We don’t really know
how it starts.
It just gets sprung on us.
Suddenly, we are aglow.
In the open.
Sensitive to the touch.
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,
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.
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