Dealing with The Muse; The Great Depression; Woodstock 50; Highfalutin; Visiobibliophobia


Dealing With the Muse

As far as that

pesky Muse is concerned

she’s there, feeling lazy

and sleeping inside you somewhere

all you need do is wake her up

and this is how you do it:

just start writing something,

doesn’t matter what.

Sit in a quiet place,

let your mind wander,

pluck something out of the air, anything:

school bus, blue bird, toothache, King Henry 8 . . .

Doesn’t matter,

just pick something and begin writing.

Once you begin writing

(here’s the fun part)

the Muse will see you

are having fun without her,

she’ll be jealous (and probably pissed)

and she’ll jump into the action

Trust me, give it a try

Good luck



The Great Depression

Yes, you lose sleep

worrying where the money

will come from

for the new septic system

and to pay the credit card debts

and to fly to Florida to visit your mother.


I know you worry. I’m sorry about that.

But you have come

from so much more dire circumstances

from so much worse –

the Grandfather who in the Great Depression

slept in his car with his three daughters

ate spaghetti and stale bread

who dug ditches and graves and drove a laundry truck

to keep his family together

after their mother

left her life on the kitchen floor

in desperation and despair.


So you see I cannot feel sorry for you

you have a 60 inch TV

iPhones iPads computers and the Internet

music and a subscription to the Boston Lyric Opera

a medical plan and a house cleaner

you have been to Hawaii, London and Paris

you eat fresh fruits and vegetables

and steak

and sleep in a bed.


Woodstock 50

Yes I know

it’s the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock

the granddaddy of all music festivals

featured many of the bands and performers

I still love:

Jimi, Janis, The Who, Jefferson Airplane,

Joe Cocker, Canned Heat, Mountain,

Grateful Dead, Santana, Country Joe and the Fish,

Crosby, Stills & Nash . . . But no I didn’t go.

I was working three jobs

at the time saving to buy my girl’s

engagement ring.


But I confess I never

would’ve taken her there anyway

too uncertain too dangerous.

Caught in the rain and mud

crammed in among thousands of strangers

wasn’t my idea of a good time.

I wasn’t that much

of a free spirit back then (or now actually).

Besides, what was I supposed to tell her dad:

I’m taking your daughter hundreds

of miles away to sleep in a muddy field

for three nights with thousands

of drugged-out whack-a-doodles. Nope

that never would’ve worked.




I long for those days when we’d stroll up and down

Newberry Street wandering in and out

of art galleries searching

for the next painting in our collection.


Fun seeing the various colors and scenes

landscapes and portraits

classical, abstract, contemporary.


We’d talk with gallery owners as if we knew

what we were doing

sometimes meet the artist themselves.


After a while we had enough paintings

not room enough to hang any more but still we’d go

gallery-hopping hoping for something

that took our breath away or at least for a gallery

that served cookies and tea assuming

we had money to go along with

our sophisticated highfalutin airs.




Fear of Social Media


Doesn’t have a computer, iPad,

or old-fashioned cellphone.

Never needs those contraptions

frightened he’ll get sucked into

the social media void

never get out again




Decades ago I took care of my customers without

laptops, cellphones, iPads, email, voicemail, and texting

by using a pay phone in the Howard Johnson’s lobby.




Texting back in the sixties

would not have helped me

hold onto her

but rather given guys on her campus

instant access to her 24-7




Leaving her Sunday nights

was awful

driving into the darkness:

no cellphones, email, texting.

If she found another guy

would be weeks before I knew.



Time Waster

Cutting back on social media: check Facebook

and in no time an hour’s shot. Nothing lasting

ever comes of it, like sending smoke signals in the wind.


Photography CreditJason Rice

Michael Estabrook has published many collections, the most recent being The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany (The Poetry Box, 2019).