POETRY:  The Mystic Coil

THE MYSTIC COIL

1

The cheese the divine cheese-maker makes
already has mice in it chewing nicely
all but one chew themselves out of it

and the mice already have cats around them
in the same way bubbling water in an alchemical flask has
glass around it

and the happy cats smiling with mice in their stomachs
have dogs’ eyes burning intently in a circle around them
and have already shot up a tree with their hair on end and whiskers bristling
and the tall tree already struck by lightning is
afire with new leafy inspirations bursting with rays

and the lightning bouncing like two-year olds on the
turbulent gray mattress of the sky
is already broken up into its constituent positively and negatively charged ions
and goes peacefully to sleep in a conjunction of clouds already
being blown across the ocean by a fierce nor’easter

and the ocean’s waters are already being atomized and siphoned
up into the swiftly passing clouds and the

waters themselves are churned like giant cables by currents deeper than
thought itself as they braid their way toward the tropics

where coconut palms are already dropping their wooden footballs on the
heads of reptiles and colonialists out walking

to the cheese shop in town where the
cheese-maker is just now about to slice a
fresh wedge until he
notices a mouse tail sticking out one end as the
little curved doorbell jangles and the well-dressed
customer rubbing his bumped head enters

asking for a slice


2

We’re born with our skeleton inside us
whom we’ll meet on the road
pushing or not pushing a wheelbarrow full of
fashionable hats

the vistas and Venetian balconies we’ll stand or not
stand on at sunset are there inside us as well

the voyage up or not up the Orinoco River to its
source the trip

taken or not taken to Louisiana at the
height of the Mardis Gras

the time past long before our birth and
long past our death is typed into our
blood by typists with otherworldly
alphabets seated on adjustable clouds

as we find ourselves in the court of
Alexander the Great wondering if he’s really as
great as they say

or in the moonlight on a terrace 2000 years from this very moment
asking for grains of salt to be passed through the air in their
silver salt shaker the same as yesterday


3

The saint leans forward and looks into our faces
and all previous connections fall apart all
earlier associations so tightly woven unravel
and their bright threads elastically stretch over a new
dimension of the world carefully forgotten in the small blankets of
childhood folded away under a tree at the
edge of a forest of voices wrapping their
long branches forever around a mystery
made plain in the saint’s eyes as he
gazes at us

and the huge camellia-like petals of the world unfurl to let us
enter a safe place at last
beyond our birth-dates and death-dates

on a road that neither slopes up nor down

but leads straight as light over a smoking gully in
nothing at all
surrounded by God’s vast limitless Something

and leans forward even a little closer
and smiles

7/30


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