danger 283w - April 26, 2015s

author’s note:

Praises to poet Robert Bly…

…for telling us men how we shut ourselves down, beginning at a very early age.


After you launch those rockets
you claim you sleep quite well

but maybe that’s a loss
because we can learn so much
from our violent dreams

like the one in which
I tossed a rocket into the air
and felt quite pleased

until I found a string
running all the way from my finger
to the point of impact—

no matter how far I ran
that string trailed after me—

delivering shock waves of pain
long after my missive had landed


but when I awoke I only felt
a fuzzy numb sensation
in the center of my chest:

according to the doctor
crucial nerve endings
had shut down long ago
due to repeated pummeling—

from rockets fired at me
but also

from rockets I’d shot back:

a lifetime of war


In the many years
since that diagnosis
I’ve worked hard to resurrect
my sense of touch—

a painful process
yet also pleasurable
as I feel more and more
each passing day.

To be honest
often in the insanity of a moment
I’ll still let loose a rocket

but because I’m now aware
of what results from such defenses
I’ve much more careful…

as I’m sure you would be too,
rocket launcher—
if you ever let yourself feel
the pain of what we do…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog