Poetry influenced by Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton from Rp Verlaine

For Sylvia Plath

I wish you had taken
a final impossibly tall
glass of whiskey.

Though I believe
you preferred wine
a slower phantom escape.

For the deeply troubled
before taking a final walk
through an abyss of cut glass.

I wish after that drink
you'd looked at the papers
that would become Ariel.

Piled in a neat stack
while your children slept
and you put head in oven.

Having written a classic
brutal and devastating
candle to a reckoning

between life and death
by one not fully in either
drained of blood and hope.

Yet last week, within days
I saw both a comedian
and a movie use you

as punch lines to cheap
jokes mocking the somber
savage music of your work.

That took all you had
making me so angry
I wanted violence.

But I poured a tall glass
let the whiskey transport
me to a calm cool place.

As I wish that you had
that morning and smiled
with a new thirst for life. 

Transient Bliss

We kiss
to advance the plot
while
surprises remain.

And the red neon
makes everything look
like glass.

Where I can see
I'm far more
fragile.

Self defense
escapes me
when her
lips

beg
pierce me
and yes
ask for more.

Ah transient bliss.

Until the next day
both having had
this fragment we
call enough...

The edge of a star
which eviscerates
us to let go...

Hanging on
to memory
behind
a door
closed forever.

Every Fix

She's always
almost/not quite
on the corner or
between as she slides
in and out of cars that
barely register like
revolving Johns, Joes,
Jims who pay
the fare.

Nameless as any
butterfly in stolen
doomed flights
to bed sheets
absent of warmth
life/promise
in well titled no
look no chance motels.

Until fate
strangles the chase
with death, O.D. or prison.
The lean obituaries  
are grim
for girls of streets
they do not own.

I've watch her
as any sinister doubt
endemic in an overdose
laid bare then lost.
Lost forever as
she leaves  to fall
in deeper  chasms of ruin
as days fall to the warmth
and delusion inside every fix


Distance of The Bees

She says the bees ruin her flowers
I say nothing and drink the air
the sun gives no life to in the shade.

We dance around every empty space
allowed us by former lovers
accounting for denuded dreams we
circle each other with.

Much like the the bees content
with the succulence of
a flower unable to resist

She's an actress when she can
find work worth her time.
A large inheritance takes
care of the rest which she hints
includes me.

At 34 she says she is too old
for all of this, then says
nothing more.

Enters the house and slams
the door after I mention the arbitrary
vortex of spending time apart.
While the bees circle from a distance
I've come to understand.



BIO
: Rp Verlaine lives in New York City. 
He has an MFA in creative writing from City College. 
He taught in New York Public schools for many years. 
His first volume of poetry- Damaged by Dames
& Drinking was published in 2017 and another – Femme Fatales
Movie Starlets & Rockers in 2018. A set of three e-books
titled Lies From The Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from
2018 to 2020. His newest book, Imagined Indecencies, 
was published in February of 2022.



Poetry from Lynn White Inspired by Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton

(c) Nina Wadhouse
https://www.literaryladiesguide.com/literary-musings/artists-portraits-of-sylvia-plath/
Keeping Mum

At nine years old
she’d never had a chance 
to know her father.
Not to know about his life,
his personality,
or his dreams,
Only that he loved her
and had been frail and ill
all her life.
“She never even asks how her father is”,
said her mother’s friend disapprovingly.
Her mother must have told her that.
“They won’t tell me, so there’s no point
in asking”, she thought.
No!
I think she said!
They wouldn’t tell her why 
he was in hospital.
They wouldn’t tell her why
he died,
not at nine years old,
not until years later
when they were all dead
and more voices could speak.

Motherly Love

I have spent a lifetime 
trying to break away,
trying to break out, 
trying to find myself.
Always on the edge,
always on the outside,
not quite a part,
of it, not quite 
a beatnik,
or a mod, 
hippy, or 
punk.

I was early to realise that
what she wanted me to be
was what she had wanted 
for herself, about her, not me.
I wanted to escape such love.
I thought I could escape.
I thought I had escaped.
And I did, surely I did
escape
some 
of it.

But not all.
Not enough.
So even now I feel tethered.
After all this time of leaving
her behind, 
I remain 
unsure
of my 
own.


First published in Yellow Chair Review, June 2016

My Sister Maud

I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.
I never knew her,
never even knew of her.
No one said.
Not our father, 
or his son,
not my mother, 
no one.
No one spoke.
All were mute for Maud.

She never grew old,
never even grew up.
And her little life 
became engulfed in silence.
My father cried 
when she died,
I know it now
more than eighty years later
I know it.
When there’s no one living 
who knew her.
When there is no one left
to tell me her favourite games,
her hopes, her dreams. 
All are gone.

