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Up from the bottom
  of an old pond,
  that duckling
has seen something strange.”
     — Joso (trans. Beilenson/Behn)
 

dUNKED

In those ocean dreams…

I want to bob on the top
of the water like a buoy
even though I know
if I don’t dive down
I will be dunked

dunked again:

drawn down
by some force of nature—down

to dark depths
where faces float like jellyfish:

they seem so foreign
and yet I’m told
they’re all a part of me—

even the women
even the animals
even the machines.

Occasionally I’ll witness
a face so luminous—
I burst to the surface with joy

but more often I’m greeted
by something much dimmer:
maybe a blank-eyed robot
or a drooling dog.

So next time I find myself
bobbing at the top
I may again resist
when I feel
that downward pull…

even though I know
I’ll be dunked if I do

yes—dunked again.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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author’s note:

Remembering poet Donald Hall, 1928-2018
 

REMEMBERING THE REASON

I believe
when we open our eyes
on the day of birth
we forget

our reason for being born

then spend the rest of our lives
trying to remind ourselves
in dreams.

To be honest
I often miss those reminders
because I’m reluctant to look
at what I’ve dreamt:

such disappointment
when I witness my weakness

but also a shock
when a dream reveals
a strength disowned

and after seeing both
one and other
I’m again confronted
with the great challenge:
to rise above one
so I can reach the other.

I believe this work to be
our reason for being born.

So, though I’m reluctant
I still want to look.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

author’s note:

“Don’t wake him up.  He’s got insomnia—he’s trying to sleep it off.”
      — from the Marx Bros.’ A Night at the Opera
 

SLEEPING WITH THE WHALE

When I wake up
in the depth of night
I often feel a lump
—a whale hump—
beneath my dream pillow.

I’ll then adjust my head
and shift and twist
but I can only ever get
semi-comfortable:

the truth is,
in my heart I sense
the beast waiting for me
beneath the waves…

even at rest we don’t rest—

both day and night
we’re learning
how to ride this whale.
 

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

author’s note:

I’m reminded of the expression, “He’s a nice person—when he’s asleep.”

Whoever coined that phrase has never seen my dreams.
 

GLAD TO SHARE MY INCREDIBLE NIGHTMARE

What a night!—
hail rained down
all through my dreams
to stick in my throat and boot
the next morning
as I tried to talk and walk
as if not so discombobulated
by a sleep
that was non-sleep.

I believe
the steam of what boils in my heart
finds release in dreams—
sometimes creating something quite sweet:
an angelic pipe-organ melody

but more often
blasting a cacophony:

last night, those tight little fists of ice
whipped down on flat stone
in rattling waves of roar—!

But I must admit
such storms light me up
with their lightning

even though in the morning
I’m left frazzled
in the burnt-crisp aftershock…

a charge and burn absent the next night
when I’m refreshed and eased
by gentle visions gone in a wisp…

leaving me with no better story
than to repeat what happened
night before last.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

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