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author’s note:

A wounded paradise is still a paradise.
 

A WOUNDED PARADISE

Maybe I’ll make for myself
a black booth—
a sanctuary where
I could confess crimes
I would never ever commit:

wild capers
malicious mischief
rabid fancies—

a devilish release
but with a heavenly purpose:
to bark this growling dog
out of me.

Thus relieved
maybe I could relax
for just a bit…

or maybe not—
I’ve flared many times before
and afterwards
while sitting in the silent ashes
I have heard the sad pain
hidden behind my cry

and again realized
the truth behind
the fiery cry rising
from our wounded paradise.

We bark…we howl
but no amount
can ever heal the wound—
actually
an eruption too extreme
only seems to tear me more.

Nevertheless, I wonder if
a little private yelp could help
me cool occasionally
when I feel the hackles rising

and afterwards, in the silence
maybe I’d hear again the great pain
that drives the violence of our world

and so, remember
what I must never forget:
I am truly doing some good
for us all
as I work to doctor
this human being
born into
a wounded paradise.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

author’s note:

As they say in the movies: based on a true story.
 

CHASING FOG

One misty childhood morning
I tried to lose myself
in a fog cloud
hovering across the field.

I ran—in a blur, I ran
over there
and then back
and then over there again—

the fog kept moving:

wherever I was
was where it was not.

Finally I had to stop for air
but as I wheezed and coughed
I suddenly realized
that though the fog had fled
I’d still eaten a bit of it
with every huffing breath—
yes
I could feel the rasp
of its wet wisps
deep in my lungs.

And so I kept running:
I ran—I ran—I ran until
I’d cleared the field.

In class later that day
the teacher said The Sun
had evaporated that vapor

so if I could feel
the moist ephemeral fabric
burning down to damp ashes
inside me…

then I must be a sun

(albeit a small one).

That logic—
so fanciful
so egotistical—
later provided blessed perspective
for the adult the child became:

yes, I never seemed to catch
those fantasies I chased…

but as I ran here and there
and back again
wasn’t I always taking in
that which we call “life”?—

wasn’t I always clearing?—

wasn’t I always
living as a sun?
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: a blog



author’s note:

I believe we’re all working in the same way…

…and we never retire.
 

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY EYELIDS

Years ago, I woke to find
a whirling circle of sun-fire
descending from a fog
hovering above me—

threatening
yet harmonious—
like the aerial view of a hurricane:
a swirling blaze
of orange and gold tentacles
spiraling
into a cool aqua eye.

I felt myself lift—drawn in
despite the fire

and in sudden response
the eye expanded
to envelop my vision
so I could know
how the soft surface hue
deepens down into
a well of cobalt blue—

ominous and yet
I wanted to dive in

but in an instant—by instinct—
I shut my shocked eyes

and found relief
for my palpitating heart
in that old familiar darkness

however…
amid the growing stillness
I could sense
the awakening desire
of a higher instinct.

In answer
I tried to open again
but soon learned:
I’d not yet earned
more than that brief glimpse.

Ever since
I’ve worked to build
the strength needed
to accept
that which I want
yet fearfully reject.

Yes—
in fatigue, I often sloth

but even then
I can sense the mystery lurking
on the other side of my eyelids

so I remain tantalized…

driven.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

He’s so fine
Do-lang do-lang do-lang
       — “He’s So Fine”, lyric by Ronald Mack
 

GRIND DOWN FINE

Now I can accept
the feeling of being lost
as I walk this land–
now I can accept
the feeling
of shouldering a burden

because I have accepted
these beliefs:

my steps, though confused, have a purpose—
a hidden path, a plan:

just look how strong I’ve grown

with the weight of this unseen stone
on my back—
a stone incessantly turning.

Yeah
the stone grinds me down
as it turns

but I’m ground down fine.

As I lose
so much of what I was
I’m slowly discovering
the finer me
I’m meant to be

and in the process
leaving a trail—

imagine a trail of corn meal
others may feed upon
and follow

if they feel lost
if they need sustenance
if they struggle
to accept this path
—this burden:

they can feed on me
just as I’ve fed on many
who’ve gone before me

they can feed on us
just as those who follow them
will feed on them—

yes
like you, like me
they will leave
a trail of corn meal
as they find their way—

as they
grind down fine.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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