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author’s note:

As they say in the movies: based on a true story.
 

CHASING FOG

One misty childhood morning
I tried to lose myself
in a fog cloud
hovering across the field.

I ran—in a blur, I ran
over there
and then back
and then over there again—

the fog kept moving:

wherever I was
was where it was not.

Finally I had to stop for air
but as I wheezed and coughed
I suddenly realized
that though the fog had fled
I’d still eaten a bit of it
with every huffing breath—
yes
I could feel the rasp
of its wet wisps
deep in my lungs.

And so I kept running:
I ran—I ran—I ran until
I’d cleared the field.

In class later that day
the teacher said The Sun
had evaporated that vapor

so if I could feel
the moist ephemeral fabric
burning down to damp ashes
inside me…

then I must be a sun

(albeit a small one).

That logic—
so fanciful
so egotistical—
later provided blessed perspective
for the adult the child became:

yes, I never seemed to catch
those fantasies I chased…

but as I ran here and there
and back again
wasn’t I always taking in
that which we call “life”?—

wasn’t I always clearing?—

wasn’t I always
living as a sun?
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: a blog

plaid-plan-268sq-december-14-2016s

author’s note:

In memory of Beatriz Prentice—who often said: “it’s an outer manifestation of an inner reality”.
 

WHILE WORKING IN THE SOCK DEPARTMENT OF A MAJOR CHAIN STORE

Recently, I’ve noticed
people preferring plaid socks
over ones with stripes

I view this trend
not as a mere fad
but as a message
from the human psyche:

I believe
that plaid speaks
of work we’re doing within—

nothing less
than the process
of combining
our left and right
our up and down
so we can become
what we truly are:

individuals of four unified sides.

I believe
as the plaid person
finds her true design
she will rise
and thus realize
our grand plaid pattern—
she’ll see where she fits
in the world network
of four-sided folk.

Maybe you scoff
at these beliefs
but consider how
this perspective benefits me:

now, whenever I see
someone choosing
a plaid pair of socks
my hope lifts

and this small life
gains height
as I become
even more determined
to get my four sides
together.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Myth Steps: a poetry book

ghostwriter-wb-november-27-2016s

author’s note:

While rewriting this poem, I realized I’d written yet another Sisyphus tale.
 

THE GHOST LADY & ME

Legend tells us
each night the ghost lady
ascends this hotel stairway

and with every step, she struggles
to understand
the reason for her loss

so when she finally reaches
the top landing
the lady feels such relief—
a moment of peace…

but then she gazes down
and vertigo again overwhelms her—
once again she loses balance
once again she tumbles down—
all the way back down
to the bottom floor

to die, once more.

I mention
the ghost lady’s story
because it mirrors my own:

like her, I’ve worked
to release my pain
and though I’ve often elevated
my perspective…

I can’t maintain—

I’ve slipped and fallen
again and again and again

however
that moment of vision
before the fall
—that brief reprieve
motivates me
to pick myself back up

and if I need an extra lift
I tell myself:
yes, you continue to trip
but your legs grow stronger
with every step

and if I need
an even bigger lift…
I imagine the day
when I am able
to look down
from the top of the stairway
and remain stable
in my balance—
solid on my feet
because I’ve finally accepted
all of what I see.

Yes, today
I feel quite weak
yet I still believe—

consider this:
no one at the hotel
has witnessed
the ghost lady lately—

apparently, she’s moved on

and if she can, so can I
…so can we.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a book

gator-golf-blgb-september-30-2016s

author’s note:

Maybe what I was told as a boy is true: sports build character.
 

MINIATURE GOLF PERSPECTIVE

Sometimes I play miniature golf
just to shift my perspective:

when I see
that model course
I see
a little litany of lessons

and in so seeing, I then see
the course we call “real”
as a round of lessons as well

and if I can later recall
the silliness I felt
as I struggled to deal
with things so fancifully small
I’ll deflate a bit
and as a result
love more:

maybe I’ll again feel
the love I feel
for the real course–
even as I struggle, I love
that daunting windmill.

I also try not to forget
the many lessons–
for instance:
how I got past that alligator
by rolling right into its jaws.

That may not be big
but it’s still important.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a poetry book

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