Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lost in the luxury

... it was a divine gift, a tumbling into the dough of being alive.

While the following poem from Songs and Letters was posted here quite some time ago, I want to offer it again in conjunction with Erin’s beautiful piece, Considering Hands. Thank you, Erin.


Imagine a world
where faces and voices
are all the same,
and people
know each other
by reaching out
and touching
their hands.

Imagine these hands
as living records
of character,
sorrow, and joy.

Some of the hands
are warm, gentle,
and forgiving,
some are scarred
and wise, a blessing.

Other hands are cold,
the kind of hands
no other hand wants
to touch, the kind
that do not want
to be touched,
that hide themselves
in pockets or pretend
they are busy with
some important,
empty task.

Imagine the moment
when hands first meet.

Imagine your hand
caressing the hand
of a stranger,
and his hand or hers
caressing yours,
and the miracle
that unfolds
when both hands
quietly yield.

Imagine the distance
two hands might travel,
the valleys and the roads,
the river beds, meadows,
and burned out woods.

Imagine the granite
of experience
as it melts and runs
like fragrant honey
down your arms,
penetrates your skin,
your heart, your mind.

February 25, 2006

1.9.2011 #2
1.9.2011 #1 (quote from Huck Finn)


Woman in a Window said...

On the worst of days if I am touched on my arm, my shoulder, even by a distant word, my body is disarmed. Disarmed, suddenly I am open, vulnerable, able to receive.

You give us gifts. I keep receiving.

thank you~


William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Erin. Then surely you must know, the feeling goes both ways.

Two Tigers said...

These two pieces together, and the two comments that followed here remind me that we all suffer from a certain loss in the physicality of life. The internet doesn't help matters, allowing us to reach out and touch each other with virtual hands, which is a wonderful thing at its best, but shouldn't replace actual human contact, which, as Erin says, can be a powerful and pervasive force even in its smallest manifestations. Maybe it's just living in New England, and not like I want to be all touchy-feely all the time, I do respect people's boundaries - but it seems no one touches anymore, the reassuring hand on the arm, a quiet handclasp, a full-on hug, a laying on of hand on if they might be arrested for indecency or something. My body always teeters on the edge, waiting for permission...

William Michaelian said...

I think we know, instinctively — at least those of us who aren’t utter strangers to our own bodies and therefore to our surroundings — the space between us, and when it can and can’t be comfortably crossed or closed. And of course societal “norms” do come into play.

As wonderful as it is, touching is not always the answer, or the cure. Sometimes we need to be alone in order to be touched.

The internet doesn’t help us physically, simply because we are almost always sitting and motionless while we are online. But I would suggest that we aren’t touching each other with virtual hands; rather, we are touching, or learning to touch, each other with our minds. I don’t know. Maybe we’re using a part of our brains that hasn’t seen much exercise until now. Or maybe the internet provides us with that opportunity, if we would only allow ourselves to believe that our exchanges here are as real as those that happen in the same room. Because, it can be said that we are in the same room. The room is just bigger, that’s all. When we’re at a party, we don’t necessarily know everyone there, or participate in each and every conversation. But we are still together, and, at any given moment, we could meet, and that meeting could change our lives.

Anyway, just some thoughts. The tip of the iceberg, no doubt. Sometimes I feel that the more I talk, the more I am apt to trivialize things and reduce them to my level. But, heck, I mean well.

Two Tigers said...

Touching with minds. I like that. I also believe that there are enough of us who do take this kind of connecting seriously. It is real alright. But I worry about those who use it to replace other kinds of connecting, or are insincere or false in their reaching out. Their loss. William, you not only mean well, you speak well, and truly, and if your level requires reduction to reach, it is still looming far above most folks.

William Michaelian said...

Ah. Well, above, below, it’s not for me to know or say. In any case, we are all adrift in this world together. And wherever we go, wherever we are, we take our brilliance and blindness with us — into space, even, where, in our arrogance, we plant flags on the moon. Cyberspace is but one more part of it. Thank you, Gabriella.

Aleksandra said...

Oh yes,I imagine very well!
Lovely! How wonderfully you 2 interact,you and Erin in this case!I just love it,specially cause trough your writing I get a little happiness back,from my early years.And I can say this,I discovered another gift im gifted with,I can really feel trough this cyberworld,trough this universe of ours the warmth,the scent and roughness or softness of friends hands,my mothers hands,and other hands.....
As I live alone in this "real"
world im not touched by living people so that means I do not have anything to replace but enjoy the moments of comfort cause I can tell you,mind is a powerful being! Thank you Erin and thank you William,now I can go further with my bookshelves!

William Michaelian said...

Aleksandra, I like to think of you with a hammer in your hands, and maybe a nail or two between your teeth, ready to use — those same hands that have made so many other beautiful things, the drawings, the paintings, the cucumber beds. And I thank you for all of them, and for the beautiful words, too, that you leave here, and have left in the past, and that you have left on Erin’s post. Thank you!

Aleksandra said...

Ooouh..I like that too,maybe a nail or two between my teeth :D and that picture you just picture or is it me who is picturing it now?Hopeful I am for new cucumber beds and you are welcome!