Barry Smith: Don’t get burned by Muse of Fire |

Barry Smith: Don’t get burned by Muse of Fire

First thing I do each morning is feed some paper into my old typewriter and write a page of whatever is there to be written. This week I’m sharing some of the exciting results with you.

I never really spent any time at Highlands

But word is that it was THE funky spot left in Aspen

Until last year – now it is its own little village, all sterile and new

My wife worked there when she first moved here, a dozen years ago or more

Time is not linear, but it tries to make you think it is

Maybe I’ll look at my old computer, the PowerMac 7200, as funky

For today my G4 arrives and the funk goes out the window

Except that in 5 years the G4 will be funky and retro

Time once again plays its little tricks on me

“Nothing up my sleeve, and … PRESTO! There’s no going back.”

There’s a false bottom in the props kit of time

Puts on a convincing show sometimes, though

English Breakfast Tea is like methadone for coffee recovery

Not that I’m recovering, it has just occurred to me that

My coffee is a little bit stronger than normal people’s

So I thought a day off from it would be nice

So, tea and a cigarette and a banana will be the way I’ll start

Today I’ll start

And now, for my next number

I will achieve such laserlike focus on this page that it will ignite

The Prometheus Muse of Fire will turn this paper into an ember

And all of poetry will leap forward tremendously


Seems like it should leap forward in a more poetic way than that …

Um … leap forward light years? Too Sci Fi. Leaps and bounds? Too cartoony.

Like a turpentine cat? Too folksy. No, I need poetry here

How about “A lot.”

That’s it for now. Blah blah muse of fire and it will leap forward A LOT

Yes, all this through my finely honed powers of focus.

A day full of fleeting thoughts

None of them are to be taken seriously

Your day today is joy and exuberance

Fleeting thoughts are small bugs on a sunny clear day

They come and go, brush them away and go back to enjoying the scenery

Don’t bother to ponder whether or not it was right for the bug to do that


Don’t collect funds to hunt that bug down and don’t look into childhood

At other bug incidences, at least not to the point where it takes away

From this day that you have set out to enjoy

Spray some “OFF” on, for God’s sake

My wife just walked in while I was writing

She was still waking up, she took a sip of my coffee and said

Step back, nigga

She has a big pre-dread clump in the back of her head

She kicked over a pile of discs on my floor

Then nearly knocked over my guitar as she bent to restack them

She grabbed my ChapStick and put it on her lips, asked some question

That she wasn’t really interested in – still asleep

She sipped more coffee, sat on my lap, and left

This is the way to begin a day

Now I’m going to step outside for a cigarette

This means passionate connection with the Natives

Sucking in the sacred smoke that my forefathers

(Well, OK … the people that my forefathers killed)

Sucked in a ceremony much like the one I’m about to have:

Putting on my fleece jacket and pacing around on the back deck

Spitting and relighting and pacing some more

Then coming in and trying to wash the smell from my hands

All My Relations, A-ho

Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Monday and Thursday. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at

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