Photo by AP
Like everything else I write, this piece started out as a one-page fragment consigned for several years to the drawer of Shame and Self-Loathing. When I was living in San Diego a couple of years ago, teaching and learning to surf, I pulled it out and finished it, then took it down the hall to Paula and Julie’s apartment. “Does this story make you hate and want to kill me?” I said. Its genesis was my love of terrible poetry and my own experience growing up in a ranch-style home in Idaho that was basically a padded cell surrounded by other mindless families in padded cells. Sylvia Plath had the unfortunate effect on me as a teenager of making me think that the only way to be taken seriously as an intellectual girl was to attempt suicide at least once a month, which I didn’t do, and this failure led to chronic low self-esteem and feelings of fraudulence, which persist to this day, but in a good way.
Dear Sylvia Plath:
Hi I am 14 and I know you’re dead but it’s 1 AM and my dad is swearing and falling around in the pool like a drunken pork sausage, what a fucking asshole, I was standing in the kitchen two seconds ago with a butcher knife to go kill him before he shoots us to death, but I chickened out, which I know your dad was a problem too so I could totally relate to your poems about how he’s a Nazi who kept you living in his boot even though I basically hated poetry until this minute, so I’m just writing this fake letter because NOW HE’S GETTING OUT OF THE POOL LIKE A MONSTER AND SAYING FUCK, Jesus Christ Sylvia, if you could hear him, it’s like he’s not even human. Now he just massively fell back in, Achtung you Nazi motherfucker, just drown and get it over with so I can RELAX. Listen, Sylvia, I can’t believe you stuck your head in that oven, you crazy nut! I’m completely terrified to die, even though vastly depressed. There is so little time in this life to do what you want, more on that later. I had to look out the window because it got all quiet but he’s just slumped over in the grass like an ape. It’s sad but Fuck him. Anyway, Sylvia, I’ve been tortured about dying for years, ever since reading Little Women made me realize we’re all doomed and ruined my life. But, one day however, I opened your book THE BELL JAR and literally died of shock. For the first time I saw someone in a book portraying emotions that were exactly mine, I never even knew it was okay to write about them! I never would have figured it out by myself. Like when you said how the tulips were breathing I realized I always saw them breathing too but I was in denial. Oh my god I fucking HATE feeling bad for him after he just scared the shit out of me all night, I try not to but I can’t handle him being all lonely in the grass like that, he seems so ashamed and confused, like he doesn’t know what’s happening and no one can help. I don’t want him to slip and die for real, just knock himself out a little so I can sleep. Even though then I’ll dream he’s chasing us with the gun but whatever. I always want to tell him don’t worry, it’s not your fault, everyone loves you, we’ll figure out how to make it stop. But I CAN’T, being insane and not human when he’s like this you can’t get him to make sense, plus no way am I going out there alone, he’s like a bear who never learned English and seems sweet and nice when you pet him, but all of a sudden you feel a fang in your brain and a massive cracking sound blasts your eyes out, as slowly you realize your head is being crushed to death in his rampaging jaws! Sylvia, there’s so much to express but it’s a school night, I will tell you more later. IF I am still alive tomorrow. How perfect would it be if my dad killed me tonight and they found this letter under my body, all smeared with blood!! THESAURUS VOCABULARY STUDY
(for my own personal reasons, not school!) an asinine cracking sound blows your eyes up (your ASS)
a baleful cracking sound blasts into your eyes like a train from your ear tunnel roaring into unsuspecting eggs
corybantic cracking sound makes your eyes pop out and hang there (like a dufus)
stygian cracking sound explodes your eyes (straight into Jeri Hutcheson who then has to be home-schooled forever)
malodorous cracking sound
porcine cracking sound
dipsomaniac ass crack
sanguinary crack whore
nefarious crack store
lugubrious crack sore . . . . . .
INSCRUTABLE CRACK!!!!!!! Dear Sylvia Plath, Like you, I have been sensitive and depressed all my life. Ever since Beth went out with the tide in Little Women, my mind has been a dark chamber full of death. But did or does anyone hear my choking sobs of entrapment? Answer, No. My debate teacher Mr. Walker (“Greg”) is this amazing person, age 24. His hands express gently and he really likes your poems, which the only other guy I know who does is my friend Russ Marcus, he smokes pot in his car. We hang out in the parking lot every day during social studies and even though he’s totally hilarious and nice to me he’s still popular. Well, there’s this depressed older girl Marla in the other debate class. Greg’s always saying in his caring way how sensitive and brilliant she is because she’s depressed and writes poems for the literary magazine. I’ve only read one poem by her, about a spider. I didn’t really get it. And even though she’s in Debate I barely know her because she’s too sensitive to compete. Greg says she’s too shy and can’t handle very much except reading Emily Dickinson. This is just so frustrating because I’m unbelievably shy too on the inside, but he doesn’t understand. We talk about your poems and everything but I don’t know what to say that’s intelligent. I’ve been trying to show my depression more so he will see I’m smart but basically all I do is joke around with him like one of the guys, he’s hilarious plus I get a little hyper from boys shooting me with spitballs during Rebuttal. I wish I looked more tiny and delicate, why am I always laughing even though worried about being murdered? (By my dad mostly, but basically anyone.) Well I have been giving a lot of thought to this one poem where you go, Love, love, my season. A man such as Greg has not run across my path before and now that I am in my Season of Love you have helped me a lot. When the Season first started I was overwhelmed by torture. Yet Sylvia, you made