The Collected Poems1962I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it----A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right footA paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.Peel off the napkin
0 my enemy.
Do I terrify?----The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on meAnd I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to seeThem unwrap me hand and foot
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladiesThese are my hands
I may be skin and bone,Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shutAs a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.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.It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatricalComeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a chargeFor the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart----
It really goes.And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of bloodOr a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold babyThat melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.Ash, ash ---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware.Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
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