If you ask poet John Gardiner a question, the path to the answer is not a straight line.
It's a meandering journey that transports you to mysterious places and events that seem surreal at first, as if you've gone down some rabbit hole.
Where else can you rub the belly of a coyote?
Or hear Shakespeare reincarnated?
Or use words to stop bullets?
Gardiner, 67, is Laguna Beach's resident poet, dramatist, teacher, activist and psychedelic historian. In 1969 he read one of his first poems at Mystic Arts in Laguna, and 45 years later, at 7 p.m. Friday, he will read it again, commemorating an anniversary of sorts.
"Mystic Arts used to have some loose poetry readings, and this one was very loose," Gardiner said. "They happened all of a sudden when there was a group there, and they'd say, 'Let's read some poems or something.' And somebody would light some candles."