top of page

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

to work.

I am starving

for poems.


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

bottom of page