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author’s note:

A snake once showed me: you can’t get rid of your old skin unless you keep moving.
 

THE BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION OF THE HOTEL GHOST

Each night, I hear her soft steps
on the carpet outside my door
as she walks the hotel hallway.

Like me, she is driven
by the painful desire
to leave the skin
of a worn life behind
and live a new way.

Both of us frustrated—
weary of our slowness
but beautifully obsessed:
we can’t stop ourselves
from putting
one foot
in front of the other
one foot
in front of the other…

People believe she wanders lost
and some believe the same of me
but the sages say:
as long as you keep walking
you will surely find your way.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

“Walking on water wasn’t built in a day.”
                  — Jack Kerouac
 

WORKING WITH WATER

When I realized
what mental blocks
held me in check
I thought
(or hoped)
I could just jump over
those impediments

but though I was often able to elevate
I’d always land back in captivity

finally I conceded:
one must wear down such resistances
slowly—
the way water wears down rock.

Now, many years later
I’m still working to rid myself
of various barriers
through the tedious process
of erosion

even though I’ve come to see:
no matter how much I scrub
I’ll never be completely free

but the more freedom I earn
the more I want
so though I may pause
I’ll never stop washing

and besides

life constantly pours water
down our back
so why not use it
to optimal effect?

A child will whine about a bath
yet jump into a bubbling fountain
and dance

so whenever I’m doused
nearly to drowning
I tell myself:
think of the fountain of your life
and dance

dance and scrub and dance.
 

myth steps blog
© 2017, 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

author’s note:

Awareness is key.  Maybe I should say “the key”.
 

PULLING MY HAIR

Have you ever heard
an angel weep
as it pulls your hair?

These empathetic
yet merciless attendants
have promised me
they’ll stop being
such demons

if I will only catch myself
when I begin to slip

but oh!—
in a blink, I can slip
and I blink so often.

I swear I’m trying
to keep my eyes open:

I weep and curse
as they pull me up
by the hair.
 

dream steps blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

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