. . . either you have it or you don’t,
no amount of MFAing will give it to you:
1. the ethereal fluid coursing through the veins of the gods;
2. a thin, acrid, watery discharge from a wound or an ulcer.
Take your pick.
Either way it brings on those ecstatic states,
verbal snake-handling, that
make the poet’s eyes roll back into
the sockets, bringing on singing
glossolalia, delirium from which
the rational scribe returns later
to get it all down on paper–
weave a circle round him thrice
and all that jazz.
Poor Tommy Eliot, you can imagine him
saying “You can call me Thomas,” then
leaving the New World for the old one,
thinking if he got nearer the source
he’d have a leg up on the barbaric yawpers
in his native land.
As if climbing higher up the social ladder
got you nearer the daemon.
you need the wound
to pull the bow,
the wound from out which ichor flows,
the sacred lymph that
mediates between man and god.