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author’s note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I’m not always able to live up to these words.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I’ll be damn if I’ll be terrorized
by anyone

including me—

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I’ve been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won’t jump—
no, I’ll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won’t curse them—
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can’t sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven’t yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

However
I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that’s blessing enough.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: a poetry book

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author’s note:

I want to die with my boots on.
 

DYING WITH HIM

Unable to believe a prayer could help
I suffered quietly with the man instead:

I matched my breath
with his ragged breath
and winced
whenever his eyelids crinkled in pain

yet I still felt so distant.

To entertain my impatience
I counted time as his blind hand
ticked against the sheet

and in that way
I fell into a timeless trance

until with a startle
our heart clunked clumsily
once…twice

then my breath and chest slumped
as his whole apparatus collapsed
with one relinquishing heave.

Suddenly a subtle brightness
intensified the room:
a nebulous glittery mist
hovered midair

only to dissolve in a blink—
too soon gone.

I nearly laughed:

what had seemed
so crushingly hard
had become in an instant
ridiculously easy.

In that moment, I realized
the old book spoke the truth—
we are indeed resurrected.

I suffered with him
until we suffered no more.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a blog

author’s note:

What do I want people to say about me upon my demise?

“He fought the good fight.”
 

GOOD LIFE…GOOD DEATH

At my ending
I think I’ll have courage enough
not to fight
to prolong a life
no longer needed

because in this life
I have fought to overcome
my fear of freedom—

yes, I’ve warred within—
struggling to reject
enticing confinements
that would have been
living tombs.

So maybe at the end
I’ll have the strength
to release a good life
and embrace a good death.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook

rainbow ripples - March 11, 2015s

author’s note:

“Maybe, baby”
       — Buddy Holly
 

STORM RITUAL

Why didn’t I run away
when I saw the tower
of purple-black storm clouds
rushing toward me?

Maybe I was so desperate
to wake myself alive
I’d risk the blast of those lightning bolts
breaking the anxious air
into shards of shadow and light—

maybe I wanted to again be the child
who can find glee
in stumbling blindly
through hard gray draperies
of merciless rain

but maybe I was also responding
to a deep desire to wash myself clean—

to crack some hard dark block
resistant to the daily process of attrition—

maybe ever so often
this grown-up likes to imagine
how that freedom would feel

and maybe the child knew
sunlight would follow the darkness
and at the end, he’d have the joy
of standing in a bright puddle
with his shiny body shimmering
like a sounded gong

and maybe the man wished
to undergo a ritual:

a symbolic act
made real by the risk.

Maybe such acts are for fools

but maybe this fool felt the need
to remind himself of this stubborn hope:

the dream of returning to you
with a soft rainbow in my left hand

and a fierce sun in my right…
 

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

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