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C.K. Williams

C.K. Williams

C. K. Williams's most recent book of poems, Wait, was published in May of 2010, as was a prose study, On Whitman. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University


My Australopithecus-self dumbfoundedly watches
my muse-self pirouette in a puddle and spill,
those unblemished legs flung every which way,
those bounteous breasts flopped like the dugs of a dog.  

He tries, innocent thing, not to see, to have seen.
To evolve all this way and have beauty be ugly?
Is this what's meant by the modern?
It's worse than our old life as prey.

...And really, was the savannah so bad?  Predators,
yes, but no TV, no malls.  To eat: yum,
berries and bugs.  Medium cyclic sex-drive.
Who needed a stunt-flying klutz of a muse?

Consider her point of view, though: without her,
that meagerly-minded ape-person can't even revise.
Imagine: life as first-draft—up the hill, draft;
down the hill, draft—draft, draft, draft.

No wonder muse would lose interest,
no wonder wander.  Work with a one-psychèd brute?
No wonder my room stinks like a sweat shop.
No wonder headaches, no wonder blank.

Plato was right—madness to nail wings
on such a recalcitrant scamp.
He's half fossil anyway now.
Up the hill, down the hill—just let him be.

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