Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem.
And so Anne Sexton wrote. Then on a mucky afternoon, after lunch with Maxine Kumin, Anne returned home; she draped herself in her mother’s fur coat, grabbed a glass of vodka entered her garage where she turned on the car and allowed carbon monoxide to silence all the poems that remained within her troubled soul.
As trouble as she was she is the reason I write the way I do. Her confessionalism and the genre that so encompassed many of her peers is the poetry I truly love. I grew up loving the romantics, to this day I perk up when hearing, “She walks in beauty like the night. . .” and begin singing along like it was the #1 hit on the radio the day I was born. But romantics are lofty and rarely tell how the story ends. Rarely look behind the stove where no one ever cleans. Confessionalist live behind the stove, as it were.
When I bought my decrepit condo, so many moons ago (13 years worth of them) I stencilled quotes from my friends on the walls of my “office” and parts of poems from Anne.
And so daily these words stare at me. And daily I hope to write a 10th of this well. And daily I think I would gladly suck on the same carbon monoxide she did, if I had a garage, or any form of bravery. but I’m not fearless, more born of fear then ready to banish it so I’ll just continue to read and write, and hope.
Because of Anne Sexton I no longer know another way to write. Luckily she even explained why I write to me.