Our Real Work

comments 43
Course Ideas

Hafiz and I
were standing
on the side of the world
letting our hands air dry
beneath the stars
while spring water fell
from our chins–
a delicious, plateau gestated
high mountain snowmelt
with hints of blue giant and juniper
that rolled around on the tongue like flute music
and made breathing a bit of a mad dash
through a brisk rain,
when I happened to see the moon
hanging there like a street lamp
making a complete mockery
of the local ordinance,
burning off a majestic secret
in heart-piercing foot candles
that left me wondering,

Hey Hafiz, what is the moon’s day job?

He was using his index finger
as a landing strip
for glow-in-the-dark moths
whose nature was best told
in the form of desert migrations
and seemed to savor
sipping on remnants
of blue giant and juniper
from the wrinkled skin of his finger.

Her day job, he said,
in cooing tones the moth
clearly perceived as the very winds
it was born to navigate,
as evidenced by a gentle
pumping of its wings,
is to remind you and I
of our real work.

Our real work…

My own wings fluttered
in my chest.

I looked up at the moon
and drank in memories
that poured out of me
as tendrils of ocean water
on a high desert plateau.
The memory of who we are
ran down my cheeks
and fell from my chin.
I caught an entire sea
on my index finger
and held it out as a landing strip
for glow-in-the-dark moths.

And sure enough.

One came.


  1. There’s something very comforting in your recent conversations with Hafiz Michael, they remind me of a book I read by Richard Bach on parts, you may know it – ‘The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah’, if not do get a copy, it’s a very thin book and a brilliant read.

    – esme smiling upon the Cloud

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank you very much, Esme. I have heard of Richard Bach but never read any of his books. I will put this on the list! Writing these pieces is often comforting for me, too. I’m sure you know the way writing compels you to explore the places that emerge as feelings and ideas when you are in that creative space. To bring comfort to one another feels like the noblest of work.

      Happy Drifting Upon the Cloud!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you good sir – *beams* –

        “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” –

        A favourite quote of his I love.

        – esme the drifter collecting stars upon the Cloud

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Alison. Yes, like all of us… πŸ™‚ If I live in a magical world then you do, too! We know so many wonderful things in our hearts. We just need to let them out, sometimes.


      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Kim. I liked this poem because I realized our wings are in our hearts! ha! It was a lovely discovery. I wouldn’t say I’m very concise in my writing, so I may need to use this comment as a reference at some point! Ha! πŸ™‚

      Much Love

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Rajani,

      Yes indeed. “Our purpose” can seem such a big thing to find. Almost overwhelming, and certainly humbling. I feel if I go through a day and participate in a few moments that touch my heart, which writing often does, then the purpose that day has been fulfilled. Thank you for the compliment.


      Liked by 3 people

  2. Dear Michael, you’ve written this with such extreme and humble elegance. I like to bookmark your postings and come back to them when there is nothing between me and the process of absorbing your expression. It’s funny, I just stepped in from a late night walk where I was struck by the silent yet dominant presence of the moon. I don’t know how or why, but somehow I felt I was put in my place, which is not such a bad thing for someone like me who struggles with their sense of place. Another thing I love about your writing is that it effects me – after my walk, after reading your piece, I have already found my place – it’s a matter of letting the walls down (they were once quite useful and really necessary for my survival, they kept me solid). I think it’s time for me to knock down a wall, a little bit of home renovations to allow for things that glow in the dark and that shine in the light to land on me – because I am safe, here, now, and for good.
    Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 6 people

    • Harlon,

      Thank you for this. I liked the moment of picturing you walking beneath the moon, and I know exactly what you mean about being put in your place. The place where we can be comforted in the knowledge of our own nature, perhaps. Or the place of remembering the simplicity of our own nature is where real comfort lies. I am affected by your comment as much as you are affected by my writing, I am sure. I think what lies beyond survival– once we have sustained that– is beauty. And then once we have that survival is moot… πŸ™‚

      Enjoy the renovations,
      Peace to you also,

      Liked by 4 people

    • The comments have become part of the whole experience, here. Your moon and Michael’s moon seem to have swaddled you, Harlon, in my imagination, yet as you are put in your place, those wings are fluttering mightily within – I can feel them, too.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Oh, Michael,
    This one is pretty up there on my list, although there are so many. But this one right this moment is so peaceful and magical with the two of you. It’s kind of neat to know Hafiz has wrinkly fingers. Does he change age at different times or does he usually stay the same for you?
    I know what it is like to hang my hands out to dry under the stars, and to let spring water roll down my chin. It was so nice to be reminded of that.
    And loved “hints of blue giant and juniper that rolled around on the tongue like flute music. And the moon making a mockery of the local ordinance.
    The last paragraph and the last two sentences. I’m pretty much hanging on every word with a big smile on my face.
    Thank you for such beauty, Michael and Hafiz.
    Love, tendrils of ocean water, and catching whole seas on your finger-

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Mary!

      Thank you for your lovely reply here. It’s interesting trying to answer your question. What I realize is Hafiz is mostly a feeling I have, a back and forth within with a certain field of sensation, and I don’t have a particular physical image associated with it. The way this place within me feels that I describe as Hafiz is pretty constant, it’s just not a particular image for me. But even though this is true, I feel I can see the twinkle in his eye! And the look on his face when the water guns come out! Even though I don’t really see a face, I can see the nuance of expression… It’s awesome.

