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author’s note:

As they say in the movies: “based on a true story”.


For a moment this morning
I again felt those wings:

suddenly—without warning
that stiff pain struck me
right between the shoulder blades—

the tension pinned me straight up.

But wings are quite personal
so I pretended nonchalance
and eased on down the street

even as I sensed
those wing sprouts opening
ever so slightly—
just a bit more than before—

this time
maybe all the way
to the first pinion joint.

Though eager as ever
I dared not push
for a greater unfurling:

such impatience
actually seems to make
the wings retract.

But despite my caution
the sprouts soon shrank back—
as they have
so many times before.

Yes, they’ll come again
but I never know when—
could be tomorrow
or many months from now.

My deepest meditation
can’t open them
nor do they respond
to my most reverent prayer
or my greatest good act

so I try to distract myself
with honest daily chores.

But of course
my mind sometimes drifts
to my fervent wish:

to one day soar.

I wouldn’t fly all the time
nor merely for pleasure
but only when
I deemed the moment

when my high flight might benefit us all.

Don’t snicker—
this goal must indeed be possible
because one night I flew
anywhere I wanted at will.

I often use that dream
to lift myself
when I despair
my wings will never spread.

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


future of dogs 332h - January 15, 2014s

author’s note:

When one dog barks, one hundred dogs.
            — old Chinese proverb


What if we humans
(overwhelmed by our life)
began to regress:

what if we lowered to crawl
then slide even further—
down to a slither

until finally
for the sake of simplicity
we shrank to the basic life
of the one-cell organism?

To fill the void we’d leave behind
maybe dogs would drive our cars:
just like humans
they’d work, play, marry, spend—
experiment, build, scheme…

and perhaps in the exhaustion
of all the stress and rush
they’d eventually stop
and begin wonder if
there might be something more
beyond that mash of noise.

Maybe they’d then invent
a story of mystery
to add another dimension
to their lives
and thus fulfill
an obscure desire

or maybe in those moments of silence
they’d actually begin to sense
a reality unseen:

maybe some
would flex their nostrils
and try to sniff out
that other world

and maybe they’d eventually find a trail
that could lead us there

but if nothing else
they’d experience the ache
of searching
and thus discover
new depths to the heart:

in either case
they’d be driven to express
something beyond the limits
of their usual yapping
and so begin to howl
from deep, deep down

and as those dogs howled
other dogs would naturally stop to listen:

those busy dogs
would brake their cars
and open their ears
to hear the feeling within the sound—
they’d feel the feeling
and in feeling, also begin to howl

and by howling, discover
their better deeper nature—
discover their higher truth:

they’d find the ring
that links them all together.

In this way
canines could continue to evolve—
they’d go beyond raw survival
they’d go beyond dog-eat-dog:

they’d reject the temptation
to lazily regress
to the dark numb world
of the one-cell organism…


© 2015, Michael R. Patton

myth steps: the blog

open all night 352H - January 14, 2015s

author’s note:

Some believe we didn’t actually land a man on The Moon…

Of course we did.  But not on this Moon:


Its white inscrutable face
hovers too close to ignore

while taunting the reach
of these stunted arms
—these starved hands.

I gaze at The Moon
until finally my desire
becomes unbearable

then I turn my eyes down
to weave a way back through
this midnight wood.

But now, I’m no longer so alone:

now I can feel that moon
beaming its weight
down onto my back—

a haunting—a burden:

now I can feel my tides
agitating within—

now I’m forced to feel
sensations, intuitions
I can usually reject—

now this life is again
an ocean of unknown depth.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
open all night: the book

digging up border - January 7, 2015s

author’s note:

As stated in the poem, I did indeed dig by a stump as a boy…

One Saturday, I found a diamond.  At least, it seemed to be a diamond.

Somehow it slipped from my hands and was lost.  I’ve searched for it ever since.


I am still the child

who dug with a stick
in the dirt by the stump—

the boy
who whimsically imagined
he might unearth
a pair of gentle arms
for the naked statute
he’d seen in a book:

he would be her hero—

she’d use those hands
to lift him to her lips
—her flowing caress
would be the healing waters
he so desperately desired.

Since that time
I’ve discovered other means
of excavation
to try to satisfy
the ache of that child—

ways to recover
that which was lost…

knowing now, we don’t
come upon the buried treasure
all at once

the hands, the arms
are uncovered
piece by small piece:

a tedious archaeology

but with just enough found
to sustain this child’s hope…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
glorious tedious transformation: the book

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