Dust

comments 25
Poetry

A film lies over the world,
a distortive coating–
a difficulty that has been sprinkled
throughout the realm.
Somehow we let the powder
escape from the bag:
the dust that causes permanence
to fracture and dissemble into half-lives,
the dust that causes recognition
to thicken and cloud into obscurity.
The wind blew it in all directions.
Now everything is a strange,
skewed cinema of what it once was.
Now fading has become natural,
and youth commoditized–
work-hardened into a synthetic ideal
useful for both squandering and prizing.
With that powder loose,
if we look too closely at something,
we’ll just be confused by it,
dazzled by its hard-wired motility
and intrepid survival instincts.
Profound stuff, we’ll note.
Do you see how it recoils from fire?
Amazing…
Surely it means something.
It must be a message,
a memory breaking through the film.
Here’s the strangest part:
since when did survival matter?
I mean, when was there ever an alternative?
I’m pretty sure that idea came with the powder.
Prior to that, our powers hadn’t been dulled,
or diluted by protocols.
The doorways between the worlds had been open.
Now we are each brokered through intermediaries,
filtered through sequence and chance.
We work through channels,
and the ones who know explain to us
how and why a thing is possible.
Even Light no longer teleports.
Instead of merely bridging the distance
from here to there,
knowing itself as the omni-present
entry point to every other point,
now it flies by the rules.
Now, like us, it is given instructions
and can occupy only one place at a time.
The laws of this land even afford it choices–
straight lines or possible reflections
ordered by crystalline probabilities–
but wild horses in an endless maze
of towering stone walls and dead ends
just wither and age, or lie down and sleep,
preferring their dreams and memories
to arbitrary confines.

We do not break this spell
by fighting against it,
or proving those wrong
who are under its sway.
We do not break this spell
by turning it to our advantage,
or becoming masters of its strange effects.
Nor can we hide out indefinitely,
away from its reach and
safe in our protected isolation.
Instead, we submit to the curious
admixture of grace, desire and utter necessity,
and discover
there are places no such dust
could ever reach,
places within us,
fields of violet flames
we carry along with us
wherever we walk–
passages through
stands of flowering
memories that never wane.
We remember
we are filled to the brim
with twinkling poetic beings
whose sight can penetrate
any circumstance.
Even coatings.
And to our
delighted
dawning
delectable
delicious
satisfaction,
we realize we
can build on that.
It is this
for which we are meant.
Dust or no dust.
Worlds or no worlds.
We were not
roused from Nothing
merely to reach an end.

25 Comments

  1. My little feather duster came in useful during this exceptional work of yours Michael. Each phrase and line caused it to be raised, then to tickle my fancy – first here, then there. Occasionally, a sneeze would occur, the dust particles lodged obstinately as if to force me to re-appraise some line in a sudden purging of logic – “ah, ’tis who?” And what remains when the sneezing is all done? I wonder, handkerchief in one hand, feather duster in the other, perplexed, yet dusted down nonetheless.

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    • Yes, Hariod, it’s so good to have a feather duster handy. I have a travel version I keep in my shirt pocket. It looks like a pen, but when you push the button a plume of micro-feathers bursts from the end ready for the task at hand.

      I have no idea what remains when the sneezing is done… Something sweet, nameless, and vast. 🙂 When I ask myself where all this dust might go, I see tractor trailer trucks headed for the ocean, lined up at sunrise in a long convoy down towards the water. There seems to be no end to the stuff, but there’s one mad man down there with a clip board, dipping his finger in the mix and having a taste, rubbing it through his fingers, taking inventory. He can tell a difference in the deliveries over time, sense the trucks are just a bit farther part in their arrivals. We really do get to the end of this stuff!

      Much Love!
      Michael

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    • ~meredith says

      😀 you two…
      Loved the poem, got sidetracked, came back to read it again and found it’s grown richer, 10 foldover.
      Beautiful poem, Michael. ❤

      Like

    • Thank you, Ka. I had a feeling I was trying to capture about our being something that keeps becoming more and more of what it is, endlessly, in ways that surprise and delight. Not like stockpiles of cheap toys or quarterly earning reports. Nothing that has to happen. But kind of like an unplanned brilliance, like you reach in the pocket of an old vest for that lip balm and have your hand shaken by a grinning Hafiz, and it reminds you of something about yourself you’d forgotten, or never really knew before, but has become deliciously obvious. 🙂

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Awesome, Michael….

