Closer

comments 8
Poetry

The construction of bridges
can lead to the forgetting of rivers
and the strengthening of commerce.
In this way, thoughts
can erect theoretical scaffolding
to cross safely the tidal pools of the heart.

This is far more efficient
than wading through
marsh and muck each
morning, once in each direction,
to pick up the day’s fresh batch of metrics.

Less smelly, too.

One day I was walking the planks
when a great wind came up
and I went tumbling over the side,
straight into a teeming soup.

My legs and arms sprawling in all directions,
I must have looked like
a somersaulting human star plunging
down from the heavens.

I brayed in panic
and thrashed wildly in the goo,
certain that at any moment
leeches or leviathans
would emerge from the darkness below
and violate me forthwith,
ending me immediately, or worse…
leave me alive with a festering complication.

When the adrenalin wore off
I collected myself
and swam for the nearest structure
in desperate lunges,
aching with the knowledge
I had made contact with something
that could never be washed off entirely,
trying not to breathe or swallow.

The doctors could find nothing wrong,
but I have not been the same since.
Now I catch myself stopping
half way across some bridge
to look over the side,
to stare transfixed at
the patterns of swirling water below,
unable to shake the vertiginous feeling
that I am peering into
the very meaning of Existence
like the weird ant in the colony
who glanced straight at the sun
and realized
that every leaf has a Plan.

The other night
the moon was full
and I found myself
sneaking through empty streets
then across the damp grass of my neighbor’s lawn
to clamber down some rip rap,
banging my shins
and nicking my hands and feet,
just to get closer.

Next day I have a look about me
they can only explain in certain ways,
and none of them good.

Closer to what? they ask.

I open my mouth to speak,
but only empty space comes out,
like you’d find inside a hollowed-out tree
where last year an owl lived.

That isn’t a fair question.
I falter.
Silence places Her hand on my back.
She is my sponsor now.

The crowd disperses, mumbling.

A tear forms in my left eye
and rolls down my cheek.
It is so delicious
to have a feeling
that needs no explanation…

8 Comments

  1. ~meredith says

    The marsh and muck remain, regardless of commerce. The muck tends to deepen, too, with the building of roads and bridges… and construction workers hit water mains and cars crash and people moan and weep about property values. Best not to thrash and bray… just swim, then walk before flying with owl on most any given day. The mountain knows how to rise. So do you.

    Like

    • Thank you, Meredith. You are a shining example of this rising phenomenon yourself.

      I love you wrote that cars crash. It makes it sound as if they have minds of their own and I think there is something to that. 🙂 Every piece of equipment in our world has gotten so danged smart! Smart enough to crash… Ha!

      Michael

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  2. Days Metrics
    Never washed off entirely
    Closer to what?

    Some birds have made their nest in the hole on the open side of a brick high up on the building next door to my apartment here in NYC. I am delighting watching these teachers for a moment as I come and go to a work that joins them in their movement ungrounded in the sky. The power lines to the building run into an attachment right below this brick so they hop out onto a perfect place to perch. I often wonder at the reality they enter into when they fly and nest into the hole. I suspect that it is a portal into a whole different way of being home.

    -x.M

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    • I love that idea, that these portals are all around, and every part of Nature is constantly moving back and forth through them. The birds disappear into the brick, have tea with Buddha, step back out onto the industrial power conduit strapped to the old brick building, and sing the song they learned as baby chicks– the one they will carry with them each moment of their existence until they fly through the portal wholly.

      Michael

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  3. She has her hand on my back, too. Just stepping into your world, I see the pull of the messy unexplainable that will not let go, though the bridge seems so much easier, cleaner, simple. yes, I know this much is true (this much is true-ewe, I know I know I know this much is true) Your word painting squeezes tears and heart.

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    • Thanks, Marga. Silence is such an impressive and whole-hearted witness. She’ll never let you down. It is a joy and a source of gratitude to be able share an inside feeling like that with another member of Her family.

      Michael

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  4. Closer closer closer, by becoming further away from the bridges and structures and commerce and back to the wild chaotic wilderness of raw living. Nicks and scratches are the adornments of the awakening, a beautiful release in no longer needing to be defined as normal or appropriate or even sane. Here comes awkward again. Hello lovely awkward goo, you once covered me and I was afraid, yet now I yearn for your secrets again.

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    • I think I blew past sane a number of years ago, and now it is a costume I wear in polite company. Little details leak through the facade though. Like that spot on my chin I missed shaving on the day of the presentation, or the socks that match very well with the clothes back at home… Or the look of knowing I am prone to shoot at perfect strangers, as if to say, we don’t really believe any of this, do we?

      In an effort to get even closer, I am considering a visit to the marsh before sunrise with a Mason jar, then a deposit of the lovely awkward goo into the juicer, then a double-shot of espresso and a speed-read of a random page from the Essential Rumi. Then see if pretending I’m sane is a viable option for the day…

      Michael

      Like

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