"Elusive Muses"

What’s that you say? “Oh, no. Not another poem about writer’s block.” Well, it is that, but it was also a writing exercise. I’d been trying to make my writing lean and mean, simple and straightforward, no fancy stuff. It was getting to me. I was bored with my writing, never a good sign. I decided to just let go of that and turn it around, go as purple as I dared with big words and frothy imagery. I like to think this poem helped me find a middle ground.

Elusive Muses

They come in ghostly shapes,

These storied people, dancing seductively at the edges of dreams—

Mysterious Lorelei who giggle and whisper amongst themselves tales

Of audacious abandon, of kings and paupers, lovers and fiends,

too soft to hear.

Their phantom auras, diaphanous,

yet full of throaty promise, float just beyond the edge of knowing, yielding little.

My trailing hand wafts through and pulls back a failing scent

Of refuted memory, miserable triumphs and carousing criminality

too secret to tell.

Their mocking laughter echoes

between the clumsy scratches of pen to paper. Locks of braided

bells clink and jingle as they shake their heads, shimmering with scorn

as truth is twisted by self-deception, denial or lies

too wanton to believe.

Imperious, they wait. Disgusted,

They leave. Drifting away, fluttering words as they go. They scatter

seedlings of imagination, which wither and expire

even as I scoop them up to nurture a desire

too foolish to check.

copyright Loretta Casteen 2010


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