me see how suffering is beautiful, instead of getting down on myself. Fuck Emily Dickinson. Even though I’ve never read her I’m at least as depressed as Marla. Also, not to be mean, I know how the spider is a metaphoric bug of sadness etc., but whatever. It still seems like poetry is mostly for assholes, no offense, but I’m trying to get past that. I think Greg will see the pain behind my laughing facade if I can write like you. But not LOOK like you, ha!! I’m sorry, you can’t help it that you were in the 50s with those hairstyles or whatever. I picture you like Kristen Scott Thomas, except with glasses. Does that sound shallow? I guess that sounds shallow. Don’t worry, I don’t need to be attracted to you to like your writing. But it would help. Not that I’m a lesbian. I just need these visual aids to get into it or something. What am I talking about, I’m grossing myself out. I don’t think anything about anything. You be DEAD, Beee-atch, and this fake piece of shit is over. Dear Ms. Plath: Please forgive me for troubling you when you have no idea whom I am, and of course you mustn’t feel the need to answer as this is doubtlessly one amongst thousands of letters from your admirers. But, anyway I recently had the pleasure of being introduced #1 to The Bell Jar, #2 to your poems, respectively. I found myself quite moved, to my surprise, I never knew there was a poet as superior and perceptive as yourself. I am unfortunate to be trapped in a small farming town in the middle of NOWHERE much like Jane Eyre where we only get 4 channels with nothing edifying. I deeply adore and write poems thanks to you which Mrs. Gunn my French teacher says are quite interesting, but please don’t think me immodest for I know they suck. I am surrounded by oafs who are nice to me unless I act like I like or love them for example Mr. Jim Tedeschi but fuck him he’s simple country folk, forgive my language, often I am swept by tantrums, being tempestuous. To get to the one worthless bookstore, Mother must drive me to the mall on the freeway that stretches like a flat black tongue through the hellish corn. The people rise from the dead to drive their glittering cars like shattered cries speeding into the throat of madness. Like you I am masticated in the grinding jaws of endless thoughts of death. One example is I couldn’t drink out of a glass when I was 7 because I thought glass would come off and slide down my throat, bleeding to death. If anyone is reading this in the future because they are writing my biography or snooping in my room as usual, looking for fake reasons to punish me, this part of my journal is private and not for publication. I am just thinking out loud because unfortunately I am surrounded by zombies who care nothing for inspiration and passion, just pheasant hunting and vacuuming. Saying how negative I am every time I say something true like how commercials on TV are total lies and people are sheep. And speaking of lies this is not being written because I am smoking pot as I am constantly accused of by a person or persons who say they can smell it on my personage when I come home, which is a total paranoid falsehood. It just so happens that my pot smoking is for purely personal reasons ONLY, being totally unrelated to my diaries or other creativity ventures. So my point AS A STRAIGHT-A STUDENT with many extracurricular activities such as Marching Band and Jazz Band is that I smoke pot in my usual responsible way and not as the lazy criminal who feeds off of society, nor also for some meaningless high, but rather as a positive thing that INCREASES MY PRODUCTIVENESS by slowing my brain down enough to sit still without being carpet bombed by a herd of worrying about tumors and where is Dad.
Blood is spurting like a seizure
Do you not hear the tulips
screaming in the vortex?
The carefree child became a monster
No more shall the small bee merrily prance
The carefree child became a monster
Porcine bees come blasting
from a shotgun
Pierced by knives of cruelty
Like a voodoo doll that everyone is
with pins for no reason
Is this one better?
Carefree child you are a monster Or so the zombies say Whom once was an innocent baby Explodes in the screaming vortex Stabbed by the prancing nightmares Of a voodoo doll in a bloody seizure
See the bloody Voodoo child of seizures
Laugh at her hanging naked
from your inscrutable rope
Do you not hear her stygian screams
Above the malodorous vortex?
That is filled with the
snapping bones of Madness?
Madness of snapping Bones?
God, poetry is HARD. Trying to find the perfect way to express the visions trapped inside me is like being a tiny bird pecking against the stone mountain of eternity. How can I be a madly brilliant artist with burning eyes and arms like sticks if I can’t even have a nervous breakdown! If someone would think to take me to a psychiatrist like Sylvia Plath, the truth of my invisible SOS would be revealed by an EXPERT, PROVING this hellhouse. But no. Being so burnt out from planning the vacuuming schedule, the only thing you see is pot. Making up excuses to punish me for no reason WHATEVER, it never occurs to you that a girl with massive feelings about this magic life might stay in her bedroom all the time because like all serious artists she is depressed, for example by all the sadness and death in the world, starting with CERTAIN THINGS IN THIS HOUSE!!!!! Also I wonder why this person or persons thinks they know what pot smells like because there is no way certain parties have ever been within walking distance of a joint. I’m too stupid to know you obviously hate me because I know all your friends stay drunk so they don’t have to face the fact that their lives are meaningless even though they have a pool. As I write this, Sylvia, my parents hurtle toward death in their sleep, strangled by the scarves of apathy wrapping their nose. I sit on my bed surrounded by the accoutrements of my lost childhood, looking out my window.
The moon is weeping in the window of my prison cell Where I am swinging naked (in a noose) above the bones of snapping madness
who will be my
Do you not see me BURN?! Your initials are enigmatic Your first name rhymes with Egg… Yes I am haunted! Yes! How I yearn for you to get this rope off of my Neck so I can suffocate in your lugubrious caress