Here is another poem of John Cooper’s that I think any artist can relate to on some level.
A woman lay upon my bed.
Her eyes were nightfall’s blue.
Her skin was bright, her hair was red;
a lust of light ran through my head.
“You called,” she said. I whispered, “Who –”
when suddenly the Bitter Dead
rode furiously through.
With pounding hoofs and wings outspread,
swarming in the room they flew.
A stillness filled me. It stank of dread.
“We didn’t come for you,” they said.
“We came for Inspiration.”
Inspiration tried to run;
they snared her just the same:
for well before your life’s begun,
death’s ragged web is neatly spun.
I marveled as they caught her frame —
her skin the fire of morning sun,
her lithe attire: auroral flame.
Dead authors turned in unison.
To me their gazes came —
“All great works have long been done,
so read for reading’s sake,” said one.
“Don’t look for Inspiration.”
“Her unborn lyrics make me smother,”
a poet sniffed the air.
“Everybody and his brother
writes poetry,” declared another,
and brushed against her hair.
And from her hair he sucked a song
that lingered there like silent prayer,
but now was swallowed: a buried gong.
He smiled — “Our lady’s fair!
Her hair is long; her skin is warm.
Let’s analyze her hidden form.”
And they stripped my Inspiration.
Her ripped dress fell about her feet;
her lingerie tore like paper.
She stood in silent, dismal defeat,
ashamed of hell’s resentful elite.
Starved artists started to caper:
“She’s much better than we expected!”
“Our eyes cannot escape her!”
“She’s too perfect to be respected!”
And they all commenced to rape her.
“Moneytalks! Lickerites!” Babbled more,
“Inspiration is a painter’s whore!”
They took my Inspiration.
Nasty they grew, and coarse they were;
each monster had his way.
When they were through, she didn’t stir.
And this was the last I saw of her:
unconscious on a horse she lay.
At last, the sated Bitter Dead
mounted up and bade good-day —
“Thanks for your Inspiration,” they said,
“and before we fly away:
we laid your bitch but never paid,
so here’s another as a trade.”
And they gave me Desperation.
Poor Inspiration. I barely met her.
And so, to aid my shock,
with Desperation I wrote her a letter.
But it hasn’t made me feel much better.
With Desperation I sit and rock,
lost in thought and sipping beer.
I stare at space and watch the clock,
and contemplate what still is here:
a hopeless case of writer’s block,
a bottle of beer, a messed up bed,
a hatred for the Bitter Dead,
and a lack of Inspiration.