to anne sexton:
in truth, i think you would have been disgusted with me
have we ever to meet
in a crowded book signing, or a busy parisian street.
you, graceful like a swan
the most elegant of things
and i an unfortunate duck, plodding along on my too-big feet, quacking away
half-assed soliloquies and sonnets, never to be.
i'm sure i would have asked for advice
or stuttered, rather; since that is my nature.
spastic, with spit flying out between my teeth
you would've smiled, politely, graciously
and told me to turn away.
or maybe you would not have been so dismissive!
it is a fantasy, after all
i would have handed you a scribbled manuscript, with the eyes of
an excited dog, bouncing up and down, frisky against feet and hungry for a treat.
you'd smell talent at the end of your beautiful snout,
like one of those pigs scoping out truffles
and you'd encourage me
"yes! by GOD, little poet! spread your wings and fly!!!"
and then i would, at the end of some mountain in the alps
all to be like icarus, surrounded in my own deafening craziness
to touch the sun for three glorious hotfire minutes and
burial at sea.
oh, if i only had the luck of time and geography
to be in robert lowell's poetry workshop
with you and sylvia, evenings in boston
hell, maybe we'd all drive around afterwards
to have martinis wrapped between our long, lithe fingers
we'd compare suicides and children and husbands, or maybe just
you and sylvia, chatting away gaily
i'd stare longingly out the closed windows of the car,
you wouldn't have accepted me.
these are only fantasies, anne
i have no way of knowing
you did yourself in, not a surprise
to anyone who'd seen life- even briefly-
from the back of your eyes.
there you were though
in a fur coat, radio on, in your car
awaiting the final symphony.
anne! anne! ANNE! you can't hear me
you never will turn any unjust ear
you're gone; out of this earthly sphere
--- but you left your footprints everywhere
you belong to the endlessness;
a depository of history.
(i wish i scribbled this furiously on a napkin as a kind of fan letter...sadly, no.)