New Moon Gymnastics

comments 53
Poetry

I went for a swim.
Now I am dripping with this stuff.
The words are all one-sided.
If you look at the wrong side it’s not even there.
You hold one up to the sun and it looks like a translucent ash,
because we’re all falling out.
In my desire to move in a quiet circle, I can see:
sometimes even the straightest shot is a broken one.
Life is this thing, you catch yourself immersed in something trivial–
you catch yourself.
It’s that moment of catching. Like a dove’s landing. The last time the wings flap.
You just have to try it yourself.
Fall from the sky, and then:
coil your wings beside your chest.
You pull away from what you’ve been
and it’s all right there.
If you’ve ever studied the darkness, you know what I mean.
You catch yourself, you catch somebody else.
They each catch somebody else after that.
To do this, we listen.
That’s the way.
Did I say ash? Maybe it was snowflakes.
Dew glistens in the darkness unexpectedly.
After driving all day, you kill the lights.
You can go no further.
There!
Hafiz is standing on the rim of the world,
doing cartwheels before the moon,
prancing like a spider.
What is he dancing on about?
The other day it hit me:
cigarettes are in the movies again.
The times are very serious
and everything I know is wrong
and I don’t want to downplay it…
but the water’s been this way for a while.
I want to have conversations
with hearts who’ve already broken,
who have nothing left but their trust in the wind,
who can teach that to me with their silence,
who know the only thing you truly have
is the space all beings inhabit together.
Not bodies.
That’s not what I mean.
I mean beings.
Beings who are dripping with this stuff,
and laughing,
toweling off, doing calisthenics,
warming up for tonight’s new moon gymnastics.

53 Comments

  1. This may seem ridiculous, but reading this post sentence by sentence but backwards carried more meaning and weight! Kids, don’t try this at home!

    Liked by 9 people

  2. i’ve been ordered
    to smoke ’em if i got ’em
    legal, moral, deadly, didn’t matter!
    my lungs said no to that
    responding, “put that ugly ashtray
    where no sun can’t shine!”
    mine is a heart breaking again
    like those in bazillions of others,
    accepting that i might
    not make it this time,
    shivering with dampness;
    except i would for once
    like to know what language those
    unseen words were written
    before being gone for good 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

    • Ha! You totally cracked me up again, David. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. Sometimes we’re down to that… I need the laughter and that subtle twist of attention to fields of joy and vastness that hide behind the apparent. I don’t know what language these things are written in, but I know the heart understands them perfectly…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. There has been a lot of catching myself recently. All good. Better to catch myself than not ^=^ And I love the idea of doing cartwheels before the moon, and the depth of connection – more communion really – you speak of here:

    I want to have conversations
    with hearts who’ve already broken,
    who have nothing left but their trust in the wind,
    who can teach that to me with their silence.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Hi Julia,

      Communion is definitely the right word. That sums up this desire perfectly. A little playfulness, and a little quiet moment shared with a friend with whom no words are needed, is a perfect antidote to what ails us! And yes, better to catch ourselves! And to catch one another, too. Thanks for reading and hope all is well.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the change of feel at “Did I say ash? Maybe it was snowflakes.” and also thought this line was great: “cigarettes are in the movies again.” Yes, the world’s going back to the thirties, it seems, whilst the New Moon has never changed since then. Great work, Michael, as always.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Thank you, Hariod. Let us not speak of where this world apparently is going. The steadiness of the moon, the reliability of mystery in flux, is a healthy focal point of attention I think. We are moving through darkness to light and back again. We are breathing a great breath we cannot even fathom most days. But some brilliance still flickers between us.

      Peace and Love
      Michael

      Liked by 5 people

      • True indeed, and as William Penn said, love is eternal — something to hold onto beyond the limits of our visual horizon. You know his reference to death and love, commonly used as headstone epitaphs?

