Each Moment, the Last

comments 61
Poetry

We circulate blood
to warm the engine,
to launder our thoughts
through a flickering screen of cells,
to give our last remaining questions
the dignity of heat, a name, and color–
to work them over
day after day from within
these visceral bindings,
pressing against them and
metabolizing them and
hoping they’ll somehow
end up different
than they once were.
The mind takes a peek out,
intrepid,
eager as a hunter,
giddy with the leathered vision,
only faintly suspecting that
every tick of the heart
is a replay of the final one
the moment before take-off,
the last switch we throw
before reconciling with majesty.
If only we weren’t so cavalier
about the things we once decided.
If only we weren’t always
scrambling back uphill from the edge,
digging our heels into pretense and boundary.
That’s all time is…
a line continuously drawn between
ourselves and the sea.

I know this because
the other night
I was sitting at my table
when the cuckoo clock
dove off the wall and hit the floor.
I walked over to find
a puff of sparrow down
and a long, striped feather,
still quivering,
where there should have been
a dented cuckoo bird
with shiny lacquered eyes
looking up at me.

I looked up from
the shattered linden wood
to see a sparrow
leap from the hedge into the sky–
a tiny screen displaying a falcon heart,
leaving a braid of words behind in the leaves
for me to find.

Silence broke me open,
and the falcon came for me.
He could see,
so I gave him my eyes.
He was endless,
so I gave him my body.
His blood was fire,
so I gave him my heart.
We’re soaring now
across the tumbling dawn.

My melancholy and my need
released from their separate chambers
and mixed into a potent slurry,
and my blood, ever since,
has been swirling in circles.
My cells are flooding with forgetfulness.
The sky has opened its mouth–
the sky with no name
that has me thinking
of giving it mine.

61 Comments

  1. ONE flew over the cuckoo’s nest! XD All kidding aside Michael, this is another wonderful dance of words and ideas swirling about my brain, too subtle to understand and too profound to ignore. What is an ordinary man to do?

    PS. my editor noticed a typo in the line…the clock dove “of” the wall.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Brad,

      Thank you for your thoughts here, and for pointing out the typo which I have corrected. I liked your line too subtle to understand and too profound to ignore. It’s really hard to see your own writing through the lens of a reader I think. The writing itself– it’s a bit like sitting on the moon with a pair of high powered binoculars watching Rome get built in a day, and commenting on little things that jump out at you. This piece began with the idea that we carry our freedom with us in every moment. We’re always on the verge of it… And the image of the heart as a timer. What’s going to happen when it goes off? And how we sometimes live in these cuckoo clock lives where our purest aspects of being are preserved inside, reserved, and one day– when we live into the fullness of who we are– that little cage of history will shatter and break. How does this happen? By letting something far beyond the locality of our self– particularly the self we would define via the boundary of what we “know”– fill us up, and carry us off… 🙂

      Those are the Cliff Notes. I felt as though this wasn’t a piece I was particularly satisfied with, like there’s still something in there to be worked to the surface, but it was a really busy week and I was wrestling with getting something posted at all… I’ve also learned that what I think are complete or not has little to do with how readers find them… The writer is often the third wheel in the writing process… just the observer of something flowing into the world and finding its way to wherever it can help or nudge or hold or inspire.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 5 people

    • Hi Sabiscuit,

      Thank you for these kind words, and I will make every effort to do so! I’m glad you have touched down here briefly along your flight path!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s all time is… a line continuously drawn between ourselves and the sea… so much to think about in your poem Michael..you paint with words so beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rajani! It was an important sentiment I wanted to get in there somewhere, and it felt a little like the last piece of clothing you put in the suitcase before you jump up and down on top of it… 🙂 I appreciate the kind words. I’m really glad we have connected and I admire your exploration of various forms. I can see how that pushes you as a writer and brings out different emphasis in your work.

