Earl J. Wilcox
Some Thoughts While Waiting For My Muse
Some say it’s tiresome and pretentious
To claim one is waiting for a muse,
Perhaps one which inspires good poems,
Not a faux muse who conjures Mediocre
Or, God forbid, bad poems. You may
Raise an eyebrow about the notion
That muses buzz around like some sprite
From a Pope Mock-Epic, but I can
As rightfully claim this is the way
Writing poetry works as any other.
By now haven’t we dissed and dismissed
Those who claim we compose under
The influence of a drug-induced stupor,
Since God knows if you’re not of a sound
Mind, you are not going to be alert
Enough to nab a muse when she or he
Comes sidling up to whisper something
Magnificent into your brain, or wherever
A muse deposits such scintillating advice
As he or she cares to give. What I honest
To God would like is a switch in my brain
—Or whatever part of my being attracts a muse
---A thrum or cylinder, perhaps a poetry synapse,
Ready to write, day or night, winter or summer,
When the mood is good, a full moon is not
Tempting to cover me with some humongous
Sheen that castrates my mind before I lay
Down the first line. I know this is wishful thinking,
Trite though that little phrase is,
And I may as well sit here at my screen,
Wait for that certain slant of light,
Just like Emily,
And when it strikes---be ready.
Channeling Faulkner & Thoreau
The earth shakes
like ten tons of dynamite
went off in the woods
behind our house.
The sound of falling trees
causes the dog
to chew her paws.
I grab binoculars,
my coffee cup,
despite cold winds,
Someone is felling
loblolly pines again----
trees set out by hand
a half century ago
by two brothers long gone.
Standing in my backyard,
anxious pooch at my side,
I think forest primeval,
other tree-hugging friends
who weep when they see trees cut.
Squirrels, owls, and cardinals
will make homes in landscaped gardens
where pines once stood.
Next time trees are cut who’ll
recall Faulkner or Thoreau,
imagine tall groves standing,
man’s puny voice talking still.
Seasons At Odds
Before daylight today, dark skies bleak,
clouds tossed about like restless children.
A persistent mockingbird swooped around
my head as I stooped to pick up the paper.
She had been nesting in a nearby tree.
The season was out of kilter. Winter-
time mild as May caught a mother bird
off guard, disturbed my morning reverie.
A Sprinkling Of English & Spanish Spoken Here
The lawn sprinkler crew unloads backhoe, PVC pipe, shovels, rakes,
chatters enough to embarrass a flock of magpies. The crew chief-
chubby, cigar-smoking Black song man of the trio---hums hip-hop,
gospel, Aretha, sings a bar or two of Take This Job and Shove It.
A hot Southern sun beams down upon the boss, chomping seriously
on his stubby cigar, mixes it up with his helpers-an Hispanic
and a white dude in a pony tail and jeans with patches on patches
The sprinkler is laid out like a patchwork quilt of fresh dirt and tiny
vole mountains. When the workers dig in, they dice into an under-
ground network of wires for a dog's invisible fence. Sirens wail, dogs
howl, workers cuss. Scurrying like moles emerging from holes, the
cool workers rumble and scramble to seek the wayward wire. English
and Spanish collide in Tower of Babel talk, three tongues collude,
locate the breach, patch up the break, blend into a melody of hot sauce.
-previously published at Underground Voices
As In Our First Wintertime,
we still embrace
each other's desire
for the longest evening never to end,
revel in ecstasies found
in hours together
which postpone oncoming
How do we arrive here?
-previously published at Centrifuge