The Golden Turtle

…was a thing i’d heard described as
being, actually, a portly shade of green
and seated at the right hand of a grand
archipelago of signs, a symphony of
gold and dust as big as the earth and
all of its suns somewhere in the
South Pacific where
the sparrows swim
with the dolphins

the day i saw it, i
arrived below deck
drifting on a sea of salt faster
than my eyes could carry me
and ended up face-to-face
with an island for one
i was greeted by a man with a braid
in his hair and a mustache made for
handling, a pair of torn jeans and a
pint of fruity saison, The Doobie Brothers
spinning on a mucked up turntable

you’re here to see the Great Mother Turtle,
he says, sage of the seas, reader of fortunes and
foot soles and keeper of the Almighty Holy Shell
where all eternal truths are etched in bone
*leads me inside a hut and down a staircase
to a green pool lit up like an old lava lamp* she only
passes beneath this island once a year and
today’s your lucky day

just then the water glowed a
bewitching shade of champagne
and before i knew it, the man had
pushed me onto her back, like a great
gilded lily pad, and off i sailed through a
coral reef, clinging to a turtle’s neck,
thick as a leopard

young lady, she says,
in order to discover what’s meaningful
you’ve got to forget what’s important—
that’s the first rule—so says the second verse
of the third chapter of the fifth book of Shells
or the gospel according to
John Fogerty, whichever
came first *swerves around a
purple octopus and
takes a gulp of seaweed*

the most sacred of all fictions
are the ones you create
your creative vision is also your
spiritual vision, and the noblest
thing you can do is open your eyes
to see it *dives below a submarine and
high-fives a shark* by shaping your place
in this world, that’s how you
become your own best friend
and—listen carefully, now, this you
can never forget—
anyone who says you
need to be someone other than
yourself in order to find
god doesn’t know his
ass from his elbow to start with
don’t wait to be who you are
the time is always now
*waves one leg into a
floating magic wand and lifts up 
the sea floor like a giant
kingdom on a hook*

miracles, she says,
never happen
on the surface

8 thoughts on “The Golden Turtle

  1. Wonderful, I love the way the symbolism unfolds. “a portly shade of green” is a fantastic line – I have often felt colours and shades have personalities or qualities – I mean intrinsically, as a perception, not in terms of cultural connection (‘pink for a girl’) or mysticism (‘red type means you’re ambitious’).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! I know what you mean about colors having “personalities.” In fact, I think that’s the perfect word to describe it. I’d be curious to know if that’s a form of synesthesia.

      Liked by 1 person

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