The Gaping Maw

comments 17
Christ / Poetry

Christ is a friend
best made
before you try
and set things straight
in the world,
because that’s
a tall order
usually involving
such experiential delicacies as
walking through fire,
negotiating with fanatics,
imbibing poisoned tonics,
standing trial before
a stadium-sized jury
of the bitter and scorned,
writing defiant op-eds
no one understands,
being shoved out of a
slow-rolling car,
or spraying something minty
into your mouth
right before doing something
reckless as a last resort.

Crash testing your ideals, basically.

If you can’t
keep your wits about you
in these types of situations,
you’ll be pulped
in the world’s digester of dreams
and wind up
in some kind of
papier mache mentality
with holes in it
and oddly positioned
painted-on smiles
that never soften
and just preen like
airport runway beacons
at the passing fields
of nightmares
and designer beverages.

Christ is a friend
who saves you this trouble
by taking up residence
in your non-local
field of timeless
who knew?
pool of holy silent
recognitions that
open up inside of
wherever it is you are
or are not
(you pick)
like cloves of innocence
sprouting just off your right shoulder,
to then part the world before you
into beautiful, retreating waves.
The radiant time-space
bending in on itself
in all directions
Gaping Maw of
synesthetic joy–
Felt as a giddy Logic–
that is revealed
is absolutely worth losing your self in,
let’s put it that way.

You can start practicing
with small stuff,
like traffic lights
or software upgrades,
but ultimately
you can flush caution
through a hole in the floor
and put the whole world
into your mouth at once
like a spray of something minty,
give a quick wink
to whomever may be looking,
and let the grace of Christ
transform it into something
very sweet.

It only takes an instant.
One flash of seeing right through it.
Then you won’t have to
mess with all that other stuff–
all that imbibing and whatnot.

Oh, you may face a mob or two,
but a gang of holy friends
dressed up as rampaging lunatics
is such a delicious sea
to become.


  1. Delicious word play Michael. I’ve not joined the Christ Club, but you make it sound pretty interesting. I enjoy how creatively you put words and ideas together, though my linear brain sometimes has a hard time tracking. Thanks for the ride. 🙂


    • Thank you, Brad. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I think a little dash of ambiguity is a good thing. One thing I’ve noticed in writing responses to others’ work, reading responses to my own, and then seeing the follow-ups in each direction, is that so much of what is experienced by a reader is brought to the work from within themselves. I may have an idea of a feeling to express, and it may tickle a few souls, but what type of experience it invokes in the other may vary widely. I’m starting to see writing– (at times)– as a way of building a construct with which our souls can play, a stake in the ground around which we can respond and come to know ourselves. The stake itself is a point set upon the vastness around which we can gather and chat. If Christ is a Club, for me it is in this sense– a fire in the desert where travelers meet, take rest, share what is in their hearts, and move on strengthened, with the delicious presence of fellow travelers fueling their night journeys.


      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a wonderful perspective Michael.
        I would agree about writing and commenting being a vehicle for self exploration. I often notice that people express what is in them, not necessarily what is in my writing, though the writing serves as trigger , mirror or discussion point.

        Lovely perspective on Christ. Sound refreshing. 🙂
        Blessings, Brad

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Gaping Maw becomes reality, and a joyful one at that! I feel the poles collapsing here, into one huge surge of energy, where that which seems unsafe is total protection, where those who seem enemies are friends in costumed parade. Perhaps there is even a crazy woman dressed up as a werewolf somewhere in the throngs…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea, thanks for gathering at the Maw, where our standing in such proximity of timelessness softens jaws, loosens protective coverings, brings out all sorts of inner characters– including but certainly not limited to werewolves, jugglers, midwives, poets, sheep wranglers, sky divers, stunt women, and saucier’s! I love this line, “…where that which seems unsafe is total protection…” for that type of shift is what I experience as the shift in perception that sets us free. We don’t rearrange the world– somehow we discover the existence of an abiding peace, presence, and power that is holding all of it… while living within us…



  3. As ever Michael, your imagery is wonderfully wrought, evocative, lyrical and yet pregnant with meaning. I have to admit to sharing a little of Brad’s apparent reservation in your insistence upon using the ‘C’ word as if it were altogether necessary. As you know, we reserved Brits tend to baulk at anything remotely suggestive of religious proselytising, so this is rather more a cultural cavil than an objection based on principle. At the same time, I do understand that your personal symbolism derived from the word ‘Christ’ does not necessarily connote the historical figure of Jesus, though of course, it does in the minds of almost everyone else, does it not?


