The writer spoke in his most businesslike voice.
“I don’t have time to take poetry now. I’m too busy with prose. Look. I’m writing a book—a novel. Well, as a matter of fact, it’s only a story at this point, but it has the potential to be a novel. That’s even better, since it might be a novel without the potential to be a story. But I have to get to page sixty by tomorrow. I promised myself. I promised myself I’d take the time, and I’m taking the time. Please let me do it. If I don’t do it now, when will I ever do it? So go away with your poetry and leave me alone.”
The Muse departed, angrily jangling her lyre. She took her poetry with her.
The writer turned to his book and his mouth turned to dust. All he could hear was the dissonant sound of the untuned lyre (for the Muse let her lyre get out of tune when she visited him).
His mind turned to water, and what he wanted to write was as writ on it. Not a word would pass his lips or his fingertips.
He called on the Muse. “Oh Muse, come back! Come back to me with your poetry! I’ll take it! With good grace this time, I mean. Whatever you bring, I’ll take, only come back to me.”
She didn’t hear, wasn’t even listening. There was no connection between her order of being and his. He was the designated vessel, he alone, but the switch was off or the power was down. There was no flash, no flush, no heightened moment in which he was suddenly raised to another level.
Days later she burst in through the French doors, disheveled, her hair, the golden curls frizzed by the rain, hanging in damp ringlets about her face. She gave herself airs. She sashayed around the room, nose in the air, holding her lyre over her shoulder hung on one finger.
She threw him a wanton smile, laughed whorishly in his face.
This done, and the writer duly humbled, she burst into song.
She sat on the corner of his desk as if on piano
and sang him a string of saloon song.
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