Pro-Anti or Anti-Pro (a discussion with my muse.)

My muse has been banging the gong in my head for about two hours now. Before you ask… Yes. There is a gong in my head. It was put there years ago by men in white coats who said it would be used to keep my wits from colliding up against my colossal ignorance. To this day I do not know who those men were. One of them looked suspiciously like my Uncle Chester.

(Long pause.)

Yes. My muse must be banging on it hard, because I’m sure she isn’t just getting my attention for attention’s sake... It’s not her Modus operandi.


So I’m just waiting for her to rear her beautiful head…

(Looks at watch. Silence.)

I am rather sure that she’ll begin shortly.

(Looks at watch. Silence. Looks at watch again. Silence.)

I’m serious… I am. ...She’s banging the gong so friggin’ loud she must be in one hell of a lather over something.


Something has her furious! Some injustice or war or genocide or fool or politician or thief- but there I go repeating myself.


When this happens, and it happens more times than I’ve the pills for, she will, rather quickly, begin to do her thing…

(Looks at watch. Silence. Knocks on forehead.) 

Hello? You can stop banging and get to work, muse. ...Hello?

(Silence. Begins to pace about the room grunting and in general making the headache worse.) 

Say something! Move my fingers already would ya? I don’t have all night and the faithful readers will tire of this idiotic monologue soon and hit the back button, or some link... anything to rid themselves of what isn’t theirs! Namely, my headache!

(Looks about the room desperately to draw attention from the bombardment. Nothing. Begins to pace wildly and grit teeth.)

Stop banging the damn gong and speak! I demand that you say something or take my wrist and begin to type something worthy! Now!


Come on, muse! I’ve been very patient and you know it! Please? Please? Please?

(You’re groveling.)

Of course I’m groveling! It’s your gonging that is driving me to it! Your incessant clanging is causing me to do things that I would otherwise never do!

(Ha! You always grovel. I’ve told you so many times how unbecoming it is on you. Remember?)

For God’s sake! Must you be such a pigheaded mule?

(That’s better. Still, it is rather evident that you need me to write. I mean you mix metaphors like Michael Steele mixes his definition of conservatism.)

Oh god! That was pathetic, muse!

(Was it?)

Hell yes it was! Just ask the readers here if your metaphor was any better than any of mine. Go ahead. Ask them. I dare you.

(You’ve done it for me, dear. But mine was not a metaphor.)

Huh? …Oh. Yes.

(Silence. Puts fingers to temples. Muse is again banging the gong.)

For the love of all things! This has not been the best of weeks for me, muse! You of all people should know this!

(Sudden stop.)

Oh. No. That didn’t come out the way I intended it. I didn’t mean to imply that this weeks writing has not been your best, muse. I meant, outside of the writing, I’ve had a bad week. Understand? Don’t take it the wrong way. I didn’t-

(You’re groveling again!)


(You need to lighten up, Mark. You need to stop taking things so seriously, because they’re not.)

They’re not?


But what about Madoff and torture and war and Sudan and the economy and joblessness and homelessness and hunger and-

(I was talking about your personal life, you schmuck. You’re too serious about yourself.) 

I am?

(Yes. The other things, those outside of you, are serious. You see?) 

Yes. (Beat.) No. I don’t think I get it…

(That’s because you’re not supposed to “get it”.)

I’m not?


But… Wait? But… Wait a second… What am I supposed to not get? Myself? But I do get myself. I do! I get myself!



(Okay. In what way do you “get yourself”?)

I… Well I… I know what I stand for. Yes! I do! I understand that little missy!
(Then by all means do tell…)

Okay. (Resolutely.) Do you mind? I know I’m resolute about the forthcoming list!

(Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.)

Of course you couldn’t. (Rowwrrr...) Stop it.

(Okay. Sorry. Please, Mark, tell us what you stand for. I’m sure the good readers are just dying to know.)

...Sarcasm noted... Okay. Ummm… I’m against unjust and non-defensive war. I’m against needless starvation. I’m against genocide and theocracy. I’m against tyranny. Against corruption and homelessness. I’m against torture and the death penalty. I’m against Prop 8. Against child abuse and sex slavery. And I'm certainly against racism.

(Muse clears her throat, which causes Mark to think faster, which, in turn, causes his headache to near migraine speed.)

I’m anti-war. Anti-anti-choice. Against slavery of any kind. I'm against pedophilia and against those that would force their religion down the throats of an unwilling populace. I’m anti-empire. Against preemptive strike. Against-

(Muse relentlessly and ferociously bangs the gong!)

Holy crap! Give a guy a heads-up, no pun intended, (none taken) before you bang the goddamn gong! I’m telling you what I’m against! What the hell else do you want from me?

(Muse bangs the gong!)


(I thought you were going to tell us what you were for not what you're against.)

Stand for, stand against- like there’s a difference?

(Muse bangs the gong much harder than before and Mark storms out of the room holding his head and screaming...)

© 2008 mrp/thepoetryman


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