Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Poaching Secrets from the Alchemist

Standing behind a cape of invisibility
woven from the orb weaver’s dew,
I study the wise and aging wizard,
his beard a cascade of white years,
unwinding gold from the lead on his bench.

His world is upside down or right-side up,
spinning like a drunken gyroscope
or a falcon creating wanton wind
with the purpose of fire and gyre.
Rain falls up to be transformed

into Solomon’s wildflower regalia
that will enter jaded Jerusalem
on the back of a borrowed ass.
This progenitor did not turn rocks into bread
or jump from a cliff onto angels’ wings,

did not transmute the kingdoms of the world
into a gospel made of shiny things.
His retrograde mojo was better at rolling stones
or making rattle and rebel clatter
from Ezekiel’s dry and lifeless bones.

As for me, I wish only to drink spiced wine
that bestows the power of impish Puck,
seduce the sultry brunette behind the castle wall
and gain a kiss on the far side of midnight.
Oh, what pleasant Saturnalia.

Let the periodic table mix and match
as you play me backwards, backwards play me.
Such creative alchemies will never give me pause,
for inversions still lie at the bottom of the rabbit hole.
Effect has become the everlasting cause.

~William Hammett

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