fist - February 6, 2016s

author’s note:

“I don’t want the dreams.  I want to be a soldier.”
        –– U.S. Iraq-war veteran


My wounds are the wounds
of every warrior who’s ever
fallen down in pain—

in pain
from the cuts he’s received
but also
from the cuts he’s inflicted.

All bandages soon unravel
so instead I apply blessings
to my wounds—

not a formal prayer
but a form of prayer:

I believe we all pray
for ourselves to ourselves
in this way all the time—

secretly (deep in our being)
we pray for the wounding to end
we pray for the healing of all.

I believe
even those who glory in the wounding
pray in their dreams for this pain to end.
Even those who jest—
their laughter only makes sense
when you realize
the weight of grief held within.

Though I no longer laugh at our pain
my sincerity has not yet healed me

so I continue to go deep—
down to the blessed water
that cleanses and mends
old wounds.

I’m just so tired of the past—
every new battle
only repeats an earlier chapter
in the history of a fight
that has lasted my entire life.

So I’ll keep on, keep on coaxing
these beaten fists open
with blessings, with blessings:

I’m determined to drop
my heavy lead arrows
even though I know others
will still shoot arrows at me.

I’m so curious about us humans…

maybe in the process of opening
I’ll release enough light to see
the grand design we began when
we first started marching
in line behind that wounded-blind
Sumerian king, so long ago…

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: the book