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author’s note:

I keep learning from old dreams.


Years ago in a dream
I saw the truth of my room:

the walls and floor, all dull gray—
even the light motes drifting
down from the ceiling:
dense gray.

Since that vision, I’ve worked
to escape my gray place
and maybe I have—because
though I still see
scary things in my dreams
I witness nothing so monotone.

But ever so often
in my waking hours
I revisit the room
because as a human being
I want to understand

and if I can raise myself
when I return
I’ll again realize
the beauty and benefit
of that hermitage:

though gray, the sun rays
pour down from a skylight

and those high walls
create a great space—
an austere cathedral.

Oppressive, yes, but
power held in check
can build in strength
as our desire to break out
—to bloom—
grows in intensity.

I’ve still much to learn
but at least now I know why
I needed that gray room.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


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
shuffling through stacks on shelves
in search of the perfect paper

for this craft project:
replicate a solitary heart
seen in the darkness of a dream.

I’d hoped
one of those paper textures
would help me recall
the feeling of that moon-white heart

and though several did seem
almost right
“almost” is not quite.

Yet as my finger pads traced across sheets
of various weaves and thicknesses
I discovered some type of perfection
in every grade—
high and low and in-between:

each new pleasure
spurred the desire
to touch just one more…
just one more…

until one particular paper
finally stopped me—
that rough gray sheet
actually seemed to shine
from the shadow of the shelf…

so I touched
with the trepidation of hope

and in turn, was touched
by a quiet fabric so alive:

somehow this paper provoked
a deeper feeling—

reminding me of the empathy
I sometimes feel
when I’m watching on the street—

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

So later, at home
when I eagerly
—yet tenderly—
put scissors
to those receptive fibers
the result expressed
something beyond
mere decorative design:

when I see that heart shape
I recall someone lost…

someone whose history
is part of my own.

© 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

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