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author’s note:

I can dig it, he can dig it
She can dig it, we can dig it
They can dig it, you can dig it
Oh, let’s dig it
      — from “Grazing in the Grass” by The Friends of Distinction
 

DIGGING UP (or: WHY I PERSIST)

In sad frustration
I finally gave up
trying to jump—
jump up to heaven:

I just kept coming back down.

However
the desire for more
still agitated me without mercy

so
to release the impulse
I began to dig down
into the stubborn ground

and persist to this day
though the plunge of the shovel
often pains me as the blade cuts into
old abscessed wounds.

Yes, light may burst from the break
but after the flash, I feel diminished
because I’ve seen my blindness again

yet I persist

though in the dimness I often wonder
if the gold I’ve discovered
is really only costume jewelry.

Yet I persist and why not?—

this mound of dirt I’m piling up
is a pyramid rising, is it not?

Well, maybe yes, but maybe not
in any case, I will persist—because
even if I never find the mother lode
at least, I’ve found purpose
through this work

and anyway, I believe

if we want a glorious life
we must suffer the pain of healing—
we must struggle to open our eyes
and match doubt with faith

and anyway

you can’t fall down
when you’re digging.

Everywhere, everywhere—
so many people jumping.
 

© 2019, Michael R. Patton
searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

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Up from the bottom
  of an old pond,
  that duckling
has seen something strange.”
     — Joso (trans. Beilenson/Behn)
 

dUNKED

In those ocean dreams…

I want to bob on the top
of the water like a buoy
even though I know
if I don’t dive down
I will be dunked

dunked again:

drawn down
by some force of nature—down

to dark depths
where faces float like jellyfish:

they seem so foreign
and yet I’m told
they’re all a part of me—

even the women
even the animals
even the machines.

Occasionally I’ll witness
a face so luminous—
I burst to the surface with joy

but more often I’m greeted
by something much dimmer:
maybe a blank-eyed robot
or a drooling dog.

So next time I find myself
bobbing at the top
I may again resist
when I feel
that downward pull…

even though I know
I’ll be dunked if I do

yes—dunked again.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

author’s note:

“Don’t wake him up.  He’s got insomnia—he’s trying to sleep it off.”
      — from the Marx Bros.’ A Night at the Opera
 

SLEEPING WITH THE WHALE

When I wake up
in the depth of night
I often feel a lump
—a whale hump—
beneath my dream pillow.

I’ll then adjust my head
and shift and twist
but I can only ever get
semi-comfortable:

the truth is,
in my heart I sense
the beast waiting for me
beneath the waves…

even at rest we don’t rest—

both day and night
we’re learning
how to ride this whale.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

author’s note:

Up from the bottom
   of an old pond,
   that duckling
has seen something strange.
       — Joso (trans. Beilenson/Behn)
 

DREAMING THE WOUNDED EAGLE

When the eagle plummeted from the sky

straight down into the lake

I felt so confused:
how could anything so powerful
crash—?—
how could something so grand
simply vanish—?

I awoke in such an astonished state—
I could not think

and so, began to feel
the desperate message
in my depths–

a message maybe a few
(or maybe many)
could also use
so I will translate
what the eagle silently told me:

now you’ve seen the wound—

so maybe now
you will go against
lower instinct
and push yourself down
and down
and down
into this shocking cold water—

will you finally save me?

Since that dream message
I’ve gone on countless dives
and though I can’t yet claim
to have resurrected the eagle…

considering what I have raised
I can say:

I’m glad I disobeyed
the fear that warned me
to stay on dry land.
 

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
myth steps blog

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