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author’s note:

Just once, I would’ve liked to have seen Wile E. Coyote ring Road Runner’s neck.


As a child, I admired
the heroic defeat—

for instance:

the weary warrior rising to defend
poor children cowering in shadow corners—
she struggles—relentless—
though she knows her sacrifice
will not end the grief

the fallen explorer—
as he slowly fades, he raises his arms
toward the white sparkling peak—
just out of reach.

Such stories told me:
you need not win
in order to ascend to glory—
by remaining strong in abject loss
you can earn a place
in the hall of the brave.

could actually lift me to grace.

But wait—
what about those cartoons
of the desert coyote obsessively pursuing
that empty-headed ground-dwelling bird?—

no grandeur when
the bomb explodes in his hand–
toasting his foolish head
to a burnt-black crisp

or when
the chase leads him off a cliff—
his bewildered eyes looking at us
for a mid-air moment of stillness—
“oh no!—but oh well—
 another hard landing.”

The folly of the coyote
woke me to this risk:

by fighting ever onward
despite repeated failure
I could become rabidly absurd

but no—not if I went for bigger game:

if I elevated my goals
I might still be a fool
but I wouldn’t be a silly fool—

by always reaching higher
I’d feel fulfilled even if I failed—

even if I suffered a million losses
I would not lose.

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
40 New Fables: ebook


author’s note:

“Tonight‘s forecast…dark.”
         — George Carlin


I say we stop
blaming our gods or God
for “Acts of God”.

As the flood waters rise
and the winds try to rip us apart
better to admit:
it’s our own damn fault.

With the sword stroke of those words
we can reclaim our power.

When our patient angels
see us using our strength
they’ll cease their weeping

and lift us as we work
to save this world
from the flaws of our species.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
I’m Responsible: a pessimistic optimist responds to the trouble of his times

author’s note:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
        — Walt Kelly, Pogo


Yesterday, as I skipped
down the sidewalk
I thought I glimpsed
a vulture circling!

and like a fool, I ran—
ran again
without thinking

and as fools often do
I tripped—
tripped again
and hit

the hard ground hard

then found only empty sky above.

I tried to laugh
but as I lay on my back
I began to feel
my real adversary again—
the parasite of needless fear:

its chattering teeth
trying to devour
the will of my better desire—

I wanted to jump up and run!

But as I fought to find
the strength to stand
I woke again
to that other feeling—
a feeling buried deep:

so subtle, so quiet, yet so solid—

a knowingness that says: all is well
(despite what you think)

a knowingness beyond reason.

The parasite then lost its teeth
(for the moment at least)
and I stood up
and walked on…

another battle won.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
dream steps blog

dear reader:

Allow me to repeat myself:

At my death, I hope someone says: “He fought the good fight.”


In the dream, I knelt down

into a circle of light
found on the floor
of a dusty dark tunnel

and in an instant
an upswell of energy
saturated me—a sensation
both buoyant and dense—

my whole being hummed
with the grand expansion

yet at the same time
I felt diminished
by a power so great:

I soon woke in fear

and immediately lost the feeling

then cursed my weakness

as I often do
when I give in
to lower instinct
and reject what
my higher instinct desires.

I didn’t lose completely:

whenever I remember
that underground light
I can sense (just vaguely)
that force of peace
within me—

within me
yet frightfully foreign:

I doubt I could ever
live with that mysterious intensity
for more than
the occasional moment.

But no matter—
a recent dream shows me
determined to return—

through a dusty storm wind
toward a dim distant light

and though I feel so weak

the exhilaration spurs me on.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook

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