Monday, August 30, 2010

Ruminations of a Ticket Taker

author’s note:

As Mary Oliver once wrote: "These are not just words talking."


Sometimes when I'm standing
at the main gate I pretend

that I have been given the task
of judging each one that passes--

I may be playing god
but I am only playing--

I can only imagine
what I'd see if I was so high

but to try to imagine
raises me just a little bit

I long ago realized so many walk about
ready to explode
if they merely hear
the wrong syllable accented.

But to see deeper into their thickets
I must reflect on my own ticking anger
which has broken open a piranhas nest
sporadically in the past,
in the not so distant

So I'm able to defuse
by watching at the gate:
if I examine those
who pass before me
I will see the pain, see the grief
of pain
in seeing what gives birth
to anger, I will not explode,
or if I do, I won't
aim myself at anyone,
except perhaps

Though I play god
I am humble enough to know
I can never truly know
those who walk through
but if I look long enough
I will see myself

and if I see enough of myself--
        ingest steadily
        with the might
        of a termite--
I will know all of you well enough
and so, finally stop aiming at myself.

This work is nutritious.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good poem! I liked the third stanza!

1:27 AM  

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