Poem of the Week 104

Lady Lazarus

Sylvia Plath

 

I have done it again.

One year in every ten

I manage it——

 

A sort of walking miracle, my skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade,

My right foot

 

A paperweight,

My face a featureless, fine

Jew linen.

 

Peel off the napkin

O my enemy.

Do I terrify?——

 

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?

The sour breath

Will vanish in a day.

 

Soon, soon the flesh

The grave cave ate will be

At home on me

 

And I a smiling woman.

I am only thirty.

And like the cat I have nine times to die.

 

This is Number Three.

What a trash

To annihilate each decade.

 

What a million filaments.

The peanut-crunching crowd

Shoves in to see

 

Them unwrap me hand and foot——

The big strip tease.

Gentlemen, ladies

 

These are my hands

My knees.

I may be skin and bone,

 

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.

The first time it happened I was ten.

It was an accident.

 

The second time I meant

To last it out and not come back at all.

I rocked shut

 

As a seashell.

They had to call and call

And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

 

Dying

Is an art, like everything else.

I do it exceptionally well.

 

I do it so it feels like hell.

I do it so it feels real.

I guess you could say I’ve a call.

 

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.

It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.

It’s the theatrical

 

Comeback in broad day

To the same place, the same face, the same brute

Amused shout:

 

‘A miracle!’

That knocks me out.

There is a charge

 

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge

For the hearing of my heart——

It really goes.

 

And there is a charge, a very large charge

For a word or a touch

Or a bit of blood

 

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.

 

I am your opus,

I am your valuable,

The pure gold baby

 

That melts to a shriek.

I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

 

Ash, ash—

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

 

A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.

 

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Beware

Beware.

 

Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.

 

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Poem of the Week 103

Think

Aretha Franklin

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

Let’s go back, let’s go back
Let’s go way on way back when
I didn’t even know you
You couldn’t have been too much more than ten (just a child)
I ain’t no psychiatrist, I ain’t no doctor with degrees
But it don’t take too much high IQ to see what you’re doing to me

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

‘Cause freedom (freedom) stands for freedom (freedom)
Oh, freedom, yeah, freedom, (freedom) right now
Freedom, (freedom) oh, freedom (freedom)
Give me some freedom, oh, freedom, (freedom) right now

Yeah, think about it!
You, think about it!

There ain’t nothing you could ask
I could answer you but I won’t (I won’t)
I was gonna change, but I’m not
If you keep doing things I don’t

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
(What you’re tryna to do to me)
Oh, think (think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

People walking around everyday
Playing games and taking scores
Trying to make other people lose their minds
Well, be careful, you’re goin’ to lose yours

Oh, think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Wooh! Think (think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

You need me (need me)
And I need you (don’t you know it?)
Without each other
There ain’t nothing neither can do

Oh yeah, think aboutta me (what you’re tryna do to me)
Oh baby, think about it right now
Yeah, right now
(Think about it, for me) Oh
(Think about it, for me) Yeah right now
(Think about it, for me)
(Think about it, for me) Please baby, baby, baby
(Think about it, for me) What I’m tryna say
(Think about it, for me)
(Think about it, for me)

Poem of the Week 102

For the Young Who Want To

Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say

you have after the novel

is published and favorably

reviewed. Beforehand what

you have is a tedious

delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done

after the play is produced

and the audience claps.

Before that friends keep asking

when you are planning to go

out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you

had after the third volume

of remarkable poems. Earlier

they accuse you of withdrawing,

ask why you don’t have a baby,

call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,

take workshops with fancy names

when all you can really

learn is a few techniques,

typing instructions and some-

body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks

a license to hang on the wall

like your optician, your vet

proving you may be a clumsy sadist

whose fillings fall into the stew

but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one

who really writes. Talent

is an invention like phlogiston

after the fact of fire.

Work is its own cure. You have to

like it better than being loved.