My muse is a cantankerous old broad who smokes a cigar and cusses like a sailor. Between the shit-fuck-holy-damn streams of Tourette glory, she bestows a gift of words. A beacon of light explodes above her head, a hot electric nimbus I’m drawn to and can’t look away like a mesmerized moth staring into the heart of the sun. The muse cackles, downs a gulp of Jack Daniels and loosens her long locks, which fall around her milky white shoulders in a matted, tangled disarray. She smiles and imparts an impish wink.
Fuck if she’s being an obstinate hag today.
She bellows a mighty “Ha!”, which shakes the ground like a seismic continental shift. Thunder booms and lightning explodes and I realize she’s not cooperating. She’s keeping everything to herself and not letting me in.
Yet I sense the words hovering on the periphery of reality, bouncing up and down gleefully like a kid yearning to be let outside to play. Words, sweet and meaningful, giggling and dancing, almost daring to be released into the universe.
The muse folds her arms and stares at me as if to say, “You’re not getting anything today, my son. Nope. Nothing.”
I’m at the point of begging, of pleading on bended knee with her. Make the words come! Give me that inspiration I crave to fashion these words into something epic, something moving, something original and brilliant.
“Sorry, boy-o. Well’s run dry as the bleached cattle skull in the Mojave. Come back tomorrow when I’m in a better mood.”
She fake-yawns and stares up at the ceiling, humming an ancient drinking song once sung by the Argonauts and British sailors who died at sea.
I grab her by the collar and pull her towards me, like some gangster tough in a gritty noir film. I shake and jostle the muse, hoping words will fall from her petticoat onto the floor, and I’d scoop them up.
“Look who’s come around,” she says and emits another banshee-like cackle. “All you had to do was ask.”
She plants a sloppy kiss on my lips and transforms from Baba Yaga to Snow White, youthful and smooth, but with the same temperament and eyes of the crazed crone. She is old and has lives many lives, interacting with writers from across time and space, bleeding words onto papyrus, parchment and printer paper. From quills to Biros. The muse has been there, assuming many shapes, from sensual Calliope to a grizzled stranger sucking cigarettes on the rain-slicked Parisian streets.
The muse has been there, and will always be.