"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Letter To Albee


Virginia Woolf
















“the eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages”  Virginia Woolf                                                                                   

Dear Edward,

You poured bitter across the page
and I drank the words until they
were the honey I flavored my dreams with.

I have alcohol stains on my spirit
that speak with a bitch’s tongue
not unlike Martha’s when I am
ogled by males who can’t see
the color of my eyes for staring
at the size of my breasts.

War comes on tongues determined
to inflict the harshest wound, to
shred esteem into false opinions.

I am more than curves male hands
wish to bring under submission.
They want me to speak yes, become
a notch on their belt, a forgotten
name to be assigned the tag of whore.

Edward, Martha is an unlikely heroine,
yet it is her voice I applaud. Call me
insane to hold bitter in such esteem,
but I channel her when the mouse
in me would stay silent at abuse.

Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Sincerely,

Martha’s student

©Susie Clevenger 2014



This is purely fiction although there are a few facts tossed in. I am not really sure why my muse took me in this direction, but I accepted it and wrote the piece.

My youngest daughter, Carrie, played Edward Albee's Martha in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?" when she was only twenty. When she auditioned there was doubt at her being able to take on a character so much older and frankly one of the meanest characters ever written. Carrie told me how difficult it was to shake Martha after the play was finished. The Broken Arrow Community Playhouse in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma put on the production and Carrie received rave reviews from The Tulsa World.

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13 comments :

kaykuala said...

You poured bitter across the page
and I drank the words until they
were the honey I flavored my dreams with.

Great opening, Susie! It comes across as wanting to compromise. But it takes a good writer to bring in varied situations later in the letter. And you did it!
Glad Carrie got pride of place in the play too!

Hank

Susan said...

You are the first one who made sense of that title for me! Who's afraid of women? Too bad Albee couldn't imagine it from a woman who was not an addict or slightly cruel. I love your poem!

colleen said...

A sharp tongue on a sharp tongue. Acerbic comes to mind.

I saw the movie when I was young but it was over my head then.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW! This is so powerful, Susie! A spectacular write and you channeled just the perfect voice for this poem. Wowzers!

Jim said...

I can't remember the movie, Susie (if I saw it) and I haven't seen the play. Back in the 60's I didn't see many movies, as I still do not. I picked up on the bit that when the fictitious son got killed, he had 'swerved to avoid a porcupine,' in that our daughter while in high school had blown a tire 'swerving to avoid a dog' and 'hit the curb.' My students later told me that this is a popular cop out for damaging a car.

The letter put it to "him" good didn't it! I enjoyed reading it even if it was a little hard in places on your male readers. It must be an instinct, the direction of our eyes. But I never think about groping anyone.

I am glad about your daughter playing the part of Virginia so well. Does she still do theatre?
..

georgeplaceblog said...

That introduction "You poured bitter across the page
and I drank the words until they
were the honey I flavored my dreams with" wowwowwow
and
"Call me
insane to hold bitter in such esteem,
but I channel her when the mouse
in me would stay silent at abuse."
What a ride! You channeled beautifully.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I commend you the commitment to your theme in this poem. You have created a credible character, alluding to literature, and made some real commentary about how women are perceived by men (though we like to believe that gender stereotyping is a thing of the past).

Grandmother (Mary) said...

I love the opening of this and your identification with Martha in the anger at being less than all you are in the eyes of some men.

ayala said...

Great piece, Susie!

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I don't know your work well Suzie--but this is a wow for me--I wanted to wrap myself in your words and howl--not really sure what that is about--but thee it is

Kay L. Davies said...

Susie, you have a wonderful talent, and this is a great write. I'm sure Carrie inherited her flair for drama from you, channeled slightly differently.
Luv, K

Enigma said...

This is powerful. Having read quite a bit by and about Woolf, I'm looking forward to the movie. The raw power and the utter refusal to bend down to any kind of submission is fascinating. Loved this! :)

Marian said...

shout it out! this is so strong, Susie. thanks for writing it.

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