That Part In Between

comments 66
Poetry

We don’t really know
how it starts.
It just gets sprung on us.
This life.
Suddenly, we are aglow.
In the open.
Sensitive to the touch.
Metabolic.
Molten.
Astonished.
Hanging in space.
Once, after years of an ongoing ruckus,
I reached a certain condition–
a sweet spot just above the wick
where I was something
between a whirl,
a mountain pass,
a coyote’s sidelong gaze,
and a penniless hunger,
all dressed-up as a flame.
I was the bull and the rider, joined,
the movement and the moment,
the joy and the need,
tumbling together.

Then, with Hafiz perched nearby
offering his kind advice on the particulars,
the Beloved puckered her lips
and blew something sweet straight through me–
something decorated with its own butterflies,
the sound of falling snow,
and stories of the sea.
The flame vanished,
leaving a line of cool smoke
that rose into nowhere,
but that feeling came…

…that feeling when your chest swells
and goes dimensionless
and the luminous phenomenon at your center
swallows all the edges of existence
into an ocean of familiar magnetism
and cradles the world in its warm presence.
You merge with distant horizons
one after another in succession,
as if you had been caught and carried
by a wind with everyone’s smile
tucked quietly inside of it.
Yes.  That feeling arrived.

Hafiz whooped and clicked the stopwatch.
Just because.
Because maybe he saw them do that once in a movie.
Because you do things like that when you’re playing.
Needless, of course, when
the bull and the rider have joined.
Some people call this dying–
when the Beloved’s breath
annihilates particular contraptions of locality,
but Hafiz calls it “going down the slide,
like when you were a kid at the park
and your insides turned over
and every thought you had skinned-out.”

Can you imagine a slide like that?
So good you can’t keep yourself
from climbing back to the top,
over and over and over again?

We don’t know how it ends, either.
I should mention that.
There’s a strange interlude
between the bottom of the slide and the top.
And I don’t know if this is who I am or not,
or if I’m the part in between,
but if I stop talking like this,
I’ll get very lonely, and I’ll think
we hardly know one another again,
and my life will harden once more
into a collection of reflective glass shards.

And that’s just no good.
And I like feeling like
a wind-blown secret
lolly-gagging up in the sky
somewhere between here
and there.

66 Comments

  1. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Hi Michael,
    Once again, you put words to what I feel in my Soul.
    I keep wanting to pick out lines that particularly resonated, but the whole piece did. I came close to tears over this one – that place where love fills the heart completely, “that feeling” of being so full you almost can’t contain it, but you do, joyfully.
    Thank you for sharing this and starting my day with such reverence. I love the slide, somewhere between here and there – “decorated with its own butterflies and the sound of falling snow and the stories of the sea.”
    Much Love
    Mary

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Mary, for the reblog and this lovely response. I love that when love fills the heart completely, there is some dissolving of boundaries. It is such a quivery, delicious feeling– to be without recourse to any particular or rigid delineations of what is me and what is not… To be washing up on unknown shores.

      Love to you also,
      Michael

      Like

    • Thank you, Opher. I like what you said– we’re part of forever all the time… And I don’t know where we’re headed, but there seems to be some creative compounding of what is when love is freely expressed…

      Thank you very much for your visit.
      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  2. Oh Michael,
    Many of your poems help me remember those oh so ephemeral moments I have been blessed to experience. This passage brought a grin to my face and a sigh! to my soul. I once lived this, and it still exists within me and throughout eternity.

    that feeling when your chest swells
    and goes dimensionless
    and the luminous phenomenon at your center
    swallows all the edges of existence
    into an ocean of familiar magnetism
    and cradles the world in its warm presence.
    You merge with distant horizons
    one after another in succession,
    as if you had been caught and carried
    by a wind with everyone’s smile
    tucked quietly inside of it.
    Yes. That feeling arrived.

    grateful the feeling came to you too.

    peace, LInda

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Linda. That’s indeed a beautiful feeling to have in the repertoire of one’s heart! Glad you know it as well. I think we all know it. I once thought I didn’t– that it was perhaps something one had to seek out. It’s good to know it was in there from the very first trip up the slide! If there was such a thing… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Brad.

