(Sylvia Plath’s “Medusa” and Charles Baudelaire’s “Sed non satiate” and “Boredom it is that breeds your vicious soul…”)
Strange goddess, tawny as the dusk, you come
Swathed in lush smoke, in musk;
Off that landspit of stony mouth-plugs,
eyes rolled by white sticks,
Some grassland Faust sired you in wizard wise,
ear’s cupping the sea’s incoherences,
Ebon-flanked witch, spawned of night’s shadowdom.
You house your unnerving head—God-ball.
More than old, heady wines, or opium,
I crave your lips’ elixir; proud love’s prize;
Lens of mercies.
plying their wild cells in my keel’s shadow,
Pushing by like hearts,
red stigmata at the very center,
And when my lusts trek after you, your eyes
are wells where drinks my desert’s tedium.
Riding the rip tide to the nearest point of departure,
Dragging their Jesus hair.
Did I escape, I wonder?
Let those dark eyes, I pray,
My mind wanders to you,
rain on me less
of your soul’s flame
old barnacled umbilicus, Atlantic cable,
keeping yourself, it seems, in a state of miraculous repair.
No Styx am I, able to circle you
Nine times around;
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,
nor can I—wanton shrew,
Megaera mine! —bring you to heel, and be,
touching and sucking
In your bed’s Hell, a new Persephone!
I didn’t call you.
I didn’t call you at all.
Boredom it is that breeds your vicious soul,
Vile woman! You who well would bed the whole
you steamed to me over the sea,
For, in your quaint and curious play,
Your jaws must find a heart to crush each day.
Fat and red, a placenta
paralyzing the kicking lovers.
And if your teeth would ply their wicked game,
Your eyes like festive-candled yews, aflame
Squeezing the breath from the blood bells
of the fuchsia.
or like shop windows bright ablaze,
borrow a power, to fire their haughty gaze,
with never a notion of their beauty’s might.
I could draw no breath,
dead and moneyless
Blind, deaf machine, rich in cruel appetite,
Overexposed, like an x-ray.
Device to suck Man’s blood! For shame!
How do your looking-glasses not reveal to you
your fading charms?
Who do you think you are?
A communion wafer? Blubbery Mary?
Have you not once recoiled
to see yourself by evil thus despoiled—
I shall take no bite of your body,
Evil in which you deem yourself expert-
when blithely nature chooses to pervert
your woman’s flesh—
Bottle in which I live,
I sick to death of hot salt.
O queen of sin;
to shape and mold a genie-sprite therein,
and use you to perform her deviltry?
Green as eunuchs, your wishes
Hiss at my sins.
O squalid grandeur! lofty infamy!
Off, off eely tentacle!
There is nothing between us.