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question authority yourself 492 bb - June 18, 2016s

author’s note:

“Political reality has little to do with reality.”
        — Mark Hertsgaard, The Eagle’s Shadow

I returned to this poem as a way to deal with the pain and frustration of another campaign season.


Why are we so easily deceived
by those who sell us ideas
in the manner of a used-car dealer?—

because as children, we want to believe!—

governed by our fanciful imagination
we buy into the unreal reality
of an impractical political practicality.

But before long
a wheel or two falls off
and we become disillusioned
with the illusion
and curse the clunker we bought.

I’m a child when I blame
(and I still blame much too often)
but I’m also a child
when I dance and sing

so though we must
become responsible adults
let us not abandon the child
in the process:

the child in us who hopes
—who believes—
we will create a better world
as we grow up.

we should calm that child down
whenever we see a TV ad
for another used-car dealership.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Survival: the book


like talking to 398w - April 1, 2015s

author’s note:

I remember a young woman who was frustrated because she could not serve in the armed forces…

I wish I would have told her: there are many ways for you to serve your country.


I wrote a poem to our rulers
telling them:

you brag about what
you’ve done for us
but forget

what we’ve done for you—

that position isn’t your birthright
that power is only on loan–!

I didn’t expect
a sincere response
I merely wanted to voice
my pain—

to proclaim:

though you throw me
and my many unknown
sisters and brothers
into the valley of all
you wish to ignore…

in the darkness we will grow.

We’re willing to wait, in the dark

because we know the tide
will eventually rise

and that tide will be a flood.

In the aftermath, who will clean up?

We will!

We’ll know how
because down in the valley
we’re teaching ourselves
the ways and means of cleaning—

in the dark, we’re learning how to shine.

In the dark, one can hear the heart

so, despite your neglect
we will stand up, ready to serve…

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
Soultime: the novel

author’s note:

As stated in the poem, my hands do indeed seem small.

But maybe they’re just a little bit bigger than when I first wrote this poem.


Yes, Pedro and I
can still beam joy
in these spinning days
of confusion and blood.

While I sing
that child grins his cracked teeth, rings
his tambourine.
I pan for gold
with my banjo.

Yesterday, I took him to Congress
believing we’d at least
have the satisfaction
of feeling superior, upstairs
in the balcony.

But I just kept on seeing us
down below.  So

I brought Pedro back out
to bask in the sun’s rays
and witness the smiles
of the wounded.
No one ever loses his soul—
it’s only misplaced.

Many claim
that many children now
grow up
with their souls
outside their bodies.
But Pedro and I, we both agree:
it’s always been that way.

Still, we’re hopeful fools.
Pedro says
that if enough get mended
the rest just might
click into place.  A chain reaction.
The teeter totter effect.

To that end,
we spindle invisible projects,
turning the cranks inside our mines,
hoisting up buckets of ash,
all the while searching for
the occasional
jitterbug diamond.

Minuscule, but what can one do?
Our hands seem so small.

The question is:
are we winning fast enough?
A monster
—on the opposite side of the wall—
jacks the odds against us.

But maybe the wall is illusion.
So maybe we can bargain.

In any case, Pedro and I remain
solidly determined
to task happy:
my banjo is banjoy
and Pedro’s diamonds dance
like jumping beans
on his tambourine

to keep our eyes from bruising
when the tears begin to sting.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
myth steps


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