Two Pieces

comments 49
Poetry

Welcome Home

Everywhere you go,
silence follows.
Peace and quiet
have this down
to a science.
They send out their tails
to watch and record
everything that happens
while you’re out there
looking for that certain
something
someone
somewhat
somewhere–
trying to get better.
They blend in undercover
and look like exactly
what’s happening.
They’re armed with technology.
Don’t look for them, though.
This isn’t the time
for paranoia.

Just be prepared:
when you do finally give up
and come home
there may be a lot
of silly posters hanging
everywhere.

It’s just because
we love you.

Freedom’s Power

“Deuce!”
Hafiz exclaims.

“May I remind you
that a regulation ping pong table
has an overall length of 8.99 feet.
And it reflects sound very well.
You don’t have to yell, Hafiz.”

My last shot had veered off
into a blatant nowhere
like a heat-seeking rocket
aimed at the hero
of an action movie.

It was bad.

But Hafiz is not listening to me.
Instead, he is performing his shuffle,
which is part the Robot dance,
part the Moonwalk,
and mostly a poor rendition
of Chi Chi Rodriquez.

Then he takes the ball,
bounces it off the table
and sets it on the palm
of his hand like it’s about
to turn into a bird and fly off.
He is holding his breath,
squinting at the ball,
waiting for some inner cue.

“It’s ping pong, Hafiz.
Serve the damn ball.”

He is wearing a sombrero
with laminated pictures
of the greatest ping pong players
of the last seven generations
hanging all around him.
They are all making grotesque faces
with varying degrees of success,
like they’re at a Maori training camp.
The pictures click a little when he moves his head
and they knock together.

He twirls his paddle in his hand.
He sways on the balls of his feet,
contemplating his pending serve.
He is crouched like a stalking puma
for ten whole seconds before
finally he rises out of his stance and says,

“Be very careful, my friend.
If you mope around all day
asking the Beloved to make you ordinary,
one day you will sprout feathers,
you will see through time,
and your words will move nations.
Babies and mountain lions
will sit quietly beside you.
For Love, this is what is meant
by every day.”

“Serve the damn ball.”

He shrugs his shoulders,
throws it up in the air
and then darts in three ways at once
while the ball is on its way down.
The ball flys to my left, hits the table,
leaps forward with a burst of speed
and curls to my right.
I’m wrong-footed but suddenly
I don’t care. I swing the paddle
as if restraint no longer has meaning to me.
I put my whole life into it.
I just catch the ball with the edge of my paddle
and launch it straight up into a maze
of suspended lighting systems,
miniature trusses and fire sprinkler piping.
It rattles around like a pinball
off of conduits, steel wing-dings, speakers,
security cameras, bar joists and spider webs,
before finally dropping out
of the ceiling jungle on the far side of the room,
like a fresh robin’s egg,
right into the corner pocket
of an empty billiards table
and disappears.

The ping pong saints are swaying.
“What a fine piece of skill,” he says.
“I would say–
that is your advantage.”

Then he runs for the opposite wall
and leaps through the air
like a ballerino,
while I marvel at what
the purity of my own feeling
has begot.

49 Comments

  1. you’re back….yay and with the sparkling effervescent Hafiz in tow (if in tow is even possible). I am doing a study by reading Marianne Williamson Return to Love and this here, this brings me laughter and joy…wish I could visual the game in person but then again, we are all one so perhaps I truly am…what a blast, truly, and thank you…I needed this happy embrace today ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Kim,

      Glad you enjoyed this! I haven’t read Return to Love, but know that Marianne has been a big part of making ACIM popular with a larger segment of population. But you do need the moments of levity, too! I’m quite sure we’re all in the game, and you’re seeing it quite clearly my friend!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • The sad part is I had ACIM for years now, just have never gotten through it all, too many distractions with writing, working….perhaps when I’m done with Marianne, will revisit and gather new lessons and insights😊💜 enjoying the fruits of fall, or in this case, a morning at 73 degrees, sitting outside listening to sprinklers and the distant sound of cars on there way to some destination. Peace and love Michael, playing the game in joy😊💜
        Always,
        Kim