        Liked by 4 people

        • I didn’t, Hariod, but looked it up. I think I found it. Thank you for sharing it, for it is a good one:

          “They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.
          Nor can spirits ever be divided, that love and live in the same divine principle, the root and record of their friendship. If absence be not death, neither is theirs. Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.”

          Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve now read this four times and fall deeper into it with every spiral through. Catching myself quite often lately but loving the burn in the muscles doing the cartwheels, like a small child in my mind turning in circles. Does Hafiz ever play dizzy bat? Where you put a bat on the ground handle up, put your nose on it, spin around 3 times and then try to run in a straight line? Kind of like life some days, you try to move straight yet keep topsy turvy trying….sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself, pick you back up by your suspenders and keep a moving. Beautiful post Michael, as always, a pure treat. Still reading your book by the way, loving every page 🙂
    Peace, blessings and dizzy bats,
    Kim

    Liked by 6 people

    • Kim, I fell over just thinking about that dizzy bat!

      You are definitely doing linguistic cartwheels if you read this four times, but I must say I read it at least that many times in the production, so I do feel I deserve my dizzy bat badge. But all in good fun, right? We need these little moments of turning away from rhetoric to the ever present mysteries of the heart I think…

      Thanks for you continued encouragement and support my friend!
      Peace and Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • of course you get your dizzy bat badge, I bet you grabbed your bat (or a small stick) and tried it out, didn’t you? Unlike your last book that I devoured (and in doing so most likely missed some gems) I am reading this when I am focused and squeezing every last drop of goodness out of every passage 🙂 I took it to work once, but was too distracted so now it is on my coffee table where I look at that beautiful cover, pick it up and dive into the depths of your words 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

        • Thank you, Kim! And glad to know you’re enjoying the book. You are most kind and it warms my heart to think of the book being read by a kindred spirit. It has the feeling of our reading the words together, as I know that where love is present, then all that was given in love is present as well.

          Peace!
          Michael

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Genius piece Michael, I read it again and again, forward and backward as den169 suggested, with all the ash, snowflakes, and doves falling out of the sky. Loved the line “cigarettes are in the movies again”, SUPERB!!!
    I loved your image of the one-sided words. My kid just told me, we use 70 muscles to say just one word. Well, that is quite a gymnastics workout for one single word that is not even there on the other side!

    Talking about the times. Have you ever read Jonathan Haidt’s work? I am browsing through his “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion”, and his examinations are quite interesting.

    My kiddo just told me also that brain is more active while sleeping than watching TV. 🙂

    Well, then, Peace, and Silent Sleep to you,
    Kristina

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Kristina,

      I’ve not read Jonathan Haidt’s work, but it sounds interesting. I look forward to checking it out, though my list of suggestions is long! I’m intrigued by the idea of the righteous mind, however, and the title suggests to me that a sense of righteousness maybe makes it hard to see the validity of the other’s position? Am I wrong? Badly so? Ha!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, and loved learning it takes the coordination of seventy muscles to speak a single word. We are miracles, no less. Also, kind of makes sense about watching TV and sleeping. I’m sure my dreaming keeps the brain more active than watching something where I veg out. But I do love to veg out sometimes… 🙂

      The key is balance, right?

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Good questions. So if I understand correctly, Haidt mainly examines morality and how our decisions, judgements, and my-side arguments are made. The goal of it was I think to help us examine our own minds and convictions and so to better understand others. In the first part of the book he talks about how intuitions come first (elephant) and strategic reasoning second (driver). (emotions precede the mind – whether we admit it or not, and whether we even think we are completely free of emotion and totally logical). This is nothing new of course, and those in sales and advertising had taken advantages of that part of human nature. He does provide some really interesting test results. Second part of the book discusses there being more to morality than harm and fairness. Here he brings up the differences of western (harm and fairness only) and traditional moralities (more tastes such as – care, loyalty, authority, sanctity). In part three he talks about morality binding and blinding, and about us being 90 percent chimp-like nature and 10 percent bee-like nature.
        There is a lot there, including history, Kant, Hume, Jefferson, deontology, utilitarianism, etc. and I am only 1/3 into it, but the book is helping during these times to hold a gentler understanding of humans around me.
        “When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance, systems of accountability keep us all from getting away with too much, and fewer people believe that righteous ends justify violent means. Not a very romantic wish, but one that we might actually achieve.”

