Daily Archives: March 26, 2019

No Muse

I wish I had a Muse who could do for me
what some of you claim one does for you.

Oh, I do not doubt you
when you say it; I only know

that I have been alone 
in this work. Nothing whispers in my ear

or comes to my bedside
to shake me awake in the dark

and say, “now then…now then,
here is the pen, and there is the book;

all you need do is take down
what I telling you.” Not me.

I have to scrape it up
from the desk while battling

fatigue and neuropathy. 
I have to drag it out of me

myself. I have to, have to,
have to look at every word

like a nail in my eventual
coffin or more like one

that needs pulling from a board
I need to cut to make that coffin.

If I had a Muse I could farm that out.
I could lie back and laugh

at their cruelty in the name
of art while waiting for the glory

of seeing my name alone
on the Work. Instead

I’m here between the gas bill
and the rent scratching in the dirt

to free a sprout from a seed I planted
thirty years ago and forgot to water

until now, and yet it’s coming along
pale and proto-green and maybe

if I worry enough about that and
forget the bills it might have a chance

but I’m hungry now, and angry-handed
and in pain, and money’s tight

and I’m old and this is Work
I’d love to lay off on a Muse,

but per usual I’m in this alone
and if there’s a stray Muse to be found

anywhere, I’m sure
it would offer too little and too late

for me to even bother with a summons;
back to my stubborn

scratching, worrying, and
digging in the dirt.

” Ce n’est pas un poème sur un balai”

To be a broom is to be —
if you’re lucky —
old school,
built of wood and straw;

of course, you could be
metal and plastic and 
still get the job done
but somehow I suspect

you’d be yearning
to bristle naturally
at the cobwebs and grime
of the world.

Maybe you could
hope against all hope
to be a pushbroom,
industrial in size

and scope, heaving aside
the remains of work
with great arcs and strokes,
guided by a professional hand?

To be a broom 
would be an odd dream
come true for some
who lie awake wishing

to cleanse, 
to remove and leave behind
only shiny and new and
devoid of all except what you

countenance as useful
and needed. It would be
the perfect manifestation
for people like that —

people yearning
to empty great spaces
of those they see as dirt;
once they’d transformed

I could take them and put them
into a corner or closet,
forget about them, leave them
to gather dust.