bishop, berryman, sylvia, anne,
do you know the tales they now tell?

reading from my small swaddled room,
I try, I really try, to understand how your

poetry might have been worth that hell
you made for everyone who ever touched you,

your booze, your ego, your dead lovers,
the children you would not claim,

in one way or another every one of
you made a mockery of the mortal life,

that doctor says the poets, at least half
of you are not at all, not at all sane,

"the highest rates of mania psychosis
and psychiatric hospitalizations in the poets,"

you beat out the other artists and writers
--you're off the charts of the suicide-o-meter,

leaf through the pictures in this book,
no radiant gold and purple robes,

the illustrations from The Lives of the Poets
all done in red blood and chalk of cracked bone.

--Nitty



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