Begging For Real

comments 37
Poetry

One day I was astonished
to find Hafiz giving instruction
to a cadre of beggars.
He was explaining to us
how much better off we would be,
if we were drunk right from the get go,
and he was passing out copies
of his latest poem, saying,
Drink these my friends…
Drink these with the rising sun…
The idea being–
all our surly ideas about fate
and how things really work
and who could of and should of
and what’s irretrievably wrong
would wander off together in babbling circles,
cussing at their reflections in the city glass
and wondering if pigeons
ever laid double-yolkers,
leaving in their wake
the most honest, hollowed-out begging possible:
that cavernous hunger for connection,
the tenderness of needs boiled
all the way down to need itself,
and the blissful forgetting
of that massive, faceless wall
looming ever in the distance
like a creeping field of shadow–
that great, unshaped demon we called The End.
When our begging
has that soft edge to it–
when it has been floated
on the drunken warmth of poems
and turned inside out,
leaving only the fine residue
of attentiveness and possibility,
the gift of a warm smile
or a soft turn of phrase emerges from us naturally,
spilling joyfully into the crowds,
as our needs all squeak out of us as gifts.
That’s when a Stranger draws near,
sits down, draws a map of the stars
hidden behind the day’s blue sky,
places a You Are Here sticker
in the center of it all, smiles,
then heads out into the blinding light
to check on somebody else,
leaving behind sandwiches and coffee,
a few extra copies of the star maps,
and other, less tangible evidence
of eternity’s
ubiquitous
Presence.

37 Comments

  1. Ah! I can’t tell you how perfectly constructed this poem is, Michael! Everything about it culminates into this knowing…the connection of all things…of all beings! It is a joy to read this morning and as I head out for my day, I will notice any opportunity to see, or place, a ‘You Are Here’ sticker!! 🙂 Giant smile…♡♡

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Lorrie. Keep those stickers handy! They remind me of one of Marga’s favorite Hafiz poems, about the noble man who is always “dropping keys” to the prison’s rowdy inmates… I don’t remember the exact line. “You are here” sometimes has the same effect for me… Connection, felt within, is really the be all end all for me, and for us I think. That is the nature of our existence, and the power to be found in the reservoir of one another. Hope you have/had a great day!

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good point, Dennis, about them both being within us. So true… Thank you for your inspiring thoughts, brother!

      Enjoy some time by the seashore today…
      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  2. This is fantastic Michael. Your writing is like Hafiz dropping off more honey and treats for this beggar!
    to kindness, smiles and connection. Thank you for your mystic musings…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s a BYOB universe, my friend. Do you know that one in Britain?

      Luckily, we were all well-stocked with inner refreshment before we were turned loose upon this desert… 😉

      Cryptically attempting to keep this ball in the air,
      Your Trusting Friend,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

        • Ha! Okay, I think perhaps I’m with you now. I think what I should have written is could’ve and should’ve… because that is how I hear it tonally in my inner voice every time I stroll along that particular passage. Are we tracking here?

          Thank you…
          Michael

          Liked by 2 people

          • We are tracking, and sorry to be so appallingly ungracious dear friend; it’s an incurable affliction of mine it would seem, as well you know by now. I do it at times myself of course, writing what I sonically detect rather than what is correct. Suddenly one sees it and thinks “how on earth did I?” – as I said, it’s so easily done.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Hariod, nothing to apologize for… Your responses are always the finest kind, and I wouldn’t dare to pick and choose which of your givens to engage with, as they are all such wonderful parts of the delightful lens that you offer us all. You are always bearing gifts, my friend, and I thank you for it…

              I only wish I was better at crosswords! Ha!

              Michael

              Liked by 2 people

            • Hmm, now you’ve got me scratching my head with your italicised “givens” – is that expression verboten on your side of the pond?

