On your Birthday, Sylvia: In Confession

http://www.the-declaration.org/?p=2282- Quiet Songs by Cindy Song I thought this summarized Sylvia quite well, also , this page contained images of other women I adore, who suffered from the curse of their own minds

On your birthday, Sylvia, I will not write you a poem but be brave enough to confront words the harder way- prose. Like you, I struggle with prose, recognizing how much harder it is than summarizing in a few lines of poetry, the breadth of the entire world. People would write you tributes, I’m sure. But I don’t think even those would have made you happy. You would have questioned yourself and them, and nit-picked through their glowing compliments to dig up the occasionally scantily-clad or well-shrouded criticism and sat with tears running down your face, wondering why you weren’t perfect. But that is not what I am driving at either.

There was something inherently designed inside you that I can so clearly recognize- the ability to see everything through a lens of intense emotion. The world you constructed revolved around you and yours; is this narcissism an important component of your mostly-confessional style of poetry? I think so, Sylvia because without it you would have been at a loss about what to write. You did not know anyone or anything better than you knew YOU, and you could not. Had you been able to look beyond your own dark pool of thoughts or changed your lens of examination, you would have found all the reasons in the world to get out of bed each morning and be alive in 2015 (and be less of a legend perhaps, in my mind) and write, write, write a lot more. You would have polished your art, striven harder and suffered from the classic curse of a creator, lived through heartfelt misery and channelized it into your writing in ways you perhaps couldn’t do. You would have been a legend of another sort, Sylvia.

But then I wonder: what if you hadn’t? What if your greatness only came from your inability to look outside your bubble of grief? What if, without it you were an average schoolgirl or a plain professor who wrote book after book but did not catch the imagination of a whole new genre? This is interesting to me because the reason that killed you was the very reason that made you. I ponder over this long and hard, losing touch with my reality when I think of the gratification that can be received from holding on to sadness. Sadness is like an anchor, without which I wouldn’t discover the wreckage of ships at the bottom of my sea. I would float unattended on top of the ocean, see fish and land and beaches, people, the sun, and an occasional dark storm. But I wouldn’t know what it felt like to have the pressure of the deep sea resting on top of me. I wouldn’t see the crevices at the bottom and the fantastic creatures that linger there. I wouldn’t understand the legend of sea monsters and merpeople. I wouldn’t find the occasional nugget of gold or a well-carved block of wood from a long-buried shipwreck.

I tried to look past your acerbic excerpts, Sylvia, at the truly knowledgeable things you said. I couldn’t, and I stumbled with refining my own definitions inside my head because I was starting to be consumed by your story that ended inside an oven. I can scratch the surface of melancholia but waves of hope and good fortune wash me against the shore of people and places I am able to fall in love with all over again, and I keep alive and I keep swimming on to the next destination. That is where I defined our differences, that was where I defied your glorious, shattering mentality. That is where I fail to be the kind of writer you were.

But I can still feel envy the way you do, and I can still hate the things I love. I can stretch myself until your moods become my own. I don’t.

And so, on your birthday, I wrote a confession of my own. I can imagine you reading through it and thinking, ‘this does not hold a candle to what I am capable of writing.’ And I would believe you . But I would go and read something the next day and feel this same emotion myself. And then I would bury it under a mountain of ‘what ifs?’, knowing that I can only write in short patches of fervent passion and do not have the energy to expand it into anything more concrete. I berate everything that seems ugly, including myself. I wish people were better to everyone else they knew, including myself on both ends of this spectrum. But who would they be better or worse to, because the moment I touch other people I explode into a growing mushroom of complications that force me to turn and run before I destroy myself and them. And then I wonder if these creative metaphor are anything more than gross exaggeration, because at the end of the day I am breathing, fighting, emerging, moving, sometimes crawling forward.

I know, I have always known, that all I am is a writer. Everything else is worthless without recording this journey of pain and that is what I do best.

And to commemorate, a stolen montage of some  Sylvia quotes:

Truer words have never been said https://fictionandflowers.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/sylvia-plath-quote-fictionandflowers-wordpress-com-why-do-i-write.jpg



Pile of Bones


We never learnt to be
Anything but half-crazed beings
Looking for patterns in our palm lines
And poems under stones and rubble

For aren’t we just beasts rising from
The dusts of wars we couldn’t win
Walking on bridges above precipice
Wishing fervently that death would mean
More than a pile of bones?

Half-A Poem and Some Chaotic Prose

The sun was sleeping on her belly while
The trees roared songs of distress
Powered by an ancient magic I
Inherited in my bones
I could hear them, see them, but when I spoke
My voice came out in wisps of smoke

I was nothing but the sound
Of rising motors bearing south
Beating beauty with my baton
I drew my own creations
I swallowed summer, spring and fall
And wrapped the dead in shawls of winter

It has been a long time since I wrote prose. I feel lost underneath my sea of thoughts; prose did not desert me but I slowly and steadily deserted prose, my first companion and the listener of my dreams and desires, and fears and fires. I am in another country, and happy and sad at the same time.

