Some mystical experiences are so extraordinary
that they simply can’t be captured by concepts,
or put into words; others make perfect sense,
but only on the mountaintop of the moment.
As the rapturous ecstasy fades, the vision fades,
much as crazy dreams fade, soon after waking.
Just as Cinderella’s carriage
turned into a pumpkin at midnight,
that truth—which you plucked
from the ocean of being,
that precious truth, which you held
in the palm of your hand, just moments ago,
like the pearl of great price—
turns into water, and slips through your fingers,
like the sea.
Then Sophia looked up and said: “Heaven help us.”
To which Belinda responded:
“Why. Even. Bother?”
Stretch just laughed: “Lighten up,
friendly assassins. Have another brew.”
Soup shook his head and said:
“I’ve really gotta stop fucking below my pay-grade.”
And everyone laughed, everyone but Blue.
He was light years away,
on the other end of the room,
staring out the window,
and fingering his confirmation cross absentmindedly.
The River had his full attention. The view
from Soup’s overpriced bachelor pad
really was second to none.
He smiled and turned to his friends:
“Animism’s what happens to monotheism
when it moves to Montreal.”
The beating heart of my city
is the Tam-Tam Mountain.
The blood that flows through its veins
is Saint-Lawrence Blue.
Its soul is a fairy princess
with a dandelion crown.
She collects stalks of grass for the king
with a four-leaf clover in her ear.
A tiger swallowtail floats down from heaven
to drink from the edge of a stream;
and that amazing man
with the voice of a god bellows:
“Pepsi, 7-Up, Gatorade, cold water.”
Because everybody’s looking for something
on The Mountain today:
Germans looking for The Cross,
Koreans looking for The Lookout,
Mexicans looking for raccoons,
Brits looking for the loo,
Americans looking for their car,
teenagers looking cool,
fat guys looking hot,
students looking for weed,
photographers looking for the perfect shot,
squirrels looking for misplaced nuts,
hawks looking for misplaced squirrels,
shirtless guys looking ripped,
topless women looking deliciously defiant,
drummers looking for the beat,
and amorous tamtammers
looking for privacy in the woods.
Everybody, it seems,
finds what they’re looking for
on The Mountain.
I graded in the clouds this morning,
far above the city I love,
feeling like an Olympian God:
a retired Olympian God,
who grew tired, one day,
of his own world-historical significance.
He just wasn’t feeling it anymore.
Just wasn’t for him: the whole Alpha-Male,
So he traded in the corner-office,
the power-suit and the perks,
for a cooking class, some Netflix,
and a love of butterflies.
He gave up the whole thunder-and-lightning,
to become a high-school drama teacher,
with a receding hairline, coffee breath,
and brown leather shoes.
This is what happens, you see,
when a cloud swallows a mountain.
—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2018)