Wild Card

Original artwork by T. Blake

the night was broken, as we know,
and what was missing was the blood-pink moon
i asked a star for directions, on my way due
west, i could not say but by the eyes of the owls
was led down a staircase that spiraled
to the cellar of the earth where all
good things are made

i was guided by a
white watered hand
rock green dream hourglass
past a house that looked like a body
a mummy in a garden
inverted sun
with breasts like paper flowers

and to the left of the scene, a hut
like a turtle’s shell, a green brain made of sand
and three compass points north of
center a man who led me inside to
find a casino lit up like an electric sundial
and over the speakers Robert Plant
with a dove in his hand
singing “Kashmir”

i settled in with a craft gin as
soon as i heard a man with a pipe
in his mouth speaking some kind of
gibberish down at the
roulette wheel

they come to me clean
on mornings left out
like baskets in the rain
they come to me by the thousands—
or do i mean, in dollars, by the
thousand faces of god—
these aren’t thoughts
they’re revelations, he says, *waving his hands
in the air as he blows rings of smoke out of his ears*
if they seem unfinished, that’s
because it’s up to you to
complete the sentences *takes a
swig of his julep and eyes a
topless bartender*

but you gotta go back, like Morrison
says, it is our job to string all these
desperate impressions

he was drawing a crowd now, and
i started thinking this old hippie-wizard-rockstar
might be worth a handshake

nobody but nobody can teach you
all the wisdom you need to live but
the best souls can show you how to
find it, he says, but you gotta beware
the pseudo-intellectuals
and the gurus and the
media personalities who
suck the souls out everything
they touch
creativity is the true
education of the spirit

and you *points to a man sipping a pint and
bobbing his head to “Whole Lotta Love” *
you’re intelligence
in action, and the plot
of your story is always unfolding,
you just gotta be willing to
write the ending

‘cause there’s no god outside you
more powerful than the god within you
and anybody who tells you otherwise
don’t know his ass from
a hole in the wall to begin with
heaven is how you make it

just then a voice inside
told me this funky mystery man was
right about everything,
but, what do i know?
not the difference

A Note…

I viewed this image, titled, Study for “Night of the Muses” by T. Blake–the artist who created all of the artwork for Seven Road (Part I, Part II, and Parts III-V, including that which inspired Speakeasy), Patchwork, and Lo Air–last night, and found myself instantly inspired. My mind teeming with images and phrases, itching to transform it into poetry. Of course, I realize “Wild Card” does not “look” like the artwork that inspired it (or maybe, to some of you, it does, as it does to me.), but I could think of no more fitting image to pair with this poem.

16 responses to “Wild Card”

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