A verse for the averse

A verse for the averse

for MARJORIE SPONHOLZ-TUTTLE

The muse, the muse who used to hue my blues,
The muse who used to choose my don’ts and dos,
Who used to find me the right words (and lose
The wrong ones) from my poems and my songs,
Has gone: has donned his or her shoes and split;
Has quit, has buggered off, and won’t come back.

Alas, alack: lack of inspiration
Is all that follows my perspiration
Now; my pencils are blunt, my paper’s blank,
And my back aches from hours hunched over black
Plastic keys with white capital letters.
I’m no better than the gaps between them,
Where dust collects and maybe mates with crumbs.

I succumb to something I’ve heard bemoaned:
Something – studies have shown – strikes artists down
Like a common fever, a snapped lever
On a runaway train, or a dry rot;
The writers like to call it “writer’s block”.
(Note the apostrophe – all me, me, me.)

I wonder what the painter calls it though.

Anyway: once upon some times like these
I’d sojourn mournfully and talk to trees,
Or else thumb through embarrassed diaries:
Try kissing back to life those younger mes.

But now – in my finite wisdom – I sigh,
Laboriously blink dry sleepless eyes,
And theorize my self-diagnosis:
Causes, symptoms, treatments and prognosis.
Could hypnotism help end this schism?

Who cares? I come over all laissez-faire:
No longer grind my teeth or tear my hair;
I stare dog-dumb at walls; dial old close-calls,
Ask questions I’m not sure I want answered
And find them all as useless as ever –
Whether more or less patient or clever.

One doesn’t want to write for the needing:
Sometimes one doesn’t need to write at all.

But mostly one can’t write for the thinking:
Thinking one need cast light over it all.
I thought on till I’d tied my mind in knots.
I expected an answer. I found lots.

Now I amuse myself by searching for
The muse in me: try to inspire myself,
Because no one else will line my bookshelf
With what I could have written had I not
Been smitten by that concept called “the muse”.

Though the world is filled with many fine feet –
Each prowling their own beat, completing feats –
No four are the same: none can fill my shoes.

Appears in:
Mistaken for art or rubbish [2013]

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