Nothing So Vulgar

As the tired voices fade from my blurred memory of yet another day gone by, I can hear the traffic sifting below my window. Pouring a glass of wine, I remember a poet who used to think I was quite something special and then just as quickly lost interest and moved on. We float in and out of lives and nothing sticks, nothing at all except random flashes of light across an empty bedroom wall. Even the silence comes and goes unless you hold onto it with everything you’ve got to keep the demons at bay. I write about things which matter to me but I don’t really know in the grand scheme of things what good it is beyond soothing my nerves. Or igniting them. Writing is strange that way, you never quite know if it’s the beginning or the end, the matchstick or the spark. Shuffling through a stack of books on my writing room floor, I come upon, perhaps rather eerily, Ariel, a most devastating, sinister, and gripping collection of poetry by Sylvia Plath. I must have read it a hundred times. How could a creature so cold spin poetry that scorches the skin with every syllable, every breath between beats black as a raven’s wing hung suspended from the ceiling. Plath died on this day fifty seven years ago. Gone almost twice as long as she was here, a tortured soul to be sure. Still her words reach from the grave and grip you hard by your throat, stare down the whites of your eyes. Even after all this time, the maps of terror are the same in the human heart. We recognize them in the purple lines of our veins, the grooves in our brains where the fears settle in. I wonder why we fixate upon those who end it all at their own hands. You think those who write are telling you everything but I guess even, try as we might to come clean or climb our way out of the darkness through the words, there are some things which even the most gifted writer cannot tear from their burdened chest. Cannot break free of the claws in the marrow of the bones. Some hauntings are too bitter, too malformed, disfigured, to convey outright. Wrapping a blanket around me tight, the air coming in through my window is suddenly chilled with winter even though all day it felt more like a springtime February, a sweetness threatening to bloom before nature was ready. Ill prepared. Awkward, and out of place.

“In any case, you are always there,
Tremulous breath at the end of my line,
Curve of water upleaping
To my water rod, dazzling and grateful,
Touching and sucking.”

-from Medusa by Sylvia Plath

12 Replies to “Nothing So Vulgar”

  1. ‘We float in and out of lives and nothing sticks,’

    ‘Some hauntings are too bitter, too malformed, disfigured, to convey outright.’

    This is a very nicely written piece. The two excerpts above really caught my attention. I guess a well written piece echoes all the more when lines like these above may as well be autobiographical for the reader. Great job. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, as well as the tribute to Sylvia Plath.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting how life takes us on journeys that are most of the time predictable and in many ways plain and then occasionally we embark on the most dazzling and breathtaking journeys that truly shake up our core, our way of being. What I find particularly fascinating and perhaps sad is that the latter experiences many times ignite run away mode. As if it’s too good to be true. I really wonder why these extraordinary experiences can put such a burden on our core being. Is it because if we were to accept them we would have to admit that perhaps out life until this point has been a series of missed opportunities? Or perhaps we are too afraid to accept the wilderness and excitement for we have been broken by it in the past?

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    1. I once heard that we are more afraid of joy than pain. You worry you can only lose. I also once heard that those who feel they deserve loss will never move forward. I don’t know if either of these things are true…. But your comment made me think of these two things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are very much right. Impossible to move forward if there’s accusations of blame. I think it was Epicetetus who once said that those who blame others for their own troubles are in need of education; those that blame themselves are in the process of education; and those that blame neither self or others have completed their education and are ready to move forward… I find it the hardest to not switch between the first two – blaming others and blaming self. Occasionally though (usually when enough times has passed) I stop with the blame game and move on… to… drumroll please… A new lesson! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

          1. You are so right!!! A true lesson that actually sticks is the one where we unlearn things that get us into trouble. And when I say trouble I mean the bad kind of trouble. And when I say bad trouble I don’t mean the good kind of bad but actually bad bad kind of trouble. Because some kinds of trouble are actually bad in a good kind of way… πŸ˜‰
            If that makes any sense…

            Liked by 1 person

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