Monday, February 15, 2016

Poem of the Week 2.15.16


Daddy and the Dad

Dads are an interesting thing. They had a role at one point, and it was more or less clear if I understand correctly. There existed something of a reference, an idealized design, idealized almost definitely for the wrong reasons, but designed purposefully. Dads that fit as they were designed never existed, I don't think. Dads, as they were, I think hurt themselves trying to find ways to best mimic the shape of said reference. Dads, as they are, can be confused. Dads have been getting lost, not fitting, not trying to, not knowing what to fit. 
A lost dad can do a lot of harm. A lot of harm.  
A lost role is of interest. A floating title. What do we want from a Dad? We’ve gotten together and we’ve smashed the idol. What do we want from Dad? Our hands are shaping them, and that's quite a power. We get to look back at our creator and demand. What do we want from Dads. I guess we get to decide now. We don’t know we smashed the idol and that might be dangerous. What do we want from Dad? It might be better though, a Darwinian approach to social constructs. What does the world make of a Dad? I wrote about Ted Hughes in high school. I really liked his poetry. He seemed like a lost dad. There are complex accounts of how he may have harmed Sylvia Plath. I read Sylvia Plath’s poem Daddy because I had been thinking about Dads. I loved it, I loved it into a blog post. 
I had been thinking about Dads because I’ve taken to referring to myself as DAD on Snapchat. I think it’s funny, to take from the word Dad and all it’s lost weight and to force it onto myself and whatever I’m doing. I’m actively working with the liquid Dad, but only for the sake of humor. I don't know what I want from myself once I’m a Dad, but I think it’s an important thing to try and figure out, lest I get lost and do harm; lest I hurt myself contorting into the wrong reference. What do we want from Dad? What do you want from Dad? Sylvia Plath’s poem Daddy told me that a lost Dad can do harm, it told me to be scared of a lost Dad the way I’m scared of Nazis. We should definitely find all the Dads. What do we want from Dad?

-Alec M.


Daddy

Sylvia Plath, 1932 - 1963

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.
12 October 1962
- Alec

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