      I’m sliding… What a remarkable invention gravity is…! We fall in love. We fall asleep. We trip and fall from grace. It seems to have a lot rolled up right there, that gravity. It can even pull you right back to the top of the hill… It is indeed a wonderful ride! You might even be on that slide and not even know it!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another wonderful poem Michael… May we keep on sliding and getting that wonderful excitement turning over inside out… And may we all retain the Laughter of children..
    Love and Blessings..
    Sue

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m getting a feeling.
    Not sure if it’s that
    feeling
    or that it will
    be fully felt
    within the stopwatch’ time,
    but you are certainly
    a sweet condition
    of this transmutation, Michael!
    thanks for sharing your poem
    & secret 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi David,

      Isn’t getting a feeling such a curious thing!? It can be both glorious or quite foreboding, that moment of getting a telegraph signal from the ethers. I hope it was a good one, and I am grateful for your shared sentiments.

      I’m getting a feeling right back at ya’! (A good one!)

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know a day is truly blessed with magic when I see your words, like a cosmic letter sent to my box when I am already on such a high and think I can’t get any higher but you and Hafiz have gone and done it again…when stopwatches come out at work, it’s always a sign of lean transformation but I don’t want to be lean, I want to expand into the infinite universe and know that in between feeling…and the slides, wow, had forgotten about them, perhaps left behind in my toy box of magic as I grew up….so glad I’m growing back to the beginning now. Your words keep me soaring, stay beautiful and have an amazing day my friend, always, K

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Kim,

      You’re right. The stopwatches are not meant to be an homage to Mr. Taylor or the leaning and squeezing of things to their barest essential. Though there is perhaps a place for that. More of the sensation of the paradox that such beauty unfolds in time… I’m growing back to the beginning right beside you. It’s such a lovely transition…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • thanks Michael, I’ve missed you. On vacation, travelling today and tomorrow to the sun…it is a beautiful thing and the sky today was a miracle, I didn’t even want to stop and write about it, it was just there to absorb as it drifted down behind the smokey mountains and what a peaceful thing that was after a long day on the roaad. I hope to catch up this weekend and If you are in my mailbox, I know I will be truly blessed, oh but wait, I already am as we are on the journey together and everything is better with a soul that understands 🙂 peace and love,
        Always,
        K

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful, Michael. I love the slide analogy. That resonates with me. This dying or letting go aspect of the journey has something of a rather steep slide. Or a bungee jumping tower or something like that. This loss of control, surrender, excitement. It can be scary, but at the same time it can be fun.
    Thank you for sharing this deep and humorous piece (I like Hafiz and the stop watch).
    Happy sliding and peace,
    Karin

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Karin,

      Yes, the “dying” side of things can seem like quite a slope sometimes. I do like the flipping of it to something fun where possible… I’m with you on that one! I’m glad you liked Hafiz and the stopwatch. I kind of like the idea of being naive, or innocent to experiencing too much through the lens of models and analytics. I like the idea of raw, joyful, playful experience. Thanks for joining with me on the playground!

      Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. footloosedon says

    I’m sure that I’ve said this before Michael, but you do have such a marvellous way of creating wonderful images in my mind. I particularly liked your lines about

    feeling like
    a wind-blown secret
    lolly-gagging up in the sky
    somewhere between here
    and there.

    Lolly-gagging up in the sky works for me. See you there.

    Don

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Don,

      Floating up here in the breeze alongside you, man! Savoring the joys of lolly-gagging in unison… and being tethered to the same secrets…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  8. Genie says

    “I was the bull and the rider, joined,
    the movement and the moment,
    the joy and the need,
    tumbling together.”

    I hope the bull and the rider teamed up and put an end to riding bulls, the need is great to end animal abuse. It’s a joy to participate in the protection of all sentient beings from the needless suffering that comes from a using animals for blood (and injury) sports.

    I can see Hafiz cheering the two of you on saying: “Way to go! …end blood sports, then continue on the Veganism!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Genie,

      I’m with you on the desire to put an end to needless suffering… What suffering is needful? Animals can be such amazing companions on the one hand, such talismans of purity, power and grace in the wild, and as you’ve noted, the brunt of our sickest jokes… Where is there not paradox in this realm!? It seems to me the whole world– every mote and creature– has so much to teach us…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful Michael, funny how I never thought much about how ‘it’ is actually experienced: “that feeling when your chest swells and goes dimensionless…” and from here on, til the end of that little stanza. It’s possible, yes I need to be reminded where it is, the mind somehow loses it in the many files in the library. And when something happens that brings it back to memory, it happens all over again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Tiramit,

      I am glad the words somehow recreated an experience you’ve had within of this wonderful feeling. I’m with you on these moments being lost somehow in the archives of experience and thought. I like what Hariod wrote about the experience of union always being the actual, living experience– and not a memory or recreation, not a model or conceptual thought of it. Each time, its a fresh immersion. I’m paraphrasing, but I think you are saying something similar… that sometimes, out of the blue, wham–! it happens again!

