I have never found anybody who could stand to accept the daily demonstrative love I feel in me, and give back as good as I give.
How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.
Living with him is like being told a perpetual story: his mind is the biggest, most imaginative I have ever met. I could live in its growing countries forever.
What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinite security,’ and, ‘What a man is is an arrow into the future and a what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.
Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.
I wonder why I don’t go to bed and go to sleep. But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherent I am, I can skip on hour more of sleep and live.
So much working, reading, thinking, living to do! A lifetime is not long enough.
Oh, something is there, waiting for me. Perhaps someday the revelation will burst in upon me and I will see the other side of this monumental grotesque joke. And then I’ll laugh. And then I’ll know what life is.
I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.
There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.
Dying is an art.Like everything else,I do it exceptionally well.I do it so it feels like hell.I do it so it feels real.I guess you could say I have a call.
Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
The thought that I might kill myself formed in my mind coolly as a tree or a flower.
The trouble about jumping was that if you didn’t pick the right number of storeys, you might still be alive when you hit bottom.
What I fear most, I think, is the death of the imagination.
The night sky is only a sort of carbon paper,Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of starsLetting in the light, peephole after peephole— A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Not easy to state the change you made.If I’m alive now, I was dead,Though, like a stone, unbothered by it.
I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I’m here.
I am terrified by this dark thingThat sleeps in me;All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.
Is it the sea you hear in me,Its dissatisfactions?Or the voice of nothing, that was you madness?
O love, how did you get here?–Nick and the Candlestick
Stars open among the lilies.Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?This is the silence of astounded souls.
Writing, then, was a substitute for myself: if you don’t love me, love my writing & love me for my writing. It is also much more: a way of ordering and reordering the chaos of experience.
I am inhabited by a cry. Nightly it flaps outLooking, with its hooks, for something to love.
I am solitary as grass. What is it I miss?Shall I ever find it, whatever it is?
But writing poems and letters doesn’t seem to do much good.
The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,White as a knuckle and terribly upset.It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quietWith the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bedAnd sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.(I think I made you up inside my head.)
brave love, dreamnot of staunching such strict flame, but come,lean to my wound; burn on, burn on.
The still watersWrap my lips,Eyes, nose and ears,A clearCellophane I cannot crack.
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences
Feel oddly barren. My sickness is when words draw in their horns and the physical world refuses to be ordered, recreated, arranged and selected. I am a victim of it then, not a master.
I don’t see,’ I said, ‘how people stand being old. Your insides all dry up. When you’re young you’re so self-reliant. You don’t even need much religion.
I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print, the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under that beautiful big green fig-tree.
We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.
Then it hit me and I just blurted, ‘I like people too much or not at all. I’ve got to go down deep, to fall into people, to really know them.
I love the people,’ I said. ‘I have room in me for love, and for ever so many little lives.
Why do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled “enemy?
In the German tongue, in the Polish townScraped flat by the rollerOf wars, wars, wars …
I don’t see what women see in other women,” I’d told Doctor Nolan in my interview that noon. “What does a woman see in a woman that she can’t see in a man?”Doctor Nolan paused. Then she said, “Tenderness.
I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.
So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in a totalitarian state.
And of course I didn’t know who would marry me now that I’d been where I had been. I didn’t know at all.
A man’s world is different from a woman’s world and a man’s emotions are different from a woman’s emotions and only marriage can bring the two different sets of emotions together properly.
My dream was one day ordering a drink and finding out it tasted wonderful.
What is so real as the cry of a child?A rabbit’s cry may be wilderBut it has no soul.
A little thing, like children putting flowers in my hair, can fill up the widening cracks in my self-assurance like soothing lanolin.
And I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered on a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard’s kitchen mat.
But women have lust, too. Why should they be relegated to the position of custodian of emotions, watcher of the infants, feeder of the soul, body and pride of man?
I hated these visits, because I kept feeling the visitors measuring my fat and stringy hair against what I had been and what they wanted me to be, and I knew they went away utterly confounded.
A psychiatrist is the God of our age. But they cost money.
When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.
The future is what matters — because one never reaches it, but always stays in the present — like the White Queen who had to run like the wind to remain in the same spot.
because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.
It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next.It made me tired just to think of it.
I wondered why I couldn’t go the whole way doing what I should any more. This made me sad and tired. Then I wondered why I couldn’t go the whole way doing what I shouldn’t, the way Doreen did, and this made me even sadder and more tired.
There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room.
They had to call and callAnd pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.–From the poem “Lady Lazarus”, written 23-29 October 1962
I stepped from the air-conditioned compartment onto the station platform, and the motherly breath of the suburbs enfolded me. It smelt of lawn sprinklers and station wagons and tennis rackets and dogs and babies.
I am helpless as the sea at the end of her string. I am restless. Restless and useless. I, too, create corpses.
I moved in front of the medicine cabinet. If I looked in the mirror while I did it, it would be like watching somebody else, in a book or a play.
My mother smiled. “I knew my baby wasn’t like that.”I looked at her. “Like what?””Like those awful people. Those awful dead people at that hospital.” She paused. “I knew you’d decide to be all right again.
I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.
