Function of the Muse

And so the Poetess turned
To regard me
Her expression . . .
tolerant . . .

“Tell me please
Of what use is a Muse?
How is it that men such as you
Go on and on about . . . Muses?”

My Lady
(she didn’t like that)
If I pour out my Life-Parna
without a Muse to receive it
It is as cheap wine cast upon the sands . . .

If I set out on this voyage
Of discovering the True Poem
Blessed be the Lady’s token
For without such assurance
How can the poet Sojourn
How can the poet create?

For the absence of the Lady’s token
Reduces the poet to a mere selfish narcissist
Seeking his own aggrandizement
Contributing nothing that any money changer can’t claim

But if I feel the blessing of the Lady
Calling to my inner soul . . .
If I create for her pleasure
If I create with no thought of myself
Then will I come to know
the True Poem
Then can I rest
When she reads . . . and the radiance
of Her smile
Casts back all the Darkness my spirit can offer

In that Moment
I am no longer me
I am the Poet

The Artist


She pictures an open door
the Sun when its spent
She pictures the corridor
now vacant with lament

She pictures the empty shelf
no leaves upon the tree
She draws me outside myself
but never pictures me

in matters of life


she asked
“Are the gods silent
or is it me?”

the gods are not silent
even in this moment

there is no silence

life is thick, thunderous marching boots
on crazed dictators
stamping across a tin roof

life is a wining dog at the door

life is the roar of a river eating its own banks

and yet
the gods. . .
they are quiet, but not silent

life is a whisper in a hurricane
life is a fragile bloom
even though last spring the frost killed the other bloom
life is a gentle second in a year of bedlam

in matters of life
if we are wise
we appreciate it when we have it



the possession of all that you own

“I might not be able to buy happiness with that much money, but I could make a down-payment.”
“Hon, obsession with money blinds you to the art and texture of your life. You become the possession of all that you own.”
“That much money. . . I’d be satisfied.”
“There is no lasting satisfaction this side of the grave.”
~ from the Handbook of the Reluctant Tyro

When you’ve played the game with Death

“When you’ve played the game with Death as many times as I have, you come to realize that you can’t win, you can only postpone defeat.”
~ from the Handbook of the Reluctant Tyro