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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

rough childhood 354w - December 11, 2015s

author’s note:

When in doubt, I’ll use the words “maybe” and “perhaps”…

I do not use either word in this poem.
 

THE GREATER DRIVE

While adults are often
so inflexible…

children can twist themselves
into incredible pretzels

but the adult is rigid
for the same reason
the child is elastic—

they’re both just trying to survive.

Yet in protecting its life
the child may nearly kill itself

then later
if the child as an adult
tries to free its mind and body
the process will feel like
many tedious heartrending
deaths:

to untwist
I must go against
tactics that seem to be
an essential part
of my very being.

Sometimes I like to imagine
I could simply say
“no, it’s just not worth the effort”

but I know if I did try to retreat
without winning release
I would then have to fight
a drive of even greater strength…
 


© 2015, Michael R. Patton

glorious tedious transformation: the book

my small center 2 - July 29, 2015s

author’s note:

At the age of nine, Sioux medicine man Black Elk had a vision in which he stood at the center of the world–Harney Peak, South Dakota.

But Black Elk also realized that anywhere is the center of the world.
 

MY SMALL CENTER OF THE WORLD

When I was small
and feeling so small
I’d climb a nearby hill
and become
the Center of the World—

I would shout to myself:
“one day I’ll be a giant!”

But time has not solved my problem—
yes, as an adult, I often feel diminished

so I keep on climbing hills

but now,
when I reach the top
I’m no longer so childish:
loneliness segues into solitude
and amid the grand quiet
I experience myself
as both large and small:

in my depths
I know myself as the center…
in my depths
I also know: we all are.
 


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

boy man fish - September 21, 2014s

author’s note:

For the record: I did indeed hook the fish that got away…or one just like it.
 

THE SAME LIFE

A boy
casts his line
while hoping, praying
he might again hook the fish
that slipped away
in the shallows…

a frustrated child
tries once more
to fly his kite
          all the way
                to the opposite shore.

The trials
of my childhood
repeated constantly
through so many acts
down to this day…
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

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