Feeding the Muse
The professor asks us to explain why we write.
How can I express the trail of living fire
seared onto my brain like Braille for the lost,
those snippets branded hot onto the cow-hard
flanks of my soul, visceral and raw-boned
as a death-row inmate's touch?
I was ten when the vellum like a soft-gloved
hand caressed my bleating ship's heart.
There was the soft intake of breath,
the little hiss
as the yes yes and the oh yes trickled over me
in a thick glowing soup because how could
someone paint the exact hue and thunk and shape
of my yearning especially when so few yes's
exist in this world?
I want to echo the professor in that writing
is like first sex or childbirth, it pokes
and stings on its way in and out but I hunger
for it like all good masochists do.
I could echo the textbook author and say
I have a choice in that I have really no choice,
it's either writing or dying, that the pen
is like a gun filled with black blood
aimed at my heart or any other major organ.
And would he understand the sweet-red
wash of explosion, the heartwrenching
humanity-kissed music of this luminous
splintering inside me, no matter
its infantile burps and gurglings?
He opens himself to us, says he’s written
poetry for over forty years and he sports
a silver-threaded pony tail and visits rehabs
to mesh with his own kind, engorging
on the slobbering emanations of drunks
and junkies like me, our needle-pitted pores
sucking in light through liquid language
like a thousand gray kitchen sinks,
a thousand blistered mouths slacked
and whimpering for that first jolt
of rich-brown junk to ease
the emptiness from our bones.