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  10. It’s true Michael that the person at the top of the slide and the one that reaches the bottom are the same and yet two different people… but then you start all over again. Such beautiful writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rajani. The issue of who is whom, and when, is such an enjoyable one to contact in this way. It brings me right to the precipice of neither here, nor there. We are not the same people we were, and yet what we are is not different in any way… It is so interesting to encounter and experience the depth of this…

      Thank you for your lovely reply.
      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ka,

      Thank you very much for that link. I think I saw that somewhere once before, and it does remind me of this piece, too… And thank you for the poetic and lovely reply. It’s been super busy and it is a joy to sneak in another moment of connection.

      (As an aside, I have begun reading White Noise, and am enjoying it a great deal…)

      One little brushstroke here and there can speak volumes. Thanks for taking the time to offer one of yours!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I read this one out aloud Michael, fast-paced and without intonation except for where you italicised, and it felt strangely and coincidentally just like going down a slide. The question that came up for me on my descent, was in the two lines: “We don’t know how it ends, either. I should mention that.” I wonder, does it end? What do you think of all these spiritual teachers who claim to have arrived at a final destination; do you think that is a viable position? I ask myself, how could they possibly know?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Hariod,

      I was intrigued by the thought of you reading this aloud and having that experience. It certainly wasn’t any intentional artistic subtlety on my part, though I will say that the more I leave “intentional” out of the process, the more surprises such as this seem to emerge on their own.

      I don’t think it ends– at least in the ultimate sense– and I don’t think there is really a stasis to be reached either. I think perhaps once misplaced identification is corrected, there is a sense in which we achieve a solid ground. But that solid ground is more like the calling off of the search– (the search for peace, for love, for meaning, for belonging, etc.). Once the search is called off, we still have this infinite, mysterious, playful, harrowing, timeless something-or-other that we are, emerging through us to blossom in every moment. And looking back to the dialogue we enjoyed together back in the fall, we don’t really even know how our own awareness fits into the tumbling, interweaving, and seemingly continuous– across lives and the finite distance of our own reflections– river of awareness.

      As one who feels deeply that the experience of Life is ultimately rooted in a universal creative impulse, and as creativity is inherently engaged in the investigation of novelty, depth, and the unknown, I don’t really feel there is an end in sight…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I was walking along and just fell in. Here I was heading somewhere on a street and then I was sitting on my bum at the bottom of a slide giggling uproariously. How lovely on a Monday morning, my friend. How lovely to be turned inside out. Beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, Noelle! I love your description of falling down the slide while walking down the street. For me this is a perfect way of capturing the river of life that pours through the mundane. Thank you for sharing your reflection here. Your reflections of time spent in the natural world have been wonderful portals for me the past few weeks, as I’ve been immersed in the equally astounding world of piping, machinery, gauges, wires, and more…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I would love to feel like a wind-blown secret lolly-gagging up in the sky. Sometimes I get a glimpse. Sigh. And then love fills me up and it doesn’t matter. Just this. This presence. This Love. This Life. Thank you. Smile.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well from one wind-blown lolly-gagger of a secret to another, I think you are one. And that being filled up so it doesn’t matter can be our secret handshake… 🙂

      Smiling back,
      Sharing this moment,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dennis! Alleluia indeed, for that which brings us out from the cages of doubt and uncertainty. That sweet spot is wide as the heavens, and when we find our way back to it, its always a curiosity how we lost that point on the map!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Well, this sure was worth waiting for. I remember watching my children going down and around and back up again and sliding down again, and how much fun it was to watch them. Now I know why. And I love it when wise old Hafiz is playful like that. I hope to carry this with me as I go back to work tomorrow after a few days off. I’m sure it will help to remember you and Hafiz.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello JoAnna,

