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author’s note:

Heart attacks often occur in the morning hours during the last phase of REM (dream) sleep.


The truth must actually be important:

otherwise why would my dreams
ruin a soft nourishing sleep
by revealing the true chaos
of my waking life?—

ruin, by revealing
my relentless distress

then add to that distress
by revealing
I’m not yet over the sorrow
I thought I’d put to rest
years ago

and then at the end of night
stun me one more time
by revealing the love
behind my dislike
and the anger raging under
what I thought
was calm acceptance.

No wonder our hearts often burst
while we’re asleep…

but maybe my dreams will be
a little easier on me
if I can wake myself
to more of the truth
amid the chaos of these days.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog


author’s note:

I know something about choking on silence.


Today “happy / unhappy”
are merely words of make-believe

because today, I feel joy

because today, I feel grief—

joy and grief in death and life:

those forces of emotion swirl
together in a wind dance
—defying my control—

I can’t possibly express
a spiral so volatile
so grandly powerful

but if I don’t try
I’ll choke on this silence

and anyway
no matter what I rave
I think you’ll understand—

after all, as a human
you’re probably well-acquainted
with whirlwinds

so you’ll tolerate
this spinning man
as he shouts:

these forces of feeling
steal our breath

these forces of feeling
give us new breath.


dream steps blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

author’s note:

Awareness is key.  Maybe I should say “the key”.


Have you ever heard
an angel weep
as it pulls your hair?

These empathetic
yet merciless attendants
have promised me
they’ll stop being
such demons

if I will only catch myself
when I begin to slip

but oh!—
in a blink, I can slip
and I blink so often.

I swear I’m trying
to keep my eyes open:

I weep and curse
as they pull me up
by the hair.

dream steps blog
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

author’s note:

Written after reading the anthology The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China, edited by Red Cloud and Mike O’Connor.  Recommended.


Despite the exquisite craft
of my song and dance
I’ve yet to receive
a summons from
the distant imperial palace.

As what began as a short wait
became a long wait
I tried to appease my desire
by enjoying the sun
on the stones in the stream

and by telling myself
the rusty nails of my humble hermitage
shine more brightly
than those golden hinges
of the locked palace gates.

In such ways
I managed to muffle
my whimpering disappointment…

until the night
someone cried out to the sky—

in his pain I heard my pain
and as I felt my pain again
I felt his pain more deeply:

I felt life more deeply

so I continued to listen—
I opened myself to the many cries.

In that way
his pain and her pain
and my pain and their pain
soon became our pain.

I’ve become one of the valley villagers.

Now, I no longer pray for approval
from the imperial palace
because I know
whatever boons or gratuities
I might receive
would not be enough to comfort me—

I would still feel our pain.

So now, I’m working to learn
the song of healing…
the dance.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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