Misses and Mythconceptions

You will wait.
You may wish to
part your crown.
Inspiration will come.
for Calliope to drop lead
sorts and slugs,
for Erato to knock
words into lines of type
across the low dome
theater of your intaglio mind.
This my students imagine
is what poets do—
hunch over a writing desk,
quill nib poised above, ink blotting
parchment scroll below, waiting
for Euterpe to alight
upon a shoulder.

They have never written
a poem. It is writing—
pen skritching across paper,
fingers touch-typing keys—
that summons the tenth muse.
Her gift lies in a word, a phrase, or
even the bounty of a line:
this origami of ink forever
blossoming into a map of the unwritten.
They have not spent the hours
becoming days, becoming weeks.
There is no perfection in the first-and-only.
From the unfolding font
is the inevitable momentum of syntax.
I am fortunate if I have
explored many a valley and fold,
if I am satisfied I sought all after
only a month.

They do not understand
why I am not silent in reading—
how I strive for the music
inherent in the discord of rough drafts.
How behind my eyes I cast
words onto the dark
waters of oblivion and memory.
Feel in my mouth
as tongue, lips, and breath
shape the syllables.
Do I love their escape into air?
Do I explain that
in this striving, there is joy? That reward
itself is in creation? Or
leave them, perhaps
to discover this

Talk story

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