The one thing I was good at was winning scholarships and prizes, and that era was coming to an end.
I may have made a straight A in physics, but I was panic-struck. Physics made me sick the whole time I learned it.
I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted To lie with my hands turned upand be utterly empty.How free it is, you have no idea how free – The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,And it asks for nothing. ~ Tulips (1961)
Unless you can be yourself, you won’t stay with anyone for long.
I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of the throat and I’d cry for a week.
I wish to cry. Yet, I laugh, and my lipstick leaves a red stain like a bloody crescent moon on the top of the beer can.
I began to see why woman-haters could make such fools of women. Woman-haters were like gods: invulnerable and chock full of power. They descended, and then they disappeared. You could never catch one.
What obsession do men have for destruction and murder? Who do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled ‘enemy?
What I hate is the thought of being under a man’s thumb,” I had told Doctor Nolan. “A man doesn’t have a worry in the world, while I’ve got a baby hanging over my head like a big stick, to keep me in line.
You will never win anyone through pity. You must create the right kind of dream, the sober, adult kind of magic: illusion born from disillusion.
Stupid girl. You will never win anyone through pity. You must create the right kind of dream, the sober, adult kind of magic: illusion born from disillusion.
You must create the right kind of dream, the sober, adult kind of magic: illusion born from disillusion.
So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in
I had been alone more than I could have been had I gone by myself.
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Then I thought, “No, I broke it myself. I broke it on purpose to pay myself back for being such a heel.
He just wanted to see what a girl who was crazy enough to kill herself looked like.
How we need that security. How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this. I need someone to pour myself into.
I also had a dim idea that if I walked the streets of New York by myself all night something of the city’s mystery and magnificence might rub off on me at last. But I gave it up.
I buried my head under the darkness of the pillow and pretended it was night. I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.
Its snaky acids kiss.It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults That kill, that kill, that kill.
I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I musn’t say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers.
I have done, this year, what I said I would: overcome my fear of facing a blank page day after day, acknowledging myself, in my deepest emotions, a writer, come what may.
If only I can find him… the man who will be intelligent, yet physically magnetic and personable. If I can offer that combination, why shouldn’t I expect it in a man?
My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.
I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.
I’m not sure why it is, but I love food more than just about anything else.
The silence between us was so profound I thought part of it must be my fault.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not solid. I’m hollow. There’s nothing behind my eyes. I’m a negative of a person. All I want is blackness, blackness and silence.
Perhaps some day I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.
I fancied you’d return the way you said,But I grow old and I forget your name. –From the poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song
I must be lean & write & make worlds beside this to live in.
I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
She stared at her reflection in the glossed shop windows as if to make sure, moment by moment, that she continued to exist.
I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old.
How frail the human heart must be―a mirrored pool of thought.
Slowly I swam up from the bottom of a black sleep.
And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.
I felt very happy. To think that I didn’t have to torture myself sitting in a smoke-filled room with a painted party smile, watching my date get drunk
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
What I didn’t say was that each time I picked up a German dictionary or a German book, the very sight of those dense, black, barbed-wire letters made my mind shut like a clam.
And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.
This is a case without a body.The body does not come into it at all.
If they substituted the word ‘Lust’ for ‘Love’ in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.
I cut you out because I couldn’t stand being a passing fancy.
If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative–which ever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.
I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.
I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.
I don’t know how long I kept at it…I felt reasonably safe, streched out on the floor, and lay quite still.It didn’t seem to be summer any more
August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.
I couldn’t stand the idea of a woman having to have a single pure life and a man being able to have a double life, one pure and one not.
Very few people do this any more. It’s too risky. First of all, it’s a hell of a responsibility to be yourself. It’s much easier to be somebody else or nobody at all.
Wind warns November’s done with. The blown leaves make bat-shapes, Web-winged and furious.
It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther.
For me poetry is an evasion of the real job of writing prose.
Everybody had to go to some college or other. A business college, a junior college, a state college, a secretarial college, an Ivy League college, a pig farmer’s college. The book first, then the work.
Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.
It seems this is an age of clever critics who keep bewailing the fact that there are no works worthy of criticism.
When I was learning to creep, my mother set me down on the beach to see what I thought of it. I crawled straight for the coming wave and was just through the wall of green when she caught my heels.
When you are insane, you are busy being insane – all the time.
I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.
It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative – whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.
My mother’s face floated to mind, a pale, reproachful moon, at her last and first visit to the asylum since my twentieth birthday. A daughter in an asylum! I had done that to her. Still, she had obviously decided to forgive me.
My mother had taught shorthand and typing to support us since my father died, and secretly she hated it and hated him for dying and leaving no money because he didn’t trust life insurance salesmen.
Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I’ve a call.
I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad.
But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion.
Now and then, when I grow nostalgic about my ocean childhood – the wauling of gulls and the smell of salt, somebody solicitous will bundle me into a car and drive me to the nearest briny horizon.
I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.
I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.
The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it.
I have felt great advances in my poetry, the main one being a growing victory over word nuances and a superfluity of adjectives.
Freedom is not of use to those who do not know how to employ it.
What a man is is an arrow into the future, and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.