Dear Sylvia

If you hadn’t died so, would we have
given you this much screen-time?
Were you really any good?
A beacon for the tortured artist
everywhere — beware, beware —
Lady hair, burning red in the oven.
You were a bit of a babe.
A many-faced goddess in a
bikini or a bell dress or a graduation cap.
Your voice on Youtube clips
Interviews, readings, constant
bleedings, for a greedy listener.
We scrap you in class, give you
less attention simply because
you’ve gotten so much already.
When I was fourteen I read
your only novel and I ran
through the house to my
mother crying about how I
could never write something like
You’ve indulged me in my
‘unhealthy’ feelings, my morbid
urges, you give me unusual
hope, that which sets me
out and about to taste the salts
and peppers of a city or a
river like nothing before.
You write how many think,
each word heavy as a crystal
ball, drawl it out in that fine rich
voice of yours.
The images you fry taste
vital on the tongue.
So. Were you really any good?
Immortal, as a result of your
extreme mortality, I could
make a shrine for you
in the hole above my bed.
Despite me, to spite me,
it doesn’t matter what I think,
you were, you are,
you did, you never will,
Read Me.

About the author
Jessica Thompson is a 22-year-old Māori woman from Dunedin. She has a degree in English and Art History and is currently working on her Course work Masters at Otago University. Her style is personal and she likes to explore her identity and emotions through strong imagery and unusual language. Jessica works as the culture editor of Critic Magazine. You can find her poetry, as well as her art and photography, on her instagram: @maori_mermaid where she is selling prints as well as her first every chapbook!