No. I Am Not.

comments 63
Poetry

Obviously I am not a Christian,
but Jesus is my companion.
More than that, even.
We were bound together in darkness,
in a moment we both chose without resistance.
The ropes encircling us are sacred.
We are each other’s atrium and ventricle.
We live in the same house.
We love the same woman.
We lay together on a raft sometimes,
continuing our passage across the sea
to visit the birth of life.
At night, when I’m done
staring at the ceiling
and my tears
are passing out of the harbor
in a galloping herd of waves,
and the stars are keeping watch
over each one,
marking each surging shoulder
with the incendiary memory of
sodium, hydrogen, helium and argon–
Jesus is the tide that carries them.
Jesus is the road we walk that leads us to the sea.

And clearly I am not a Buddhist,
though I dissolve into the Buddha’s robes
with every breath.
More than that, even.
We play hide and seek together
in the light beneath the trees
that fills some of the leaves with color
while others are still and black.
You won’t find either one us there–
just a tapestry of whispers.
When I call the Buddha on the phone,
my presence goes digital.
I subdivide into an infinite field of pixels.
When I look deeply into one,
I see the one beside it.
When I move over to look at that one, I see you.
Every pixel is saying something necessary
about all the other ones–
twinkling off and on for that very reason.
So I look closely at my hand,
and see a mystery I cannot explain.
In the same way that my hands
think they are the ones responsible for these letters,
I think I am the one walking across the street,
and not the sky.
But really the sky is walking across the street.
And really the Buddha is what’s filling all of space.
That’s why the nature of breathing is so obvious.

And by now of course you know I am not Lakota,
though there is no one who is not Lakota.
If you sit in the darkness
beside the glowing stones
and learn a few of the songs,
you’ll finally be just a person full of tears.
No longer more, and no longer less.
Only now there’s a channel
pouring out of you onto the earth.
The Earth who knows your name,
and raised you.
There can’t be spirits there, of course,
to help you walk your path–
not if you are a Christian, or a Buddhist.
But I am not any of those things.
I am not Lakota,
or Christian, or Buddhist either,
so some of those spirits who came
into the silence filled with drumming saw me,
and took pity on me,
and listened to what I had to say.
They got on the string-can telegraph
with the stars
and the grass
and the bear
and the clouds
to help this little one out.
To help him find his way.
They sent the fire to be the light that guides him.

Who are we to say what is what?
We who stumble and spit and irk.
We who judge and pontificate and cajole.
We who need all the help that we can get.

I don’t know anything, really,
and I think that’s why the trees
don’t mind shooting the shit with me.
Because there’s no pressure
to be that kind of tree, in that kind of world.
We just sit close to one another, and wait.

So now you know who I am.
And maybe who you are, too.
I hope so, for we need this knowledge
more than ever today,
we who are still naming,
we who are still blaming,
we who are still shaming.
We who have been given,
all there is to give.

63 Comments

  1. Here I go with that re-blog button again. I can’t help myself. Buddha made me do it!
    This is phenomenal Michael. What is left of my mind is blown! Funny many folks like my comments here. Considering starting a new blog entirely of my comments here. No I am joking, but I really dig this poem. my intellect leaves the room so my heart has more space…

    peace, Linda

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you, Linda. I think Hariod’s suggestion of turning on comment likes was a great day for this site. What’s not to like about the sentiments shared here by such wonderful people? I think that blog would be a good one… and I’m glad your intellect gave your heart a quiet moment to spend with this one… 🙂

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • The blog idea was a joke, but sometimes I muse about adding another blog. But I have other fish to fry or cook or observe..

