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.