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author’s note:

I may lie to myself while awake.  But in my dreams, I always tell myself the truth.


This morning when I saw
the mess in the mirror
I wondered:

did my hair do a dance in the night
while I dreamt a dream
now forgotten?

Maybe so, because
as I listened to my inside
I could feel the afterglow
of a rollicking midnight party.

I had to flatten down
the cacophony of my top
so I could be
a proper employee.

my spirit hummed
all morning—
my body twitched

until a merciful angel
finally came to my rescue

by setting off the office fire alarm—!

I then had a private space
in which to spin
to shake, to clap
to shout, to laugh

and my hair rose
with the ecstasy
as every strand
did its wild dance.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook



author’s note:

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
            — Dr. Johnson


When I lived
as a wild hirsute beast
I grunted
at the beautiful pleasures
of this Earth—
I grunted
at the pain

and felt no need for language

until one night…

when I suddenly saw
a living mystery
of moonlight and shadow
bound within the tangles and barbs
of this mundane jungle.

Since that eternal moment
I’ve struggled to express
the beauty and pain
of our human life—

I’ve struggled to maintain
that awareness.

Yes, I often seem to regress—
I slip—
and sometimes when I slip
I snarl and spit

but then the shock
of striking down
awakens me
and I realize again
the cowardice
of trying to kill the pain—
of trying to reject

and in so seeing, I deepen—
   in deepening to the pain
   I deepen to the beauty.

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


author’s note:

A poem for our Winter season.


The garden of dead leaves taught me:

beneath the surface
of that stagnant black pond
rich life multiplies.

The garden taught me:

slow decay in the shadow
will suddenly blossom into
circles of pink mushroom.

The garden told me:

don’t worry—
you’re exactly where you need to be…

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

heaven beyond - February 26, 2016s

author’s note:

Butterfly!  These words
from my brush
are not flowers…
only their shadows.
      –– Soseki (trans. Beilenson/Behn)


I’m told
any heaven worthy of the name
would be beyond description

maybe so, but I doubt
I could remain quiet

because in those rare moments
when light floods my being
I’m overwhelmed by the desire
to express a feeling so heavenly

and though I know I can never find
the perfect words
I’m driven to keep searching—
even long afterwards.

Yes, my efforts
always end in frustration

sometimes, amid the silence
that follows in the wake of my words…

I arrive back
at the place I seek

for a moment at least:

that heaven.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poems of meditation

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