Four Poems by Julia Gordon Bramer inspired by Sylvia Plath
The prickly poet
thriving on neglect and hard
times, the wrath of the dry
sun on its spiky sheaves,
full of a blood that heals
and broken stench.
Few flowers, only the want
to be more, and more still.
Desert, like all men. Aloe: only
an N away from alone.
Rooted shoots trudge underground,
soldiering tentacled meanings, odiferous verbs,
succulent and dangerous, growing
old and as large as love will let it, yet
tender sweet. Watching
over the children of itself, the multiples,
words of a stiff, waxed mouth and the secret
joys of the dead arid shell—
drained soil, the foamy loam,
held in the brick-thick clay.
Quiet blue-green star in a noisy day.
Honorable Mention: New Millennium Writings 2016.
Sylvia Plath jogged past
me this morning. And I,
I was running the other
direction. I almost didn’t
notice. She was plugged in
to her iPod, behind dark
glasses, wearing a Hughes
University T and white Nikes.
Her hair back, but browner
than the pictures. She gave
me a glance full of bats
and the yew. I might have been
in her way. I heard her
breathe in steady
rhythm. But then,
she smiled, said Oh,
it’s just you. Get back
I am starving
Published in a collection called Women of Note.
Theory of Forms
The philosopher Plato believed that all matter was a copy of a transcendent, perfect idea.
I am reflection.
You are pseudonym.
We feebly copy ideas of we
and know ourselves to degrees,
miming the good,
mimicking shadows and momentary portrayals.
We keep trying to be
real and true, transcendent to
space and time, and not
anywhere in another
thing: ever an unchanging
reality asking, “What’s the matter?”
Julia Gordon Bramer
Reading Frieda’s 45
For Frieda Plath Hughes. Written prior to the suicide of Sylvia Plath’s son, Nicholas Hughes, 2009.
Her mother took that flat
folded map of where not to go, and so
we shove against the guard rails on her lines.
Which direction is reality and what
would Frieda think of me? Poems
are the most dangerous lessons
a girl can never learn. I would say
It’s not as it seems; Me, calling her mother
Isis, High Priestess. We know
everything roots to the Father
whom I’ve accidentally grown
fond: Meld of Panzer-Dad and Thought—
Fox, rearranging wizard and black warlock,
Devil or Horus. Did Frieda know all
along and just keep mum?
It’s easier not to have
to explain, it seems. And O brother
Nick, and his lack of the public;
I admire his silences. Picture
him handsome and sad and holding
a tiny red shred of mother in his fist.
Frieda, your mother the moon
does resemble you. We are just one
year apart in age, and the mystics say
we are all one, a part
of it all, anyway. Reassembled in another
dimension or place, let us mingle
in an orbit of her meanings.
Sister and Brother, your mirrory mother
was not at all who she seemed to be. Her
words are a phantasm. A hologram. I love
them like you could be me.
I too, am not how I seem.
Her lines and thirty-year-life
sentence to Art spun rhythms like a record
single 45 from the Sixties. The sun
sits at the center and we
keep revolving, testing the grooves
between the Earth and the underworld
learning what words cure a moon-laden sky
to find that papery line
where we break from the black.
First published in Fat Gold Watch, a Plath anthology.
Julia Gordon Bramer