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Am enjoying writing within the constraints.. I keep thinking that if the idea is clear enough in my head, I can articulate it as required and the more brevity the form demands the sharper the words will get.. well at least that’s the thinking 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This one really hits the spot, ‘… from within these visceral bindings…’ sometimes the whole thing seems like a kind of futuristic sci-fi movie. And there’s a sadness too about the cuckoo clock that flies away in an act of generosity to be taken by the falcon – all of it a shared oneness comprising the countess forms that we experience every day, a line continuously drawn…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Tiramit,

      Hope you are on the mend this fine day. I’m awakening on a nice Saturday morn, so you must be in hot pursuit, peeling off the end of your week. Yes, the whole experience does seem like that sci-fi movie. For once I’m not speaking metaphorically either! Life has always had a certain surreal quality to it– like if you could just find the edge, you could peel off the sticky plastic coating and all the colors would brighten or fly off into something else altogether. And yet the oneness within it all… That’s what makes the presentation of it so ironic. The oneness… And as you say, the line drawn every moment– now here and now there, but so often between here and there!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, yes, recovering well from the illness.
        I like this one also: ‘The mind takes a peek out, intrepid, eager as a hunter.’ Also the observation that it’s not metaphor, it’s reality, and the oneness of this vast diversity could be ironical (as well as absolutely everything else)…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the gift of your words, this will feed my thoughts for this morning. As I sit here, filling this moisture heavy air, A quiet chirp of night insect…the birds shall wake soon and fly around , perhaps a falcon…perhaps a sparrow singing its last song or even a chorus of sea birds viewing the waves from on high….peace and blessings and thoughts of all good, K

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Kim,

      I can imagine that humid air from my days growing up in Alabama… Air with a sticky presence… but also a palpable force to it, an energy and a looming palpability. The singing insects beat the drum and drive it along, and the haze upon the horizon starts to seem like an opening into your own center. Then back inside to make some waffles. We were always making tall stacks of waffles for the week back then, so before school we could pop them in the toaster. Our homemade Eggo’s…. We usually decimated the inventory by Wednesday… 🙂

      Hope you have a great weekend!
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mmmm, waffles….this morning chocolate croissants as a treat. Yes, the air hangs heavy and warm but feels so amazing, I am absorbing it all in like a little sponge….today the ocean calls…toes in sand and watching for amazing moments to capture the poets heart…ah, a delight of the senses and to share with my mom for the first time, to spend quality one on one being honest and real, now that is a trinket I shall treasure always. Thank you Michael, I always enjoy your comments and the peace they deliver…and the smiles too of course. Peace and blessings, K

        Liked by 1 person

            • I’m not sure how you could miss the 94 degrees. I remember playing soccer and running up and down hills in that heat when I lived in Alabama, but I think my blood has thickened too much to make a pleasant repeat. I don’t think I have any cells yet that remember how to do that exactly! Ha!

              Peace
              Michael

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well my friend, I certainly wasn’t running in it…just lots of shopping in the AC and wallowing in the pool like a mermaid too of course😊cannot wait for a repeat performance too…not till December…or when we move whichever comes sooner😊 peace, K

              Liked by 1 person

            • Those are definitely perfect summertime activities… I was just temporarily transfixed by the joy of kicking a ball around with friends, and crazy enough to do so in the heat… Went through a lot of Gatorade in those days… 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  5. As usual Michael, I found myself traversing your beautiful and mysterious imagery multiple times. Where reasoned prose may stumble, the finest poetic metaphor can lead sure-footedly to gaping-mouthed skies, and yet those sanguineous thoughts are always searching for the pulses of answers. A couple of hundred ticks of the heart clock later, they satisfied themselves, for the most part, in a single reflection: the narrowness of subjectivity.

    H ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Hariod,

      Yes, that’s it. You’ll see the Cliff Notes I left with Brad in reflecting on this piece, but you have boiled it down even more succinctly. The localized, subjective perception is so narrow indeed. I hope I am interpreting your word subjectivity properly, for it would suggest the view from within the confines of a life, or a mind’s, arbitrary boundaries. The view through a mind lacking unity, trapped in duality alone perhaps… So much comes to that.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Time is a line drawn between ourselves and the sea. That is a beautiful metaphor.
    I am never sure whether what you write really happened or whether it is a metaphor. The cuckoo clock which fell down reminds me of that I lost my watch a few days ago. It was like a sign. Time is over.
    You seem to get the same sign.

