James B. Nicola

Inspiration 2

The task is to objectify a subject,
solidify the vapor of a dream,
harness wild horses that do not exist,
turn the churning insides inside-out,
make cosmos out of chaos, blessed something
where before was unbearable nothing.

The liquid only lubricates or primes,
but cannot do a thing unless we do it.
And too much can be lethal, like so many
potions culled from nature. By the drop
it’s medicine; by cupfuls, poison—madness.

The safer dose has many names: the muse,
a brainstorm, an idea, or inspiration.
It is so sweet a liquor we can’t stop
thirsting for it. The first taste is a curse,
therefore, unless, unless, unless, unless—

O help me out here. Someone? Anyone!
I need a drop, I think. No, less. A dram.
To remind me, tell me, make me what I am.

James B. Nicola, a returning contributor, is the author of six collections of poetry, the latest being Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense. His decades of working in the theater culminated in the nonfiction book Playing the Audience: The Practical Guide to Live Performance, which won a Choice award.