Kindness

comments 14
Poetry

There’s a kindness
that isn’t about
doing the right thing,
or being good.
It’s not about
holding the door open
for a stranger
to be polite,
or even nice.

There’s a kindness
that’s about
upping the ante and
challenging the status quo,
about asking the kind of question
that provokes a crisp rebuke
from your inner skeptic,
that elicits
a little wait and see
because here comes
another sweet dose of
I told you so–
the kind of question
that incenses that
part of you that likes
giving your emotions orders
and lining them up
in crisp rows
on the parade grounds
for inspection.
Attennnn-SHUN!
Maybe Private
Fruit Loops here
can enlighten us all
on what’s the matter
with his FACE.
Wipe that smile
off your grille, Private,
and give me two trips
around the park
with a rucksack full
of poetry volumes
you joyful sonuvabitch!
There’s a kindness
that arises outside
of all reasons and tactics
that’s like telling your
inner drill sergeant
you’ve made the choice
all on your own,
after due consideration,
to refrain from PT for the day
and lay on your back
in a field of daisies,
staring at the clouds,
rejoicing.

It’s a kindness
that’s about
opening a channel,
about holding open
that other door,
the Emergency Exit
at the center of your being,
to sound the alarm
and awaken the Calvary,
to become a portal
between worlds
so that something
holy and terrible
like a herd of talking buffalo
with lightning bolts
painted on their flanks
will come crashing through
to graze on your past,
clog up the streets,
fertilize the parade grounds
and generally wander about
in a telling Display
of what it’s really like
back home,
beyond the barracks.

There’s a kindness
that’s about saying
as gently as possible
to that little guy
inside of you
with the bullhorn:
I don’t believe in this
boot camp living.
So there.

Take that.

14 Comments

  1. wow! wow! this is insanely awesome! i really love what i receive as “inner kindness,” and how i can just chill out being so hard on myself. funny, but this is a Great reminder for me today. thank you!!

    Like

    • Thanks, Malaika! Kindness to ourselves has gotta’ be right at the top of the list of necessary ingredients for this life. I was actually trying to capture the way a moment of kindness with another can be a way of opening ourselves up– that it can be almost an act of revolution against the internal voice that knows why and how we should be who and what we are supposed to be. I think my muse and I got wrapped around some fun tangents, however… I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself about that, right!? 🙂

      Michael

      Like

      • oh, i love it! and i agree with everything you said. and that’s the beauty of poetry in general, and your work in particular – that it can be read and reread over and again, taking the reader to deeper and deeper levels on their journey. this piece is so rich, like that 😊

        Like

        • Yes, words and combinations of words can somehow take on many levels of meaning. It is amazing. I think sometimes of how words with all their fractured meanings still somehow can be used to point to beauty and truth, and it always reminds me… if we can do this type of dance with words, how great is the reality to which we point!?

          Michael

          Like

  2. Yes!! It’s kindness to ourselves to call a halt to the same old BS (buffalo stampede).
    Kindness is not the same as avoiding.
    Kindness is not about taking what looks like the easiest path.

    Like

    • Yes, indeed. I find that a genuine moment of kindness can interrupt a whole chain of sour thoughts, can cleanse the moment, and reset our outlook. Being kind enough to take the time to listen to ourselves… is definitely a great practice, and for sure not always the easiest path. Thanks, VP!

      Michael

      Like

  3. Michael, I really love this. I am letting go of that part of me that wishes I had something more insightful to say – and simply saying – I love it. Thank you.

    Like

    • Thank you, Amanda. I often read things and find myself affected, and want to offer something in return besides the “Like” button, but have no idea precisely what to say. I’m glad you just said it. Presence is really one of the most beautiful gifts we can offer I think. So, thank you for reading and sharing. It is great to have you here.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes! Although like I told Malaika, I was really trying to capture the way a single, pure act of kindness undertaken without desire for recognition or reward, free of all culturally conditioned sensations of obligation and duty, can truly be an act of revolution almost- a revolt against our separateness, a breach in the world’s facade… I don’t know if I pulled this one off, but maybe pulled off another one along the way. Taking control of that bullhorn voice within is so essential to be at peace…

      Michael

      Like

  4. Oh Private Fruit Loops, or shall I say Professor Fruit Loops, how you nourish me with belly laughs and smiles, holding the door open for that sweet water of peaceful discovery and silly love to come tickling in!

    Like

    • I’m so very glad you enjoyed it, Andrea, and am nourished by knowing you are nourished. I’ve got the guy with the bullhorn right where I want him now, obediently sharpening my pencils for the next bout of wordplay… 🙂 That’s all that guy knows, is obedience… Wouldn’t even crack a smile…

      Michael

      Like

  5. It is funny the things that we go through that we realize we put ourselves through thinking it had to be done and it was only a choice. Boot camp living can offer a contrast for a bit to see how thought creates, but once it is seen, why oh why would we ever listen to those crazy voices in the head ever again?! Love it.

    -x.M

    Like

    • Maren, you are so right. At the time, we definitely think it’s an endurance trial, and later we realize the freedom we possessed. I think about that frequently. Life seems to be able to shift from prison cell window to Manhattan skyrise apartment view with the blink of an eye…Choice can cover massive distances like that with ease…

      Michael

      Like

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