Critic, Criticize Thyself

“Madame Bovary? C’est moi!”


I feel like we have a way of writing crazy--
The Sylvia Plath Effect (a real term coined to describe a different phenomenon)
--And it’s something like this:
I take a pill, dear lover, do this to make you happy
The old doll moves with grace, doesn’t she
With this small turn, this happy face

Or like:
For three weeks I hid her letters, watched red feathers
This hawk take root, she perched
on our deck--curved like a frown--and you
(you have to raise your voice when you say, “you” – like, really
you need to begin with the “and” – so it’s like dot dot dot, monotone, dot dot dot,
monotone, dot dot dot (sharp pause) ANd YoUUU)
Sit like a fan, or fish, barely daring to breathe or achoo.
Daddy, I have had to kill you.

Dear Sylvia, O Sylvia! pulls it off--with her general genial
wit, with anger, with dark blonde curls and dark blonde charm--but I can’t
bear to hear a man or woman take the stage
And dive into the tone of "listen-to-me" or slide
into the raising
and falling, then sighing and pausing.

Unless it's earned
I think we should just spit it out normal.

Perhaps this is a personal problem. Many of mine are,
but I'm tired and stir crazy
and full of projections.


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