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author’s note:

I’d like to thank those who have been tolerant of my menagerie…
 

A HOUSE OF TOLERANCE

Last night, while dreaming of
my solitary house
I opened a broom closet
and a bundled body fell out…

one more mystery character to unwrap—
another

in a wide cast
that includes both commanders
and slaves,
mountebanks as well as monks—
a riotous mix.

So please excuse me if I hesitate
to invite you in—
though I may seem quite quiet
I’m actually a carousel
of commotion.

Yes, at first, you might enjoy
the entertainment
but in time, a circus
can become very overbearing—

I know because I live with me.

A struggle
but with its benefits:
by learning to be
more tolerant of myself
I’ve become
more tolerant of others.

Maybe you want to enter
this solitary house
because you’re also trying to learn
tolerance…

well, in that case, okay.

Anyway
I think I’m tolerant enough now
to handle our inevitable
fits of exasperation.
 

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

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author’s note:

Our dreams remind us how extraordinary our ordinary lives are.
 

GALAXY SLEEP

According to one theory…

as we ease into sleep
our minds begin to spiral
and expand
like a hurricane
like a galaxy:

though we think we rest
we actually spread and accelerate
through an interstellar space—

each night we extend
just a little bit more
than before—
we grow even as we snore.

But when the alarm sounds
we contract—
in a mere instant
we slam back together again!

I’m not sure of that theory
but I do know:
in a blink I’m awake
and in the rush of morning thought
I quickly forget
my nighttime universe…

but later, while waiting in traffic
I may sense a soft buzz of stardust within
then dimly recall a meteor or a planet.

What I lost probably wasn’t that important
I’ll tell myself

but in truth, at such times
I feel like a kid
who’s just missed the circus
and must return to class.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

dear reader:

I don’t pray.  But I do pray.
 

MASTER BOULDER

Though I’m intimidated
by its monolithic presence
I often return to that boulder
at the bottom of the canyon

and then
despite my resistance
obey
its command to listen
to what can not be spoken
only felt:

the profundity of its heavy silence.

Through those moments
of strange peace
I slowly uncover
the master boulder
solid in the darkness
of my depths.

This returning is a ritual:
a prayer, a homage—
a way to find home.
 

listening to silence: poetry ebook
© 2018, Michael R. Patton

author’s note:

Years ago, I was told: we must lead our leaders.

I’m trying, I’m trying.
 

STOPPING MY CAR FOR A DEER AFTER HEARING THE NEWS REPORT

The radio tells me:
at the peace summit meeting
old men can’t mend old grievances—

but who am I to criticize them?—
I still can’t heal old wounds.

Our leaders lead us into fear

but who am I to criticize them
when fear still rules my head?

Angry disappointment
at the news and at myself
nearly has me driving blind

until I’m struck by the sight
of a deer lying beside the highway—
a casualty of crossing—
the rapid huffing of its chest
tells me death is near.

I’m flooded with empathy
but perhaps I put my foot to the brake
because I see a way to redeem myself
—if only slightly:

I will whisper some comfort
into the ear of that terrorized creature:
I’ll ease its sad passage—

I’ll gaze into its dark round eye
and beg forgiveness

for what?—
for the failures of all humankind.

But as I slam the car door shut
the deer abruptly stands up
on spindly yet stable legs

then in an instant
it bounds off across a brilliant meadow
to disappear into a copse of trees in shadow.

I hesitate for a moment, then follow…

I don’t know what I’m doing
and yet I do.
 

What I Learned while Alone: poetry ebook
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

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