    As always, I love how you put the spiritual journey into poetic words.
    Peace,
    Karin

    Like

    • Hi Karin,

      I’m never sure if what I write is real or not either! Ha! Though we do have a small cuckoo clock on our wall from a trip to Dobel, Germany, it has remained very well in place. It hasn’t run for quite some time, though. It probably did fall once long ago. I needed the movement of the falling clock to find my way to the transformed bird within it…

      I like your watch metaphor. I think often of what ACIM and ACOL say about the ending of time. Though they are not explicit, it strikes me the idea is that movement and change remain, but the idea that we can do something now to gain something up ahead is removed from the experience. The idea that with a little more time we could improve ourselves, or become something more or better, will be gone… And change will simply be a kaleidoscope encounter with peace and creative movement, at once. Married once again…

      Peace!
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Each time I encounter a post of yours dear Michael in the reader, I am enthralled and transported into a world of words, where imagination knows no bounds.. I am sent into a spiral of complexity, yet in essence where simplicity is at the heart.. For we are all entwined within the Oneness, It is only our perception that keeps us separate..
    There is only One moment.. NOW.. May we make each one count and Last ..

    Love where your mind takes us Michael. 🙂
    Sue

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Sue. I appreciate your response here very much. I think you’ve described the irony of creation almost– “sent into a spiral of complexity, yet in essence where simplicity is at the heart…” To simply experience that… We’re indeed interwoven in Oneness and our views maintain these arbitrary lines in the sand that mark the space between us. Which in truth is a continuum…

      Much Love,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Beautiful. I could feel the texture in this and a bit of mix and match going on.This was beautifully coordinated, and most assuredly ready for take-off. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Harlon. Definitely some mix and match. Splicing the electrodes together. Scrabbling a bit of pavement together for us to walk upon. Sounds like you had a great day with the water, weaving together a few threads of your own…

      Peace!
      Michael

      Like

  9. The poem, with or without a name, has me thinking of giving it my heart . . . . . .
    Too late. My heart has already soared into it.

    THIS!
    “If only we weren’t always
    scrambling back uphill from the edge,
    digging our heels into pretense and boundary.
    That’s all time is…
    a line continuously drawn between
    ourselves and the sea.”

    Alison, with love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Alison. My heart has met yours there, and we have somehow managed to skid over the edge and drop into flight. Before we grow our space wings and navigate for the stars, we circle the edge, looking to all who resist and back pedal like a cloud of vultures circling above the violence. Our perceptions are so confounding… that’s all I mean to say… That’s why it’s so good to travel with friends…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi David,

      As I sit with your words I think so. The mind in touch with the warmth of the light, the movement of the air, the locality of its vision, and the proximity of all its information– when also receiving a few impulses from its partner the heart– may be a much quieter, happier mind than the one off on its own pouring over books of its own ideas about what can and cannot be… Trying to figure this all out… That mind off on its own will interpret everything, and resist the evidence to the contrary, and thus continue to push away from the immaculate fullness available in each moment… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  10. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    As always, your words take me to places I don’t expect. I not only love the poem,( which I will read again and again, deeper each time. I find myself hovering around certain sentences, then flying off with them.), but the comments are such fun to read as well – different perspectives that others have, and your responses. I loved the cliff notes to Brad. Your imagery is amazing to me, and I can just see you up on the moon with your binoculars looking for them. You always find them.
    I am very much enjoying your book. My experience is the same as when you post here. I spend time out …I don’t know…in space, the ethers, the senses, the feelings, and when I come back I have sort of forgotten where I am – and then off I go with the next sentence. Haha. Such fun! You ground me as you send me flying.
    With love,
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Mary. It is really the comments that make the experience most enjoyable– the interactions and getting to connect with other people. And thank you for the feedback about the book. Your experience of reading it sounds like the way it feels to write it– taking trips unexpectedly into images and ideas, and returning with something I can put into words. I’ve always felt the power in being able to re-frame our experiences in the shifting light of insight and perspective, and I think that is a large part of what writing is for me. A different story to tell about the ordinary, such that we can encounter the depth sealed inside of it. Anyway, I’m touched that you are enjoying your touch-and-goes with the images and words, and am very grateful you’ve shared your thoughts.

