The Purple Peacock

it was a full moon somewhere
and we were taking off the
top of the world, eyes
fixing on an uncertain point
east of Venus and counting
five men, six women and
the sky swimming like a dove
to meet us, air thick as silver

i ended up there by a pull of the hand
hitchin’ a ride on a daydream when
i heard a voice pulling us over
and out of the blackness a sign
“The Purple Peacock” chained to a
shack on a meteor
spinning like a giant
one-winged balloon

and on the inside, a pool table
with a rack of balls glowing
like the eyes of a feather
and to the right, a bar
lined with bottles of gin and
some kind of
deep purple tonic

ladies and gentlemen,
once there was a time when
we inherited souls and symbols
or so they tell us and a bunch of greedy
minds hadn’t yet taken over everything
that was holy in this world
and in those days they
spent their time
listening to The Who and
eating pancakes for dinner
but they also drank this
*bartender raises glass like
a cauldron full of
purple foam*

a drink with an uncertain ending,
he says, a big ol’ cup of
jungle love and something you’ll
never understand *rolls a cigarette with
one hand and tosses a dime in the jukebox*
this is for making sure you’ve always
got an eye in every dimension
there’s a symbol within every
symbol and that’s the one true thing
but we’ve lost the vision for finding it
on the path our souls used to know
*shakes his balding head slowly and
pours me a glass*
(one whiff and i started thinking this was
nothing but a gin fizz gone wrong)

and i call it “The Purple Peacock”
‘cause i discovered the truth just like
you, hithcin’ a ride on a dream
and i fell smack in the middle
of a land of plumes, a great field
full of purple peacock feathers
like stalks of wheat in the tall
summer sun and i knew right then
i had found the one unshakeable thing

and as i lay there in the balm of those
giant feathers, the stillness spoke through me
for the first time and there i was a
vessel of truth for the soul of the world
and it told me this:

becoming who you are is
fostering a deep remembrance for
who you were and you’ve got to be guided by
something greater than yourself, or you’ll
spend all your life spinning your compass
according to popular opinion
and you’ve got to be a creature of both worlds
never doubt your inner reality
your imagination has been gifted
with a healing power your
intellect can’t fathom, but it’s
not a place for staying
it’s a place for passing through
the purple peacock is the eye of balance,
the symbol of the inner voice that knows,
he says, sounding like a sage now, as
“Pinball Wizard” starts lighting up the jukebox

when you’ve got one foot planted
in the world of symbols, then
life can meet you where you are
as you are
this life isn’t about your
displays of strength
it’s how you quietly capture
the magic of the moment
that gives depth to your experience
*tosses cigarette butt into a
pot of par-boiled chicken wings*
it seems to me that’s all
we’re ever really
trying to find…

his voice trailed off and
i could see this old cocktail wizard had
gotten himself a one-way ticket to
purple peacock heaven

the distance between
reality and imagination
isn’t what you think

10 thoughts on “The Purple Peacock

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