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thank you for this explanation, Kristina. It does sound interesting.

          I like the notion of a world in which “fewer persons believe that righteous ends justify violent means.” I think often that we need to shift away from the value we place on “being right,” which seems to be at least linguistically related to righteousness. It seems we commonly think of righteousness as being inherently good and courageous, when it seems to me that clamoring for what is “right” so often betrays us. If we weren’t so insistent on being right about things, we might have the room to discover we’ve not, in fact, been as right as we thought.

          What is “right” is itself a slippery thing, isn’t it? I don’t mean to blur things and to suggest a world in which our own conscience has no place, but I do think that when we think we’re so “right” that we find ourselves compelled to make others “right” in the way that we ourselves have chosen to be, it gets problematic.

          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 2 people

  7. So much of this is good Michael. I’m picking out a few of the gems and holding them up to the sun too;

    ‘If you look at the wrong side it’s not even there.
    You hold one up to the sun and it looks like a translucent ash,
    because we’re all falling out.’

    ‘you catch yourself immersed in something trivial–
    you catch yourself.’ – great with the repetition.

    ‘Did I say ash? Maybe it was snowflakes.’

    ‘The other day it hit me:
    cigarettes are in the movies again.
    The times are very serious
    and everything I know is wrong’

    There’s a mood here ‘caught’ perfectly, the darkness encroaching, choking.

    ‘I mean beings.
    Beings who are dripping with this stuff,
    and laughing,
    toweling off, doing calisthenics,
    warming up for tonight’s new moon gymnastics.’ – love this, the silver edge of dark clouds to be found within the heart of others out there/right here.

    Brilliant. You are quite seriously one of only five people on WP who genuinely inspire me so much that when I read their words, all I want to do is write myself. This is a classic and quite beautiful example. Thank you Michael

    – esme smiling and waving upon the Cloud

    Liked by 7 people

    • Esme.

      My dear Esme.

      I’m completely humbled as your words are an inspiration to me as well. Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. Let me just say for those who may be observing here, that Esme has a book in the works and when it arrives, we’re all going to be better for it! The passage of time on the Cloud is a mysterious phenomena, so stay tuned…

      Wishing you much joy and creative inspiration on this fine day. Comments such as yours have a similar effect! Ha!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 5 people

      • You’re very kind regarding the book Michael, it will have hand-printed illustrations as well, and anyone who purchases a copy shall recieve a virtual sticky bun and unicycle!

        – esme on her virtual unicycle throwing Michael a sticky bun as she scoff the rest upon the Cloud

        Liked by 4 people

    • I hope that’s what we’re doing, here and there. In these little ways. Sometimes that kind of breeze blows through this virtual land, and you realize you are not alone in these glorious sentiments!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    This is so perfect to read right now, Michael. So perfect for what we all seem to be going through.
    In the mountains, I am enjoying the glistening of the snowflakes, but also catching myself again and again. I love the image of laughing and toweling off. And we all have to” You just have to try it yourself Fall from the sky, and then:
    coil your wings beside your chest.
    You pull away from what you’ve been
    and it’s all right there.”
    Yes, I have studied the darkness, and I love how we catch ourselves, catch each other and then they catch others. We are all in this together.
    I just love this, Michael…and needed it. Thank you.
    Love, silence and conversations with trusting broken hearts ❤
    Mary

    Liked by 7 people

    • As much as you needed to read it, I needed to write it Mary. I have the good fortune of being surrounded by people of varying opinions and beliefs, but still, the world’s decibel level these days can lead one to the brink. Sometimes you have to turn that into something not quite other than itself. 🙂

      The circle of broken hearts will heal us. Wishing you peace and joy this fine evening!
      With Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Michael, this line speaks to me,
    “You catch yourself, you catch somebody else.”
    When we catch ourselves, we catch another, too! This feels loving.
    These days are challenging and there’s a spaciousness that we can still give to all the movements and moments,
    even if time seems to be moving super fast, and as you say, “[T]he times are very serious
    and everything I know is wrong, and I don’t want to downplay it…” Me neither. I want to see clearly.
    Overall appreciating your poem, and the saturation which you express it.