      I hope you’ve had a great few days on the water…
      With love returned,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, M! Your taking the time to sneak a peek here over the wall of submissions is much appreciated. I envision you on your tippy-toes looking out through a gap in a pile of papers, but this all makes me wonder if your world hasn’t transitioned to some sort of electronic form of suggestion and correction? I am trying to figure if that would make it easier or more difficult… I am rambling pretty much. Just hoping you are well…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • And here I am sneaking back over…again! You are right in your assessment about the shift away from stackable, tangible papers. Part of my challenge is grading online while not getting distracted by the whole wide world of the internet. When I took in essays in folders, I could escape to libraries and coffee shops with a large pile and knock them out. Always, I am working to turn the ritual of grading into a higher task of soul communication – Your words never fail to bring a much needed booster shot in my process 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well if it is any consolation, all of my work occurs on the same screen as this page I’m writing on now, so it is a bit of a discipline to make sure all the bases are covered… I love when we circle back to this awareness that your grading is one of the many forms which soul communication takes… You have the chance to peer into so many intriguing worlds, and add a few drops from the tincture of your heart’s apothecary into the mix… It strikes me as a beautiful practice… or that it could be when the mood strikes, the tedium is dialed-down, and the moon is high. When the devotional presence emerges…

          Liked by 1 person

  11. ” the mind takes a peek out ” …your words enlighten and I hold them in my heart Michael …” the line between ourselves and the sea ” is one I travel often through troubled waters but after reading your poetry I often feel as if the waves have calmed and I’m able to float upon your words of beauty , your expression of soulfulness and I even begin to smile …thankyou from an admiring and grateful friend …. love , megxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Meg,

      Perhaps I am making too much of the spaces between your posts, but I imagine those spaces as the time when this line is washing in and out to sea– pushing and pulling on the boundaries. It reminds me of times when I couldn’t find equilibrium, and what greater gift could there be than the offering of solid ground from one to the next. Jesus feels like that to me… the simple gift of solid ground, friend-to-friend, heart-to-heart, companion-to-companion…

      Resonating to and fro–
      With Love,
      Michael

      Like

    • I’m going to daresay I know the feeling… Also, I’ve felt a few small earthquakes. Tremors that don’t do any real damage, but make everyone laugh nervously for a moment… 🙂

      Like

      • Yes, nervous laughter, I usually see it in terms of what it’s not and get thrown by the switcheroo between not anything/not something. I was thinking of the irony of the vast diversity having a oneness, and you’re thinking of the ‘invisible, profoundly evident something you can never quite name’. These small unexpected earthquakes from time to time…

        Liked by 1 person

    • If only… Thank you, RJ.

      I find we’re so good at this back-pedaling, we make it look like the way things are… but we’re not quite accurate about that. And I think we kind of know it. And there’s that paradox that we can arrive upon the shores of peace in any moment, we just can’t take the falsely conjured self with us… So, we’re always cutting deals with ourselves…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  12. Wow, it’s hard to know what to say when one reads something like this that is raw and filled with such honesty and truth and wisdom and understanding.
    Greatness is the word that comes to mind, but it is a weak response at best. Blessings, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • Hello Natalie,

      I’m very happy we’ve connected, and thank you very much for your response. It is not weak in the slightest, and is greatly appreciated. I’m glad you felt something real inside of my words– something that echoed inside of both of us…

      Blessings to you also,
      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