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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

author’s note:

An apt poem, I believe, for these overheated times.
 

BORN IN EGYPT

When I was child
the Bible told me:
with enduring patience
you can escape Egypt

and indeed I was eventually
able to leave

but not completely…
even after all these years
the pain of bondage
still rages within me.

Nonetheless
I can laugh an honest laugh
and find heaven in my heart…

yet I know
at any moment
the fire may blaze
back up
to consume the king
of my judgment.

But these fights with myself
prompt me to seek the solace
of the cool still pool.

Down in its darkness
I soothe the latest burn
and in so doing, heal
the old wounds
just a little bit more—
a little bit more.

Maybe someday
I’ll be well enough to help
some of the many
who struggle with
a rage born in Egypt:

maybe they (like me)
have tried and failed
to destroy the fire—

can we ever master those flames?

I will–
when I raise
that righteous sword
from the ashes of my sorrow.

I say:
we’re actually lucky
to have experienced
such indignity
in early Egypt—

otherwise
we might lack
the fervor to battle
the injustices of our world.
 


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

author’s note:

I’m seasoned.
 

THAT BLESSED DEMON SEASON

In the dream
I could not breathe
for an entire season

and as I struggled underwater
to find a few molecules
of air
I cursed
whatever demon
held me down there…

but when the season finally ended
I found only my own self
bobbing at the top of the tank.

I then realized
I’d pushed myself down so deep
in a mission to test
my capacity—

a drastic measure
that had the effect
of drastically increasing
that capacity—

I could feel my sails fill
with blossoms of air.

However
when I awoke
I only felt
a burning in my lungs:

pain from the scar tissue
I’d tried so hard to ignore

because I did not wish to revisit
that cursed demon season—

did not, until
that bright dream
showed me my strength

then I knew
I was strong enough to heal
the blessed wound
I’d given to myself
and in healing
finally fill my sails
with blossoms of air.
 


© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Searching for My Best Beliefs: a poetry book

fog of war - August 8, 2016s

author’s note:

“What if this is as good as it gets?”
        — from the movie As Good as It Gets
 

HOW AUNT MAGGIE GOT SO BRIGHT

I have a theory
about why Aunt Maggie
(in life, the grumbling one)
seemed so deeply peaceful
when you saw her late that night:

when we are released
from life’s foggy grip
we can grab hold
of what held us
and finally fully see
that blind life—
examine it at arm’s length
so to speak.

With that perspective
I think our aunt might arrive
at the question
I sometimes ask myself
when I’m able to stop
long enough
to look back
with some degree of clarity:

why why why
did I shrink myself
down so small?—
why did I grumble
whenever the cookie crumbled?—

after all, I knew quite well
that every day in some way
the cookie would crumble.

I believe that question
would lead dear Maggie
to an understanding
she’d avoided while living:

she would see the true pain behind
all her grousing and grumbling
and in seeing
feel a piercing empathy
for the person she once was—

an empathy she’d then naturally extend
to anyone voicing small complaint—
she would now see how
they fear to touch
the real wound…

yes, that would explain
the tenderness she emanated
when you saw her in the dark—

that would explain
why Aunt Maggie shines
so much brighter
than she did during the labor
of her sweet and sour life.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul: a poetry book

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