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plaid-plan-268sq-december-14-2016s

author’s note:

In memory of Beatriz Prentice—who often said: “it’s an outer manifestation of an inner reality”.
 

WHILE WORKING IN THE SOCK DEPARTMENT OF A MAJOR CHAIN STORE

Recently, I’ve noticed
people preferring plaid socks
over ones with stripes

I view this trend
not as a mere fad
but as a message
from the human psyche:

I believe
that plaid speaks
of work we’re doing within—

nothing less
than the process
of combining
our left and right
our up and down
so we can become
what we truly are:

individuals of four unified sides.

I believe
as the plaid person
finds her true design
she will rise
and thus realize
our grand plaid pattern—
she’ll see where she fits
in the world network
of four-sided folk.

Maybe you scoff
at these beliefs
but consider how
this perspective benefits me:

now, whenever I see
someone choosing
a plaid pair of socks
my hope lifts

and this small life
gains height
as I become
even more determined
to get my four sides
together.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Myth Steps: a poetry book

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sun fire moon - February 4, 2014s

author’s note:

I wrote this poem after reading John Bierhorst’s Mythology of Mexico and Central America.  But this story can not be found in that excellent book.
 

WHY THE SUN FOLLOWS THE MOON

The sun didn’t happen by accident…

Obviously, our great hero

—Latolatapu—

broke his head open
high on the granite mountain
at the edge of our world:

he sacrificed
for all the hungry children
by beating his skull on a stone
until finally the cranium burst
and corn kernels poured forth
in a grand eruption
of golden flame.

Since that time,
Latolatapu
has run through the sky
chased by his own brain fire.

His sister tracks him,
day after day—
cooling him down
night after night—
she is the moon,
she is Totamapua.

She knows he wishes to remain
alone with his wound
so she keeps her distance

but as he sinks down in exhaustion
each night, she begins to cry
and so, cools his inferno:

as her tears flow
we see the moon go
from full to empty

but because her love overwhelms her
the moon fills back up again…

while down below,
the people watch and wonder
if Moon Sister will ever
join with Sun Brother

—her husband, her father, her son, her lover—

he whose ferocity powers our lives,
he whose burning light feeds our crops,
whose madness often scorches our soil
and burns our crops—

whose brain fire too often drives us mad.

At night, in the darkness
he fights to find his reason—
with only Totamapua’s light
to guide him.

One day, he’ll heal his wound.
One day, we’ll heal Sun Brother.

Moon Sister knows
that in truth, it is not
she who follows him
but he who follows her

so she waits for the day
when he’ll realize his need,
she waits for the day
when he’ll see what he seeks.

One day she’ll heal his wound.
One day she’ll heal us.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

split decision - February 9, 2014s

author’s note:

It seemed appropriate to follow a poem about rainbows with this poem about a human being who splits in half.

But perhaps it’s not the best poem for Valentine’s Day…

…or maybe it is.
 

THE ORIGINAL WOUND

According to the story:
our problems first began
when the first human being
couldn’t decide which direction
to go in—

North held a promise
but so did South.

Due to this dilemma
the first human then split in half…

Both halves felt the loss; however,
both halves saw the other half
as “the other”:

as the exact opposite of itself

and so
they didn’t try to get back together
but walked away from each other:

one half went North
while the other half went South—
both of them searching for what
might heal the wound…

As with any journey, both halves
found many obstacles in their paths
and because new things can be
so very hard to see
they often mistook those blocks
for the very thing they sought:

at first, thing might seem to be
the right thing
but then, as it was seen
more clearly, it wouldn’t seem so right,
after all.

The happy ending of our story
would appear to be obvious:

after the North half
reached the polar cap
without finding the answer
it would begin to descend
just as the South half
would eventually ascend

then the two of them would meet again
and from the understanding they’d gained
finally realize their mistake.

Unfortunately, on ground level
the situation remains in chaos

because
we humans keep trying
to go both ways at once—
thus, we continue to split
and split: the halves
just keep on halving—

populating our planet with people
all searching for what might mend
the original wound…

Anyway,
both versions of the story
explain why you seemed so perfect
when I first saw you:

you appeared to be the half
that could make me whole.

But maybe my mistake is fortunate
because this error in perception
has brought us two together
where my blindness may be cured
(at least, in part) along with yours:

yes, I now realize you’re not
my other half, but
I know if I keep working
to see you better
I’ll discover a mirror:

a reflection that shows me something
I’ve missed in myself—
   that helps me retrieve
   that same something.

Likewise, I hope
you can find something of yourself
as you peer into me…

not your other half, of course
but, maybe, a big part…
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
book of the SOULTIME

rainbow storm - February 5, 2014s

author’s note:

I’m not chasing rainbows.
 

RAINBOW REMINDER

I believe I finally understand
the reason rainbows must fade:

the arc appears for a few moments
to remind us of the tantalizing possibility—
to echo our deep desire

which is:

to create an arch
composed of colors bonded together
—a bridge

connecting one side to the other,
connecting opposites:

letting us know, once again
how much we want union.

But then,
tiring of our worshiping smile
the ethereal bands evaporate—

prompting us to stop
gazing heavenward
and get back to the work
of ending our long storm.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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