        Your commenters are loyal and well spoken and you communicate in a way that is both playful and profound. Hmmm, reminds me of another poet. I think his name is Rumi ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know what you mean about fish fries, Linda… 🙂

          Thank you again. You are definitely being too kind, but that does not in any way diminish my appreciation…

          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hey Michael,
            Why not bask in the appreciation? You are up today for the challenge. Just a friendly reminder. Looking forward to see what you have put together.

            peace, Linda

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hi Linda,

              Little late in catching up here. I think I snuck in my mid-term under the wire… 🙂

              Basking over here–
              In Gratitude
              Michael

              Liked by 1 person

  2. got a call from Jesus
    and while on that call
    another call came in
    from Buddha
    and they were both
    emphatic that they were
    not Christian nor Buddhist,
    but brothers.
    breathing and smiling
    to have such good relations
    as them and you, Michael 🙂

    Liked by 11 people

    • Hi David,

      Brothers is the perfect way to see them for me. Brothers in the ancient sport of synchronized reality-plunging (that’s like cliff diving only when you hit the water it turns back into sky). I join you in gratitude for the circle of good relations in which we all share…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This fits in perfectly with my Course in Miracles lesson for today, and with who we are on all these levels, ways, passages…how we Sufi dance and kiss the stars, and embrace the altar. I chuckled at the part about no one not being a Lakota: Mitakuye Oyasin

    Liked by 5 people

    • Mitakuye Oyasin!

      Glad you had a smile on that line, Ka. And glad we performed an unexpected feat of synchronicity together today. The choreography in this place is outstanding! 🙂

      Kissing the stars,
      Laying my gifts down upon the altar beside yours,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! Yes, thank you, Karin. The interreligious dialogue feels to me like a dialogue of egos almost. Whenever we speak as if we represent an institution, something strange happens. We start trying to satisfy entities that don’t even exist. I mean… I don’t mean to be negative really, but doesn’t it boil down to people opening their hearts and learning forgiveness and compassion without the need to make another wrong, or responsible for their own feelings and sensations as a being? Open-mindedness seems to be one of the hardest virtues to teach…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I seem to have no words these days, but love to read yours. That line – ‘I don’t know anything, really’ – I love the way I feel when I’m knowing *that*.
    Alison xoxox

    Liked by 4 people

    • I love the way I feel when I know *that* too. Thank you for reading, Alison… There is power in just holding this knowing and keeping the flame alive, no matter the words…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. No-thing left to say. Your words have guided me to the stars and back home. I love all the comments. You seem to have stirred up the poet energy for everyone! 🙂 Thank you brother Michael.
    May we drop the labels and just be with each.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Brad,

      Thank you for your lovely response. Sounds like you had quite a ride! 🙂 And a resounding amen to your beautiful prayer… I’ve never felt as though any of the boxes I’ve been in were quite right, but being disappointed with those who are filling the boxes doesn’t really yield any results… We kind of have to just get comfortable with who we are, so we can be comfortable with who others are…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

        • Brad, they have these new boxes now that work for everyone… so they say. I don’t know if you’ve seen them. They’re called stretchy-pants. Very comfortable. But those are not my way, either… You have to find what works for you… 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Sarah. I realized after I posted this, how the theme of being given fire must have rattled around in my subconscious since my last visit to your place… 🙂

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    My heart just smiles and smiles as I read your words….and my head just nods right along. It’s like smiling out loud.
    Blessings to you.
    Mary

    Liked by 3 people

    • And my heart soars besides yours hearing of this, Mary, leaning in close with a hand cupped over its ear to hear the way you smile. Thank you very much!

      Blessings to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael, this is brilliant, such a humble way to approach how we name spirituality and it’s not about what brand you sport but rather the person you are – and we are all people who are given all that there is to give and who we are is a function of how that is expressed. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Harlon,

      You’re right. It’s not about the brand… such a perfect way to say it. We’re given so much, and have the chance to give so much in return. It pains me when we let these distinctions bog us down, and wedge us apart…

      Peace to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tanya,

      Thank you very much for your note. I am glad you enjoyed it, and appreciate where you’re coming from. Religion and what occurs in the space of our own hearts are not the same things…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gorgeous and stunning, although I truly think I am you and you are me….dancing free, all together now let’s do the cosmic polka…..oh my I am just giddy….read this twice….definitely going into my universe file of awesomeness…..Buddha told me it belonged there, yet Jesus said no need, it is ingrained on our souls.
    Namaste, Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Kim. You are me, and I am you. I agree.