I know it now.
I even have a photograph
so that I can see her,
picture her as she was.
And I won’t forget her,
won’t forget that
I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.


First published in Blue Heron Review, Summer 2018

Bio: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Consequence Magazine, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal and So It Goes. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/

A Poetry Showcase from Nancy Avery Dafoe

from pixabay

Chasing Light

Chasing light,
we ran through tall grasses—
my brothers and I wrapped our fingers 
around fireflies sending signals in the night. 

Before opening our small fists 
and releasing those living lanterns, 
we imagined life as magic constellations 
mirrored in the bones of our wrists 

like Nemerov suggested in his poem Writing,
our lives stretched out before us infinite 
because we were not yet able to imagine death 
of ourselves or others in a flash of lightning.

Take the Beaver

Take the beaver, for example,
that industrious creature slowing rivers, 
creating wetlands absorbing toxins; 
beavers building dams and lodges
for their kits nestled in comfort, 
beaver lodges with eating chambers 
and underwater exits and entrances;
beavers with architecture so intricate 
yet their lives not worth their pelts,
so, man took the beaver and took 
the beaver until that animal
was nearly eradicated nationwide
and replaced by man’s genius 
in carving up bogs, filling swamps 
with toxic landfills leaching 
into water supplies.

Man’s labors speeding up 
rivers for hydroelectricity,
destroying those carbon sinks
once the domain of the beaver
now in industrial development, 
as monstrous amounts of carbon 
are emitted, choking life 
out of the planet, but at least 
we have fewer beavers 
to deal with and those reminders 
of a simpler time in the face 
of our complex systems 
of waste and ruin. 

Earth Awakens

In that moment of insight—
silent movement found in descending light—
latecomer red clouds—
bloodred streaks in the sky—suggesting another time 
even another locus from this far field isolation
with fading tall grasses bent and blurring 
figures first then thoughts
into other dark.

That near place— 
almost unreachable now—
that once familiar time culled then held close
from hushed memory in which distinction is blurred:
the Earth awakens, our defensive projection,
to destruction—lands and waters 
poisoned. Asking of us, 
to what ends?

It's Getting Hotter

It’s getting hotter across the planet,
and grasses have turned sizzling brown
as if to please a blistering sun with their burning. 

While an ominous shadow crosses the plains 
without releasing its rains—that bounty 
saved for a part of the country
where rains are still plentiful
and creeks and rivers swell until 
overflowing, flooding everything 
downstream, taking all that is left of good soil—
another desert is forming.

Another people in forced migration
on a widening path under cover of night 
when it is still cool enough to walk, 
with their few belongings on their backs, 
across now barren lands
toward some distant hope, 
toward imagined plenty, they walk 
knowing even the stars would reduce 
all to ash before they got close. 

This planet is getting hotter,
and all of mankind is moving
toward conflict and desolation:

Nemesis exacting her revenge 
for the hubris of man foolish enough
to help destroy his only habitable home.

Examining My Carbon Footprint

Examining the rough soles of my feet,
many years into wandering,
I consider my high arch, the ball of my foot
that juts out too far, my narrow heel lined 
with callouses, and I think of being on my feet
all day when I was teaching before remembering
to ask, just what is my carbon footprint?
That CO2 emission I personally 
am responsible for, endangering
the planet and every life form.

I think about waste and chaos,
chaos and waste as the world plays itself out.
I think about politicization and misinformation
told by knowing men as they drilled and lied.
I think about trying to reduce or just contain
our wastes or use of electricity, driving
my car to see my grandchildren. 

There are enumerated steps to follow 
in reducing our dangerously high CO2 
emissions, but they are difficult for the individual 
to believe that one of us can make any difference
when a single flight uses 36,000 gallons of oil.

Eat less meat, plant a garden, drive less,
waste less—but I’m aware our entire way 
of life is based upon manufactured waste 
as prime ingredient in profit directive.

Changing how we live so hard when
nearly half the population is still 
wrapped and insulated in conspiracies and lies, 
they will never consider science or knowledge 
of real value. And I think of the generations’
long deceptions by big oil and gas companies—
looking at you, Exxon Mobil, BP, Sinopec, 
and Saudi Aramco whose CEOs have duped us all—
with CO2 footprints large enough to fill continents.

When they line up the species to examine 
our carbon footprints, none compare to man’s
and his legacy of destruction, wars and waste, 
what we leave in our wide stance 
our stature small but out CO2 footprints those
of monstrous giants stomping across the planet. 

