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author’s note:

Heart attacks often occur in the morning hours during the last phase of REM (dream) sleep.


The truth must actually be important:

otherwise why would my dreams
ruin a soft nourishing sleep
by revealing the true chaos
of my waking life?—

ruin, by revealing
my relentless distress

then add to that distress
by revealing
I’m not yet over the sorrow
I thought I’d put to rest
years ago

and then at the end of night
stun me one more time
by revealing the love
behind my dislike
and the anger raging under
what I thought
was calm acceptance.

No wonder our hearts often burst
while we’re asleep…

but maybe my dreams will be
a little easier on me
if I can wake myself
to more of the truth
amid the chaos of these days.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog


author’s note:

Our dreams remind us how extraordinary our ordinary lives are.


According to one theory…

as we ease into sleep
our minds begin to spiral
and expand
like a hurricane
like a galaxy:

though we think we rest
we actually spread and accelerate
through an interstellar space—

each night we extend
just a little bit more
than before—
we grow even as we snore.

But when the alarm sounds
we contract—
in a mere instant
we slam back together again!

I’m not sure of that theory
but I do know:
in a blink I’m awake
and in the rush of morning thought
I quickly forget
my nighttime universe…

but later, while waiting in traffic
I may sense a soft buzz of stardust within
then dimly recall a meteor or a planet.

What I lost probably wasn’t that important
I’ll tell myself

but in truth, at such times
I feel like a kid
who’s just missed the circus
and must return to class.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

brain storm - March 9, 2014s

author’s note:

I’m reminded of the expression, “He’s a nice person—when he’s asleep.”

Whoever coined that phrase has never seen my dreams.


What a night!—hail rained down
through my dreams
to stick in my heel and crop
all the next day
as I tried to talk, to walk
as if not so discombobulated
by a sleep
that was non-sleep.

The steam of what boils in my heart
finds release in dreams—
at times, refined
into a pipe organ melody angelic

but more often blasting a cacophony—
sometimes quite terrifying:

those fists of ice shrieked in a thundering wind—!

But I must admit
such lightning storms
give me a charge—
despite the frazzled
burnt-crisp aftershock:

a charge absent the next night
when I’m refreshed and eased
by gentle visions gone in a wisp…

leaving me with no better story
than to repeat what happened
night before last.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

penny dream - September 1, 2013s

author’s note:

With great reluctance, I cut these lines from the poem below:

I must have known of you
before I was born
because I felt
the shock of recognition
when we first met.

I still believe the idea is valid; the lines just didn’t fit.


When I close my eyes
in slumber—
when I open my eyes
to dreams
I’m as smart as I was
the day before I was born:

before I was born
I must have known
gold dust would fall
if I’d work patiently
with all else that fell
upon my shoulders

because in dreams I’ve seen
how I’m working constantly.

I must have also known
I’d feel trapped in this net
until I could surrender
to its frightening security

because my dreams have shown how
I’m struggling so hard to trust.

So I know now
what I knew before being born…

but in the blare of daylight
I can so easily forget
and again I’ll feel bound
and again I’ll feel burdened…

only later, when I’m cradled in sleep
will I see the need, the gift, the truth—

when closed for the night
I’m as open as a baby preparing for birth.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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