Saturday, March 24, 2007

Arts and Madness~Poets

The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator
Anne Sexton

The end of the affair is always death.
She’s my workshop.
Slippery eye, out of the tribe of myself my breath
finds you gone.
I horrify those who stand by. I am fed.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Finger to finger, now she’s mine.
She’s not too far. She’s my encounter.
I beat her like a bell.
I recline in the bower where you used to mount her.
You borrowed me on the flowered spread.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Take for instance this night, my love,
that every single couple puts together
with a joint overturning, beneath, above,
the abundant two on sponge and feather,
kneeling and pushing, head to head.
At night alone, I marry the bed.

I break out of my body this way, an annoying miracle.
Could I put the dream market on display?
I am spread out. I crucify.
My little plum is what you said.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Then my black-eyed rival came.
The lady of water, rising on the beach,
a piano at her fingertips, shame
on her lips and a flute’s speech.
And I was the knock-kneed broom instead.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

She took you the way a woman takes
a bargain dress off the rack
and I broke the way a stone breaks.
I give back your books and fishing tack.
Today’s paper says that you are wed.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

The boys and girls are one tonight.
They unbutton blouses. They unzip flies.
They take off shoes. They turn off the light.
The glimmering creatures are full of lies.
They are eating each other. They are overfed.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Anne Sexton, “The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981).

Anne Sexton married at the age of 19, worked briefly as a model and then started a family. Sexton suffered from depression and had mental breakdowns and suicidal bouts after the births of her children and the deaths of her parents. In the late 1950s she began writing poetry as therapy and was soon "discovered" by the literary world for her unapologetically autobiographical poems. The recipient of many awards and grants, she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1966 for Live or Die. In 1974 she committed suicide.
I hope you enjoyed this poem as much as I do. Take care everyone!

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N Posted by Rain at 3/24/2007 08:53:00 AM


  • Anonymous Candy posted at 10:18 AM  
    I love Anne Sexton's work and it is such a shame that she could not get the help she so desperately needed.

    I had a great time with you last night. You certainly had D. falling all over himself, LOL. He is young and would be easy to train ;)

    Smooches! Candy
  • Blogger Michael posted at 8:37 PM  
    Here via blogexplosion.

    Great poem and makes me want to seek out more of Anne's work.
  • Blogger Happily Anonymous posted at 12:55 AM  
    Nice always come up with the most interesting posts.
  • Blogger choochoo posted at 3:09 AM  
    I haven't heard of Anne Sexton. She seems interesting:)
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