The Angel of Strange Loops / Rumbles Me Awake           

The angel of rumble me awake / rumble me awake had told me

I was just a strange loop, just a series of activations that can be

made more active in the future.

Does this mean the brain is just a programmable holograph made more vital 

by the working hands of mystery?

By odd gestures of God?

                          By the pull and thrust of romantic love?

Does it mean the sunrise, shimmering off of the Atlantic, will still resemble 

dandelion and orchid strips of bark

as I peel them off, one strip after another, and lay them over the sand?

Does it mean each kiss I offer to my wife and receive back from her will 

loop me into a complete new set of synaptic wirings?

Does it suggest I’m an open-end canvas? A programmable code?




Something in me awakens every time I see where my body is alive

and where it isn’t yet.

Each snippet of another’s kiss – like my wife’s – makes me capable of 

carrying her a little farther along the way.

We are each other’s suitcase, said the angel.

Every depth contains a multitude.

That’s Whitman, said the angel as we walked arm-in-arm past a 

ruined wall

in South Carolina – this was years earlier

when I was a blind necessity attaching myself to matter

because I couldn’t order the strange world to suit what was so incontestable 

me –

and the angel slipped its arm in mine; we knelt down

to where the sea flowed like a woman’s wet garment into a small eddy 

forming and undressing itself in the sand;

and the angel sadly whispered to me, ah, well,

you shall be struck by the mouth

of the labyrinth, by the multitudes, by beauty,

             you will be clothed in it / a costumed man /     

and be penetrated by its tender armies and by a holographic design

that turns you into other people, into other sea shells,

into these small innocent turtles

creeping out of the rolling waves like armored souls

onto the beach.


You shall be spun awake by the multitudes.

And you shall be / undressed in it / awake.



Every sunset you experience will reach you where the free choice of the soul 

falters, wavers, trembles, receives the gold

in the chalice and then lets it go –

the angel whispered to me.




Ah well / the angel murmured /

this is how you shall be created / it said.

And you will suffer from affliction until your mind knows

the conquest / of the beauty / of the world as it falls /

like so many lovely memories

and teenaged stars all over you /

and you will be rendered obedient to it

until you are the speed of light where a body truly is and isn’t / yet…

and you shall be made of mandolins and blue lights that explode / into love.




That’s just the good, because it is joy. And jubilation pervades melancholy 

like stars / igniting / in deep space.

And you will be made into the images of the world and its thousands of hours 

as they are laid in you . . .

just as the shore is inlaid – inescapably – by this itinerant light.

Just as the rays of dandelion sunset become walkable strips of beach sand.

Just as your face now resembles

your wife / her stars / looking into you / at dark.

Her eyes blinking your face into you.




A few children had rushed by us as the angel told me all this.

The light surrounding us was anonymous. It was a silence.

It was silver and gold at the same time. It was an obedient empathy.

A subversive voice without emotion.

Rumble us awake said the angels.

Rumble us awake / awake / awake.

Then you will know the water running the world / running you.

And then, far out – this was on the Atlantic –

I could see the strange loop of the waves

rumbling in me / in you / oh yes.

Ken Meisel is a poet and psychotherapist, a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of eight books of poetry. His most recent books are: Our Common Souls: New & Selected Poems of Detroit (Blue Horse Press: 2020) and Mortal Lullabies (FutureCycle Press: 2018). He has a new book, Studies Inside the Consent of a Distance, forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Meisel has recent work in Concho River Review, I-70 Review, San Pedro River Review, The Wayfarer, and Rabid Oak.