Forgetting to tie my shoes
or cook breakfast,
like an idiot savant
crunching numbers
between his teeth,
savoring their sweet-saltiness
and solving problems faster
than calculator memory,
or the five-year-old that bows deep,
bowing and plucking violin strings
with more skill than the first chair
at the symphony,
muse-driven and ridden 60 days in a row,
I breathe in air like everyone else
but exhale poetry.

So long silent, the song
strokes the harp of my ribs.
My blood sounds a descant
decanted through veins
and the bones of my neck
ping tone like a long xylophone
as this pulse turns drum
and thrums a backbeat
that echoes in marrow.

Struck and humming,
I become the instrument
I was created to be;
the hammered key,
the breath of the horn,
the flights of a voice
when it’s freed.

***for dVerse.  Rework of something written in May.  Probably not done yet, but does include a lot of the devices Gay spoke about today.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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53 Responses to muse-ridden

  1. brian miller says:

    becoming the instrument i was created to be…smiles…like that much…the first stanza is almost a poem itself…lots going on in it..the crunching numbers tween teeth…really cool progression as well from there to exhaling…if you are looking to add anything i would maybe progress to a bit of wildness in how it feels for that instrument to be playing…

  2. aprille says:

    It certainly does contain a lot: and is rich beyond belief. So many unexpected twists and turns. Delicious.confection of thoughts and images.
    Your bg image is sensational.

  3. i like that a lot! sort of reminds me of emily dickinson…it’s great when people can create vivid/powerful impressions with few words. I love poetry. right now i’m focusing more on a video blog discussing the creative process/evolution of music culture from my perspective as a singer/songwriter. I find that i draw deeply on my college poetry classes for lyrics to my original material. anyway, great writing—keep it up!

  4. Hmm…aside from the term “idiot savant” I love this Susan. Not sure why, “savant” never bothered me… But I love the imagery and description here. Nicely done as always. 🙂

  5. Alice Keys says:

    “I breathe in air like everyone else
    but exhale poetry.”

    I love this phrase. I resonate with this and long for more of these moments. There are many more now that I’m under the sun. My husband understands. He can tell. Like you say: “forgetting to tie my shoes
    or cook breakfast”. I forget my shoes entirely.

    He’s learned to cook breakfast and go barefoot with me.

  6. Laurie Kolp says:

    Ahh, this is great, Susan… I love the hums and drum and thrum… and great metaphor with the idiot savant.

  7. archcardinal says:

    in poesy, the vibes picked in the verse, are the internalized rhythms of the poet’s thought. In this case, the assumption of a sound (music) producing instrument looks more at the harmony of the vibes your poetry produces. At least tracing the origins (or literature in general), musical accompaniment was always at the forefront; either in lute or lyre (as with the comedy).

    in my view therefore, your representation here attempts to tap in, not only into your origins of poetry, but to the very beginnings of poetry as an art.

    in terms of what is missing, you may only have to regale us on how you beat the words out on the anvil on your paper in the hammers of your pen… Lovely work Sussie…. I am definitely feeling this!

    • Obii–Again thanking you for such a deep exploration of this. You so got this–I have always seen poetry as a song of spoken words. In fact, a lot of the time when I was first writing (very bad, adolescent poetry) I used to hum as I wrote, feeling the music of the words. So glad you liked this. On the first write back in may, I was seeing myself as an instrument being played by the muse, but that has expanded into this now, which is somehow more than that (I think). Love the idea of striking the paper with my pen–bringing to mind Hephaestus being more involved in the creation than any of Apollo’s frolicking, fickle muses.

  8. claudia says:

    ha…inhaling air and exhaling poetry…i like…and becoming the instrument
    I was created to be….with our own specific sound and beat…a good thing when that happens…made me smile

  9. Something touches a key.
    The touched key comes alive and moves,
    humming stroking and caressing,

    Soon, it blends notes and nuances,
    nudges other senses to move and dance,
    like alija, like nubile hips stirrred by ngelenge,
    suddenly the soft shadows of a new song emerge,
    fleeting inchoate,
    some gentle touch by the potter,
    and the new song explodes,
    reason, rhythm and rhyme join hands
    skipping along, spraying flowers, some rose, some purple, some dark,
    some crimson
    but all carrying deep messages
    that touch our aroused eyes and ears –
    the beauty of Susan’s Poetry.

  10. Kelvin S.M. says:

    “I breathe in air like everyone else but exhale poetry” — this appeals to me… great write Susan…. smiles…

  11. savoring their sweet-saltiness
    and solving problems faster
    than calculator memory,

    Beautiful poetry. Love it.

  12. A compelling and engaging read ~ nice one Susan

  13. lucychili says:

    great rhythm and story

  14. I know what you mean! There are times–I should probably say most of the time–when EVERYTHING screams, “WRITE ME!”
    Excellent write, Susan!

  15. “I breathe in air like everyone else but exhale poetry” Excellently said, Susan. Great poem 🙂

  16. …the song strokes the harp of my ribs… BRILLIANT! This is how it feels when a poem or other piece of art is working hard to emerge.

  17. BroadBlogs says:

    I breathe in air like everyone else
    but exhale poetry.

    Thank you so much for doing that.

  18. ManicDdaily says:

    Yes – a very cool disquisition on the idiot savant – I feel a bit more like the idiot than the savant, though understand what it means to be focused on words in the head. k.

  19. yasniger says:

    Good piece of writing

  20. Too many lines to mention that stir me!

  21. Renee Espriu says:

    Visiting from dVerse. Love the write. A muse is a powerful thing.

  22. heidi says:

    This is a lot like I have felt lately. I’m not going to be able to give you any kind of helpful comment, but this piece really did speak to me and I liked it.

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