Bending the Muse | John Fitzgerald

Okay, this is it, shut everything out 
the sounds, the heat, infernal visions.
Relax the spot behind the eyes,
calm the heartbeat, head, and fingers

If something’s flying, let it pass,
unless it makes the wind chime tingle.
Cut the light — especially the light.
It likes to sneak in unaware,

takes awhile to arrive;
a jug of sayings weighs it down
(a tendency also apparent in waiters) 

It’s vital that the cup be drained 
of any stale solutions it holds.

All this done it won’t be long.
Quiet now, here comes the ghost,
that thin, slow spiral playing bones

The pen perks up, the pages shudder,
not letting on, but it shows.
I can’t contain myself to keep from asking 
why it appears so empty-handed

“Haven’t you forgotten something? 
You were supposed to fill this hole!
I dumped an Irish coffee for this
That’s it, I’m going for the bottle”

The specter takes a leak in the cup,
says: Here. that’s all you deserve!

“Now, wait a minute! This won’t do!
I’ve been waiting! Seems like years!
You'd better give me what I came for
Or that cup won’t be the only one pissed!”

But it says: Sorry, gotta go
There’s lots of other poets, ya know
And if you can’t treat me with more respect
I may not come back again!

For just a second, I’m afraid.
No more word play, no more lines.
But as she turns, I scream, “Enough! 
Then I guess there won’t be any others!” 

I smack the sudden face of fate,
absorb it with a fountain pen 
and roll the essence in a paper.

I may want it to work once more,
and if it won’t, I’ll smoke it later. 
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