Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Stagnant at Bay

The Stagnant at Bay

(for Robert,
who has heard me
from across the flat
serenely chanting
the poet's mantra,
"fuck fuck fuck fuck
nothing's working
stale crap
die die die
many and many a time --
and still loves me)

When words flow (from the spark
To the brain to the fingers to the page)
And sprawl naked, luxuriating in freedom,
Stirring something deep down to rise up, swelling
To roll in , sweep over, and drench me with wonder at the words
Breaking like foam, then I know there is a muse - who paused
To flirt by blowing in my ear, and winked,
Running a lusty tongue over laughing lips,
Before scampering away with a bounce
And a sly giggle echoing
In her wake.

And when it doesn’t flow
And plops out
In dull leaden drips
That sit in a sodden heap,
And I reach down
And pick up a fistful
Of the sludge,
Sure I can cut
And polish it bright
And bring forth
A gem from a clod of mud.

Mold it as I might,
Tinker with words,
Press it into new forms,
It remains a clumped, cold
Dead thing
Reeking on ice.

And that, my dear,
Is why I hurled a fistful
Of paper snow at you yesterday
When you peeked in to ask,
“How’s the muse treatin’ ya?”
And you looked lovely
As the flakes of my murdered drafts
Drifted down onto your hair
(White on blue-black).

And in your astonished laugh
I heard an echo of the giggle
Of that muse
(The fickle bitch).


c. 2003 Reed Boyer

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