The Moon Is On Fire

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The place itself, the physical structure, was  built to produce a return.  It’s all right angles and flashing from a tube, inoperable windows, and two-tone exterior panels of artificial masonry.  But it’s where we do it.  Each morning we drive in from all points of the compass to the center, gathering together as befits us, to produce work.  That’s the key, really.  To produce work.  To offer something up.  The flimsy walls don’t matter.  The dropped ceiling and droning lights.  The rattling ductwork.  The flat beige interior dotted with random images from our past– welded pipes and glycerin-filled gauges captured on film that remind us of what we did last time.

None of that matters.

It’s the people and the ideas that make it real.  The ones right now.  The frustrations and the perseverance.  The jokes that nudge us into a different timeline.  The bitching in the offices, the break room, and the foyer.  The resilience.  The quirks and hang-ups, the stunning hubris, the fuzzy-headed pencils, and the perpetual pining for fairness.  The pressing against one another’s souls.  Asking all day for things we simply don’t need or understand.  Washing into and smoothing one another out like stones in a spring river.

It’s late, and I step outside– find myself eye-to-eye with the faint gray suggestion of a moon, and it’s resting on a crescent of glowing reddish-orange.  The space shuttle used to look just like that when it was crashing down through the sky.  There must be an invisible flame out there in space none of us can see, a black river of heat expelled by the sun on which the moon floats.  Venus sits nearby, gleaming.

Why do we have a security system on the building when we have that?

The lot is mostly empty, a windswept enclave sheltered by a ring of driven snow piles.  A place for looking and seeing.  My heart is an astronomical body, too, a drifting silence pockmarked by collisions– a wholeness, mostly hidden, with one side illuminated by an invisible wind.

The amount of communication required to bind a motley collection of half-built lives into a single movement is staggering.  The chance of flare-ups and sparks– of crossing wires– often holds steady right around 100%.  Identities crackle.  Things chirp and buzz all day.  E-mails appear from over the horizon like a steady river of pilgrims.  They don’t know I’m not ready yet, that I’m just a man behind a curtain.  They don’t care.  They’re not that type of pilgrims.  All day, hopefully singing, hopefully in rhythm, we paddle up a river of information.  We give the pilgrims bread.  A pat on the back.  The message they came for.

You start to think you’re immune to Alcyone’s blue whim, that your world is truly in plain sight.  A scope of which you can conceive.  If only this one thing could get pressed free of wrinkles.  Just this one thing.  That would be nice.  You’re working on that.  Everyone else is working on something else.  From a dimension adjacent to our own, this box of beings looks like a bazaar quantum appliance– a washing machine for scrubbing the daylights out of our tangled thinking.  Coffee cups and computer monitors are swirling in circles.  White boards are sloshing in the center.  Ideas are blossoming everywhere at once, then collapsing, like a militia of churning soap bubbles.  Schedules are banging around like old boots.  But everywhere you look it’s the eyes that draw you in.  Eyes all over the place.  We’re a cloud chamber full of eyes.  Miffed eyes.  Hot eyes.  Cool eyes.  Heavy eyes.  Not-on-my-watch eyes.  Brown and hazel ones.  Eyes trained to listen before speaking.  Eyes that want to get to the fucking point.  Hungry eyes.  Knowing eyes.  A trusting pair.  Unwavering, been-there-done-that eyes.  Blue eyes.  Not me eyes.  Eyes that draw lines everywhere they look, like ink jet nozzles torn free from a Hewlett-Packard.

The trick is to walk in there in the morning like a white sheet of canvas the Buddha stretched, realized was perfect, and set to idle in the sun while he made tea, and then to walk out in the afternoon or evening in just the same way.  Clean and whistling to the birds.  Ready to look the moon in the eye.  Then wink at Venus.

