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author’s note:

Not written in any woman in particular.  Written to all, in general.


When I mention her glow
she insists she only reflects
some distant sun…

but later
in the depth of night
she places her hand
over her heart

and wonders if
that warmth radiating
might be more than merely
mechanical heat
from the pumping of blood—

could it also be
the radiance of spirit?

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog


Dear reader:

Please feel free to insert your own name after the line “Once again, I know my name—“.

Best wishes for the new year.


At the end of another year—alone

and blank
under a bare light bulb
at a hardwood table
…too late…too early

too slow in the head
to say my own name!—

maybe I’m dead…

I’m like that clear glass of air
on the table:

emptied out
but as a result
filled with spirit—

at the end of another ending
I feel myself newly born

but only rare moments
can be so pure:
with the next breath
the adult I am again rushes in.

Once again, I know my name–


which means: one of many

but many can be wonderful

yes indeed—
didn’t my epiphany
just prove to me
the potential within
the common individual?

In celebration
I drink that clear glass of air.

what I learned while alone: an ebook
© 2017, Michael R. Patton


author’s note:

Once again, I try to get this poem right.


After you, I realized:

we must endure
not only the worst
among us, but also
the best.

Both overwhelm us—
both challenge us
to rise above.

Yes, one tries to darken our eyes
while the other tries to enlighten

but brilliant light can stun

and with sight
comes responsibility:

when I try to ignore
what I now know
I feel guilty

especially when I sense
your old owl eyes watching me
from a place unseen
(located somewhere
 over my left shoulder).

Yes I’m pleased
you take an interest
I just wish you’d encourage me

when doubt
agitates my thought
almost to blindness—

reassure me
with a spirit whisper:

tell me again
why I must not slack
in this work—
tell me again
how it helps us all.

Tell me
to keep on lifting
my leaden feet—
tell me I can find
the strength hidden within
—but only if I try to lift.

Please, tell me
I will eventually
hold the peace
that always seems to slip
from my grip.

Tell me
all you once told me—
tell me again…

I wait…
but again: only silence

yet I don’t feel rejected—
after all
why should you remind me
when I haven’t forgotten?—

besides that
a repeat would merely be
temporary comfort—
not a cure:

no one but me can give me courage.

As my moment of weakness passes
I feel ashamed once again
but also think:

maybe later
I can use this moment
as a story lesson

when I become someone
others will gladly endure.


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul: poems of death & grief & joy

forest truck 327w - October 30, 2015s

author’s note:

Did I actually find a skeleton in an old pickup trunk, as stated in the poem below?

Well, I did happen upon the rusted-out truck pictured above.  And if you focus very intently for a spell, you might indeed see a skeleton.

Happy Halloween!


In the forest beyond
an abandoned burial ground
I found an intact human skeleton
upright in the driver’s seat
of a rusted pickup truck shell

but my shock soon dissipated
as I tiptoed over to investigate:

though delicate hand bones
held the wheel as if to steer
I sensed no spirit
inhabiting that antique frame.

I felt no threat:
the skull had lost its death grin
with the falling of the front teeth.

Instead, the specter
that would mock us
was itself mocked
because an earlier visitor
had stuck a silly baseball cap
atop the cranium.

Even so, I continued to stare
into the empty eye sockets
hoping to prompt in myself
some sense of the unseen mystery
—the invisible reality—
that I believe (I hope!)
is an active part of our world.

But when my neck hairs
finally began to rise
the fright came from this question:

might I likewise end my days
in a dry scrub forest?—
going nowhere, nowhere to go—alone:
a derelict in a derelict truck—
a clown set of bones—

a blank for a mouth—
a blank for a voice…?

Shocked by the thought
I walked away from that encounter
feeling most fortunate—

again the Death card
had appeared in my deck
to stir a sense of urgency
and reawaken my resolve.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
picturing metaphor: the blog

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