Thursday, December 07, 2017

Working with Water

author's note:

"Walking on water wasn't built in a day."
                  -- Jack Kerouac


When I realized
what mental blocks
held me in check
I thought
(or hoped)
I could just jump over
those impediments

but though I was often able to elevate
I'd always land back in captivity

finally I conceded:
one must wear down such resistances
the way water wears down rock.

Now, many years later
I'm still working to rid myself
of various barriers
through the tedious process
of erosion

even though I've come to see:
no matter how much I scrub
I'll never be completely free

but the more freedom I earn
the more I want
so though I may pause
I'll never stop washing

and besides

life constantly pours water
down our back
so why not use it
to optimal effect?

A child will whine about a bath
yet jump into a bubbling fountain
and dance

so whenever I'm doused
nearly to drowning
I tell myself:
think of the fountain of your life
and dance

dance and scrub and dance.

what I learned while alone: poetry ebook
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Stopping My Car for a Deer after Hearing the News Report

author's note:

Years ago, I was told: we must lead our leaders.

I'm trying, I'm trying.


The radio tells me:
at the peace summit meeting
old men can't mend old grievances--

but who am I to criticize them?--
I still can't heal old wounds.

Our leaders lead us into fear

but who am I to criticize them
when fear still rules my head?

Angry disappointment
at the news and at myself
nearly has me driving blind

until I'm struck by the sight
of a deer lying beside the highway--
a casualty of crossing--
the rapid huffing of its chest
tells me death is near.

I'm flooded with empathy
but perhaps I put my foot to the brake
because I see a way to redeem myself
--if only slightly:

I will whisper some comfort
into the ear of that terrorized creature:
I'll ease its sad passage--

I'll gaze into its dark round eye
and beg forgiveness

for what?--
for the failures of all humankind.

But as I slam the car door shut
the deer abruptly stands up
on spindly yet stable legs

then in an instant
it bounds off across a brilliant meadow
to disappear into a copse of trees in shadow.

I hesitate for a moment, then follow...

I don't know what I'm doing
and yet I do.

What I Learned while Alone: poetry ebook
© 2017, Michael R. Patton

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Joy / Grief

author's note:

I know something about choking on silence.


Today "happy / unhappy"
are merely words of make-believe

because today, I feel joy

because today, I feel grief--

joy and grief in death and life:

those forces of emotion swirl
together in a wind dance
--defying my control--

I can't possibly express
a spiral so volatile
so grandly powerful

but if I don’t try
I’ll choke on this silence

and anyway
no matter what I rave
I think you’ll understand--

after all, as a human
you’re probably well-acquainted
with whirlwinds

so you’ll tolerate
this spinning man
as he shouts:

these forces of feeling
steal our breath

these forces of feeling
give us new breath.

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

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Thursday, November 09, 2017

Pulling My Hair

author's note:

Awareness is key.  Maybe I should say "the key".


Have you ever heard
an angel weep
as it pulls your hair?

These empathetic
yet merciless attendants
have promised me
they'll stop being
such demons

if I will only catch myself
when I begin to slip

but oh!--
in a blink, I can slip
and I blink so often.

I swear I'm trying
to keep my eyes open:

I weep and curse
as they pull me up
by the hair.

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

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