Meanwhile in my head, I'm undergoing open-heart surgery - Anne Sexton

Dear Linda,

I am in the middle of a flight to St. Louis to give a reading. I was reading a New Yorker story that made me think of my mother and all alone in the seat I whispered to her “I know, Mother, I know.” (Found a pen!) And I thought of you — someday flying somewhere all alone and me dead perhaps and you wishing to speak to me.

And I want to speak back. (Linda, maybe it won’t be flying, maybe it will be at your own kitchen table drinking tea some afternoon when you are 40. Anytime.) — I want to say back.

1st, I love you.

2. You never let me down.

3. I know. I was there once. I too, was 40 and with a dead mother who I needed still.

This is my message to the 40-year-old Linda. No matter what happens you were always my bobolink, my special Linda Gray. Life is not easy. It is awfully lonely. I know that. Now you too know it — wherever you are, Linda, talking to me. But I’ve had a good life — I wrote unhappy — but I lived to the hilt. You too, Linda — Live to the HILT! To the top. I love you, 40-year old Linda, and I love what you do, what you find, what you are! — Be your own woman. Belong to those you love. Talk to my poems, and talk to your heart — I’m in both: if you need me. I lied, Linda. I did love my mother and she loved me. She never held me but I miss her, so that I have to deny I ever loved her — or she me! Silly Anne! So there!



" - Anne Sexton, from a letter to her daughter, Linda Gray Sexton 

(Source: violentwavesofemotion, via arrowsofsensation)

178"He desires not the kiss.
He desires not the radio.
He desires not directions to Paris.
He desires to lie in his fragile doorway
scratching his back all day." - Anne Sexton, from Snail
186"There are dark stars in the cool evening and
you fondle them like killer birds’ beaks." - Anne Sexton, from Earthworm
1075"I saw you as you were." - Anne Sexton, from Christmas Eve
384"The heart burst with love and lost its breath." - Anne Sexton, from The Break
930"…I thought the nightmares, the visions, the demons would go away if there was enough love to put them down." - Anne Sexton, from an interview
1242"I can describe it as a pain in the head, some central point, a wound which, somehow, had always been there — something slowly and steadily deforming all hope in me; something that forces me to cling to the past and cling and cling — I cling to the blood, I cling to my own ache, I cling to the past and it gets to a point when I can’t even remember without hurting. I do feed off it, do you understand? It’s not the disease anymore, Anne, it is me, I’m telling you it is me! I blindly follow it because I want to know it and it drives me inward, each time all the most inward, and yet I can only use abstract terms to refer to it and then I get mad at myself. Or I am mad. Probably both. Anne, I am not a loser and I am not weak and I have been battling this ever since I can remember myself. And every single time I try to describe it to someone I love, I only end up sounding like a self-centered asshole who is so damn arrogant in her pain. And then I cannot describe it — I fail, I always fail so forgive me […]" - Anne Sexton, from A Self-Portrait In Letters
228"I am flying like a single red rose,
leaving a jet stream
of solitude
and yet I feel nothing,
though I fly and hurl,
my insides are empty
and my face is as blank as a wall." - Anne Sexton, from Killing The Love
557"…I dream the love is swallowing itself." - Anne Sexton, from The Break Away
1714"And I don’t know,
don’t know,
if we belong together or apart,
except that my soul lingers over the skin of you
and I wonder if I’m ruining all we had,
and had not […]" - Anne Sexton, from Waking Alone
398"…and I loved you then, so wise from the shower,
and I loved you many other times
and I have been, for months,
trying to drown it,
to push it under,
to keep its great red tongue
under like a fish, but wherever I look they are on fire,
the bass, the bluefish, the wall-eyed flounder
blazing among the kelp and seaweed
like many suns battering up the waves
and my love stays bitterly glowing,
spasms of it will not sleep,
and I am helpless and thirsty and need shade
but there is no one to cover me –" - Anne Sexton, from Divorce
286"I have killed all the good things
but they are too stubborn for me." - Anne Sexton, from Divorce
294"…and my fear would go out singing
into its own body." - Anne Sexton, from Horse
2996"Perhaps, all I mean to say is that I adore you. Because, in a way, I think I can be senseless with you and still make sense. Because you’re devastatingly real." - Anne Sexton, from A Self-Portrait In Letters
/ past