At times I am hit by the power of the world’s hostility and it blinds me to everything else. I question my capability to right the wrongs I see; who is to say that they are wrongs at all? All my definitions of them are in my head, and all I can do is write them down through the deepest abstractions and glide along, hoping someone would pick up where I leave off and feel the intense desire to do something, anything. But who is to know which “something” should be done, out of the thousands of somethings down there.

I left this poem midway because I started writing it on my phone and thought I would complete it on the laptop but when I finally typed it out here, my mind was a blank slate again. I hope to satiate my strong desires to stay in the center of large cases of books, picking the pieces of my heart through the prose and poetry others have laid down. Whether or not they are dead or alive right now matters very little but what matters is that they once were and that they once felt what they wrote, or pretended to feel it, or thought very sincerely that they were feeling it whilst in reality, they were not. I marvel at their writing and wish I could absorb it. I would be lost if I met them in real life and I wouldn’t say a single word, letting silence do my talking for me, but on paper we become best friends.

And, having been forced to refine my words on paper these past two months, I now see how chaotic an exercise my blog is. But I love it all the more for it. This raw energy would be lost, the moment I start to edit the things I write. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course, but thank heavens for the wonderful, joyful ability of writing whatever-whenever-however, and putting it out into the world, all the time pretending the only one who can hear you is you yourself.

The dimensions I create appear and disappear at will, but while they are here I embrace them, making the most out of the madness. This is why I love the things Charles Bukowski says, so unapologetically.



How could he
For even a second
In the incongruent corners of his mind
Where rusted and derived, the devil roars
Think-speak-act as though I were
A delicate wallflower
Under the wings of a sweeping storm
Whilst I, half-broken and delusory though I am
Had spoken to the soft pain
That wounded my soul
And taught myself how to laugh at it
And flirt with it, and toy with it
And sit still underneath its lingering gaze
But never stopped my often childlike
Sometimes engrossing attempts
To empower myself?



I’m writing for you
Flat on this bed of concrete
A story that evaporates
When my footsteps on dust are gone

I’m writing for you
From the sole of my feet
A story so intense
I may lose my own mind

I’m writing for you
On the canvas of the sky
A story so bizarre
It will shatter when I die

But all the cracks on the ground
And the gaps in my thoughts
Aren’t enough to make me stop
I can’t be anything but this
Staggering mess of complexity
Waiting for a story of my own creation

Keeper of my soul

I have known love and heartbreak in
All its colors and forms
And chosen you
To be the keeper of my soul
For the unmatched brilliance of your moon
Shining on my wide-awake chasms
Reminds me everyday
That true love exists
In silvery strands running through
These ebullient rivers of sorrow

Four-Leaf Clover


You have taken me to places
I didn’t expect to see-
Cold mountain lairs where
Single four-leaf clovers grow
In a dense forest of bare rocks
In the thinning sunlight of midwinter’s cold blocks
In a celestial sphere of pretty alien lights
In the bark of the foliage-free tree’s plight

You have played for me the soothing sounds
Of urban love in cities of concrete
Playing tunes on banjos of isolation
On the waves of ever-moving feet
In the middle of jungles of streets
In the blanket of resounding rain
In the mixed tapes of unbroken pain

And on the brink of extinction, as I fell backwards
(Who knew how beautiful that could be)
I breathed fragrant whispers from nature’s parched lips
And forgot who I was fighting my way away from
And who was the girl I was fighting to be
And yet of hope, love, luck and faith
The only one I had led to chasms of ache
But even layers of cloudy skies weren’t enough
My four-leaf clover fell from above

Falling in Love


I thought falling in love
Was one of those things you did
At the end of the day
When your feet were blistered
Toes curling in the cold and
Holes in your cap letting in watery waves of air
And from the yellow sidewalk light
Rose shadows of men you hadn’t seen since twilight
Or left behind, festooned with wreaths of mutual misery

And through the pools of darkness
Shone merry men and women making love
Behind lacy curtains in rippling moans of pleasure

And the bars that were full of twirling skirts
Lipstick stains and glasses of champagne
Lit your longing face with agony

I thought falling in love
Was something you found
When everything else was cracked and strained
The streets paved with all your heartbreak
And breathing heavy under the noise of pain

I didn’t know
Falling in love would hit me
On a lilting, breezy summer day.

Near and Far

I thought I heard my voice sucked dry
There is something boiling in my blood
It isn’t anger, just pain
At watching the stars come lie
Next to my palm and then
Fall like silver glitter in my braid

I thought I saw my moon rise high
There is something cursed in my veins
It isn’t red hot, just blue
From grasping at whispers in the sky
Catching notes of weeping tunes
But only running off the page

I thought I saw where fairies fly
There is something dancing in my chest
It isn’t neurotic, just insane
And linking years into chains
They weave around my neck and suddenly
I’m watching magic from so far away