Layla Musselwhite

Once upon a time

Layla Musselwhite
Once upon a time

Myths, dreams, fairytales....sublime beauties & grotesque monsters & devils who dance like angels..what's your inner movie like?  For me, Greek myths were my bedtime stories, and I spent most of my childhood thinking about other worlds than this one, and how to get there.

I also thought about why the next door neighbor's kid wanted to sell me crack, how come the police wouldn't come when you called, and how it was possible for entire neighborhoods to get thrown away. I grew up in the ghetto, in the worst part of Richmond CA.  There's a chain link fence and a lock around my old neighborhood, to keep them out or to keep them in I'm not sure.  I also spent my childhood in the back of a van in Europe, touring blues festivals with my folks, and there was much beauty & splendor & sights to see, so my early years were a symphony of  dichotomy, light & dark, and I was always asking myself...which one is the real world?  

I'm still asking that question.  The poem at the bottom is about that, and myths, and the choices given to us.  Read it, if you like.

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Galatea’s Response to Pygmalion the Occasion of her Transformation

from Statue to Human Form


You never asked:  “Do you care to be a

Human woman born, my Galatea?”

I’d rather be a tall green girl, fed fat

on husks of corn and silken tail of rat,

chuckling in the corner.  I would have laughed

at you, and your god too, for being daft

enough to give a soul to one like me

who will not care for it, not properly.

Inside a statue the thoughts move so slow…

The maintenance of my eternal soul

is bagatelle to one who’s made of stone

and thinks on it every century or so.

When I was stone my nakedness was not

a source of shame.  Now, thanks to you, I’ll rot

in some close graveyard where the rodents play.

They’ll dance the tarantella and be gay

in samba lines, in triplets, on my face

as my entire being becomes waste.


Now I have a voice you’ll hear me groan:

“Why should I be grateful, Pygmalion?”


- iambic pentameter poem by Layla Musselwhite 

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