Anecdotal Evidence · Bigger Than My Body

My Violent Muse: The Story of How Poetry Tries to Kill Me


My muse is violent. Some writer’s muses seduce them, or hold their hand through the creative process. But my muse, let’s call her Wanda, is a real bastard. She plagues my brain and if I don’t do what she wants, she shits on my pillow. Wanda gives me headaches, stomach aches, pimples, and an insatiable thirst for *lighter fluid, but I’ve got to give it to her, Wanda gets the job done.

With fiction, I’m always working and Wanda only shows up a quarter of the time. But with poetry, which I do less of, it’s different. I might be minding my own business, eating a grilled cheese or **mini-waffles, and WHAM! Wanda will punch me in the face and hold me at gunpoint until I sit down to write. Then, as soon as I finish, she kisses me on both cheeks and disappears (Wanda is apparently a grumpy Parisian).

I may never become a poet that people remember, but at the very least, when I finish a poem, I get a feeling akin to a runner’s high and it’s pretty great. And on the rare days when I’m writing fiction and Wanda shows up (armed, of course), I know it’s going to be painful, but successful.

Poetry meme

In honor of Wanda, my main bish, I’m linking you to a couple of my poems. If this isn’t your thing, go ahead and skip to the poem I wrote in 4th grade, “What is Green?” It’s a real zinger.

***Idiot Hearts

An Artist Afraid 

What is Green? (annotated by an older me) 

Green is the chalkboard,
The grass.
Green is the middle of eyes belonging to a cat.
Green is green beans, (WHAT?!?! Plot twist.)
Rustling leaves.
Green is a lime
Sour and bitter,
Green is a slowly creeping caterpillar.
Green is peas,
The evening breeze. (Is it though? Not unless the Green Goblin is in town.)
Green is the great out doors, (Notice the spelling of “out doors” vs “outdoors”? Is it commentary on the confusing and misused exit and entry doors at Wal-Mart?)
The ocean when your on the shore. (Subverting expectations with “your” vs. “you’re.” Genius.)
Green is a banana not quite ripe,
Green is the plaid in an old bagpipe. (Representing my people from day 1.)
Green is also one more thing,
Your favorite vegetable,
Spinach! (Drop the mic.)


Wanda might have been involved in the 4th grade poem too. I mean, What is Green? Talk about advanced metaphysics. That question blows my mind.


*I usually drink wine instead of lighter fluid, but I’m thinking… How funny would it be if I started my own winery and named the wine after things that could kill you. Lighter Fluid, Arsenic, Mustard Gas, Poison Dart Frog…Infection? Could be fun.

**Fun fact: Mini-waffles are 85% of my diet. But they must be mini. Don’t you dare hand me a regular sized waffle… Actually, that’s a lie. If you’re handing out waffles, I’ll take whatever you’ve got.

***The editor of the site that published Idiots Hearts said the following: “In this poem, gritty imagery firmly sets the concept of love in reality, even as surrealism takes hold within the lines, much like the current in a river.” I adore being called gritty. Maybe because in real life I’m delicate as fuck, and I hate that. I can be as gritty as I want when I write.


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