comments 23

Remembering perfectly,
so that you produce the type of knowing
that actually yields light,
does not take practice.
But you do need to clear a space.
Give it time, and allow it to happen.

I left home once, you see—
pulled the door softly-to behind me
so the others wouldn’t be woken.
Clapped my hands in the cold
and breathed into their midst.
The night was so thick
you could smell the absence of light.

Soon I was lost.
Solitude ramified from an interesting idea—
the thought of an innocent adventure,
the word swashbuckling comes to mind—
into a hoary, compounding decrepitude.
You’d think a reversal
would return you to the beginning,
a careful retracing of footfalls.
Just rewind the film.
But it doesn’t work like that.
There’s a step in there you don’t
even realize when it happens
and that’s because it’s a portal.
It must be.
The channel on some universal television gets changed.
A snoozing god rolled over onto the remote control
and hit the wrong button and you were in there
when it happened.
Now you don’t want to panic,
but these things do happen.
The obvious answer is to gather facts.
Construct a system of knowledge generation.
Identify that button.

A mysterious force was holding me to the land,
which I found was emitting fibers.
By plucking fistfuls of the grass
and shoving them in my pockets,
I hoped later to produce a rope.
My initial attempts were like wads of wet clay.
But I learned.
There was also a wind.
The direction into the wind, I called up.
The other direction down.

I bumped into a woman once
who was standing in a spot she’d chosen
for reasons that of course do not exist
and she was readying herself to sing—
what is singing?—
and we were both surprised by one another,
and famished for a feeling we’d forgotten,
and we touched each other’s faces
in the darkness that held no light,
and like two pieces of flint we rubbed together
and produced a spark—
at least in our minds.
We thought we remembered something
and our tears were quite gladdening.

But it happened really fast.
And then it was gone.
And then she sang.

Afterwards I showed her I was trying to make rope
and she showed me a sail she’d made
from leaves—what are leaves!?
so we’d always know the direction
of the wind and we could navigate
and eventually we found others
who were digging ditches because
ditches don’t fill in for some reason
in this place
and with rope and ditches you could
expand from a common center and find
your way back which is what we all agreed
was what we’d always wanted
and like a society of civilized folk
we shared our measurements
and plied them together into a network
and like pieces of flint we rubbed together
sometimes in different ways, what with our talking and touching
and occasionally sparking ideas,
and once in a while blazed with rememories.

Once I was out way at the end of a ditch
and my heart shuddered with feeling
and the smell went away— which, as you know,
smells always go away, especially if they’re prevalent,
like the manure of animals,
or the off-gassing of wood and paint and carpet,
or the absence of light itself,
so it was hard to explain what I meant
by “the smell went away”—
but the absence of that smell
nearly wilted me, and my heart shuddered,
and pure knowing carved out a space in this land
in which the face of Hafiz appeared,
smiling of course, with flash cards.

The first one was a house. It looked very familiar.
I began to weep of course,
for reasons that simply don’t exist.
While afterward I shook like a fire hose
pressed suddenly into service,
in that moment I was a little awestruck by the light
of his twinkling eyes
and so I whispered to Hafiz, where is that house?
which Mitch, who was working beside me,
swears to this day was said to the darkness and nothing else,
which happens sometimes because as you can imagine
going so long in the smell of light’s absence
can cause your mind to improperly signify
sensory inputs—
to which Hafiz replied, “You’ve never left.”

And I felt an electric jab in my cortex
and up and down my spine and I tried—
Oh, believe me, I tried—
to remember which door I’d shut
when I went out for my little adventure,
because maybe it was an inside door
and not an outside door,
but I couldn’t remember.
I just, I just…
I can only remember that click.
The smell of light’s absence.
The pressing of a strange button.

The second flash card read as follows:
“There are no outside doors.”

Then the fire hose thing.

Mitch dragged me back to the clinic.
He was very heroic and he probably
saved my life, since I was thinking—
not really, actually,
I wasn’t thinking anything,
but basically the way the story is told
is that Mitch, by dragging me back to the clinic,
produced a chain of events for which
I should be very grateful.
They’re running lots of tests on me,
and they’re going to help me.
But once in a while, I catch the absence of the scent of the absence of light.
And I wonder, how do you retrace
that step that wasn’t a step?

How do you see through the darkness again,
if it doesn’t really exist? And why am I trying to see
with my nose?


