Wednesday, June 14, 2006

At night, alone, I marry my bed

I would have a glass of Cabernet Merlot (Cape Mentelle for preference) and a volume of Anne Sexton. Soft music would weep through the speakers. Marianne Faithful. Era. Enigma. Steam rising in a shadowy bathroom. Warm water soothes tired limbs, a weary heart. I close a fist over the shards of shattered glass and feel a thrill, a shock of pain. Blood flows lazily into the bath. I take one and run it casually across my wrist. You have to do it vertically so you nick more veins. Those thick blue snakes rising under transparent skin. The incisions do not have to be deep. After all, death is an art and I do not want to shuffle off this mortal coil clumsy and graceless, the way I shuffled onto it.

A sip of wine, and I would pick up my Sexton. She would tell me that death is an old belonging. That's nice. I would like to belong somewhere. Finally. Here, in the august company of the people who fell off the edge of the world, having no place else to go, I belong.

But surely you know that everyone has a death,
his own death,
waiting for him.
So I will go now,
without old age or disease.

Sexton understood. She saw that it was not a matter for trumpets or tinsel. But rather, a sadness, a knowing, a sense of resignation. One is tired. One wants to choose one's own end. There is neither fear nor apprehension. Apprehension signals doubt and doubt leads to last-minute goodbyes that cause eleventh hour interventions.

I said goodbye a long time ago. You just weren't listening.

Waiting to Die is almost a meditative musing of someone who sees her suicide as an inevitability. She understands the arguments...but you see, they make no sense. Not anymore.

Even then I have nothing against life
I know well the grass blades you mention
the furniture under the sun.

She calls it, the death we both said we outgrew in Sylvia's Death. It was secretly obvious to both that despite the lip service they paid to normality or their laughter about suicide attempts, it lay at the bottom of their bellies with the inevitability of a sleepy drummer.

and I see now we store him up
year after year
old suicides.

It grows in our blood. We fight it because the world tells us we have to. Then truth overwhelms and we surrender. We lie down to be covered in shells and bones and silence.

I look out with scorching eyes to see you living - it's not real, you see? I am not real. I became a ghost because you looked and saw I was not there.

As for me, I am a watercolour.
I wash off.

Another sip of Cape Mentelle, the blood of grapes flowing down my throat as my wrist empties into the bath... my life into forgiving water.

They are eating each other
They are overfed.
At night alone I marry my bed.


Nessa said...

You captured the exhaustion so well, exhaustion being too strong a word. Lethargy being better. No screaming, "Look at me." Just a quiet laying down to finally get some rest.

Erratic Scribbler said...

Words worth dying for. Beautiful Jenn.

I've always been puzzled by Sexton's suicide. I guess to me it seems almost pointless to have given up so late in her life, but the idea of dying on her own terms seems right for a woman capable for her kind of smile.

Jenn said...

Nessa: Thanks. Three in the morning is not a good time for me. Thoughts sort of inevitably get magnetized to a quiet death, far away somewhere, lying under a favourite tree...

PTB: Thanks. I don't know...her suicide (after reading her complete poems) seemed to make perfect sense to me. I loved reading her with a glass of wine at hand...because the feelings she evoked were so ...I don't know, honest? It made sense to me.

that girl in pink said...

hey jenny jenn jenn! i'm completely daft when it comes to poetry but after reading your post i googled ms sexton and got engrossed in reading some of her work.

just wondering...this post, is it fictional, real or highly metaphorical?

Anonymous said...

you know I could actually visualise the essence you've tried to capture with her poems! And yes... is this post fictional or real?

Jenn said...

Pink: Fictional. 3 in the morning is a strange time for me. It is them I feel death creep out of the crevices.

Young un: :) OK I cannot answer your question because I am too busy grinning at your name. So cute, so cute, so cute...these young uns today.

Anonymous said...

Hehehe glad I could light up your moment! :) And "these young uns" eh? You aint that old enough either ;)

Jenn said...

I am so old enough! Old enough to be your auntie! Although I suspect I'd probably be a cool aunt! :)

Anonymous said...

Auntie? Mine? You? Fat chance! But yeah I agree you would be a cool aunt! :)

Susanna said...

Don't die. Life *is* worth it. Even if it sucks sometimes.

Nautilus said...

It was a scary post! Glad you're not dead and the post was fictional:-) On a serious note...beautiful words...always loved ms just reminded me..thanks!

Jenn said...

A thinker: Thanks. :) I know, I know.

Nautilus: I fell in love in Sexton when going through a mad time. Am trying to read her biography now, but it is so dry and academic - much prefer the raw intensity of her own words...

David Cho said...

It is beautiful, but I don't know enough about Sexton's suicide to really express enough literary appreciation. As to "Sylvia," you are refering to Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus, correct? Well, I thought of Britney, not suicide when I heard that poem. That is how bad I am. Can I still hang here (hang, as in hang out. No pun intended)?

Jenn said...

Yup. Sylvia Plath. Lady Lazarus. You star you, getting that allusion.

Of course you can hang out here...silly question.

Charlene Amsden said...

Jenn, this is a masterpiece. You beautifully mergeed your words with Sexton's.

The Bible says we are made in the image of God. Well, its not talking fingers and toes. Mankind has been given the power to create and destroy. That power is language. You wield it well.

Jenn said...

Gee Quilldancer...thanks. That is very sweet of you. The power of the word is a funny thing. Make a one man weep, make another man sing.