A Perfect Day

comments 39
Poetry

Yesterday
was perfect.

After three months
my best short story yet
was rejected twice
in the span of an hour
via form letters of
compensatory encouragement,
which must mean
I’m getting somewhere,
in between which
I used a shabby putter
to sink two twelve footers in a row
down the cubicle aisle.

We made some jokes together and we laughed.

We had to hazard a guess about how much
natural gas will cost in three years,
which who the hell knows but you have to try,
and then we worked on the report.
We debated things meaningless in the grand scheme,
but meaningful to us. Meaningful then.
I marveled at the typographical errors
one small office can produce in a day.

On the commute home I questioned
the extent to which my virtual music collection
is stuck a decade or two in the past.
Because I just like it, I guess?
Have you listened to the jam session
on Reach Down lately?

Sweet Jesus.

When I got home
I walked to the end of the driveway
to get the mail and the air was cool,
and just right, and the sun was low
and staring me in the face
so you couldn’t hardly meet its gaze
and flooding the road with a golden light
that was irradiating whole swarms of bugs
that hovered over the asphalt like fractals
of galaxies all lined up for take-off.

Whose sense of time and place is the right one?

I walked down towards the river.
The colors were so rich, the sky so thick.
Whatever was once, has been forgotten.

On the way back I got the mail.
The box squeaked in protest.
The little door sticks a little
and if I don’t hold the whole thing just right
it’s liable to get ripped right off the post.
I should probably do something about that,
which I will, eventually,
after the wave of snow and ice
from the plow truck this January
cleaves the whole thing clean off.

Then after dinner I wrote another one.
Because sitting beneath a sky like that
and inventing something
because you just can’t help it
feels some days like the reason for everything.
And sweetly perfect.

Yes. Yesterday was perfect.
Tomorrow, too.

* * * * *

(Start at about minute 4:41, close your eyes and ignore the photos, and go for the ride… There’s not many songs I’m aware of in this genre with two guitarists riffing simultaneously…)

39 Comments

    • Hi Brad, thanks for the note! It is easy to focus on that part, but in truth the rejection letters were all part of the joy of relaxing wholly into “what is.” I felt kind of good about them, in truth– like they were evidence of my deeper engagement with that longheld desire to write. To take the possibility of writing “seriously”, one has to actually write and submit, and I think this experience is on par for the course, as it can only lead to greater learning… But to your point, all of it is secondary to continuing to reside in peace and contentment with whatever comes…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  1. inventing something/ because you just can’t help it/.. isn’t that the best reason to do something! Just you, nature and this thing that you’ve breathed life into! Marvellous.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rajani! That is the best reason, and perhaps the only reason true enough and strong enough to sustain a practice of any kind… Thank you for the encouragement.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. and to think
    so many return
    from work
    having nothing to say
    and just self medicate, Michael!
    this sober, ecstatic ecstasy
    over minutia which could have
    and should have been
    wondrously meaningful,
    but just is
    the way it is,
    so that here
    it could be
    expressed so well 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know, David! Best not to let the work drag us down too much. The squirrels in my backyard never seem all that flustered about their lifelong need to harvest nuts. And they seem to have quite a bit of fun doing it! Thank you for the words of rapport and joy.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  3. Great music. 🙂
    Decades back, I had a cool professor of Logic. I don’t remember any of those If / Then statements but one thing he said carried with me over the years. Before the finals, he said: this exam you all are so dreading, on a scale of big things will eventually mean nothing.
    Perhaps we journey through life balancing on that fine edge of what matters and what does not. Perhaps when we just play and laugh and can joke about every rejection, that is when real magic, real creativity, the writing of our life’s story really happens.
    So nice to see you smiling again. 🙂
    Much Love,
    Kristina

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Kristina,

      There’s a very fine logic to that! As I mentioned to Brad, and as I hope emerged in this piece, the rejections, the lovely sun, the simplicity of doing what I do– it all added up to one undifferentiated bit of goodness. Freeing ourselves of particular expectations so that we can laugh and play freely is certainly a necessary practice, though– or not a practice at all, but the real thing! As you said so well.

      Nice to see you hear again, too.
      With Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My response just disappeared into thin air…but it went something like this…
    I felt as though I was riding in your shirt pocket…holding on dearly with both hands so I could hold my head above (because even when I am small like that I seem just a tad too short 😉 ) and I witnessed your whole day…really…I felt it and even think I saw the setting sun!!

