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author’s note:

A wounded paradise is still a paradise.


Maybe I’ll make for myself
a black booth—
a sanctuary where
I could confess crimes
I would never ever commit:

wild capers
malicious mischief
rabid fancies—

a devilish release
but with a heavenly purpose:
to bark this growling dog
out of me.

Thus relieved
maybe I could relax
for just a bit…

or maybe not—
I’ve flared many times before
and afterwards
while sitting in the silent ashes
I have heard the sad pain
hidden behind my cry

and again realized
the truth behind
the fiery cry rising
from our wounded paradise.

We bark…we howl
but no amount
can ever heal the wound—
an eruption too extreme
only seems to tear me more.

Nevertheless, I wonder if
a little private yelp could help
me cool occasionally
when I feel the hackles rising

and afterwards, in the silence
maybe I’d hear again the great pain
that drives the violence of our world

and so, remember
what I must never forget:
I am truly doing some good
for us all
as I work to doctor
this human being
born into
a wounded paradise.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

author’s note:

An apt poem, I believe, for these overheated times.


When I was child
the Bible told me:
with enduring patience
you can escape Egypt

and indeed I was eventually
able to leave

but not completely…
even after all these years
the pain of bondage
still rages within me.

I can laugh an honest laugh
and find heaven in my heart…

yet I know
at any moment
the fire may blaze
back up
to consume the king
of my judgment.

But these fights with myself
prompt me to seek the solace
of the cool still pool.

Down in its darkness
I soothe the latest burn
and in so doing, heal
the old wounds
just a little bit more—
a little bit more.

Maybe someday
I’ll be well enough to help
some of the many
who struggle with
a rage born in Egypt:

maybe they (like me)
have tried and failed
to destroy the fire—

can we ever master those flames?

I will–
when I raise
that righteous sword
from the ashes of my sorrow.

I say:
we’re actually lucky
to have experienced
such indignity
in early Egypt—

we might lack
the fervor to battle
the injustices of our world.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

author’s note:

I’m seasoned.


In the dream
I could not breathe
for an entire season

and as I struggled underwater
to find a few molecules
of air
I cursed
whatever demon
held me down there…

but when the season finally ended
I found only my own self
bobbing at the top of the tank.

I then realized
I’d pushed myself down so deep
in a mission to test
my capacity—

a drastic measure
that had the effect
of drastically increasing
that capacity—

I could feel my sails fill
with blossoms of air.

when I awoke
I only felt
a burning in my lungs:

pain from the scar tissue
I’d tried so hard to ignore

because I did not wish to revisit
that cursed demon season—

did not, until
that bright dream
showed me my strength

then I knew
I was strong enough to heal
the blessed wound
I’d given to myself
and in healing
finally fill my sails
with blossoms of air.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

author’s note:

I say, we all grow.

However, I will admit: in certain cases, it’s really really hard to see.


When I was a plant
in a land of drought
I asked the sky for rain

though I doubted
the atmosphere listened
to such requests
what’d be the harm
in trying?

But when the rain
still didn’t fall
I could not maintain
my nonchalance:

in anger, I cursed
that stupid blue blank

and soon discovered
cursing only worsened
the burning

whereas to surrender
in abject defeat
brought me
the cool relief of humility…

but then
as strictures of death
crept into my limbs
the drought began to seem
so unjust.

my ire, and with it, my fire
rose from the cold ashes.

That flame was my life
yet it would devour me
unless I could make peace
with my predicament

and if I was to die
before rain came
I did not want
any extra suffering.


my best logic failed
to calm me

so finally
in desperation
I tried to channel my fire
into a joyous act

of Celebration!

Lacking any formal ritual
I clapped and flapped
in a silly dance–

I celebrated this plant life—
celebrated its crazy ambiguities

celebrated the roots
that sustained me
while holding me captive.

celebrated the leaves
that fed me
yet also gave me this pain.

I celebrated, I celebrated—
not just going through the motions
but truly rejoicing
because now I knew
how much I loved this life—
enough to endure its worst.

And from my celebration
came an ecstasy
of laughter and tears—
I felt myself ascend—

rising, rising
until I finally reached
a lofty rain cloud:

quite proud
I beamed at my accomplishment

but then
from this new perspective
I beheld the obvious:
how a multitude of plants
rose up
from that moon-bone desert—

many of them much higher than I

but whatever their size
they all danced in celebration
of our painful
plant life.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Survival: a poetry book

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