As death approached, Michael was more willing to speak emotionally to many people in his life, including me. The women who shared his affections were forced into temporary and uneasy proximity and truths emerged which were not always pleasant. Even so, he died in an atmosphere of tremendous family and community love and respect. I do not know for certain, but I believe he had people in his arms when he passed. My own requested look at the vacated, yellowed shell of “meat” (again, his term) was all too brief, and not at all private as I would have liked. The gossamer essence had flown, and we will never see his like in the world again.
Michael once envisioned “a new wave of researchers, of mind, thrusts at the understanding of the world that we have so far managed, seeking to stretch or open it to embrace these phenomena, in a disciplined fertility of imagination.”
I find this a rather archetypically masculine way of describing the processes we would eventually share, yet it’s also very tantric (“thrust, stretch, open, embrace, fertility”) and I agree with it in essence. Rather than going “belly up” in the strangeness of our experiences, wallowing in curious, surprising sensations and disregarding our common sense, we did each bring a “disciplined fertility” to our encounters. We did our best to live up to and into its meaning and especially into our romping joy of discovery. As a result of our spiritual explorations I believe Michael approached death with a certain orientation that at times provided some comfort. (Yes, he said as much.) As for me, I have a certain confidence, unshakable, and a better understanding now of a saying which used to annoy me: ‘kiss it as it flies.”
“Samaya tishtha.” The bond is strong.
(A version of this column was originally published on Carnal Nation. Michael’s quotes are from New Age Blues and Michael’s speech given at the Free Speech Movement 40th Anniversary, Oct. 8, 2004 (I transcribed this speech from a DVD). “Samaya tishta” is a phrase I found in Skydancer, The Secret Life and Songs of Lady Yeshe Tsogyel, by Keith Dowman. The third person narrative portions of this column were adapted from a work in progress concerning Asperger Syndrome relationships.)