    I wonder, as writers who feel things so deeply…especially the need to create, the best way to get through the feelings of ‘rejection’ that we all will surely face if we have the courage (like you do) to send our babies out into the world where they can’t help but be “JUDGED.” I know you know everything I am going to say in your heart…I just feel the need to write the words as a sort of echo of your thoughts. A ‘rejection letter’ does not judge the worth of your story…it just judges whether someone perceives it as ‘right’ for their space…and very importantly…AT THIS TIME! I love that you viewed your day as perfect…because it was! And I also know that you know that there is Divine timing and that you have to continue to follow your heart as to where you send your work. Because I know your work needs to be seen…and it WILL! But I know you are fine 💜

    And thanks for the music…I have been listening to a lot of ( like you…a few decades old) music…probably much to my neighbor’s chagrin. My very enthusiastic (loud) rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody to love’ was quite the hit yesterday! 😅

    Much love!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Lorrie,

      Yes, thank you for the words of wisdom! The rejection letters, in the space of mind and heart I was when writing this, were like flowers alongside the road. Which is progress, because the first ones weren’t held that way initially! The growth is putting it all in the appropriate perspective, enjoying the ride and the moment… and you hit upon something I feel is important, and that is that when we start something new that we know so very little about, our first efforts are quite often misplaced simply because of our ignorance. It would be like if you saw fire one time, and never having seen it before set about to recreate it, only not knowing at all what it was you tried to do it in the hay barn! And someone might do a very good thing and come along and stamp your little sparks clean out! Later we see there was simply an ignorance in our reaching, and we learn more about how things work. So slowly as I continue to engage I learn a great deal more about the landscape I am entering, which I know nothing about, and over time it sharpens into focus and becomes less of an intimidating blob, if you will. Anyway, all in good fun. Thank you for the encouragement and crank up the decades old classics!

      Peace!
      Michael

      Like

      • Brilliant, Michael! Isn’t it a beautiful thing to be walking in a new landscape…and learning about it as you go along? There is no doubt in my mind that you will travel in the utmost grace…and that you will learn…or be shown all that you need.
        “less of an intimidating blob!” HaHa 🙂 Yes…we all have intimidating blobs don’t we?
        Much love to you…and keep sending your story out…it WILL BE PUBLISHED exactly WHERE & WHEN it is supposed to be. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. One of those days, eh? When they come, or when an hour of such passes, or even a few seconds, I think, ‘is it always like that?’ And I realise it is. Then thought seems so petty, unavoidable but petty, pettifogging its way through perfect, fogless days. Even the things that go wrong are perfectly right. There’s a lovely lightness to this piece, Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

      • And I think there was some Hendrix in that solo for sure. My favorite guitarist– which means the guitarist who most readily seems to move me intangibly– is J Mascis. I think in part because he strikes me as original and true to his creative self, and partly because of the emotional bandwidth I feel in his playing… There are many technically gifted people in any field, but to be able to express those gifts uniquely.. that is genius I feel.

        This song is short, but full of what I mean. It’s quite an individual thing I think– the music that affects us. Kind of like our discussion of karma and the way events influence us and lead to something more. Mascis’ playing somehow seems to convey the essence of heartbreak and recovery somehow, at least that is how it intertwines with the chord settings of my own being. There is something redemptive almost, about his playing… if I can say that. It’s over the top, I know!

        Liked by 1 person

        • A few nods to Voodoo Chile in Reach Down, for certain. As far as guitar playing goes, I’ve always listened to players like Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Mike Stern, who are more modern jazz than rock, of course, but I love Jeff Beck. Here is Beck playing in London, and with a breathtakingly beautiful bass solo by the young Tal Wilkenfeld:

          For those who may not be able to access Hariod’s original link:

          Liked by 1 person

          • Very nice, Hariod! I couldn’t access the link and was informed the content wasn’t available outside of the UK, or something like that, so I tracked down another link to append– to what I think is the same performance.

            It is interesting what evokes the depth of feeling in us– with particular expressions at times more poignant than others, and at times even songs or performances that I love wear thin unless set aside for a time. I sense in these differences the work of that endless and subtle chain of causation we were discussing before…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh no Michael, that’s not the same performance at all I’m afraid. The one I posted is very different, and far more intimate, being a performance given at Ronnie Scott’s Club in Central London. I appreciate the effort made to find a fresh link though, my friend. I suppose there are territorial rights being imposed for US viewers, because I’m here on your site right now (not in WP Reader) and my original link works perfectly fine. Oh well, n’er mind.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Hariod. I’m glad you felt the lovely lightness, as that was the heart of it. The way everything is just right when held in that space, and then yes, the clunky mechanisms of thought sometimes intrude. I’m delighting in a string of perfect, fogless days…

