I make coffee and occasionally succumb to suicidal nihilism. But you shouldn’t worry – poetry is still first. Cigarettes and alcohol follow.
~ Anne Sexton
No. Not really red,
but the color of a rose when it bleeds.
It’s a lost flamingo,
called somewhere Schiaparelli Pink
but not meaning pink, but blood and
those candy store cinnamon hearts.
It moves like capes in the unflawed
villages of Spain. Meaning a fire
layer and underneath, like a petal,
a sheath of pink, clean as a stone.
So I mean a nightgown of two colors
and of two layers that float from
the shoulders across every zone.
For years the moth has longed for them
but these colors are bound by silence
and animals, half hidden but browsing.
One could think of feathers and
not know it at all. One could
think of whores and not imagine
the way of a swan. One could
imagine the cloth of a bee and
touch it’s hair and come close.
The bed is ravaged by such
sweet sights. The girl is.
The girl drifts up out of
her nightgown and its color.
Her wings are fastened onto
her shoulders like bandages.
The butterfly owns her now.
It covers her and her wounds.
She is not terrified of
begonias or telegrams but
surely this nightgown girl,
this awesome flyer, has not seen
how the moon floats through her
and in between.
A woman who writes feels too much,
those trances and portals!
As if cycles and children and islands
weren’t enough; as if mourners and gossips
and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warn the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.
A man who writes knows too much,
such spells and fetiches!
As if erections and congresses and products
weren’t enough; as if machines and galleons
and wars were never enough.
With used furniture he makes a tree.
A write is essentially a crook.
Dear love, you are that man.
Never loving ourselves,
hating even our shoes and our hats,
we love each other, precious, em>precious.
Our hands are light blue and gentle.
Our eyes are full of terrible confessions.
But when we marry,
the children leave in disgust.
There is too much food and no one left over
to eat up all the weird abundance.
The Ambition Bird
by Anne Sexton
So it has come to this–
insomnia at 3:15 A.M.,
the clock tolling its engine
like a frog following
a sundial yet having an electric
seizure at the quarter hour.
The business of words keeps me awake.
I am drinking cocoa,
that warm brown mama.
I would like a simple life
yet all night I am laying
poems away in a long box.
It is my immortality box,
my lay-away plan,
All night dark wings
flopping in my heart.
Each an ambition bird.
The bird wants to be dropped
from a high place like Tallahatchie Bridge.
He wants to light a kitchen match
and immolate himself.
He wants to fly into the hand of Michelangelo
and come out painted on a ceiling.
He wants to pierce the hornet’s nest
and come out with a long godhead.
He wants to take bread and wine
and bring forth a man happily floating in the Caribbean.
He wants to be pressed out like a key
so he can unlock the Magi.
He wants to take leave among strangers
passing out bits of his heart like hors d’oeuvres.
He wants to die changing his clothes
and bolt for the sun like a diamond.
He wants, I want.
Dear God, wouldn’t it be
good enough to just drink cocoa?
I must get a new bird
and a new immortality box.
There is folly enough inside this one.
Come, my beloved
consider the lilies.
We are of little faith.
We talk too much.
Put your mouthful of words away
and come with me to watch
the lilies open in such a field,
growing there like yachts,
slowly steering their petals
without nurses or clocks.
Let us consider the view:
a house where white clouds
decorate the muddy halls.
Oh, put away our good words
and you bad words. Spit out
your words like stones!
Come here! Come here!
Come eat my pleasant fruits.
~ Anne Sexton