But that vision is so dark as to cause giving up 
or giving in, so I will do neither and reduce 
where I can, when I can and encourage others, 
before going to the garden to listen 
for sparrows and the whistle of the osprey.

Thinking About Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton
first published in Nancy's collection Innermost Sea, by Finishing Line Press, 2018

About how they never got over pain,
considering the ways a child’s loss
worked itself up 33 bones—
these vertebrae that form spine
—where frustration and loss lodged
in cells of dorsal root ganglia,
on route to the brain
where at will, Plath and Sexton
could return to seasons of girls
catching fire,
transmitting torment into
perfect articulation.
No suicide girls, these women
who chose immolation—
even though choice implies preference
when it is no more than opportunity
at slivered edge. These poets
let us hear the voice beneath the din,
those sounds we scarcely recognize,
overlapping as they are 
by slapping sounds on water.
How to describe it exactly—
fluctuating quivers of emotion
and intellectual thought
moving emptiness, filling
void with desolation as we try
to find our way by echolocation,
listening, separating out cymbals
because, after all, too often 
what we hear is just
air beating on inner ear,
asking to be let in.



Bio: Author/poet/educator Nancy Avery Dafoe writes in multiple genres and has thirteen books, including three poetry collections, through independent publishers. Her poetry won the William Faulkner/Wisdom award in 2016, and her fiction won the short story award from New Century Writers. A member of the CNY Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, she is currently serving as second vice president of that organization. 









Poetry inspired by Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton by David L O’Nan: 8 Black Dresses (or 8 Geese of Hanover)

The art is hidden for now. I have obeyed too long.
I feel frozen.  While my possession eats the heat.
Where have you gone?   Slid behind the clouds?
Perfumed doors.   Rooms go from stale to rancid blindness.
I feel bloodless.   Accidental and lost a shine.  Pale funeral songs.

The black dresses are now my misery
These, that dance above me twisting.  Swing dancing into a hex.
All ghosts, all witchery.
Former waves that blew the knives over us and dared us to swim the lake.
Dim are my eyes and bones that have chalked.

As Jacques sings "Ma mort attend comme" 
I hold all the flowers, I hold all the crippled photographs.
Elderly and young photos.  Fortune tellers in the clouds.
Deafening light from outside. I want the puniness of a weak night.
No hardening storm.  No flooding streets and screaming thunder.

They, the geese she'd use to fly over me. I felt lucky to have them.
A new direction.  To escape them.  To escape him. To escape the cage of screams.
Those 8 Geese of Hanover that kept hovering me.
My guardian angels I would welcome them to my melting wax home.
I wonder now if they were truly demon.  Explosions, the apple and all.

As now alone and severed I feel that they are the same as these hauntings.
I watch 8 black dresses hover over me now.
But they in these garments, they bite.  The geese have transitioned their colours.
I awake to scissor teeth marks on my skin.   So they are heaving to me the curse.  Still.  The Curse. Always that curse.   
Do holy bibles hiss?

Is my god a blonde bombshell?
Is my god a tornado?
Is my god a magical bearded fabulous genius?
Is my god a chirping cricket?
Is my god a newborn baby?
Is my god a morphine drip?

My revelation is a promise?
Le deuxième ange sonna de la trompette
befitting.  closing eyes. 
staring into darkness, rippled waters I feel in the air of this room.
Leave the lake, become my misery.
In this room that pain stares at me. 


Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.




My Brother (Lays dead under the Hickory Tree) Inspired by Anne Sexton by David L O’Nan

My Brother (Lays Dead Under the Hickory Tree)

There he is 
I see him under pelts of hailstones
A riddled mind and diseased by doctors
the icy rain pulsing little cuts 
All over and over again.
I'm still in a quiet thought
We always felt the ending.
Or at least I have seen this ending.
In nightmares every night
The men festive from the jail.
Mother, a stereotype. Needing an exorcism.

There he is
My brother, a little hushed baby of 25.
Shoes as split as a peeled banana.
His coloring of blue, like the river nearby.
Like the breeze that blows through his long haired, daredevil boy.
He was hideous in his battle
Popping firework amphetamine pills, dragons watch the alleys.
The abusive and abused in corners and in jars.
Oh, lonesome traveler
a blood kissed jewel.

Some crows sing in their broken voices, they sit atop the bells.
They fly in the air, they congregate in the tree above. The sick hickory
I watch with no blink as they rescue him from the cold ground.
For only a few long hours and then they just return him back
to give him a comfortable dirty sack.  
Underground, where they'll whisper out your sins to each other.
We can't escape the gossip.  
Gossip clumsily falls like a slinky missing a step along the way.
The steps that are missed however, are remembered for coming up with the best stories.
Your best demise. 

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.