30 poems in 30 days
7 April 2013
(after the R. S. Thomas poem)
I was Woolf’s woman that time,
climbing stairs, assembling a life;
desperate to transform into something
distant, I couldn’t see to be.
I took Plath’s word, rolling it under
my tongue, hungry for succour,
but it scolded insecurity
and formed a gobstopper.
Rich put forward her body
as a mirror for my own, and it felt
like love, until the glass cracked
from the weight of expectation.
I crawled Tea’s streets, too many
blocks behind, venerating a
taste for dirt; only grasping hold of
who I am would get me off my knees.
I stand now, owning my place in
a queue of poets and hangers-on
who celebrate women’s lives,
and remember to say it as it is.
The writers I reference are, of course:
Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich and Michelle Tea.
Tea (born 1971) is very much alive and someone I view as a pioneer of poetic queercore memoir.