Search for a Kinder Muse


Art by Marcia Borell

Art by Marcia Borell

I thought I’d share two poems from Search for a Kinder Muse today. Hope you enjoy!

Further Adventures with the Muse

The Muse has just returned

from another sojourn across the globe.

She flops onto my front porch chaise,

traces a graceful (yet somewhat random)

arc connecting several points in the night sky,

says, “Your poems need to travel,

so we’re going there—

“It’s even in the Goldilocks zone,” she adds

once I discover myself aboard the latest

star cruiser, then unfurls star charts with

one hand, adjusts dials and knobs with the other,

“and they need to attain light speed.”

She’s a blur of activity as she

straps me in, tests several systems,

mumbles something about interference

while muting Houston, blowing a kiss to

all the gang at SETI.

“Expect some turbulence,”

She says, as we pass through

Oort clouds and asteroid belts

(and I don’t even remember leaving Earth)

and I wonder if She’s in such a hurry

because She “borrowed” the cruiser

or some pre-redacted files (or perhaps

She was demoted by NASA or the Air Force,

as she’s no longer wearing wings).

“Kepler-438b is closer, so let’s visit Kepler-442b first,

then loop back around,” She says, and all I can do

is nod, my teeth chattering, my breakfast rising,

as I had no idea we were heading toward zero g.

At last, She pauses, smiles to Herself (or perhaps

it’s intended for me), while the ship seems to stall,

then jerks as solar sails unfurl.

“I was in the mood for a sightseeing cruise,” She grins,

covers up a giggle. “We’ll take the portal next time.”

 

*

like insects, crawling

Space travel isn’t what it

used to be, she thought,

brushing off yet another

insect—real or imagined,

it didn’t matter. . .what

with the hot flashes, the

chemical taste on her

tongue, like comet,

yes, like the scent of

comet from earthside.

The artificial light was

dim, even dimmer than

she remembered. . .Space

travel isn’t what it used to

be, she exhorted to no one

in particular, while she

stood in line, waiting

for the concierge to

check her reservation.

She’d just made deadline,

she thought, but didn’t say.

“Writing isn’t what it used

to be,” she whispered to

herself—where once she’d

penned space operas and

slipstream horror thrillers,

now her thoughts and sensory

data were uploaded rather

than written.  . .and she

rather missed the feel

of her fingers on a

keyboard, the way ink

emerged on paper.

It definitely eliminated

the middle man, kept her

honest, but her newly

installed surge protector

was on the fritz again,

and all those bits and bytes,

not to mention the image

files, were like insects

crawling, insects swarming

through her brain.

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