I have decided I do not like the previous poem I wrote.

I think it is dumb and without purpose or point.

Some things I write are simple exercises to keep the writing muscles limber and stretched. They serve little other purpose – such is the case with my last poem. Critically absent from these sorts of writings are inspiration.

A written work needs inspiration in the way an old lamp needed oil…there is a soft glow that emanates from inspired writing that is lacking from other such work. Without inspiration a writing is simply a cold, grey, utilitarian husk. Oh sure it can be helpful as it communicates information but it is not alive.

Inspiration was what the Greeks called Muse. The Muse is the personification of inspiration…it was a sacred feminine figure. There is no record of a male muse. The muse was the goddess who would whisper ideas into your ear thus accounting for that strange sensation occurs when inspiration strikes – that moment when an idea comes from the dark, seemingly out of nothingness, that leads to a creation you feel guilty taking credit for.

Inspiration, like the muse, is a fickle partner. She comes and goes as she pleases with little to no warning. Over time one can learn tricks to tease the muse from her hiding place. My muse can be enchanted from her dark corner with music often or certain scenes in film. Other times my muse can be forced out simply by making her jealous by introducing her to the works of other muses – by reading other poets.

She never stays out long.

One never knows when she will be back.

One of my favorite poets, American beat poet Charles Bukowski, once stopped writing for a period of ten years…ten years without that whispering voice. One imagines one would go mad without her over time. Perhaps she was still there and it was Bukowski playing the abuser…ignoring her pleas for release, keeping her locked away.

I think my muse sits in her hiding place sneering at my attempts to create without her. She is condescending and patronizing of my efforts in the way a bad kindergarten teacher might be of a child’s amateurish solo craft effort.

“Well dear that is just so very nice,” she says, “but it could have been so much nicer if you had just waited until I was able to help you.”

In this way she can be a bit of a bitch. But maybe it is all for the best. We work best together when it is unplanned…she will come out and dance to music I might have decided to play…she is alone for a while and then invites me to join her. It is an amazing moment that leads to one or many creative acts. Afterwards we are both spent and go our separate ways until who-knows-when.

The solo efforts are never satisfying.