              Liked by 1 person

            • No, not verboten… I have simply corresponded too much with various folks who feel that one of the shortfalls of the consumer spiritual culture is the idea that everything personal is irrelevant and to be left by the wayside, when in fact it is are givens that differentiate us, provide unique glimpses of the universal, and attract us to the lives and the people that are perhaps uniquely ours to have and to encounter. I was simply trying to say I wouldn’t change any of what makes you, you. I like emphasizing the term givens, because it downplays the notion that these are chosen attributes of ourselves. While some would argue that every aspect of our lives are chosen at some level, I would say that it is a mistake nonetheless to suggest any of us can do much about the location and timing of our birth, or the notions we encounter as children, or the events that strike like lightning in our lives… The givens… What we do choose perhaps, are our responses… 🙂

              But let us accept our givens– not to the point that we leverage a false identity around them, but freed of that, they remain particular nuances of our entry points into this limitless field…!

              Michael

              Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this delightful start to my day. As usual (being caught up in a mind story of unfairness and disrespect from friends) I needed the reminder of Eternity’s Presence, here. All is well.
    Alison ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Alison,

      I’m glad this helped smooth the day’s opening… and I’m glad all is well… I have great fun on the days when our eyes meet here on WP, and we realize we are reminders to one another of Eternity’s Presence…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Karin. Yes, it boils down to this for me… Anytime I’m not at peace, I’m hungering for re-entry into the sea of connection…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Genie says

    Well penned, Michael. Hafiz would be proud, oh wait, I just remembered — that maybe you are Hafiz.

    I am hoping the sanctions will be lifted concerning Iran, not only for the good folks living there, but also for the rest of us who will be able to go and visit Shiraz, the birthplace of Hafiz, and other places in that ancient and amazing country.

    I hear the gardens in Shiraz were created to make one feel as though they are in Paradise, no tame little marigolds there, no, exotic gardens that export one to inner connectedness to the All, all consciousness without an observer! imagine that! the freedom from the petty self, now we are talking about Hafiz’s secret agenda for us! …become the lion, stop pretending to be a domesticated cat!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like where you took this, Genie. When I see stories of Iran in the news, I often wonder what those around me would (beyond the close circle of melded hearts) think if I admitted that Persian poets had bailed me out of more than a few existential jams in my day… I like to reflect on the beauty and the culture of the Persian world, and how that world was the pinnacle of learning and scholarship at one point in history… Nothing is really what it seems… There’s this incredible Love that lies at the root of a perceived “evil”… How did that world of eight or nine centuries ago become this one? It is impossible for me to say… But I would love to see those gardens you describe, too… I’m just reading Hafiz’ secret agenda now… 🙂 He has some big plans I see…

      A Lion-In-Training,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Loving the You are Here sticker in the middle of it all!
    Mary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary! It’s good to have a map to orient ourselves sometimes…

      Where am I?

      Right here.

      Oh…! Perfect.

      🙂

      Michael

      Like

  6. I love how you can place the glowing heart of the center of the universe under fluorescent lights next to the unwashed Mr. Coffee in a basement conference room, rented out by the hour. Who would think to look there? Thank you dear friend, I am drunkenly warmed by this poem and it isn’t even 5 o’clock anywhere!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Is it other places, too!? I love that you know to see these places, too…

      A brief aside: when we found Hafiz, the 5 o’clock rule went straight out the window as far as I’m concerned…

      Hope your buzz warmed the entire day…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful portrait you create; one of the many things I enjoy about your writing is that I am so drawn in to it and your words create a world for me in which I get to survey and explore and then return feeling better and this time with my needs which have taken on the form of a squeaky toy. Wonderful! Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Harlon, thanks for the kind words, and moreso for traveling with me through this inner world we share. We strengthen it with our presence…

      Squeaking away over here, too…
      Your friend, Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • 🙂

      I had fun with that one, too! Thanks for picking up on that and sharing in the joy of it… My father-in-law used to enjoy discovering the double-yolkers in a batch of eggs from a nearby farm. That was like breakfast bonus points or something… 🙂

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s