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fog of war - August 8, 2016s

author’s note:

“What if this is as good as it gets?”
        — from the movie As Good as It Gets


I have a theory
about why Aunt Maggie
(in life, the grumbling one)
seemed so deeply peaceful
when you saw her late that night:

when we are released
from life’s foggy grip
we can grab hold
of what held us
and finally fully see
that blind life—
examine it at arm’s length
so to speak.

With that perspective
I think our aunt might arrive
at the question
I sometimes ask myself
when I’m able to stop
long enough
to look back
with some degree of clarity:

why why why
did I shrink myself
down so small?—
why did I grumble
whenever the cookie crumbled?—

after all, I knew quite well
that every day in some way
the cookie would crumble.

I believe that question
would lead dear Maggie
to an understanding
she’d avoided while living:

she would see the true pain behind
all her grousing and grumbling
and in seeing
feel a piercing empathy
for the person she once was—

an empathy she’d then naturally extend
to anyone voicing small complaint—
she would now see how
they fear to touch
the real wound…

yes, that would explain
the tenderness she emanated
when you saw her in the dark—

that would explain
why Aunt Maggie shines
so much brighter
than she did during the labor
of her sweet and sour life.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul: a poetry book


globe electrons 293w - April 17, 2016s

author’s note:

I believe we’re all scientists.  From the beginning, we’re all experimenting.


Science tells us
nothing is ever completely at rest—

even when my body becomes a carcass
its trillions of vibrant electrons will still spin

but what about what animated that carcass?—
will the “me” that made this poem continue?

To answer that question
I’m free to go beyond science
and believe whatever I please

yet I base my belief, in part
on acute meditative observation:

even as my limbs
slowly lose momentum
something within gains strength—

an inner spinning force
keeps on rising—refining its pitch.

No—I can’t accept waste:
after death
the am that I am
will still be spinning.
in some form
I’ll be spinning.

Some will surely say
I hold to this belief
in a futile attempt
to alleviate my fear

but even if that’s true
this concept can still lift me
to a place of starry wonder:

we are perpetual motion
—spinning tops—
that continue to rise
after this human life stops.

Though stars collapse
and planets disintegrate
this Universe and its beings
will keep on spinning…

constantly building, I believe
into something greater
than what we have been…

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

coffin electric b - March 21, 2016s

author’s note:

You’re important to me.


Apparently, death is often
more important

than what we could’ve done or been
if not for death…

more important
than the planned Spring wedding

more important than being
a mother to that child

more important than how
the broken woman could’ve grown
if not for her important death…

more important than
all the creative passion
left unexpressed.

But I don’t mean to diminish
our life before death—

if this life wasn’t damn important
why would I have taken the pain
to be born?—

don’t bother to debate me
’cause I’ve already decided
it’s better for me to believe
I’m living something
truly important:

how could we bear the pain
if we didn’t believe
the things, ideas, and activities
of our life were quite important?

On the other hand…

when an important life
seems to end too soon
I say we should accept:
death is often more important
than what we have to give.

By holding that belief
I help myself
bear the pain of loss

and whenever I remind myself
of that belief, I realize:
death may not wait
for me to roll out
all my important plans

and then the moment
becomes monumental.

Yes, I believe I have
some very important plans…

yet if I should fall
down dead tomorrow
I think I’d rest in peace—
comforted by the belief
this life was quite important.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Survival: the book

water drops - December 30, 2015s

author’s note:

Best wishes for 2016.


Lao Tzu said
the Ancient Sages
were as evanescent
as icicles


according to my dictionary
that which is “evanescent” is like a vapor—
here and gone in just a short time:

for example…
in the cold night
my evanescent breath
twirls upwards in a wisp
to vanish like a ghost
—like a dream lost—

like the vapor from an icicle—

an icicle slowly dwindling in the Sun
drop…by drop…by drop…by drop

a blessed sacrifice: a gift—
though the Sages have faded into the darkness
their water still lives in our well.

But are we not all icicles
large or small?—

as this life of mine melts
maybe I can make peace with the loss
by telling myself
what I believe to be
a good belief:

long after I’m gone
what I have given (whatever that is)
will still be a part of whatever we are…

I am as you are:
evanescent…yet continuous.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton

myth steps: the blog

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