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author’s note:

Dedicated to all the worriers out there.

I know your pain.


Feeling defeated
at the end of another day
I fell back

and in the emptiness following a sigh
again heard that gentle whisper
of blended gender—
heard again those words inside my ear:
“Do not worry—
  I am with you always”

and as before, heard nothing more—
only silence when I asked
“who’s there?”

yet I feel comforted by this occasional visitor:
I always imagine an angel behind my left shoulder
shielding me with the canopy
of its invisible wings

but maybe I’m actually hearing
a better stronger me
echoing from deep within—

shouldn’t I rejoice at the thought
I hold such power of spirit?

Well, yes…nonetheless
I still want to believe:
I’m not alone—I am known.

So tonight
if the voice returns
whispering “Do not worry”
I’ll again imagine a constant angel

but will also tell myself:
apparently, you have the strength you need
to triumph despite the defeat
of these heavy gray days.


© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook


author’s note:

“I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know.”
                   — Bob Dylan


In the experiment of human life
I have realized this paradox:

the common activity
of walking and talking
quickly exhausts me
the exertion
of song and dance
gives me new breath.

So I’ve decided to see
every step as a dance move
and hear every word as a song note—

yeah, I say:
we dance and sing and dance
as we talk and walk and talk.

As a result of enacting this mindset
my sails fill out full
even when I’m doing the mundane stuff
such as filing files or talking to a robot.

my lazy head often forgets this tactic

but then remembers
when I begin to huff again
and my legs grow leaden.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

author’s note:

Instead of teaching our children about “the birds and the bees”…

…we should teach them about their bears and their bees.


When I saw the news photo
of that man laid out on the ground
after an encounter with a bear…

once again, I felt
that invisible paw press
down hard on my chest—

once again, those memories
swarmed my mind—
the bittersweet times
of my history of love.

I’ve learned through honesty:
I’m the one who claws my heart
and stings my head—
not anyone from the past.

But I just can’t stop myself
from stirring the swarm
from poking the wound—

driven by a deep desire for resolution.

But though I analyze
and attack from various angles
I’m repeatedly defeated
in this fight for peace—
so frustrated now, so fatigued.

Solitude can only be temporary solace
when the real war is with yourself
so I might as well surrender my hermitage
and offer myself up—
wounded, troubled, flawed, unresolved
though I be—

once again, I’ll be
a honey bear among honey bears—
a honey bee among honey bees!

I will slowly push against
the rusty hinges
until the gate of this cage

I must create
new memories for myself—
sweet, bitter, bittersweet—whatever
will add some flavor
to this stale history.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

author’s note:

Someone once asked if I ever wrote love poems.

They’re all love poems.


When I offered
to cross a hundred rivers
just to win a pink ribbon for her

she said

you want to break your heart out
by worshipping a dream cloud.

Well, you can also free
your heart
by trying to lift up
the children in the mud
(which is: everyone—
  including you).

She said

both ways of love allow one
to bow in humility

both ways of love allow one
to expand with the upsurge
of too much feeling

but the dream love
pulls you up
only for the moment
of its gust

whereas the other love
can lead to many great steps
on your long steady climb.

She said

you believe
swimming a hundred rivers
will raise you to the mythic.

Well, you can still live a myth
by pretending
your penknife is a sword
and your flashlight: a guiding torch
struck by a lightning bolt.

And so I did, and so
I now blaze
with sword and torch
on this climb

except when I forget
what she said
as the door closed:

stop, ever so often
and pretend
your sword is a penknife
and your torch, a flashlight—

you will trip
over your own myth.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: poetry ebook


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