Directions to My Muse

Undo the four screws
on the plastic back

of the transistor radio.
Lift off the square with care.

Let the tiny people blossom
in the cup of your palm.

Hold the music, its weight—
write what you see,

It isn’t about writing—
it’s about opening, knowing.

©2018 Sarah Dickenson Snyder

About the Poet. Sarah Dickenson Snyder has two poetry collections: The Human Contract and Notes from a Nomad. Recent work will appear or has been in The Comstock Review, Damfino Press, The Main Street Rag, Chautauqua Literary Magazine, RHINO, The Sewanee Review, Front Porch, and Whale Road Review.

Waiting For Inspiration

His obsession for writing was getting way out of hand. The notes alone were pathetically disorganized. Just like his thoughts. Compulsions, really. That’s what they were. He’d found no effective way to stop them either. They just went on and on like a fast-moving stream. Funny thing is, he couldn’t tell if he was the stream or the banks that served to keep the water contained. Ironic how he loved to hike along rivers and creeks as a boy.

Maybe he wasn’t even the embankment. Maybe he wasn’t anything. He felt like that, at times. Like a recon drone sent from far away to observe and report. This was highly unlikely, he knew, but at least it gave him pause when one of those entirely empty time outs was needed. As an observer, you see, he was just gathering facts. Absorbing. It’s all grist for the mill, right? Take in all of the ingredients, whip them up, and out comes…

Here’s where he always got stuck. Out comes what? Not a clue. This was the very frustration of his miserable life. A painful and confusing spot to be in, really. There must be potential for something profound to happen here, at this very spot, because he would always just sit and stare, waiting, surrounded by the electricity of possibility. Patiently, always with pad and pen nearby, he would sit.

Just as he was doing right now.

Why is it that every time he was close to writing something, thoughts would race back into his head about laundry or work or whether Aspartame gave him headaches. Where was the lightning bolt? Come on, all-important revelation, where are you? I’m gonna quit this silliness, he’d say. I’m warning you. He didn’t consider this to be rushing the gods or threatening the muses. Not at all. He was a veteran at sitting and waiting for the great aha! to come. After all, there were notes and thoughts and ideas and character sketches written everywhere, on every conceivable writing surface. He’d taken to writing on his palms and forearms on a few occasions when the words just had to get out.

The last time this lull in inspiration occurred, he made up stories about people as they walked by. A little writing exercise, he called it. No one was exempt. Nobody too dull. He never said his imagination was infertile. Just sloth-like and in need of a shot of juice. Does anyone have a pair of jumper cables? No?

Back to sitting and waiting…

I Wrote A Poem Once While Sleeping

I wrote a poem once while sleeping,
Each line flowing into the next, flawlessly fitting,
As easy as knitting (remembering Grandma).
It was as if I could not stop, I could not fail.
Although the words were like building blocks,
As if I were erecting the world’s greatest skyscraper,
It was not about architecture.
It was not even about substance.
It was, dare I say it?
Truly rhythmical, imaginative and melodious.
Not epic. Not really. But not the least bit commonplace.
I was soaring. Becoming one with the atmosphere.
Unstoppable. Insatiably gluttonous for words.
Dining on the abstract. Gobbling up the abstruse.
It seemed as though I could write forever.
And then the alarm went off.