At Rest, image by Karen Bell.
(See also “this is not a love poem” by Gina Marie Bernard.)
Just last month I was forced to sacrifice
My Muse on the altar of Our Relationship
and today I read that poets must also give up
the “Confessional I”—
it has become irrelevant and self-indulgent.
It is also recommended that one wean oneself
from the “Lyric I,” as it does not address the
postmodern, posthuman, world—
the “Witness I” might, in some poems,
remain admissible although suspect.
I’m working on it:
it’s difficult to give up one’s Muse
and one’s I’s in the same year.
I’m attending meetings, working the steps…
I’ve made formal amends for having a Muse who
is not my significant other, cut off all correspondence
and promised to stop gazing toward the northwest.
My Muse-dry date is June 29
and I am now a recovering Muse-user
a recovering I-poet
a recovering alcoholic
a recovering addict.
My mind is flooded in clear white light
that eliminates sublimely obscure corners;
my inner-self is an IKEA catalogue
bleached clean, angular, and bereft
of any lingering romanticism.
This subject position is now
obsession, addiction, and poetry-free.
They call this a good recovery.
Jeanetta Calhoun Mish is a poet, writer and literary scholar. Her first poetry book,Tongue Tied Woman, won the Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women in 2002 and her second poetry collection, Work Is Love Made Visible (West End Press, 2009), won the 2010 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry, the 2010 Western Heritage Award for Poetry from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the 2010 WILLA Award for Poetry from Women Writing the West. Mish has published poetry in The Fiddleback, Naugatuck River Review, Concho River Review, Poetry Bay, Blast Furnace, and others. She is also the editor of Mongrel Empire Press and Director of The Red Earth Creative Writing MFA program at Oklahoma City University. www.tonguetiedwoman.com
Read an interview with Jeanetta here.