The Fractal Prison


There once was an octopussy
Who turned men into poor whossies
She’d grab them with eight arms
Off would go the alarms—squeezing

Out a Huge Pearl with her suckers

The Fractal Prison

“He dreams at the center
of a closed system,

Like the prison system,
or a system of love,

Where folktale, recipe,
and household custom

Refer back to the maze
that they are of.”

—Thom Gunn, "A System:
PCP, or Angel Dust,”
Boss Cupid

What if—Mandelbrot beauty
Is really—a prison system?
A labyrinth—a maze of images
A closed system—of spirals
Curly-cues—and coastlines
Going on forever—and ever?

What if—when I ogle at a
Mandelbrot set—zoom sequence
Continuously colored—sky-blue
Down I go into—its fractal aesthetics
Amazed by the—supposed Freedom
Of the endless—shifting coastlines?

An innocent—Fractal Voyant?
Like Arthur Rimbaud—suggested
Baudelaire—and de Quincey?
But what if—the fractal curves
Are compressed—prison bars?
And me—The Prisoner of Zenda?

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