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author’s note:

A wounded paradise is still a paradise.
 

A WOUNDED PARADISE

Maybe I’ll make for myself
a black booth—
a sanctuary where
I could confess crimes
I would never ever commit:

wild capers
malicious mischief
rabid fancies—

a devilish release
but with a heavenly purpose:
to bark this growling dog
out of me.

Thus relieved
maybe I could relax
for just a bit…

or maybe not—
I’ve flared many times before
and afterwards
while sitting in the silent ashes
I have heard the sad pain
hidden behind my cry

and again realized
the truth behind
the fiery cry rising
from our wounded paradise.

We bark…we howl
but no amount
can ever heal the wound—
actually
an eruption too extreme
only seems to tear me more.

Nevertheless, I wonder if
a little private yelp could help
me cool occasionally
when I feel the hackles rising

and afterwards, in the silence
maybe I’d hear again the great pain
that drives the violence of our world

and so, remember
what I must never forget:
I am truly doing some good
for us all
as I work to doctor
this human being
born into
a wounded paradise.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

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author’s note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I’m not always able to live up to these words.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I’ll be damn if I’ll be terrorized
by anyone

including me—

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I’ve been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won’t jump—
no, I’ll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won’t curse them—
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can’t sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven’t yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

However
I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that’s blessing enough.
 

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: a poetry book

danger 283w - April 26, 2015s

author’s note:

Praises to poet Robert Bly…

…for telling us men how we shut ourselves down, beginning at a very early age.
 

MESSAGE TO A ROCKET LAUNCHER

After you launch those rockets
you claim you sleep quite well

but maybe that’s a loss
because we can learn so much
from our violent dreams

like the one in which
I tossed a rocket into the air
and felt quite pleased

until I found a string
running all the way from my finger
to the point of impact—

no matter how far I ran
that string trailed after me—

delivering shock waves of pain
long after my missive had landed

—!—

but when I awoke I only felt
a fuzzy numb sensation
in the center of my chest:

according to the doctor
crucial nerve endings
had shut down long ago
due to repeated pummeling—
damage

from rockets fired at me
but also

from rockets I’d shot back:

a lifetime of war

—!—

In the many years
since that diagnosis
I’ve worked hard to resurrect
my sense of touch—

a painful process
yet also pleasurable
as I feel more and more
each passing day.

To be honest
often in the insanity of a moment
I’ll still let loose a rocket

but because I’m now aware
of what results from such defenses
I’ve much more careful…

as I’m sure you would be too,
rocket launcher—
if you ever let yourself feel
the pain of what we do…
 


© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

zig zag carnival - July 20, 2014s

author’s note:

“I know an illusion when I see one.”
      — from Soultime by Michael R. Patton
 

ADULT CHILD

Born into a carnival
I remain a child

puzzled by the colors
of all those lights

including the cruel flashes
that cause me to wince.

As a child I still try
to comprehend this vision,
as an adult, I’ve chosen
to keep my eyes open…
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
SOULTIME: the book

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