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author’s note:

Someone once asked if I ever wrote love poems.

They’re all love poems.
 

SHE SAID

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—
otherwise

you will trip
over your own myth.
 

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

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author’s note:

Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.
          — Dr. Seuss
 

WHY SHOULD I?

Why should I act?

Why should I stand?

I can’t stop cyclopes
from crushing priceless jewels into dust

which sirens then sell—
denying the high interest rate.

Why speak up?—

if heard, I’ll be skunked
by celebrated psychopaths using ill-logic

and many reasonable people
who seem quite congenial
will hang their shadows on me
for no true reason.

I can avoid so much pain
if I brake before I begin

yes but no—
by now, I know:

the frustration
of rising and losing
will feel better than
the malaise of sitting and sinking

after all…

if I stand, I can dance—dance
even as I weep

along with many other dancers

and as we share our tears
we will open
to the comforting soul.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
Survival: poetry ebook

author’s note:

Hoping I might provide a little bit of light at this dark time.

Best wishes for the holidays.
 

THE LIGHT OF DECEMBER AT MIDNIGHT

Night feels darker in December…

I open myself
to the strange deep quiet
of Solstice

and stop my walk
and open my eyes
to that nativity scene
I think looks so cheap.

Suddenly I see
the pink plastic baby
lying in tinsel straw
is the new life
hidden in my heart:

a slow gestation—
the birth not guaranteed.

Then I see
that glittery styrofoam star
is the wise one within—
the one who often sighs with sadness
at the sight of my rough antics

and then—alas!—I see
that plywood cow beside the manger
is my own domestically-dull head.

Yes, I’m still quite dim…

nonetheless
I can see the light
in this dark season

so maybe there’s reason
for hope.
 


© 2018, Michael R. Patton
40 New Fables: ebook

author’s note:

This hour I tell things in confidence,
I might not tell everybody but I will tell you.
               — Walt Whitman
 

THE DIAMOND KITE

Yesterday, when I saw the kite
I saw myself

sleeping in a park clearing
—no tail, no string—
just thin orange paper breathing
in a flimsy wooden frame

until woken abruptly by a gust—
twirled straight up—
up above the maple trees

then held—suspended:
burning golden in the sun
for an operatic moment.

But soon the magic went “poof”
and the kite spiraled down
to land softly on the lawn—

the diamond eagle: a ground bird
once again.

I know how it feels

to be suddenly lifted
by some invisible hand—
held aloft

only to be set down
in the next breath.

A short vacation
yet long enough
for me to know the wonder
of being a diamond kite

and so, ever since
I’ve wanted that height
as a permanent residence

and have worked to build
string and tail.

But after so many years
and so much effort, I fear
my kite dream may only be
a pipe dream.

Nevertheless…

when I saw that kite aloft
I could not deny my desire
to lift myself up
to my diamond height.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

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