    “I want to have conversations with hearts who’ve already broken,
    who have nothing left but their trust in the wind,”

    me too.

    Aloha, Ka

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you, Ka! Glad you enjoyed it. And nice to find so many on the broken-hearted wavelength. In our surrender we discover something else entirely, and our silence is floods with the knowing of it. I want to see clearly also and it is not always an easy thing…

      Catching one another is essential. Having open arms. Descending from the sky and into the moment fully. These are glorious games to play!

      Peace!
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Alia,

      Thanks for the link. I did enjoy that passage very much, and it is powerful to shift our mode of perceiving so completely!

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. footloosedon says

    Nothing to add to what others have said about this post Michael: another gem translated from The Mystery by your good and able self.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Michael – My dear Alia pointed me to your New Moon Gymnastics: “dripping with this stuff” – I love it! Thanks! I re-posted it (with your permission) onto my blog.

    Keep swimming!

    tomas

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Tomas!

      Thank you so much, and of course you have my permission. Glad you enjoyed it and I’ve often enjoyed the words of wisdom you share as well.

      I read Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life yesterday, and your encouragement to keep swimming reminded me of this beautiful story she shared. This person went out into the channel with a row boat to tow an Alaskan cedar log back into shore, and was caught in the tide. He just kept rowing, all night I believe, and he was washed far from home. But then the tide turned and delivered him and his log back to where he had begun… I thought it was a lovely story about the way our conscious concepts of how things are going so often mislead us…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • At present I, too, am exploring and contemplating what exactly ARE concepts.

        The word comes from conceive so they have to do with conception, which is my experience.
        What we ‘think’ of as our world is a world kept alive by concepts. Then Reality comes along and shows us what is really happening. But we are so skilled at producing concepts that then incorporate the ‘correction’ that Reality serves to us – that we have a hard time recognizing what Reality is pointing us to. Allowing all concepts to drop away sounds like the opening to more clarity, but easier said than done…

        Cheers!

        tomas

        Liked by 3 people

        • Well said, Tomas. Reality is quite beguiling, and we are ever ready to make a new concept to explain reality in light of our new experience. Relinquishing concepts is indeed a challenge! Particularly the concepts we’ve held for so long about ourselves.

          Happy to be with you on this onion peeling team…
          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Michael, I am not going to try to put into words what this post meant to me, because it gave me more of an array of feelings. Warmth, affection, connected, jubilant, youthful, hopeful, safe, at ease.
    Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 4 people

    • Harlon,

      I’m humbled to have a place in your heart where I can hang out from time to time, to step inside from the rain, and share these delightful feelings. Keep on keepin’ on man.

      Peace and Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Sometimes even the straightest shot is a broken one, like snowflakes falling and doves landing. Listening to both. Beautiful images and sounds you have created for us with your magic.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you very much, JoAnna! Glad you enjoyed it. You’re right about the snow flakes. They wander the sky quite a bit before making landfall, casting about for just the right spot to call their own, before they melt and wash away into the earth. These cycles are all around us, whispering the obvious!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Hi Michael …I bow to Esmeralda up on her cloud as she waves from above ….she has the words I wished to write you .( especially her last sentences ) The bright moodiness of your poetry strikes my heart like a thunderbolt and moves me completely …thank you dear friend , so much ….love , meg

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Meg! Esme does have a way with words, for certain. I’m delighted as ever to know something that appeared to me, speaks to another. It always gives the sensation of unity’s fullness to me. Hope you are staying warm, within and without…

      Peace and Love, my friend–
      Michael

      Like

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