They carry your pain on their backs

They know things that you only suspect

Their wisdom is as old as the earth itself

 

Your food does not sustain them

Your jobs do not pay them well

They house an army of men in their bones

Shattered glass is their home

 

When you look into their eyes hold their gaze

Let the child in you escape

And touch a place

That may not even exist

 

Don’t put on your face

You are a dream to them

A body and a hand

Gracefully let it all expand

 

Love the insane

Let your cold heart fill with a furnace of blood

And

Be grateful

Be still

THE MAN WITH NO VOICE

What can we say to the man with no voice? We hear you still, your nagging, coughing ways, your hunchback array of fineries. Your wild eyes and ambition crippled in the bud. You sound beyond the hypnotic mass of mediocrities. You reach the crux of our half yearnings. You investigate the caverns of out sheltered hearts. You are the voiceless voice that captures us in our sleepy wanderings. Hail to the underground pulse!

A SILENT SCREAM

Waiting is like dying

 Each moment steps away

 Into a tomb

 Never to return

 Even in memory

 Just a facsimile

 If that,

 While we labour on

 In existential uncertainty.

Awareness of this brings on

A silent scream:

 

Am I these exposed nerve endings

Am I this plodding mass

Am I this prisoner of false memories,

Or, actually, none of these?

 

I hope I deserve some sort of something.

Even if I have only fumbled

Lame attempts at this Game

All my long lifetime,

(or, all my lame lifetime this Game fumbled)

 

I have tried.

 

Even a taste,

A whisper in the wind…

BLACK – an homage to Beaudelaire

I turn my back on black

I exclude her from my home

She has been trouble from the start

She has ruined a good man’s heart

 

She came to me long ago

Who she was I did not know

What she promised me was nice

 Then led me on a trail of vice

 

That took me to a land of woe

I gave up everything to her

Desires dark and terrible

Caused decency to crumble

 

I turned on love’s sweet side

It never had a chance

Hatred was a constant whip

Black held in her grip

 

I crawled over broken glass to her

To the jungle where she lived

I transformed into a predator

I killed and maimed for her

 

Every prize I sacrificed

Took me further from myself

I had a wife who waited for me

What I was I could not be

 

Was this man a monster

It seemed so in the mirror

Despicable and deformed

Into black’s visible creature

 

That turmoil within me

 Finally broke me to the bone

Armies of confusion

 Against ultimate reason

 

Then one day I woke from this dream

That black had sent to me

She knows my mailing address

Will I ever be free

AN UNSEEN FRIEND

An itch you cannot bear

An itch you can’t repair

It tortures you at night

The day is just not right

 

Where did my spirit fly

Did my spirit die

I know no reason why

I never told her a lie

 

Please come back in some form

I am so forlorn

I’ll make it up to you

I’ll be your pawnshop Jew

 

The Quest is so obscure

There really is no cure

For the shadow flaw

For the animal in the raw

 

You’ve been an unseen friend

I will love you to the end

Of my voyage on this earth

For whatever it is worth

 

In a moment before dawn

I will find your finger on

A word that must be said

Whether black or red

 

The future is so certain

I stand behind this curtain

With no definite views

I pick up nobody’s cues

 

Am I right or wrong

Am I playing the wrong song

Did I fall into a well

Will I ever get out of hell

 

I have no time to spare

For what I cannot bear

My days are getting few

My voice is ringing true

 

I’m so happy I am old

I never do what I am told

I never eat the common dish

Whether salad meat or fish

 

I don’t believe in anyone

I just believe in One

A jewel before my eye

I see you and I cry

 

You play the utmost Melody

From your branch in the tree

One two and three

Into the heart of me

 

My Muse come back to stay

I can’t bear another day

To be apart from You

When I never know what’s true

APART NOT APART

In the bland wave of a sunny summer afternoon

I found my way,

An opening to happiness.

It amounted to acceptance

That she is a fact

And I am a fact

That we are separate and

That this is not negotiable.

We are true to our own DNA.

We come together in moments

In between the clouds in

A union so solid

That we know our love is real,

Then each go our own way

To face the murky reflections

In our mirrors.

A SORT OF MARRIED COUPLE

I try to picture us on beds,

you on a bed of roses

me on a bed of nails.

Still, we are here together as before and

before that,

a sort of married couple

who live at separate addresses

and meet for dinner and snacks.

I drink liquor and you plan my heart attack.

I have problems and you have nerve attacks.

What a pair, what a team

we present!

Even if we live in different worlds

until we have to pay a bill.

I feel good knowing you’re well,

You feel good when you give me hell.

Then I go into action mode,

I have a new knife, you know.

All is settled in a minute, though.

And we come together as lovers should.

We kiss and cuddle on the rug,                                         

And you plan tomorrow,

I just shrug.

But we are more alike than different, you know.

We were brother and sister in another life.

We toiled the ground and lived on a farm.

We made friends with lots of breeds.

In Italy, everyone has peculiar needs.

But back to now in 2021.

Our love is strong and tough.

We are old, but we give enough.

You are still lovely.

A mask of the sun,

your light is strong.

I wear dark glasses and hope I’m not wrong.

FOUND AND LOST

Angel heart, I start to miss you.

You used to be so light and free.

You walked among trees

and lived on a hill.

You abided by the Law,

the one you discovered

a long time ago in the summer.

There was the girl,                                       

the one with whom you glided along

In the Laurentian air holding hands.

You saw a future in each other’s eyes,

one in which you took the

Path to Enlightenment together.

The world was easy to comprehend:

Famine Disease Misfortune,

there was a reason baked into the horror.

All the while you laughed and made love

and made light of everything.

Playing Jesus,

everyone was a brother.

You walked on air

until the winds shifted

and the snarling face of reality pushed

a hand thru to rip out

the person you had become.

You parted with the girl

with not as much as a kiss goodbye.

And then another you emerged, a darker you,

a heavier you, more cumbersome and questioning.

The world ceased to make sense.

From then it was drinks and drugs and prolonged

loneliness.

There was no going back, it seemed.

Angel heart,

I can’t situate myself to absorb you again,

to bring you back to me,

to see thru your eyes.

Love exists

but innocence is not available.

I am hungry and in pieces

but I remember.