      Well thank you for hanging on the words like a jungle gym. It makes the words feel good to be loved, just like the jungle gym loves the feelings of kids playing upon it.

      Love to you also,

      Liked by 2 people

    • I love you, too, Meg. And Hafiz goes without saying! He loved you long before I ever knocked on his door, coughed to clear my throat, and asked if he would proofread a few of my poems. I guess when we discover who we really are, and what we mean to one another, it gets a little difficult (and meaningless) to figure out who loved who when, so I’ll just leave it at that. πŸ™‚


      Liked by 2 people

  4. What a delight to my senses! I could feel the water dripping off of my chin and hear the flue music. It came together nicely after I looked up blue giant and imagined it’s scent combining with the scent/taste of juniper….and the mad dash in the brisk rain. And best of all, I could feel AND see the glow-in-the-dark moths gently alighting on my index finger in the moonlight. Thank you for this trip!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, JoAnna. I’m glad the images worked and you were transported to the wonderful land of glow-in-the-dark moth watching, and communing with our true nature. It’s fun when we stop pretending we’re something else entirely!


      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! And yes, NN, I agree concerning the importance of the seemingly insignificant. It’s one of the wonders of this world that the smallest organisms do the heaviest lifting. The skies and the oceans and the land are continuously remade by actions of the tiniest organisms. It makes for a lovely contemplation…


      Liked by 2 people

  5. Your writing still so completely takes my breath away. There’s an opera singer I’ve always liked named Maria Callas whose voice used to soothe the rage in me and my desire for retaliation against my abuse when I was young, and I can think of no more astute a comparison to the feeling her singing gave me than in your writing. It’s like a walk on the side of a road that stretches out to place that never quite reaches its destination so that you’re forced to look inward and enjoy the walk for its own sake. It really grips you and takes you on a magnificent sort of ride through your own emotions and self-awareness. I absolutely love every piece of writing that comes out of that brain of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Darryl,

      Thank you so much, man! That is very fine praise and much appreciated. I am very glad you wrote as I see you’ve written a few new pieces yourself which I look forward to reading very soon. When I am fresher and can soak it in! I have missed your own words.

      All I can say is thank you, and that I value this connection we share. (Checking out some Maria Callas right now…)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course. And I feel the same way. I’ve been going through a very difficult period, and I honestly had no idea so much time had passed since I even logged in. I didn’t want that to happen, so I’ll try not to let it again, now that things are a little better. Glad to see you’re still as great as ever.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annette. What I’ve been calling Hafiz just kinds of shows up when I write or think about writing or tell the sky I’ve got a moment or two on this two hour car ride and a phone that records the words that come out of my mouth so feel free… Not in what you would think of as serious contemplation. The car ride segments become sort of looping chains of thought where I daydream almost, and they eventually lead to, oh! Aha! Better write that down (talk into the phone for review later).

      I am working on a second book of poems and I decided to write an introduction about who this Hafiz person is. I think on the one hand it’s a name for a playful, sincere, beautiful part of my own heart. On the other, a guide, a gift, the presence of a zany grace. Is there any way to tell the difference? I love the paradox of the way that which is universal also arises specifically…

      But I connect with what I call “Jesus” a lot, and that feels slightly different. Equally loving, but a different quality. Those are the main ones I suppose… I feel like there are more but I don’t quite have the faculties to discern them. And that’s okay. πŸ™‚



      • Thank you, Michael, for explaining this. I have always wondered what this phenomenon of “channeling” is all about and thought that it might be a part of our higher self, our own innate wisdom. But then I also believe in what Jung called the “racial unconscious” (referring to the accumulated knowledge of the human race over time), perhaps the same as the akashic records (?) that certain people can tap into and gather insight and wisdom…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Annette,

          I think channeling is a spectrum of things perhaps– ranging from simple moments of inspiration to people who enter a sort of trance state. I’ve witnessed both and think there is validity to the information that is received and expressed along the entire spectrum, and that it always involves some sort of merging of the channel’s awareness with a greater field of information and expression. I operate on the end of the spectrum where once in a while I get an idea than going into any altered states, but what I think is important perhaps is realizing our consciousness is always “merging” with a broader field, and that what we think of as “our own” idea vs an inspired idea from “another source” is perhaps not even a line that can be drawn. We are extensions of all that exists, and it’s not so valid as we think to draw an arbitrary line between what is here, and what is there…


          Liked by 2 people

  6. Drinking in the beauty of the moon and the quietness of night, jolted into a remembrance of our reason for being… Can’t think of a more pleasant way to be in time.

    Your words are a delight to the senses. One could get drunk on them my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha ha, you’re making me laugh now. Maybe I’ll have to limit myself to a certain number of words a day, though it strikes me the “responsible” amount may differ depending on their intensity.

    On the other hand, being drunk on words and the images woven by them may just have to become my new way of being.

    Sending you much love and best wishes for that kind of a day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes… be careful… but I daresay we all do better when we keep close to what we find inspiring and heart-opening… Hafiz is liable to pull us over and write up a citation for being too grim (driving under the influence) in this life!

      Wishing you the same!


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