It is said there is an enchanted forest near
That keeps giant ferns and strange deer.
Upon whose butterflies with ten foot wings
That land upon flowers that spring.
Thirty feet into the air
That shoot pollen in multicolored flares.
And I came upon a large caterpillar.
Whose dark glasses made him look consular.
And he asked me “Who are you?”
Heart-shaped smoke rings towards me he blew.
And he held in one of his many feet a hookah pipe
Made of Lapis Lazuli and azure with gold stripes.
His smoke rings around me broke
And once again he spoke.
“Only two times I ask who are you?”
His dark glasses became lop-sided and skewed.
“My name is David if it’s any of your concern”
“And I care not for you inquisition nor yearn.”
“To know my identity and allow my passage”
“To some refugee worm from the Palace Eremitage.”
And with that the caterpillar vanished
Into some other dimension my words banished.
Him and his blue smoke rings
To a land of Funky Kings and Slinky Springs.
I heard a joker and a thief talking
Around a giant mushroom they were walking.
“There must be some way out of here”
His words of strange timbre rang queer.
Say the Joker to the Thief
Whose eyes sparkled like gold leaf.
“I need some relief.”
The Thief nodded and said he believed.
So they asked if they could walk with me.
Saying that they didn’t like what they could see.
We came to the top of a mountain peak.
At its summit a Watch Tower, windswept and bleak.
In its top-most turrets a princess so fair.
With pale white skin and blood red hair.
That streamed back in the mountain air.
That passed thru her with a green flare.
But she kept her view.
And her words to the wind were true.
And she said to the wind.
“Why am I here,” for I have not sinned?”
“Tis your fate for you are the princess of the Watch Tower.”
To her the wind spoke in this late hour.
And tears filled her pretty green eyes.
And I watched her as she trembled and sighed.
“For I have been here since time immemorial”
“Holding the North Star in polar equatorial.”
The wind embraced the princess with a green glow.
Around the tower circled large birds and crows.
Her lamenting was be stilled and she began to sing.
And the valley and hills began to ring.
With a strange melody not of this earth.
Whose tongue could not be understood even unto Firth?
A floating Cheshire Cat said to me
“Her singing keeps the universe in balance you see.”
So I said to the cat, “ I cannot understand her.”
He said to me, “She sings in the tongue of Mimsy my fine sir”
And the Thief finally spoke
“Some of us here feel that life is a joke.”
And the caterpillar appeared and asked him “who? who?”
I told the caterpillar, “if you ask again my wrath you will rue!”
So the worm vanished from sight.
Past the watchtower we came to a white Knight.
And he was talking backwards into night.
A fine trick of the tongue it’s words smite.
I asked the Knight to repeat what he had just said.
And he looked at me thru a visor his eyes filled with dread.
“If you ask a question I can speak in forward verse.”
“But first I must speak the words spoken in reverse.”
Seilf nogard rof gnikool m’i
Ssarg llat eht ni peels taht.
Seldeen gninrad otni meht ekam I.
Ssa ruoy ni meht kcits dna
“I’m looking for dragon flies”
“That sleep in the tall grass.”
“I make them into darning needles “
“And stick them in your ass.”
I laughed at the white knight as he rambled on.
His eyes held no light and his mind was surely gone.
Then we came upon Alice who stood at ten feet tall.
Looking over the Watch Tower’s wall.
So I said to Alice, “How’s the weather up there?”
She said to me, “I’ll tell you when I let down my hair.”
And I said to her “Tell me child how did you get so tall?”
“I think it was the magic mushrooms and this here magic doll.”
And she held up her Raggedy Anne doll.
And its dead black button eyes began to bawl.
That rained down tears of sour notes.
In the key of Z flat that spoke in misquotes.
Then at length the doll began to speak.
And it’s queer mouth formed into a Raven’s beak.
It sounded of metallic croaking’s.
And it’s words were loathing and cloaking.
The doll began to swear and use all manner of expletives.
Its words became hurtful and corrosive.
“Tell me child who gave you a doll so mean?”
Alice said, “Why I believe she calls herself the Red Queen?”
So I said to Alice, “You need to get rid of that abomination.”
So she threw the doll into a large Carnation.
Which snapped the doll up with voracious pink teeth.
Then slid back into its jewel encrusted black leather sheath.
Then Alice shrunk back down to her normal size.
And I saw more little-girl wonderment in her eyes.
And the Joker said to her” Have no fear”
“For the Joker and the Thief are here.”
“And no harm will befall one so fair.”
“As long as you are in our care.”
A smile pursed Alice’s lips and became wide.
And the three of them walked hand in hand side by side.
All along the Watchtower the princess kept her vigilance.
The wind circled her and did glow in green luminescence.
And so the princess sang her heart out.
Thus saving the universe throughout.
In my company the Thief, Joker, Alice and the Cheshire cat.
Who upon my right shoulder sat.
And this made Alice laugh.
That sounded like music in time and a half.
And two riders were approaching now.
And the wind began to howl.
Upon the horses mounted were two playing cards.
Riding up they viewed us in high regard.
One a Joker of Clubs the other an Ace of Spades
“You will accompany us for we are the Red Queen’s Aides.”
I said” we are going nowhere with a pair of cards.”
“I care not even if you are the Red Queen’s Guards.”
This angered the Ace of spades.
He dismounted his horse waving a cardboard blade.
So I struck a match and said “I’ll burn your Ace up.”
His cardboard eyes widened, and became pale as a Death’s Cup.
“He was only kidding” said the Joker to the Joker.
“Well David will turn your Ace into a smoker.”
So said the Joker to the Joker.
The Joker said with a sheepish grin” we are all nonsmokers!”
The Joker of Clubs spoke
“If I don’t get some shelter”“I’m going to fade away.”
And the color in his clubs turned from black to gray.
And the look in his eyes went all helter skelter.
“The Red Queens calling us we must be on our way”
I heard the Ace of Spades say.
And the two riders vanished into the twilight.
In a flash of light blinding and bright.
“I got nasty habits, I take tea at three.”
The Red Queen said as she looked at me.
Her image filled the sky to the east.
“You are invited to my castle to feast.”
“No thank you your majesty we must be on our way.”
“For in this place we cannot stay.”
“Oh but I insist”
“You cannot simply desist.”
The Red Queen’s demanding reply.
Her image fading in the eastern sky.
Suddenly I’m awakened by my dog licking my face.
Then I realize I’m no longer in that place.
So I sit up on the edge of my bed.
Upon the floor in front of me something small and red.
I look down upon the Queen of Hearts lying on the floor.
She winks at me with smiling eyes that implore.
To visit her in the land of nevermore.
She’s just a playing card and nothing more.
Lying upon my bedroom floor.
Who gave Alice a doll that swore.
My cell phone rings playing All Along the Watchtower.
Saying “A call from the Red Queen” to me at this hour.
So I said “hello?” to the phone.
“David I’ll see you tomorrow night” in a voice cold as stone.