Some people don’t like this kind of thing.  Getting up in the morning, going in to the washing machine.  Getting scrubbed.  Pressing soul against soul.  Being pushed and pulled by the soap suds, friction and gristle.  Coming out covered in the ash of detonations.  But when I’m honest, I see how brilliant this is.  This cosmic appliance of life.  Where else can we get all of our bullshit and resistance into one place, where we can see it?  And clean it.  Let it be rinsed away.

I don’t know.

It seems to be working, anyway.

How could it not?

You chuck a flotilla of saints into a wormhole.  Put the moon kettle on boil.  And you brew up something everlasting.


  1. Have you thought about printing a few copies of this up and pinning them to walls at your workplace? The inward face of loo doors could be start, but you’ll need a female co-conspirator. Neither the words nor the act are that subversive are they? H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely a thought, Hariod. Probably better to publish it in the newsletter before the next company meeting. Then we can break out into small groups for discussion… 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a thing to wake to this morning! I recognize this building and collection of souls, and I recognize your movement into the landscape of the parking lot under the seasonal sky full of celestial bodies, winking from the realities each level out and out and out into pure mystery. (oh such eyes, so many eyes, so full of outlook, so clear for all to see) all at once, it aches in a certain way to ride the wave of your words, no not a wave, I’m more like a mouse dropped into a maze, sniffing those trod carports for a crumb and an exit. I recognize through your poetic, vivid and real seeing that I have often tried to escape this soul pressing for the discomfort and humiliation – yet the white-robbed dive in – yes, I’m beginning to get it and become grateful for the sand papering sensation these mashups bring about…if people knew about the eyes, they would wear sunglasses inside 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marga,

      Your recognition is like a warm breeze on this winter day. (We got over freezing today, so keep it coming…) I’m sure we’ve all tried to escape it. I certainly have had my towel-throwing moments. It’s both an unsettling– in the sense that the fantasy bubble is burst– and a magical feeling to accept the life in front of you offers such holy possibilities. I’ve yet to quite have the day envisioned above, however… 🙂 I come out most days splattered, dusted, smothered and covered. But that day seems to be inside of all the days I’ve ever had, when I look back upon them.

      What causes difficulty? It’s an interesting question. We could say attachments and fear, but I’m beginning to question if the difficulties are really difficulties some of the time. They often come from caring about something deeply, and grappling our way to a common understanding. It doesn’t make sense to take the “none of this matters” approach, and so, at times, it is consuming. How else would we have it?

      That said, sand-papering does sound intense… 🙂

      Much Love


  3. “The trick is to walk in there in the morning like a white sheet of canvas the Buddha stretched, realized was perfect, and set to idle in the sun while he made tea, and then to walk out in the afternoon or evening in just the same way. Clean and whistling to the birds. Ready to look the moon in the eye. Then wink at Venus.” YES! 🙂 and I picture so well this Buddha image you conjure here.
    You got me thinking about eye color.
    These eyes are hazel. I’m told sometimes there’s red in my eye – and that always surprises me because the red was put there and shows up on occasion; and, I never ever get to see it myself. It has something to do with the sun, and observation…and not being me. In the middle of conversation, at the right angle of light, people will interrupt, “WOW! Your eyes have red in them!” (referring to the Iris or Irises – I’m not even sure if its in one or both).

    Wow, Michael, as usual, I’m glad I stopped by…
    I’m thinking of this part: “The rattling ductwork,” and chuckling to myself about how that’s how my brain feels just about all the time. It’s amazing when I write any sentences at all.

