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Kissing Practice: Seducing Siren Muse

With all the chaos in the world right now, you might be having difficulty finding your creative focus. That's okay! Our creativity can ebb and flow, depending on our energy—and stress level. Ironically, stressful times are also when our creative activities can offer a much-needed respite and escape. Even when you feel you're not really "getting anywhere," just the process of putting your pen to the page, paint on a brush, or a pan in the oven can feel comforting and assuring, regardless of the end result. So, how are you kissing your muse these days? What's calling you, creatively?

Kissing my muse has recently sparked a trip down memory lane. As part of my creative process in developing a course for the Transformative Language Arts Network, I've been revisiting old folders, photos, and artworks, looking for inspiration on the Creative Call phase of the adventure. There was a time when I was obsessed with the repeating cycles of my own creativity and obsessive crushes—which probably planted the seed for what would eventually become Kissing the Muse. I even made a film about this idea.

My own journey to embrace my "inner artist" had a lot of repeating road bumps along the way. But through it all, I learned a lot about what constitutes a "calling"—and mostly that a "creative call" is not always crystal clear.

"Your Seducing Siren Muse lures you with a creative call to action. She might beckon softly with a whispered promise of passion or blow your life open with an unexpected windfall or loss."

But how do you know when it's her? Or when to listen. more closely? Or exactly what she's calling you to create? Sometimes our desires are buried so deep below, and who we want to become so shrouded in mystery, that we can't embrace our muse as ourselves. "I can't be that! No way, that's not me," we demure, pretending not to notice her teasing whispers, tickles, and temptations. Our muse doesn't often start shouting, "Hey, pick up that paintbrush, sister!" Instead, she shows up in more subtle ways, often in disguise.

Sometimes, our Seducing Siren Muse shows up as a "crush" or romantic interest. Who are your celebrity (or real-life) crushes? What intrigues you about them? What might these qualities be telling you about yourself? 

Write a short story or poem about an imagined (or real!) encounter with someone you fancy—a Seducing Siren Muse personified.  Here's (a very old) ode to one of mine who woke me up to my passion for experimental film-making. What did your crushes, old flames, or lost loves call you towards? What impressions did they leave?

her bohemian lover

on the floor, past the door, number three forty-six

a beat rug spread with papers, film reels, books, and bags

and a dozen or so recycled videos

he, the teacher, runs into the room, I mean ran—really ran

with bags of beer and snacks for the class

(he passed them out like valentine’s day milk duds all over her desk)


beatnik, shaman, jokester, trickster

wise with words and sideways glances

we gazed, glazed, amazed while he showed us

the way

seekers, friends, be mine, we were

I am! and knew I was in trouble when

my vision started zoning in on

ear lobes, shoulders, wisps of hair,

oh god, she loved the way he moved

and gestured

the energy! look at his hands

they’re frantic, jesus! watch his mouth, his eyes

they’re seeing me, now dancing back

to other eager sponges—wait! wait…wait.

did you just pause? shift? tilt your head while thinking?

I’m dying, oh god, not listening. what did you say?


everything is scattered on the floor

I want to be too

with him.

he danced around the room,

exploding with answers before there were questions

and she knew she wanted him

to make her into something else

he offered later, perhaps a star?

but she laughed, and put herself down, as usual.

then, whoa, chaos! he is right in front of her

on the street, like a stranger who might change her life

join us! and she’s shuffled in

falling down into his funky abode

past peeling plaster and stacks and stacks of

rusty film reels—musty and metallic piles

of his obsessive passion.

it’s eclectic, electric, the energy around him

turning her on while unknown others wonder

what the shift is in the air

but does she care?

she caught him from the corner of her eye

slithering by

a sharp tongue flickering

in anticipated licking of her skin

she looks away, afraid he is the devil.

he wears tattered pants, and holey, holy shoes.

his hair flips wildly gray.

he is 20 or 50, impossible to tell when you are watching his eyes, or his soul,

not his skin, in the daylight, which might have one age spot near his ear.

I’m not really doing this, but she is she thinks

and x disappears from her heart completely

frantic madness making her dizzy

him fussing through film reels

to seduce her mind with his

suddenly, when no one is looking, he bends on one knee smiling and says her name

now darling, what do you like about my movies?

what can we watch next?

this is dedicated to you, are you listening?

let me, let me—oh god!

and he kisses her, like an alligator,

wide and ready

like a plane crash on the highway

like power lines collapsing

oh god, yes, oh god, yes!

and suddenly the other guests

are ushered away as she watches film flickers

waiting to get it on. but doesn’t yet,

and instead holds her pants on, with both hands,

jeans with bell bottoms

while he tugs and they tumble

on the floor across chairs up the stairs to the door

delicious karma candy stuck to their teeth

licking night like cat’s cream in bohemian dreams

when the door falls open, suddenly spilling her free

and he’s waiting outside

dressed up in a tux he bought off the street, too short and stained,

perfect, on him

he pats her hand gently and raises skinny white arm radically

to cheer on the dyke march blocking their road

ah man, just part of the scene

he’s turned on and they could fall out of the car

or the sky

getting down on the sidewalk

if the cops weren’t there to keep everything in order

let me, let me-oh god!

and she’s dazzled, and hungry

afraid not to know him

aching like butter melting

liquid disappearing

she could have let him swallow her

in fact, that’s what she wanted

to become him, or absorb him, or at least

try on his shoes

which she did, later, at the top of the stairs

where he’d left them

before slipping down below

oh god, yes, oh god, yes! and so…

once more on the floor of his basement studio

his cinema mistress unwinds herself freely

his hands, softly coaxing,

face glowing neon

joint clenched forgotten

between wild-eyed teeth

he snaps, claps, yes baby!

and squints at two screens

while I watch him, only

holding my breath


awake like a window

inside her dream

burning up, teacher, decadent creature

a white meteor brushing

beauty crushing,

then gone.


What turns on your muse? Write an ode to your passion, personified.

Please feel free to share your Seducing Siren Muse poems with me!

And let me know if it's okay to publish!

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