      I like where you’re going with this. Our hearts are TrapperKeepers of awesomeness. Everything awesome has been written upon us… When the wind blows and we shiver, a piece of awesome paper flies out and finds its way to someone else…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  9. What I’m most aware of is the thread of fluidity winding through this poem allowing an easy flow of movement, dance and playfulness. The soft walls of my Jesus abode expand happily as I read this, and I see more windows, and skylights, and doors that I didn’t notice before, opening to the whole universe, to the gift of all there is to give.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi JoAnna,

      Thank you for such a beautiful and flowing response. I love the way you describe it as your Jesus abode, and how it opened and brought in more light. I think in a way this is what life can be, as moments teach us to soften and let in the beauty all around us.

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There can be a bit of dizziness for me when it all begins to flip around this way. You have somehow captured that illusive sliding away here for all to see, that roaring, spinning vertigo brought on by the inversion of the ground of ideas. But don’t give me any meds, please. Write that on my hospital chart, will you? This disease that kills is all going according to plan. (I thought at one point, i was reading the fine print of the cosmic digital plan, that I’d no time for when I had to upgrade last time:) So spinningly marvelous, this is, Michael!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello M!

      You cracked me up… the fine print you accepted without even opening the file. The world catches you in that jam all the time. Who has time to read thirty pages of legal gobbledy-gook just to get a message to a friend??? I’m not sure there are any meds to be given. You just have to let the fever run its course. See what remains when it breaks… Something like the glorious aftermath of a storm I might imagine…!

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • Ha! Yes, probably… These are the influences with which I am most familiar, that is all… But there was this lovely tune carried past us on the air as we sat together… I’m not that either… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful Michael.
    and these lines resonated deeply
    “The Earth who knows your name,
    and raised you.”,,

    I related greatly to your poem. It matters not whom we turn to for inspiration, or in which guru or spiritual orientation we prefer .
    For at the end of the day, There is no right or wrong of it.. All is for our experience.. We each are part of the whole.. made up of many parts of various perceptions and beliefs.

    Each road eventually leading us back home. Some straight, others crooked, some High and some low..
    A tree holds many branches, each leaf is individual, each one counted, each one born fresh to bring the whole tree to life..
    Yet each one is shed, cast down to merge once again within our Earth Mother.. The cycle of Life is but a turning of the wheel,

    I enjoyed stepping into what you are Not.. 🙂 for you are ALL of EVERYTHING! are you not! 🙂

    Loved this entry Michael .
    Blessings Sue xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sue.

      I agree the form matters very little, for each– as you say– is a route to freedom and clarity of heart. The forms change, but the content does not. We move beyond what we once thought we were, to discovering the way Life enfolds us, as we arrive, as we depart, as we tumble like a leaf through the sky in between… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful, Michael. Stunningly beautiful.
    We are all Lakota. We are all not Lakota.
    Kissing the stars and embracing the altar.
    I found your blog from your wise words at the wise Mary’s blog.
    how fortunate for me i did.
    not only is this post exquisite poetry, your words contain magic, because I am already calmed,
    and at peace.
    thank you Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Debbie! Yes, Mary is quite wise… 🙂 Thank you for the kind words and for your visit here. I’m glad you found some moment of peace and calm… and I look forward to learning more about China through your own blog!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Micheal – there is so much out there in the blogging world – I guess we are drawn to kindred spirits via other kindred spirits blogs 🙂
        Thanks for the blog follow and hope you enjoy my China blog
        Debbie

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, Debbie. It is amazing how kindred spirits locate one another… and a very satisfying experience when we do…!

          Peace
          Michael

          Like

  13. The comments above , each so glorious ! I want to join in the choir of wind and sea and land and say ” hallelujah ” too ! …” we just sit close to one another , and wait ” …I’m here with you dear Michael ( you are the friend I wrote of today who showed me ” the holy bush growing ” ) …thank you for being so divinely You ! Much love always , megxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hallelujah and Amen! Thanks for sharing this silence by the tree, Meg. I’m humbled you’ve included me in your beautiful post today, and love how you blended times together in linking new and old connections together in the same landscape. Thank you for the love you share…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

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