The Modern Muse

It’s a day in the twenty-first century

Where Tinder fuels the flame
Hook-up culture prospers
And virginity means you’re tame

College parties are messy
Online dating, another norm
Pre-teens texting nudes
When they barely yet have form

But among all of this chaos
This scavenging to connect
Through the thick clouds of young lust
And it’s dizzying effect

My heart races and then trips
When I see you drawing near.
The fog falls, time stops
And my mind forgets the year.

I’m Sappho’s fragment hanging,
Suspended in time by you,
Not complete, nor empty either;
Pure, unfound words pulsing through.

Melting away are pick-up lines,
Forgotten altogether is speech,
Suddenly I think in Shakespeare—-
But a normal sentence I can’t reach.

What have you done? Where am I?
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
A second ago I was on Facebook
Now I’m on “darling buds of May”.

“Dear mother I cannot work the loom”
(Dear lord, a LOOM?! What the hell)
“Filled, by Aphrodite, with love for a boy”
From her old island Sappho does yell.

You walk closer to me, unaware,
That inside I’m waging a war,
Against some lines of poetry
That comes erupting from my core.

I keep my eyes fixed low
Lest my eyes reveal the truth.
The blush creeps up, and its confirmed:
I’m in the presence of my Muse!

Socrates warned me to the gates,
These gates you’ve just unlocked—
Pouring freely is this madness,
This Bacchic frenzy has me shocked.

Eyes on the floor, but searching
Through pages that I’ve read
Wishing I could ask you on a date
But quoting Plato somehow instead.

“Every soul is immortal,” I think.
“Because what’s always in motion can’t die”,
And so my soul moves toward you
In this dumb body that can’t speak “hi”.

My mind grows wings, I’m soaring!
Through philosophy of ancient Greece;
“I’m so into you”/ “You’re hot”,
Sound so stupid, to say the least.

I’m possessed by just this sight of you
How to explain what you’ve invoked?
I’m the charioteer of flying horses,
Reason and Longing fastly yoked.

….But holy hell, that last stanza?!
Where the fuck am I in time?
Sappho again screams, “You burn me!”
And I scream back “Stop making me rhyme!”

And so this poetry rages
Swift and dangerous as the sea
While seconds ago the most natural thing
Was just an iPhone-scrolling me.

You reach my spot and I’m breathless
Silence being thunder to my ears,
And with a smile you walk on by—
And Willy erupts in tears.

“My sonnets!” he slaps my tongue.
“Quick! Call back your shining knight!”
But I shrug and watch you walk away—
The timing’s just not right.

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