Muse, Bertel Thorvaldsen

I. Why the Muse is Not a Poet

I’m as sad and uneasy
as the eddying sea
(but near ear-dead to anything

it might have had to say to me!)
or a mime strung out on spray paint,
this unimaginable muteness and/or taint.

That said it’s the same day as yesterday–
drippings the same gun-gray as the drapes,
rated no stars at U-ARENT-ART-PERIOD.

But tomorrow, I will muster a sun
that’s more than this opt-painting, Tum,
lit up with some poem-pulp

and the moping of those still
as sad and uneasy as any Ashbery
scene or was it, is it, self-portrait?

II. Dostoevsky vs. His Muse

Is there anyone here that isn’t given to fits.
Their tongues gone to seed. Not long for this world.

My body has stiffened with time. Doubling over
with my twin. What it insists is still both our desire.

It might seem that I’m not. Half as mad as I thought.
Though I’m of two minds on diminishing my role.

His love has ruined me. For this kind of suffering.
Fussing over where our kisses. First came to blows.

I am already damned. And those who swear
that I’m not. Have more reason to worry.

This stays with us. I say to myself.
Where I’ve left off. I’m somebody else.

O how the universe puts on a good show.
Still I worship the words. I’ve put in its mouth.

III. The Muse’s Elements

In the air I have scanned
all the rain cannot bear
and can hear all that’s banned
by those gods who aren’t there.

Open up spouted mouths,
tap that emotion not sane or apt.
Stay pat or tour north, south…
earth’s where your heart’s partly trapped.

I’ve riffed on day and night
all it tried to redefine
and think it fire not light
our universe has dined.

Try to chart the water’s reason,
track its claim across these acres.
Chore’s to hour as art’s to season.
Each beat starts in one of four’s care.

IV. (The Muse Leaves a) Mark

Once again, the critics have panned
my scrapped poetry, naptimes,
so, I pack an extra dunce cap,
a map of Grossman’s cosmos,
the text of an insurance exec
and turn my pencil towards nature,
its mock-up of animals, canned goods
stocked in some tree’s crotch,
then dream of an ode ready-made,
another game nudged into my sight
that I get at with a magic so cunning
it’s as if I’d come to know it by cap gun or
was puncturing its neck like the damned.

V. A Muse (Classical Mold)

I’ve seen us sold on–
all nods and strung drool,

a whole lot less than this
however dovelike we sang it

or drolly view-mastered it—
de-steaming our glasses in

this worldliest style, avowed
to this vision we try saving

along with the publicity shots
of eons old gods donning nothing

and their dog-ravaged vases,
knowing our new role too well—

in lieu of order and resolve more
awe filed in some void, whatever.