  1. Michael, it is such a gift to find your writing this Saturday morning. I laughed and cried reading this one. So good to see Hafiz is there with his flashcards and may all your senses get sorted out. I can send you some yucca rope I made if you ever reach the rope’s end in the ditch.
    I liked the line of snoozing god rolling on a remote control. 🙂
    Many Hugs,

    Liked by 2 people

    • The yucca rope sounds quite good, Kristina. I’m really just looking for the light switch I suppose. Or that remote control. Ha! It was fun to get into this space again. Though I feel I have some catching up to do.

      Wishing you an illumined day,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. wowza, I learned
    so much, Michael!
    Well, I must have
    while reading this with eyes closed,
    & as my senses were enlightened,
    or blinded by the organic led lights,
    indicating that it’s all coming together,
    that’s when it all came apart.
    And while i could blame
    my ISP for reducing
    your blog’s bandwidth,
    i’ll (who ever that is) take responsibility.
    whatever happened
    is my own damn fault 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ha! It doesn’t sound pretty, David! Or maybe just right! 🙂 There’s something about it all coming together when it seems to be coming apart that sounds promising. Though maybe you were saying the opposite. Either way, I think you know… the place we can never find is the one that’s already here…



  3. What A Wonderful Surprise I think the flashcards said that, as they illuminated like a deer in the spotlight, a sense of wow, awesomeness and find that door already were my thoughts, but I see you have and the door led you back to where you needed to be, where we needed you to be so that we in turn could experience this. Peace, blessings and the utmost joy is finding me today, all at the right times. K

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Kim,

      Nice to see your Snoopy gravatar beneath that field of swirling stars! Glad you took a ride with me through this land of just right. I like the image of a world where the doors simply appear, with Hafiz on the other side to usher us to our seat for the evening’s performance!


      Liked by 1 person

  4. This one touched me right to the core bringing tears and longing. I too would love to find that door that doesn’t really exist.
    It’s good to have you, and your beautiful words back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Alison. It was fun to write like this again! To explore the space of longing creatively. And great to have you jump right into the heart space with me. We are the door. We are seeing each other through the door. It doesn’t matter what happened…


      Liked by 1 person

  5. The flash cards! I need the flash cards…and of course if I could also get a little of Hafiz that could work out very nicely 😉 Thanks for this journey. The inside/outside doors…yes…I get it. And I recently went through a door in which I have no desire to ever see again…so hopefully I won’t remember where it was!
    I also was particularly intrigued by the phrase ‘I catch the absence of the scent of the absence of light.’
    I was so happy to see a post from you in my email 🙂 Thanks for your brilliant writing that never disappoints to take us places we’ve never been…or maybe we have…I’m not sure 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes. The flash cards would be nice. He keeps promising. I’m pretty sure you’ve got as much Hafiz as I do, Lorrie…! I do hope you leave that one door behind, and walk through a new one. Forgiveness is a door as wide as the whole sky, which is why I think we miss it sometimes. It’s a door to which I must return, as sometimes the world catches hold of me and sits me down for one of its chats… Then you need that door… Oh, you do! You really do!

      Blessings, my friend–

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    We seem to do do do when we feel uncomfortable, trying to fix things, feel better – gather facts, identify the right button. We get so caught up. Then when Hafiz appears with the flash cards, it feels good to settle into just being, like…ahhhh….the smell is gone…and the fire hose thing. Haha.
    I laughed, I got goosebumps, I teared up and….well I don’t think I tried to see with my nose.
    Thank you, Michael for another profound, authentic heart moment.
    Much love,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Mary!

      You’re right about how we can sometimes reel off a chain of frantic actions in response to our discomfort. I hadn’t thought about that, but we do… And certainly I get caught up in things. Absolutely.

      The key to seeing with your nose is to practice with your eyes closed. Until you get the hang of it… 🙂

      Much love to you also,


  7. Really beautiful writing, Michael; the natural rhythmical flow was readily evident. Not sure if I could follow the rationale all the way, but perhaps the attempt to do so is rather missing the (personal imagery) point?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Hariod! In away it’s a story of paradise lost… how the losing of it can hinge so absolutely on a perceptual premise that may not even have been so… but appears to be fixed in reality nonetheless…


      Liked by 1 person

  8. J.D. Riso says

    I know the sound of that click of that door that doesn’t exist. Terrifying and liberating. Good to see you back here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Julie. Nice to be back. I’m grateful you’ve taken the time to read and respond. Yes, those little clicks and clacks can indeed be significant in many ways. Wisdom is about this I think. Having traversed a through of these darknesses…



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