As a writer habitually falling in and out of a dance with the muse, I'm often drawn to documenting that dance, of approaching the muse after a period of distance. This piece was collected and published with other pieces written by fellow members of the Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective. Entitled I'll Have Wednesdays, Vol. III, the journal is available on Amazon, thanks to Bambaz Press.
The blank page is not unlike a cold, dark pond.
The prospect of diving in, the holding inside,
Clenching of the spleen at the thought of stepping in,
Thought so viscous it halts the balls mid step.
The mind’s a cunning little wrench,
Making what should be a dance into a single footstep.
As if inviting the muse
Is as pat as just breaking the white with a single word.
It’s not meant to be easy.
It’s not just about diving into the cold waters,
Not just about grinning and bearing it and jumping and dealing with the cold.
There’s a compulsion in the body
To move move move once submerged in the deep dark cold,
Move so that the blood flow heats up, and in the same way:
It’s not as simple as breaking the white of the page
With just any old word or fetching phrase,
But also about moving through the white for a spell,
Moving moving and keeping the words flowing
So the muse warms.
And then suddenly she’s alive and warm and welcoming
And her graceful fingers hold an unlit French cigarette
And she’s leaning there against the vanity with some sweet Nina Simone song
Crackling on the record player
And she’s looking at me and she’s looking deep into my eyes
And she’s liking every nook of what she sees
And she’s excited but in no rush,
And she beckons with the eyes just the most modest glance as if to say,
“Excuse me, my good man, but won’t you please light this up for me.”
And here I stand rocking back and forth
With the sweet little beat and I’m in the pocket with the song
And my hand is in my pocket and I hold the lighter,
And I can feel the grooves of the spark wheel on my thumb,
And I could pull it out at any moment, and I will,
I will at any moment, but for now,
I’m just looking her in the eye as she is locked in my eyes
With lip corners in a slight upswoop,
And I’m just swaying with the music
And she’s just leaning
And I will light it up.
I will I will I will.