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haunting hang-up - February 26, 2015s

author’s note:

When I read that in Thailand the ghosts live in trees…

…it just sounded healthy to me.


In Thailand
they say ghosts
live in the trees.

I wish we’d provide
such an open home
for our own ghosts

instead of trying to shove them
down into the basement:

shades rebel
under such confinement

and rise to wreck havoc
in our lives, in our world.

Yes, I know
exposure to the light
doesn’t take from a wraith
of its power of fright

but when we hang the specter
among the branches
we can live more fully
by walking in the dappled shadows
of its sad mystery.

We can feel more fully
by we allowing the persistent pain
falling from those ghosts
to permeate our skin
like a mist.

Only in the open air
can we learn to accept
the shocking thought
that some hauntings
never really leave us…

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


paper hand 335H - February 1, 2015s

author’s note:

Come on, come on, come on, come on
now touch me, babe…
                      — The Doors


I once spent
an hour well-spent
trying to find
the perfect paper

to recreate a solitary heart
that’d fascinated me in a dream.

I’d hoped
one of those paper hues
would help me recall
the color of the heart—

well, each seemed almost right—
almost, but not quite.

Moreover, I discovered
near perfection
in every grade, high and low

as my finger pads traced across sheets
of various weaves and thicknesses—

I couldn’t be satisfied
when each new pleasure spurred the desire
to touch just one more…
just one more…

even so, one particular paper
finally stopped me—
that rough gray sheet
actually seemed to shine…

so I touched
but with trepidation

and in turn, was touched
by a quiet material so alive…

true, the others also lived
but this paper provoked
a deeper feeling:

there’s the empathy I feel
when I’m on the street

and the empathy I experience
when I sit down with someone
who I sense has known
a history similar to my own.

So when I eagerly
—yet tenderly—
put my scissors and ink
to those receptive fibers
the result expressed
something beyond
mere decorative design—

that mirror asked me
to remember someone lost…

someone of history known.

Now, years later
as I touch that cut heart
I feel again the melancholy
while also celebrating
the history shared…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

by design - September 10, 2014s

author’s note:

A laborious rewrite of a poem from May 2013.

Imagine a world where communication is easy, effortless.

Then imagine the exact opposite.  That’s where we live.

Then imagine our world somehow becoming the first world.

Then tell us how to get there.  Please.



Age brings the blessing of insight—
a sight that often seems like a curse:

as I reflect and recognize
so many innocent crimes
I perpetrated against myself.

I have tried to beg my own pardon
but this ego still rejects all pleas
and chastises me for the blindness
of my history.

However, I’m hoping
it’ll grant reprieve
if I’m able to realize
a perfect design behind
the mess of all my missteps.

So far my vision
has failed me in this effort
but sometimes when I’ve closed my eyes
I have sensed a perfection

and experience has taught me:
what I feel so deeply is real

so I’ll keep looking…


© 2013, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

beach walk - May 7, 2014s

author’s note:

Maybe I’m under the influence of the wonderful anthology From the Country of Eight Islands, edited/translated by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson.

I hope I am.


A child’s footprint in the sand

washed away in the flash of a wave…

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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