    • Thank you, Hariod, for your kind words. Regarding your reservations to use of the word ‘Christ’, I was going to refer you to the description of Christ provided under the Categories link on this site, as I think it provides a little clarity on what is meant by use of that term within the context of this site, but I see you have visited. I do so love your asking questions that cause me to think and feel before responding.

      I’m not sure the question you are asking is precisely what has been written, for I think that between us there is likely little friction regarding the manner in which we mutually attempt expression of the ineffable in ways that we love. There has already been established a mutual respect, and perhaps shared curiosity, about the uniqueness of pathways that we, as well as so many others, have followed in their recovery of an inner peace, an inner freedom, and an abiding authenticity. As you wrote in response to my previous post, there is a certain need to differentiate and express ourselves uniquely that I think you correctly pointed out. Such expression is not a departure from unity, any more than the co-existence of the cultures of Spain and Zimbabwe in our world necessarily undermine the world’s quality of expression. So, my use of the word ‘Christ’ is part of my being true to the pathway and experience that have helped me particularly to survive emotionally and psychically in this world, and to recover the vision of myself, those around me, and the whole of it as a Loving, creative movement.

      So, I am left with a question about why there is a reservation, as I don’t really believe I do much of any pushing of beliefs here, or any suggesting that there is one way or the highway, or any judgment of other paths, beliefs or practices. If so, it is unintended and needs to be examined as an artifact of the human short-sightedness I seek to release. So, in combination with your last question, my answer to what I think you are truly asking is that either a) the word ‘Christ’ connotes a religious interpretation (meaning human organizations and all the attending fall-out) to you, within you, that is uncomfortable in some manner, rather than a lived, inner experience and/or b) you foresee such a misinterpretation of my writing by others through use of words that are so heavily loaded with baggage.

      And all I can say is that trying to come up with a politically correct terminology so we can point at the living experience of the Sacred Heart of Being in which we all share, without evoking a resistant response in some readers, feels like a watering down of my voice, and frankly impossible to do as the responses of readers inherently vary widely anyway. It has been striking to me to observe that many of the friends I have made by writing here do not appear to have a Christian religious background or practice, per se, (while others clearly do). It doesn’t matter, though, does it? Part of engaging in dialogue is having the willingness to reach through terms and words to the living reality that lies beyond. I think that is happening here and all over this electronic domain, and it is beautiful to behold. I do not participate in organized religion, or advocate such an orientation in others. These are deeply personal decisions. I seek to do nothing here but share, express, relate, dialogue, etc. In doing so, words like Jesus and Christ will emerge, for they live within me. I can’t, and do not desire, to take the flavor out of the tea, but I recognize it may not be everyone’s cup. I don’t see this as limiting. Our differences, when they are the unique expressions of the grace and holiness within, illuminate the nature of what is for everyone, the Same.

      Much Love


      • Thank you for your detailed and most thoughtful response Michael. It feels rather as if I have provoked more than I had intended to, though this at least provides scope for clarification, and which you have done admirably well.

        I know full well that you are of not using the term ‘Christ’ in the sense of precluding other possibilities as means of ontological discovery; and I qualified my slight reservation – my cultural cavil – in saying that you did so only ‘as if it were altogether necessary’. So, when you write ‘let the grace of Christ transform it into something very sweet.’ the implication, even if not intended, is that Christ is required as a mediating agent for this to happen, no matter how one may conceive of Christ.

        You ask whether the word ‘Christ’ connotes a religious interpretation within me, and which is uncomfortable in some manner. Well, certainly the word connotes religiosity as far as myself and the wider population are concerned; though I accept it has taken on some other, newer meaning within the ACIM circle. The term, as generally understood, means ‘Messiah’ or ‘Lord’s anointed’; and is largely deemed synonymous with the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, a religious interpretation is presumed.