        “….like you reach in the pocket of an old vest for that lip balm and have your hand shaken by a grinning Hafiz.”

        A little Sufi love goes a long way. It’s unexpected, magical almost – but not quite entirely unreal. Reality becoming…

        Ka

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ha! Thanks, Ka. Yes, one encounter with Sufi love can keep an entire month on track… It is magical, and (I love how you said this) not quite unreal… Perfect!

          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful reminders to clear the dust Michael. ❤ And I love Hariod's clever dusting up of your post! XD May we find and shine the eternal brightness of our beings, not affected by the dust of the world.

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    • Thank you, Alison. I am so grateful for the moments when such lines appear, floating past in consciousness, not because of the lines I suppose, but because of the feeling it engenders to lose oneself momentarily, and to take a quick dip in the sea outside of these dusty realms! It’s a feeling I love to pass along… I’m glad you caught it!

      Michael

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  3. Wow! I am kind of speechless. You touched a place inside that I know of briefly….yet this place deserves so much more exploration. Like a previous reader, I will have to read this again…and maybe over and over. Because I have a feeling it is the kind of writing that reveals something new each time you visit it!! And that is exciting, Michael…yes! That is very exciting. Thank you for your brilliance and I wish you many blessings. ❤

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    • Thank you, Lorrie! I’m always touched when a person reads with such openness, because I know it takes time to stop and infuse yourself with the words, and to feel your way into what lies beyond. I’m glad your kindness has been rewarded so perfectly! Any brilliance you have found here is a resonance with the brilliance in you.

      Blessings returned…
      Michael

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      • Thank you Michael. I am honored by your words back to me. But I want you to know that your words allow…in fact beg to be examined…walked beyond. And you are right to say “what lies beyond” because they lay the groundwork for an inquiring mind to look deeper…feel more. And that is brilliant poetry!! Thank you! ❤

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  4. Yes, I agree, brilliant and ecstatic poetry. Just love:
    “Dust or no dust.
    Worlds or no worlds.
    We were not
    roused from Nothing
    merely to reach an end”
    It is so rich, must be read twice, thrice or more.

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    • Thank you, Ellen. Now you have me convinced: we were roused from Nothing, for precisely this

      In gratitude
      Michael

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  5. I think I have one answer to one little question: October, 1978: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBR2G-iI3-I (Well, not exactly the start of this dusty idea, but certainly a strong expression of personal survival came out then…) Even the lambs and the lions have been a bit dust covered in this age. I hope to see when they lie down and bleat and roar together in friendship! Wonderful poem, each and every line clear seeing of the state of “things.”

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    • Ha! Perfect. Yes. Yes you do, M. And unbeknownst to any readers here as I’ve been wholly silent on the matter to date, I’ve been rocking to this version repeatedly throughout most of the past lunar cycle. My iPod has pretty much burned this track off its memory plates.

      I think the survival to which you are referring leads one out of the grip of acculturated supposed-to’s and false fates and into the Promised Land where survival is no longer in question. Viewed from that spoke of the spiral, it’s a very good thing.

      By the way, did you happen to read one Jay Wolf’s comment below the video on the YouTube link? I almost spontaneously laugh-catapulted a mouthful of grizzled steak across the room.

      The full moon makes us goofy sometimes.
      ’tis True
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ohhhhhhh my God. Seriously. I don’t know what to say except man am I happy I stayed up a little late tonight to catch up on some reading. This is divine poetry. Divine. Thank you.

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    • I’m happy you stayed up late, too, Andrea. Thank you for reading with such open eyes.

      In gratitude for your kind words,
      Mich-

      Oh, and in gratitude for your fighting off that bout of fatigue stolen from the jaws of another long day trolling reefs off the back of a leased pontoon boat in sun-struck waters while certain of us were shoveling a new phase of matter– slush, I guess you’d call it– across the drive with a pitch fork. 🙂

      Don’t worry, I’m going to swear off all forms of bitterness for Lent. Best to just let me get it out.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha! I accept your bitterness with ease, sir. You contain such sweetness that a dose of bitterness makes you like…mmm…gourmet chocolate. 😉

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    • Thanks for the solid. I’m going to file this one away. You only get two time-outs per half, right? And how many halves are there? Point being, there will come a time, undoubtedly sooner than I’d like to admit, when a positive reference will go a long way, like next time I’m trying to find my way back to the sun after one of those regrettable moments in which I drop a glare of disgust on a moment or a being too swiftly judged.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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