      Peace and Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The beauty, warmth, humor, and tenderness of this one will stick with us. There’s a page in Seth Godin’s “What to Do When It’s Your Turn [and it’s always your turn]” (page 59) with a photo of Neil Young playing his guitar and these words: “The fifth hammer doesn’t contribute beauty and magic by fitting in. The fifth hammer makes a difference by standing out.” Thank you for sharing your unique voice. The world and those in your atmosphere are very happy that you keep “Reaching Down” and “taking your turn”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Lanessa, for this lovely note. I love the line from Seth Godin– “it’s always (y)our turn.” So let me take my turn and say what I’m left with after reading your note: I love you, my friend.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Michael,
    There’s something ‘new’ about this poem, not sure what exactly. Along with Lorrie, I felt as though it was clearly visualized. As her, I’d probably be too short too even if shrunk down real small to be in your shirt pocket to watch the setting sun at that perfect angle you describe. It’s so much fun to create, that nothing will stop us, and especially you, from growing and developing and ultimately having a good time, listening to whatever whenever the spirit wants, regardless of time and place. Keep at it. I know you will, because people do need your words, even if some of them don’t know it yet.

    Blessings, Love
    Ka

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Ka. It’s interesting you say that because it felt “new” to me as well. The whole experience of it, walking to the end of the drive way and being swept away by everything, just as it was. The efforts, the hopes, the wonder, the peace, the things I can’t even say– they just all rolled up and it was just right. Of course as Hariod said, this is what’s there when we’re not wandering off elsewhere in response to thoughts that would suggest there’s actually something else happening. Ha!

      Much Love to you as well–
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Val! Glad you enjoyed and I think there is a great deal residing in your comment that this is “what must be felt today…” Peace is utterly necessary, and this becomes increasingly apparent with each passing day…

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Part of me wants to link to the song lovely day, but the other part doesn’t recall if you want a YouTube video here in comments. I enjoyed this piece so much, in part because you combined realism with symbolism. I know the glow you speak of, and it is the honey from the land of milk and honey that Hafiz occasionally muses about.

    Keep being Michael until you are something or someone else, and even then, Michael will still
    exist. Sorry about the rejections, unless they propel you into further creative bliss.

    peace always, Linda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Linda, post away! Songs are certainly welcomed! I’m glad you enjoyed this and also that you recognize what is available to all of us in Hafiz’ theme park. I think I’ve written enough about how the rejections fit perfectly into this day, so hopefully you’ve seen that in the comments in your feed. I think what propels me the most are the moments of pure light like these, when it is impossible not to be so simultaneously full of peace and potential, that the only conceivable response (depending on each of us and who we are) for me is to enter into relationship with it in some creative way. Every day is a beginning, is it not?

      Peace and Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely – and thank you for the music, I always enjoy being introduced to new music by someone so thanks for helping me modernize my musical library which also seems to be rather stuck in the 80s.

    And yes, yesterday was perfect, today is too and so will be tomorrow.

    Enjoy it all!

    Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 2 people

    • They’re all perfect in their own way, aren’t they, Harlon? I remember in high school I had a Spanish teacher who chastised a group of my friends who were going through this phase of loving music a decade or two prior to their even being born. Like, why don’t you kids listen to the music of your own time!? It was a pretty funny moment. It’s good to have a little cultural history under your belt I think, so that, like Hariod has here, you can see the way one thing evolves into the next… Kind of links everything together…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  10. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    A perfect day of being with what is in every moment. Of course, I loved the part about being drawn to the river while going for the mail. Those moments are so real, when we follow those little callings. “…flooding the road with a golden light
    that was irradiating whole swarms of bugs
    that hovered over the asphalt like fractals
    of galaxies all lined up for take-off.”
    What were you saying to Hariod…..”to be able to express those gifts uniquely.. that is genius I feel.”
    Yeah.

    Congratulations on your badges of honor (rejection letters).
    Love,
    Mary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary. I can still remember the beauty of that moment. It was like walking down a runway towards a meeting with the sun. Ha! It’s an interesting thing to be able to express freely and uniquely. I notice when I write sometimes it is impacted by the tone and sentence structure of what I’m reading at the time. But even so, if we “just go with it” we always end up integrating what we’ve found with something only we can bring. It’s amazing how that works. And fun!

      Yes, I’ve got some merit badges to be proud of!
      Much Love
      Michael

      Like

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