an anniversary of dying

“Dying/ Is an art, like everything else./ I do it exceptionally well”    Sylvia Plath


Twenty years ago, I was writing her words in my notebook as adolescents do when they are in love.

     I  HEART  Jennifer  Christine   Sarah   Melissa   Gina   J’Nnae    Rachel

Instead of girls’ names in my classes, I was taking apart the poems of Sylvia Plath. Repeating lines into each page as though I couldn’t speak without her language reminding me how to.

When I was in high school, I mastered the art of almost death. And into young adulthood and adulthood. And I think about the grey in her mind and how many shades mirror my own.

Sixty years ago, she died. Turned her body into a meal consumed by gases. One month later, “The Bell Jar” emerged. How often did she think about what would proceed her. Did she trust that her husband would honorably publish what lingered. Did she trust her husband. Did she feel about love the way I feel: that it exists like paper– something to be written on and scratched out and revised and workshopped and blank sometimes.

I am alone in my bedroom, yet there are so many genders and bodies surrounding me each night. I choose who I sleep with. Rilke hides in the curve of my hips. But sometimes I need it to be Anne Sexton or there are those naps during the day where Bukowksi sneaks in and though we like our space, there is a lot of rummaging and coarseness. Kate Bornstein and I sneak stories into each other’s skin and Kathy Acker and Audre Lorde. When I want to be reminded how I think about my body, I read Dodie Bellamy as I cut up the parts that label me as one thing in order to become something else.

I have just a few pages left of Rilke, so I place Plath’s “Ariel” into my bag. With black pen between my fingers, I think about how we can speak together like ghosts. I thought we’d die together, then I hunted Sexton and planned to die with her. Now, I’m eyeing others who lasted a bit longer to see how far I can get.

Advertisements

One response to “an anniversary of dying

  1. A haunting reflection. Well done.

    I was drawn here while doing a tag search for “Sylvia Plath” posts.

    I am currently reading Plath’s journals in preparation for a writing project and I’m hoping to foster some dialogue about Plath’s life and work. I did a brief post on her early perspectives here –

    http://writingforfoodinindy.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/beauty-out-of-sorrow-reflections-of-a-young-sylvia-plath/

    I would love for you to drop by and join the conversation.

    Keep up the good writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s