the Knowing
Jay Michaelson

let me commence
the knowing
of knowing
the peeling back
of the garments
the gentlest undressing
of this

let me arouse
the quality
of being
and fall into
the embrace
the immersion
into the knowing
of knowing itself

like swimming
in a warmth
that has every synonym
and none

or discovering
one is water
into a pond

like disappearing
in the sweetest dissolution
in the consummation
that is

like a delightful surrender
to yourself
only to discover
it isn't yours

it is only knowing
it is only is

the thinnest meridian of an instant
this most transparent love

an arena
of sky
with everything within it

we have so few words
for kisses
so few concepts
for embrace
for surrounding
for dissolving into

for the
and emerging

or for the yearning, the coming to know
the song
the nape of the neck

the holy playfulness
of being itself
the secret seduction
of seducing itself

we have so few words
and every one of them
points in the wrong direction

so, beloved,
let me put an end to language
let me commence
this undressing
of reality
this unwording
of simplicity

let me know
the nakedness
of experience

coming near


that is none other

Jay Michaelson recently returned from a six-week meditation retreat, during which this poem was written, and the accompanying photograph was taken. His notes from the retreat are being published on his blog.

Email us your comments & poems

More poetry:

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Hiding your Sins Hal Sirowitz
September, 2004

Playing Eve Hila Ratzabi
June, 2004

Then Avi Levy
April, 2004

Faith David Goldstein
April, 2004

Angel-Man Abraham Mezrich
September, 2003

More by Jay Michaelson:

Am I Religious? Jay Michaelson
November, 2004

How can you be gay and Jewish? Jay Michaelson
September, 2004

How I Finally Learned to Accept Christ in my Heart Jay Michaelson
Making peace with Jesus
June, 2004

You are God in Drag Jay Michaelson
Notes from and after retreat
February, 2004

Thinking Despite Doubt, Feeling Despite Truth Jay Michaelson
Between contemplation and affirmation
January, 2004

What the World is... Jay Michaelson
...and what to do about it
February, 2003

January 2005

Let them Eat Myth
Douglas Rushkoff

Hipster Antisemitism
Jennifer Blowdryer and Alvin Orloff

To Ohio and Back
Avi Steinberg

The Knowing
Jay Michaelson

Abba Kovner: The Warrior in Old Age
James Russell

Men who Laughed
Ari Belenkiy

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From previous issues:

fish rain
Susan H. Case

God Likes New Things
Abraham Joshua Heschel
trans. by Jonathan Boyarin

yom kippur
Sara Seinberg