Here in the rasx() context, Classics is no more than any other ethnic studies program. No hierarchy. Just flat. Such is “the decline of oracles.” This means when I see the work of Sylvia Plath I am not forced to declare myself a part of the Ted Hughes camp or a part of the non-Ted-Hughes camp. I see quite clearly that these camps contain soldiers—these soldiers of the campus are always ready for fighting—and I am not in this war. Study war no more! I am beyond dialectics—only officers of the imperium need to persuade.

So when Plath makes references to Böcklin or the Judeo-Christian “spitted ox” in “On the Decline of Oracles”—or the “furious Latin” of the African bees in “The Arrival of the Bee Box”—I am not distracted into the Negro, ego-ceremonies that kept many a colored genius at all-white dinner parties (for some reason Ralph Ellison comes to mind here). What is most interesting is the “confessional poetry” of Sylvia Plath. For every aspiring Negro poet, she should be a byword, a white house on a hill serving as a warning that all that glitters is not African gold. (The ‘African gold’ reference here is influenced by a very strange explanation of Plath’s motives, her relations with bees, her beekeeper father and occultism featuring a European interpretation of Ancient Egyptian “religion” and “mysticism.”) Once we get beyond the blunt mental instruments of racist “thought,” we may see that Negroes who call themselves poets desire to be very present and captive to the kind of lavish attention poured upon the likes Sylvia Plath. Plath’s suicide is only a minor footnote for the non-white child starving for white attention. “What? Did you say her husband was a famous poet too! Neat!”

It will never surprise me to find that poems like “For a Fatherless Son”—proudly featured here in the kinté space—would receive no such lavish attention. Every gender-specific political activist would seize upon Plath’s “Daddy” but a little Google™ research suggests strongly to me that few mention “For a Fatherless Son” in the same breath. Not so “neat.” The suicide is only a minor footnote for the child starving for attention. It would never occur to these childish people that men who pay child support read poetry. I pay child support and I read Sylvia Plath’s “For a Fatherless Son.” In my mind, she confesses what no woman I have ever met who raised punk-ass children—especially systematically weakened, insecure and, at times, hyper-violent sons (the very males such women profess to hate)—would never confess. No Classics. It’s all flat to me. When I hear Tupac in “Dear Mama” I can also put Sylvia Plath’s “For a Fatherless Son” on the turntable and they start buzzing like a “Roman mob.” Manliness is confused with Romanliness by the fatherless sons—and almost every fatherless son has a fatherless mother. Plath is here to confess and profess the decline of oracles. Black Athena lightened up and got put in a little box. Put your eye to the grid, mufukka. This box is only temporary.


Written by . . . . . . . Sylvia Plath 
XHTML/CSS Design by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite