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author’s note:

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


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

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
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

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



author’s note:

While rewriting this poem, I realized I’d written yet another Sisyphus tale.


Legend tells us
each night the ghost lady
ascends this hotel stairway

and with every step, she struggles
to understand
the reason for her loss

so when she finally reaches
the top landing
the lady feels such relief—
a moment of peace…

but then she gazes down
and vertigo again overwhelms her—
once again she loses balance
once again she tumbles down—
all the way back down
to the bottom floor

to die, once more.

I mention
the ghost lady’s story
because it mirrors my own:

like her, I’ve worked
to release my pain
and though I’ve often elevated
my perspective…

I can’t maintain—

I’ve slipped and fallen
again and again and again

that moment of vision
before the fall
—that brief reprieve
motivates me
to pick myself back up

and if I need an extra lift
I tell myself:
yes, you continue to trip
but your legs grow stronger
with every step

and if I need
an even bigger lift…
I imagine the day
when I am able
to look down
from the top of the stairway
and remain stable
in my balance—
solid on my feet
because I’ve finally accepted
all of what I see.

Yes, today
I feel quite weak
yet I still believe—

consider this:
no one at the hotel
has witnessed
the ghost lady lately—

apparently, she’s moved on

and if she can, so can I
…so can we.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a book

purr-fect - May 10, 2015s

author’s note:

Dedicated to the memory of Freddie the cat—who taught me so much.


I hoped
by following a housecat
I would eventually arrive at
the center of my own

Consider those paws–
so sensitive yet so tough–
so connected
to the spinal column:

it’s a finer intelligence.

But though I learned from my cat
its innate feline wisdom remained
beautifully foreign to me.

The cat,
understanding my plight
looked up into my eyes
as if to say:
“What I have
  you have—
  myself in yourself.”

I do try to
but only in rare unexpected moments
do my feet fall into place—
into the fine beam balance
of a cat walk.

Such blessed accidents
always stir me—pain me—
to want more—more!

but without leaving a clue
as to how I might return.

In my walk more typical
I muddle through the mud—
I bumble and stumble
with staggering feet.

But though I spin chaotic
I keep this gyro going—
my entangled legs create
their own crazy tango:

the drunken clown
I saw in the circus
said we may wobble
yet still display elegance.

The clown asked me,
“What is perfection?”

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

peace symbol 237w - April 8, 2015s

author’s note:

The image above was influenced by the well-known peace symbol created by Gerald Holtom.

I doubled the original design, then left one half pointing downward and put the other half in an upward position.

Maybe my design isn’t as striking…

…but I thought any symbol of peace should be balanced.


Sometimes when I see
those mountains of peace…

I begin to sail

but soon lose
what I haven’t yet earned

and fall from the clouds

to land flat—smack on the ground


the giving earth seems to know my heart

and the calm stone
under my hand
radiates strength.

So though the mountains
still appear to be a thousand miles away…

for the moment
I am home.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog


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