author’s note:

In my experience, dreams don’t lie.
 

THE WAY TO THE KINGDOM

Last night I wished
to escape on the beach

but a dream came to pain me
with golden possibility.

In the scene I was both slave and king

but the king slumped—
useless in his sleep

and so
the slave had to carry his master
through dark forests
through swamps

but found enough strength
in this belief:

as long as he ventured forth
with sincere intent
whatever direction he chose
would return them
to the kingdom

then the king would awaken
and he, his servant
would no longer live as slave.

This dream might seem to be
little more
than a fanciful child’s tale

nonetheless
when I woke from it
I knew again
how lost I usually feel

but also
the strength of my hope.
 


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


 
author’s note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I’m not always able to live up to these words.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I’ll be damn if I’ll be terrorized
by anyone

including me—

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I’ve been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won’t jump—
no, I’ll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won’t curse them—
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can’t sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven’t yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

However
I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that’s blessing enough.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: a poetry book

author’s note:

Again, a poem with uncertainty, an ocean, and release (see last post)…

Am I repeating myself?  I prefer to think: I’m exploring motifs.
 

FINDING MY SIZE

I woke to find
the waves of the night sea
had carried me
far away from shore–

my legs dangled
in a depth unknown
while cold waters rocked my body
as if I was a discard—

not so different
from how I usually felt
but I could usually ignore
how I usually felt.

Desperate
I searched for a landmark
I could aim myself towards

but black sky
had merged with black sea—
did I see low-lying stars before me?—
or were those the streetlights
along our shoreline drive?—
perhaps
I only saw the lamps
of my hopeful imagination.

I felt helpless as a dot—
a grain of sand about to sink.

I’d heard we all held
an incredible personal power

but as the current mocked
my assertion of free will
that idea seemed a lie
designed to protect
a fragile sense of self.

I then recalled the other story:
how at our lowest moments—
when we feel damn near empty—
the light will descend
through that opening
to rescue us.

Though I still can’t vouch for its truth
I guess belief saved me
because

when the clouds suddenly broke
and that big round Moon beamed
its spotlight down on me
in an instant, I felt safe—delivered—
I could surrender my doubt—
I could lay myself back and breathe—
free in my security.

The spirit of life filled me—
I felt myself swell

but as has happened in the past
I forgot to stop the inflation:

having shrunk down
to nothing
the pipsqueak in me
wanted to expand
to the size of that moon.

But in trying to be bigger
than I am
I lost the blessed moment
and like a beach ball
I then bounced back
to land upon the sandy shore—

back to my usual reality
and so
able to ignore again
how small I am
as well as how large.

Hopefully
next time I shrink down
I can remember
what I usually forget:

how I can be more
by becoming less
but can only maintain
that gain
by keeping my head
in check.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Myth Steps: a blog

author’s note:

“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”
                 — R. Buckminster Fuller
 

CONFESSIONS OF A SPACE MAN

I sat down on a flat stone—
hoping to find some sense
of stability

but as I gazed across the desert
I slowly began to feel
what I’d been told:
though the earth beneath our feet
seems solid enough
we’re actually walking on a thin crust—

a skin constantly shifting
as if something mysterious
seethes underneath—
something that might
at any moment
erupt!

How could I ever feel secure
on a planet continually in flux?

I then decided to look skyward
into the timeless void—
hoping if I lost myself
I might also lose my anxiety…

but when I saw
the myriad stars
cartwheeling
through darkness without end
I felt what I’d been told:
how this planet, this spaceship
holds us captive on a wild spin
through a Universe unknown—

we’re not held fast
by Atlas
or any other god.

Finally, in desperation
I went within—
hoping to find an anchor stone
of deep wisdom

but no—
without outside distraction
I discovered how nervous
I actually was:
rocked and racked by an inner ocean—
my rickety boat swooning—swelling
with tension—ready to explode

but then
through the fierce storm
I heard the voice
of that buried stone:

let go it said—let go

and though I could not believe
I saw no other choice, no other hope.

So I opened my toes
my fingers
my arms
my stomach
my groin…

and to my surprise
when I opened my eyes
I found myself
surfing over earthen clouds—
I now rode the stone
through the storm
balanced I was (or nearly so).

These days, I still feel
a little queasy—but
if I can remember to remind myself
to just let go
(without surrendering completely)
I usually manage to hold steady.

Maybe someday
—when I locate that lost grain
   of confidence—
I will truly soar…

If I’ve bored you
with this story before
realize this:
you’ve again helped
a fellow human being
because

by allowing me
to confess my uncertainty
I am released—
maybe only a little, but still:
thus comforted, I balance better.

But perhaps I’ve helped you too—

if you often feel weak
in the solar plexus
at least now you know:
you are not alone.
 


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

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