Presence ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #234

Shootin' the Shit, Bar Mendizábal, Gothic Quarter, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
We didn’t come here
For the beer
Or the snacks
Or to share a cigarette
Once we’d finished those

It wasn’t for the words we’d speak
Or to look into each other’s eyes
(You never took off your sunglasses)
To see or be seen
Or for a breath of fresh city air
In the chill afternoon

Yes, we spoke, shot the shit, as you say
You think, I’m sure, because voices fill the silence
But I can see the tendrils of sound
As they weave a caress
Coaxing our essence to expand
Occupy the same space

A moment not just of friendship
Or intimacy
Or even love

Something deeper
A moment in which our beings



A flirtation with the insight
That two can be one

In your presence
Woven into your essence
I sense the greater truth
Of the connection
Which makes us all
The One

Beneath all the other reasons
Our conscious and unconscious tell us
The latent awareness deep within knows
This is why we gather
This is why we linger
Long after all the other reasons have passed

That awareness is The One

To live as this awareness
Is to awaken

Shootin’ the Shit
Bar Mendizábal
Gothic Quarter
Catalonia, Spain

Taken during travels, 2019

I certainly never set out to write this poem. Words came, some were discarded. I was aware of the empty glasses, the cigarette, the way both women leaned into their conversation. I’d picked today’s word, presence, thinking it would lead to a pandemic/isolation theme. “We didn’t come here for…” is where the words which stuck began, and what they grew into was an answer to the question, “why did we come here?”. I didn’t have that answer until the poem was nearly complete. It didn’t occur to me that the poem would render being present with others as a spiritual practice.

I don’t so much write this kind of insight as listen for the words. I rarely set out to write insight. However, if I’m open, quiet-minded — don’t let myself think too much about them, being careful even of the voices arising from my personal and collective unconscious — the result usually rings true despite the protestations of my id, ego and superego, my conscious and unconscious selves. That is how nearly all my poetry is created, whether “spiritual” or not.

Certainly, when the words come as insight, they are far more resolute in their resonant honesty than I am able to express with actions in my daily life. I’m not sure I’ve even ever met anyone who awakened in the way this poem’s final line defines, though I am certain some have. Buddha, for one. Perhaps Byron Katie, for another (though I suspect her awakening is of a different kind). Certainly not me. Although I’ve experienced some momentary intimacies with presences that connected me to The One — epiphanic moments — for the most part I’d have to characterize my connection to it as a serial flirtation, sometimes as aware as the narrator of this poem, but more often I am someone with little more than a dim inkling of something much greater than myself at work in the universe, something greater than all of the existence I can know or imagine.

And, so, my consciousness struggles with the words, trying to make some sort of “reasonable sense” from them. The lover of science in me. Then my consciousness reminds itself — I remind myself — “science is most amenable to that which is manifest.” Meanwhile, the insights these words respond to are concerned with that which is decidedly not manifest. I try to allow science to do its job, and let these words, these conversations with essence, do theirs.

If there is any wisdom of mine at work here, it is simply the faith involved in passing on words gifted to me, words which resonate truly with an inner essence I’m trying to get to know better. It’s often a struggle. Some days it’s quite difficult to be present even in my own solitary space.

Perhaps that’s why I feel compelled to write. It often provides tendrils of connection to the divine nature of existence.

Pic and a Word Challenge

Last week we gathered up the Harvest. This week, let’s gather our Presence, or find something else to inspire you in this street photograph of two women shootin’ the shit at Bar Mendizábal, in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, Catalonia, Spain.

The Pic and a Word Challenge is a weekly creativity prompt offered Mondays.

Each week I provide a photograph of mine along with a single word. The challenge? Use the pic and/or word as points of inspiration to create something — a photograph, a painting, prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, longread or just a few words. You are welcome to use these two elements (photograph and word) literally, thematically or metaphorically. If you create both images and words, all the better.

To participate:

  • Use any title you like
  • Your response can be words and/or images
  • You may use my image in your post, or any image you have created
  • Mention that you are responding to the Pic and a Word Challenge
  • Add a link to this post in your response

To help us find your response — whether on WordPress, Instagram, Flicker, Tumblr, etc. — you can also:

  • Add a comment on this post to announce your response
  • Apply the tag/hashtag “Pic and a Word Challenge” or “#picandawordchallenge” to your post

Each week, I’ll list the previous week’s responses at the end of the new challenge. I may also share some on my social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.

The previous challenge was: Harvest
Post Harvest, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada
Challenge #233 ~ Harvest
The word for last week’s Pic and a Word Challenge #233 was Harvest, along with this photograph of a harvested wheat field and five silos under a brilliant blue sky in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.

Four bloggers gathered their Harvest this week. =) Thank you, everyone! ❤

View all the Pic and a Word Challenges, including the current challenge, on the Pic and a Word Challenge tag page.

Happy Creating!