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I concur! It is wonderful to have you and Hafiz back to lighten our days with ping pong shinanigans. Ordinary magic bouncing off the mind, with a sharp left at fear, coming home to love, settling into peace and silence. With a few bonus innings of laughter. Awesome Michael!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If you mope around all day
    asking the Beloved to make you ordinary… that’s a beautiful thought Michael…what is ordinary and what are we truly capable of. Great writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So good to see everyone back home, with silly posters and silly sombreros, and babies and lions smiling in silence, and words making most incredible music up there with the ping pong ball, invisible, but you hear it bouncing off the spider web mazes!!!
    Michael, right here, with your writing, you prove that point you brought up once or twice: what we think is impossible, is very much possible! Thank you for that lesson.
    Kristina

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes it was a very fun homecoming to report on… 🙂

      Thank you for this lovely response, and for noting that the bounds of the possible are not as clear as is so often thought. Somehow it’s in the way we relate to one another that I think that greater field of the possible is illuminated. Let the celebration begin!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean, Alison. It’s a beautiful feeling to both see it and participate in it, to be almost surprised by the goodness and perfection that arise without warning… Gobsmacked indeed!

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah! So happy to see you playing a game with Hafiz! This one is particularly timely as I just played ping pong with my son for the first time since I can remember!
    Thinking good thoughts about you, Michael. I’ve missed you and it is really nice to read something from you that feels like home 😉
    Much love ♡

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Isn’t it a bit funny, the things we do to get/to be/to have/to feel better. when in fact it’s around us, within us, or sometimes better is out of the question, I mean literally, what is it that we are questioning or seeking – when life can be a game and sombreros are the real deal and not just part of the dress rehearsal. Elegantly and playfully written. That’s where I went with this. Thank you Michael for taking me to places.
    Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 3 people

    • Love this, Harlon. Sombreros are the real deal… 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this and came along for the ride. It is intense what we do to change ourselves, so to speak. That’s a tall order and we get tied up in knots with it. And then eventually we come home to who and what we’ve always been– that stillness that is flowering in so many unexpected ways…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The first of these two lovely pieces made me think of how we use the words ‘silence’ and ‘stillness’ to describe what is in fact insensate. And yet it’s commonly agreed that in certain states of awareness these are apt descriptors. What then, are we describing? I don’t think the answer can ever be ‘absence’, because almost always the ‘silence’ and ‘stillness’ are apprehended in apparent contradistinction to the presence of sound and movement. Any ideas, Michael? [I have none myself.]

    Blessings on the day, my friend! [Ain’t that a nice salutation? It’s courtesy of Hawaii Bela.]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hot Dawg that’s a nice salutation!

      I wouldn’t agree with absence either, Hariod, but I don’t have a good description that is significantly distinct from its connection with those familiar words like silence, stillness, emptiness, etc. I sometimes like beingness. But I think it’s probably a matter of personal preference. There is something we all “know”, but none of us know how to “say.”

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hello YMHW,

      My apologies for the delay in responding as I haven’t been WordPress for a bit. Thank you very much for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Hope all is well.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • Thank you, Meg. Those heart openings are such glorious spaces. We roam together in fields of light; Hafiz is the usher!

      Peace and Love
      Michael

      Like

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    These two pieces are so wonderful to me. I love how you describe the dancing antics of Hafiz; the ping pong ball like pin ball in the piping and all over the place; and of course the deeper message, which always wiggles its way to the fore. Thank you for always making our hearts smile.
    Peace, silence and the sprouting of feathers,
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mary! It was fun to return to the playful inspiration of this Hafiz place, where joy and message somehow effortlessly intertwine. Where possibilities abound! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • Hi JoAnna,

      And sorry for the delay! Always nice to see you and glad you’ve enjoyed Hafiz and I horsing around a little. I’ve missed it, too…

      Peace!
      Michael

      Like

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