My poem Voices chosen as Yellow Chair Review’s first weekly feature

My poem Voices chosen as Yellow Chair Review’s first weekly feature.

Voices 

Someone said Anne Sexton wrote poetry so Kurt Vonnegut could conquer fear

coerced confessions never the most reliable
you want truth then look at Botero’s art
stick my head in a latrine and call me Rover
leash me beat me send photos to your friends
I’ll tell you every truth that never existed
shackle my hands to the dungeon wall
fetter my ankles and dress me in a red bra

be sure to match the panties painted on me
show my hairy arm pits my hairy knees
my face and belly and disgusting arms

what you want me to be what you’re afraid I am
soon I’ll confess both my sin and your own
I am a spy who bears incendiary thought
the hand of an angry god ready for retribution

put a collar on my throat sing cantatas of jeers

I call Lowell mama and Plath was my daddy

Sexton became my lover on the asylum path
I got no poppa and momma doesn’t want me
I’m not a normal woman I have needs
she breathed into my ear I want it all the time
at least I did before these new little pills
Dear Abby got it all wrong at least about me
she says women think about sex only rarely
while she claims men do every other minute
she’s wrong or I’m not natural the votes are in
It’s not that I see people as walking dicks or cunts
I’m no kvetching Portnoy either I don’t complain
it’s not like I’m even very good anymore I fear
the way they all leave I must have lost my touch
but still I have my needs my needs my needs
I hear your rhythms in words inside my head
put your hands around my neck inhale my breath

she confessed my madness in lie after naked lie
she chronicled my strife in every precise detail
torturous connections described everyone’s fear

her breath in my ear made me want to be her poppa
hold her in my arms and carry her to a sturdy bed
listen to her prayers and lick her throat with kisses
hide my excitement behind a mask of care
but I knew exactly how it would all turn out
standing on the path behind a cold stone wall
she’d forget me as soon as she found another
that’s if she’s ever able to forget me at all 

she was running for the streets when she found me
I was running from the streets when I moved in
she told me stories about family but nothing real
she sang Jim Carroll lullabies throughout the night
a song about people he knew who died so young
she let me sleep by day against the doctor’s order
she didn’t like how wet I get didn’t like my smell
I left her to be Edward Hopper’s waiting redhead
and now live on the always lonely side of the pain
condensation on glass my paper and flesh my pen
blood for ink scrawled across a threatening wall
a rhyme on my lips I’ll jump into my own grave
and I shall die sullen no one knowing my name
split me in threes with your spite part poppa part
meat-hook part the me that lurks in sordid glass
since I’ve already been to Brooklyn as she said
there’s nothing more to expect from this life
but it’s not her I want now that she’s left me
it was the thrill of meeting her on that path

I gaze into the mirror like a Botero beauty
I always hear her rhythms inside my head
I’ll forget about her as soon as I find another
that is if I’m ever able to forget her at all
I don’t think about her now except sometimes
those random dark hours when I call her name

from Botero's Abu Ghraib series

from Botero’s Abu Ghraib series

Anne Sexton with quote

Anne Sexton with quote

 

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