      I love what you shared here about the joy of watching children lose themselves in some innocent delight. Hafiz for me is indeed a playful co-conspirator in the game of Love. Glad you enjoyed it! I hope it helped on your day back at work. Sometimes it is hard for me the night before returning to work, knowing there is that transition between worlds to navigate again. The re-entry can sometimes be a little choppy… Hope you day went smoothly…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  15. …..And I really like this part:
    “Then, with Hafiz perched nearby
    offering his kind advice on the particulars,
    the Beloved puckered her lips
    and blew something sweet straight through me–
    something decorated with its own butterflies,
    the sound of falling snow,
    and stories of the sea.”
    I’m reading it this morning before I go to work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know about your own work with painting and writing, but for me it often begins with just one feeling or picture in my mind, coinciding with a feeling in my heart of ‘aha!’… Then the process of exploring that vision or feeling leads to an ensemble of words. Writing is like the exploration of it, and this piece began with the inspiration of being ‘blown out’ like a candle flame, by the Beloved’s breath… So, you’ve pulled out the root of this piece…

      Hope you enjoyed the week,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  16. There is no one else I know who expresses Life this way ! The feeling touches so raw and I actually physically experience it … Michael , I am awe struck by this …I remember the day , the moment , when I first became aware of my third eye and I heard my heart having a conversation with my mind …this is the same feeling your poetry is to me …and I am speechless once more …that ” sweet spot ” illuminating …Michael , thank you , love , megxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Meg, thank you for such a connecting, heartfelt reply here. I love that you note how you physically experience it, and recall a sacred moment in your own experience. I particularly enjoyed your description of discovering your heart having a conversation with your mind. I think there is so much behind and beneath the scenes that we take for granted, and all of it is so holy– so intricate and yet so familiar. For me, this is the most important experience we can share as humans– our glimpses of the holy.

      Love and gratitude,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, my inspired friend! And likewise. May your web of family and friends sparkle with love along every fiber during these days of witnessing, sharing, and gathering close.

          Peace to you, too–
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  17. there have been so many moments of this slide
    of late, where it feels like I went a little off into shoots that deadened
    into lands made solely from those reflective disconnected shards, but
    your words feel to me like a pull up from the last step on the rung –
    thank you for the hand out and pull up, Michael!
    I guess I’m up for another ride – Only now I am sensing how to scoot past the scary cliff drop
    on the right, at the top,
    and how to lean away from the rabbit hole to the left half way down –
    Here I go, into a haze unknowing, do I dare?
    Who sewed on the padding on my seat to reduce friction? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marga, I’ve been off the rails a few times of late myself. Just yesterday the project I’ve been working on pretty much non-stop since late October achieve a significant milestone– with just three days to spare on a schedule that began in 2014. It was difficult and in many ways I felt as though I lost something somehow these past several weeks. Or more like I took a bunch of parts of myself and put them on the shelf for a bit. But then there are the redemptive moments of working with a group of people from all different backgrounds and even from other parts of the world to achieve something, and there is nothing more beautiful than that really. But as you say, thank goodness Hafiz took that job at the top of the slide handing out tee-shirts, 3D glasses, and cushioned seats…! 🙂

      We slide down through clouds of trepidation, wondering what the hell happened, but eventually drop out of the haze into a sky flooded with light (and bow-tied momentos dropping out of the sky from tiny parachutes).

      Onward into the glorious haze of unknowing, my friend!
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  18. We are all blessed to read your writing. This line especially struck me in such a simple, profound way:

    but if I stop talking like this,
    I’ll get very lonely

    Your work connects all of us. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Dear Michael, you know I think the expression “timing is everything” captures how we experience moments in life. I absolutely enjoyed reading this posting, it was a moment of classic Michael. It doesn’t get much better than this. Thank you – you really do rock. I hope you and those you care for and love have a splendid holiday season and 2016 is healthy and EVERYTHING. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Harlon,

      Thank you very much. I likewise hope this holiday is a wonderful time for yourself and those both near and far who occupy that holy place of connection in your heart. Thank you for the gift of responding to the voice that is uniquely mine, and for sharing the friendship that is uniquely yours to give.

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ah! Sometimes we don’t know what we are missing until it returns!! I read this and truly had a moment of “Yes!! This is what I have been missing in my life!” It is so good to see your words here my friend…life is just not quite the same without you! ♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lorrie! I have missed you, too, during my time away. I think you’ve known this feeling very well, as I have seen it through your own writing, but I am glad to have inspired a remembrance of it!

      Happy New Year’s!
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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