A Day in the Life: A Day in July
Written by: Micheline Maylor // @MichelineMaylor
The dream state shifts to the awareness of awake time. I keep my eyes closed and rummage my dreams for insights. Sometimes my left eye opens to check the sky. Today, the grey low ceiling of clouds makes the world seem snug like a cozy room. I see the Ocean fade in my midnight dream, my son waves from a small boat. I shift into the tone of happiness and settle into that mood. I begin my meditation in bed. I stay in the breathing state for five to ten minutes. I listen to the house sounds. I do an inventory of aches and pleasures. I observe my breath as it moves into the day. I count my gratitudes as a daily habit. I let the light into my irises. I text my lover, who is always up before me, and he brings me coffee. He climbs back into bed together with our cups and our laptops. We read.
I read poems, look for something I’ve never heard before, too much of poetry can sound similar. It is an art that wants to sound like it is an art. So I seek something that wows, images that come alive in the mind’s eye, phrases that are both clear and interesting. Often this search takes a while. My friend Chris Dodd calls this “poemy”. I long for a way of telling that shows me a new way of seeing, through language, image, or experience. Today, I read from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s The Accident of Being Lost. She startles me awake with her ability to handle time with image and philosophical depth. She writes:
We can’t be that different, you and me.
We sit in the same place.
Facing the same thing.
Darn, I think. When isn’t that true? The human condition is one of repeat. We constantly face something someone else has already walked through and survived: disagreements, heartbreak, loss, astonishment, love. The purpose of poetry is to say old emotions in new ways, add insight.
I sip coffee and eat frozen blueberries. I look at the clouds shifting in the sky framed in the window. I run a bath and turn on a podcast. Today is about Hinduism and the Atman. Atman is a term for the essential self. Depends on who you ask. As usual in religion, different answers come from different sects. The Atman exists within your own body, and is a larger force that connects all beings together as an essential energy.
I contemplate Atman.
I practice compassion. I f**k it up regularly. Not enough patience.
I contemplate the Atman.
I contemplate anger infusing Canada’s 150 because of Simpson’s writing.
I contemplate patience.
We’re in an awful mess until we learn to love each other. Histories are not futures. We are diverse and assimilated, religion, race, gender. It’s too late for separatism. I contemplate the possibility of love, and tolerance. I practice compassion within my sphere of influence. Imperfectly. Depends on who you ask. But I try.
We need everyday heroes; we need science and debate, ethical leaders, and right action, we need more compassion. We need to live pragmatic, and fearless, and soft. Then, on mornings like this, I write, something like this below. I write what I know of love and hope that it is a small contribution even if I cannot save the world with it.
From Little Wildheart University of Alberta Press 2017
I bet you already knew
I broke up, once, like mercury dispersed, bearings out from the mother drop, a solid thing diffused, whole, but not quite whole. An elegant biology of molecules orbited out from the centre of the thing called self, called existence. It happened at a lake. I paddled out to the horizon between glacial scour and outer space. I faced up, or was it down? Either way promised untouchable infinity.
There’s something to be said for that kind of silence.
I floated until my mind was empty of human words, until it existed in feel, only in feel, beyond the abilities of this poem, its inept syllables, until I knew my own smallness in the universe. Then came the tingling, the dispersal, the love, not the love of a man or woman, nor mother or father, but the love, the big thing, the big we, the big other, maybe infinity. But let’s not rush to name it. Let’s not spoil it with that.
You know what I mean.
Cells peeled, one by one, like electrons off a nucleus, separate but held. The space between – the ancients called aether, quintessence, a highway for light and gravity. And at the centre was ball of white, a fifth element, and all the things I’d ever done badly or wrong didn’t matter, but all the feel concentrated, intensified, a storm of stillness and explosion. Simultaneous. Beyond body, beyond self. Do I explain this thing, this coming apart as oneness? Does that make sense?
Are you still with me, after all this otherworldly talk?
Time unhinged, was unknown. This feel lasted for maybe a second, maybe an afternoon. Does it matter how long? What matters is that it happened at all. And somehow, it has become infinite, for I can recall it now, that burst into ecstasy. Have you ever felt like that? When everything and nothing matters, but
Dr. Micheline Maylor’s is Poet Laureate of Calgary. Micheline Maylor attained a Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in English Language and Literature with a specialisation in Creative Writing and 20th Century Canadian Literature. She teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University in Calgary where she won the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award. and was short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch award for experimental poetry. She was the Calgary Public Library Author in Residence in the fall of 2016. She serves as poetry editor at Frontenac House Press. She is the co-founder of Freefall Literary Society and remains a consulting editor.
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