    Thanks for your writing, “the fuzzy-headed pencils, and the perpetual pining for fairness..” it reminds me to be creative, and just be expressive – To keep seeing the world through different lenses…


    • Thank you for such a lovely note, Ka! That’s really interesting about your eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that before. I think our eyes are amazing. They say so much… I’m not entirely sure how. It’s the strangest thing to look into eyes of a dead animal, like a dead bird you come across, and to see how strange and unsettling a pair of “unseeing eyes” really are. When we make eye contact with someone who is actually looking back… enough said. It’s a wierd thing, too, because if start analyzing it and looking too closely, you’ll just see the physical organ, and lose that river of communication…

      As to the rattling ductwork, I have four binder clips of varying weight on the ventilation diffuser above my desk at work to dampen the rattling. It’s like a tuning exercise… Find the weight that will change the natural frequency of that diffuser blade just enough to stop the noise… Your sentences are superlative, and if you can come anywhere close to doing that dragon breath at the pace of the instructor in your last video, your ductwork is anything but rattling… I nearly slipped a disc. 🙂

      Be creative! Indeed. I was thinking how intense work has been recently. How busy. How great it is to step back and just deal with it creatively…

      Much Love

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Michael,

        I’m glad my note came across nicely 🙂 I had second-guessed my comment about my eyes… I was wondering to myself why I blabbed on about that. Then, I decided to practice some self-compassion. Thanks for being kindly about it.

        Also, thanks for sharing about where ‘ductwork rattling’ came from. I’m still wondering a bit about it, but at the risk of writing too much (and not getting back to my own work), I’ll focus on other areas of topic.

        “Slipped disc.” I healed almost completely from a herniated disc – it has to do with when the nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc of S1-L5 herniates through the tough annulus fibrosus and messes with nerves. Anyways, it’s taken the better part of two years, and I’ve lived most of them horizontally.

        Fire breath is helpful for everything, mind, body, and soul. I’m not an olympic athlete at it. I’m only a student.

        I can appreciate being really busy and still making room for creativity. It’s tiring…

        Love to you, too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ka, now you have me curious about where this duct rattling business was headed… 🙂

          The healing you’ve done sounds amazing. I truly admire the combo of clarity, faith, perseverance and surrender it takes to make such a journey. I’m a wimp when it comes to physical symptoms…

          Hope your studies are going well, and not keeping you too, too busy!


          Liked by 1 person

          • Michael,

            All I can say right now is that binder clips are one of the best inventions. They were great in the office, and are now holding together some of my lecture notes. Glad those binder clips are helping you out with the noisy rattle! I was curious if this vent you speak of was above your head, or where the vent was in relation to your desk. As far as ducts go, I’m busy thinking about the collecting ducts that collect fluid from nephrons. My studies will increasingly take up more of my time. I also enjoy being in the clinic – the most – and seeing our patients, as an observer. I do get to take pulses and share my Qi. I guess that’s the real reason I did the Reiki attunements and became a Reiki III practitioner, so I could go back to school and go deeper. Life unfolds and folds again. Your words on eyes…they are the window to the soul; and in Chinese Medicine, The Hun. A great meditation.

            Love, Ka

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, Ka, a resounding yes to binder clips… and to their close cousin, the Chip Clip. Could there be a more necessary domestic gadget?

              (Yes. Yes, there could.)

              (Bad question that.)

              The duct is roughly over my left shoulder. It’s mostly an issue in the summer… Your studies sound really interesting, Ka. I like the way you describe being able to be present and share your Qi with others. I think I try to do this with my eyes. I try to remember while speaking with someone the full goodness of their being, to frame it squarely in my heart. Once or twice a week this “awareness” comes unbidden in a conversation. Then it’s a moment like when you were a kid, at the hotel, with a handheld mirror, seeing how many times light would reflect back and forth… 🙂

              A raft of wholly good wishes-


    • Me, too, Meg. I kind of wish you could be a fly on the wall and then write a piece about our mad world… That would change everything… ❤ Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ~meredith says

    (reading everything from top to bottom is so crazy it’s worth making the trek.. when I’ve loads of time and a curtained-off nook, muted and unnoticed to fully absorb the whole ride.) 🙂


    • ha! Awesome. Thank you, Meredith…

      Always a treat to see your Converse all stars appear on the horizon…


      (I think you taught me that one… a few moments ago.)



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