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twig box November 6, 2015s

author’s note:

Violets have grown here and there
on the ruins of my burned house.
        — Shokyu-ni (trans. A. Miyamori)


I wanted to pity the child
sitting in a cardboard box
stuck in an abandoned lot

but the child wouldn’t stop

at the way the ragged Wind
made the paper flaps clap

at the way the hard Sun
gleamed across the barb-wire
and on the backs of crows

at the way I tried
to force a sincere tear
from my gray eye—

the child had seen my lie:

how I wanted to mourn him
because I felt so barren
—boxed-in by this life—

I had not accepted that pain:

instead, I’d chosen to believe
my sense of emptiness
came from the world around me—

everywhere I looked, I’d see
abandoned children
and empty lots…

until I heard that child laughing
at the beauty of the world’s abundance

then I too began to laugh…

at the sight of my hangdog self
—reflected so brightly—
in wisdom’s playful eye.

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


naive dream border - September 17, 2015s

author’s note:

In my experience, dreams don’t lie…

The problem is: I may lie to myself about the meaning of a dream.


I had hoped to pull
the children of Winter
from their stale cellar
with that long strong rope

but because dreams tell the truth
as I tugged, I felt myself elevate

like a kite

while below me
the vast arctic land thawed
into patches of deep green.

But I woke before I could learn
what’d happened to those children:

perhaps I’d saved no one but myself

or perhaps the children had saved me

or maybe we’d saved each other.

I only know:
I’m going to keep on pulling.

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

in training - August 13, 2015s

author’s note:

Dedicated to all those hard-working souls brave enough to raise children…braver than I.


If you’re looking for
a meaningful adventure…

we still have many
wide-eyed children
from the far-flung mountains
of Tierra del Fuego available
for adoption.

Yeah, they’re a bit feral:
  they’ll climb the curtains,
  forage behind walls
  and ’round midnight, you may find them
  up the backyard tree—
    their eyes gleaming
    in your flashlight beam!

But I assure you
they can be housebroken
without losing their cuddly charms
or awkward grace.

As good Americans
they can be taught to follow
our blind leaders—
they can be trained
to look the other way
as their corporations
steal from little old ladies:

yes, we can convince them
to ignore their best interests.

But no matter what we do
many will still want to plant
good crazy seeds:
they’ll take on honorable roles—
such as teacher,
midnight scribe
or master shipbuilder.

Some will actually believe
in the necessity of peace:
they’ll jump from their aeroplanes
to embrace innocents
we’ve disguised as enemies.

Some will nourish on garbage
then rise from the pits
to transfuse holy blood
back into dormant hearts.

Maybe a few wise ones
will find perfection in the dust
then show us the vision
we so desperately seek.

give those Fuegian children
a loop or two
of our long twisted rope
—hoist them up!—

otherwise they may end
by slinging their pearls
into the dark dismal field
of wounded hope.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
finding beauty: the book

tent - November 24, 2013s

author’s note:

So much damage has and will come from allowing families to lose their houses.

Child abuse can take many forms.


Kids, if you’re living
in a tent city
I can empathize

and perhaps, advise…

you see, my life’s plan
has kept me free
from secure roofs
for much of my adulthood—

like you, I’ve endured
the instability
of flapping wind-blown shelters

but living with such uncertainty
has taught me
                    to listen to the wind.

I discovered I’d be safe
as long as I obeyed
the guidance of its current.

I also know now
I should never stop listening

because in truth, all roofs
are flapping tents
no matter how solid
they may seem.

Just ask the astrophysicists:

change is the nature of the Universe—

everything moves—!—

but they also say:
there’s a pattern to all that movement—

there’s a design, if we can just see it.

Maybe someday you and I
will finally arrive at that vision,
but until then, we must trust the wind.

If all these ideas
cause you even more discomfort
maybe you can find some solace
in this observation:

after carefully considering all I’ve seen
I’ve concluded
this life was never intended
to be too comfortable
for any human being.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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