Why Isn’t There A Tenth Muse Named Margie?
by Joan Jobe Smith

Forgive me Erato, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Calliope,
Clio, Thalia, Urania, Polyhymnia, Melpomene,
when I don’t listen to you. You know I love you,
all of you, but today my mother Margie talks to me.

I tried not to listen to her today while I thanked you all
for what you’ve meant to me since I was a child and
heard your whispering knowledge of music, poetry,
tragedy, history, dance, and the stars but you’re all

so Grecian, ancient, while Margie talks to me of Texas,
still sings to me Cole Porter and Artie Shaw, teaches me
boogie-woogie and the world too much with us as she
explains god, the stars, my sun sign of Aquarius, Leo Moon.

Margie sings, weeps, prays, dances and soars like a comet
in the dark universe of my blood, just as your mothers do
in yours, dear Nine Muses. Who were your mothers, your Eves,
sweet beauties? I hear them crackle starburst as they breathe

sugar and fire around me and you, to tell me they know well
my Margie.

IMAGE: “Les Muses” by Maurice Denis (1893).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than five hundred publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. She is the author of the literary memoir Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me) (Silver Birch Press, 2012). Her writing is featured in LADYLAND, an anthology of writing by American women (13e note Éditions, Paris, 2014). Her poem “Uncle Ray on New Year’s Day . . .”  won the 2012 Philadelphia Poets John Petracca Prize.