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author’s note:

Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.
          — Dr. Seuss
 

WHY SHOULD I?

Why should I act?

Why should I stand?

I can’t stop cyclopes
from crushing priceless jewels into dust

which sirens then sell—
denying the high interest rate.

Why speak up?—

if heard, I’ll be skunked
by celebrated psychopaths using ill-logic

and many reasonable people
who seem quite congenial
will hang their shadows on me
for no true reason.

I can avoid so much pain
if I brake before I begin

yes but no—
by now, I know:

the frustration
of rising and losing
will feel better than
the malaise of sitting and sinking

after all…

if I stand, I can dance—dance
even as I weep

along with many other dancers

and as we share our tears
we will open
to the comforting soul.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
Survival: poetry ebook

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author’s note:

Those better angels of our nature can be so irritating.
 

ANGELS IN WARTIME

As I sat overhead on a branch
and watched the enemy creep
through the woods in search of me
I noticed

a certain dread in his step

and by feeling his feeling, again felt
that horrified angel
I try so hard to ignore—

bruised but strong
within my thin armor.

Once again
I tried to stifle its tears

and once again grew frustrated
at a tenderness so stubborn

and so, once again
redirected this conflict
by pointing my anger at the enemy below—
I raised my bow…I aimed my arrow

but when I again saw the dread
in that man’s step
I again felt my angel
and realized
though I’ve killed many
that which I wish to destroy still lives

and will continue to weep
until I stop this dreadful killing.

But how can I stop
when my opponent won’t?
How can I change him?—I can’t!

Unable to answer my dilemma
I then began to climb—
hoping a greater height
would lead to greater insight.

But so far, I only know
what I’ve seen before:

the dread in the step
of so many men

which tells me:
they feel as I feel
they really don’t want to kill—
they too have an angel.

Maybe some who fight don’t
but I’ve seen enough dread
for me to have hope.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

dear reader:

The photo above shows that the yellow orchid does indeed have a lip.
 

GOLDEN GROWTH

When the Inquisitor appeared
in a dream years ago…

I realized I was trying
to speed my growth
by stretching myself
on a torture rack

so I then began to use gentler tactics

and accepted the tedium
of gradual change.

A wise way, yes—but
by the time I’d finally
washed off enough dross
to shine a bit…

my youth was gone—
its golden possibilities lost:

in a dream, I saw
gold dust fall down
to disappear into the cracks
between worn floorboards.

I woke in grief
and remained in grief

until an old crone
(impatient with my self-pity)
turned my mind by asking:
does anything ever really die?

then opened the door
to a subterranean cache—
a garden flourishing
with spires of golden grain
and yellow orchids
dripping honey from the lip.
 

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

author’s note:

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

DREAMING THE TRUTH

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

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