Friday, January 11, 2013

My Muse


My Muse. Do I have one? I do, indeed. Thanks for asking. I don’t think the idea of a Muse is dead. The fact that you asked the question at all suggests to me that the Muses are very much alive.

Each Muse is personal, I think. I also think mine is spiritual, in a way, and physical, as all living things are. I have a hard time seeing my Muse as a Harpy, a creature like Robert Graves’s snake-handling Minoan, his White Goddess. Or Rilke's fearsome Angel. Rilke's great inspiration has always reminded me more of a Zeppelin than anything else. Maybe this is because I am gay and I admire large, inflatable objects which explode in my face. Maybe it has something to do with experience: how I have come to look at life. I don’t know.

My Muse is kind of like Cupid. I see him as an impossible putti somersaulting through my subconscious mind, scattering daisies and chaos in one of those blue skies from the French Baroque. He appears to be: comic, tragic, totally anarchic, totally ruthless, and well-armed.

My Muse is Love, clearly. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have a feeling that Love is far more protean today than he ever was before. He might be an itchy jock at the gym, for instance. Or an anonymous gift to the Salvation Army. I have even known him to hide in the blast of a nuclear bomb. He might even be you. There is no telling how he will turn up.

Most often I see my Muse as my cell phone, a muted buzz perpetually interrupting me, wherever I am, whatever I happen to be doing: jogging; having sex; taking a dump; trying to sleep; juggling a pumpkin, a carton of milk, a carton of eggs, and a carton of light bulbs at the grocery store; or maybe squatting in a desolate aisle of analgesics at the pharmacy; looking at bottles of aspirin, comparing prices; wondering, amusingly, how many of these I would have to take if I wanted to commit suicide.

My Muse sees to it that the reception is always terrible on these connections, and that the number (Blocked) is usually wrong. But I am a creature of habit, and I never know if the call might be something important: about a new job, a surprise visit from a friend, or the news that a loved one has suddenly died. I always drop whatever I am doing and search for a quiet area—a napkin, a notebook, an empty afternoon—where, if he has left a message, and if it is meant for me, I can return the call.

As always,

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