        For me, and as hopefully I made clear above, ‘Christ’ is only an ‘uncomfortable’ term when used in a proselytising way. Along with very few other dangers, religious proselytising is a major threat to humankind – not that I am in the least suggesting that you yourself indulge it Michael! Leaving the issue of proselytising aside then, in your response you wonder whether I foresee any misinterpretation by others of your writing, and which results from your use of words that are, as you say, ‘so heavily loaded with baggage’. Yes Michael; how could that not be so when, for example, your own definition of the word ‘Christ’ is so at variance with that which is commonly accepted?

        As you rightly suggest though, thankfully there is no injunction upon you only to use what you call ‘politically correct’ terminology, and no theocratic or cultural dictate imposes the same upon artists such as your self – thank God! And yet there remains the cultural cavilling that I have alluded to and which exists within me too in some degree. I make petty objections to all sorts of things, though I take none too seriously. And for the most part, they tend to be my uniquely tedious way of resolving minor questioning thought-patterns in the mind – a sort of binary switch that gets handled and then thrown to tell me how I feel about something.

        Lots of love to you too dear friend.


        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, well, this is the beauty of dialogue with friends, Hariod. The moments that evoke response, whether intended or not, are relevatory and particularly helpful they arise in the company of friends. I responded as I did in part because I think the questions you raised are important, and I do wrestle with them from time to time. Additionally, while we have had some time to get to know one another, this may not be the case for a casual reader. A little clarifying discussion, as you pointed out, comes at little cost to either one of us.

          Thank you for the kind words, Hariod. It is always an honor to host your thoughts and insights here.



  4. This is beautiful and true and wonderfully worded as usual. I particularly like the images evoked by this bit that so well describes the mind-led life:
    “papier mache mentality
    with holes in it
    and oddly positioned
    painted-on smiles
    that never soften
    and just preen like
    airport runway beacons
    at the passing fields
    of nightmares
    and designer beverages.”
    But this bit made me sad for having been there, the whole world in my (non-existent) mouth but seemingly unable to find any traction there always pulled back to identification with the ‘me’ even though I know it’s only a game of clowns:
    “and put the whole world
    into your mouth at once
    like a spray of something minty,
    give a quick wink
    to whomever may be looking,
    and let the grace of Christ
    transform it into something
    very sweet.”
    Much love from the maw

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much love returned, Alison-

      I can understand the sense of sadness you describe, I think. I started to write a lengthy response about the mechanics of sadness, but you require no such insights from me. Your presence here is always a gift and a blessing, and your sadness is surely only a passing doubt– a seeing of yourself in ways Love would never corroborate… I have decided in moving through these states there are some things for which it does no good to hold ourselves accountable… Better to laugh at their inanity… I have often placed too much serious reflection upon these moments myself, and weighted them accordingly.

      From here, by the way, whatever saddens you, I cannot see it. I see only brilliance.

      And I think it does take a certain amount of ‘me’ to let the light of being pass through us into the world. Love cannot express itself without a face or a name. This doesn’t mean Love is the face and the name, but without them Love is hidden away– unchanged, but unknown and unexpressed… It has taken a very long time of traveling through the field of clowns for me to realize a clown-suit is wholly amazing and lovable, that there is a clown-suit with my name on it, but that nothing that clown-suit does or fails to do will change our true nature. They’re just there for jamming… 🙂



      • Oh yes, I think you captured it all in the final paragraph, and yes the sadness is very fleeting. Mostly I enjoy being a clown and know and love it for what it is. Life is too much fun not to!


  5. As you have said ….”It is desperately difficult to parse something as simple and whole and complete as Beingness into the linear-logical structures of grammar, but that is the task at hand.” Reading this, Michael, the tune “Whistle while you work” is pirouetting gracefully around the maw.


    • Thank you, Jana. Your poetic response is lovely, suggests some shared recognition of what lies within our shared need to give rise to poetic expression, and has now placed me beyond the terrain wherein words will do any of us any good. 🙂



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