Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Moon Came to Me



author’s note:

Since my house
burned down, I now own
a better view
of the rising moon
            -- Masahide (trans. unknown)


THE MOON CAME TO ME

The Moon came to me: legs of moon beams
walked down
the hill

to where I sat in solitude,
sat vacant--
not realizing
that in my quietude
I had become
a responsible,
capable,
modest
vessel.

Not realizing that what
I would receive would be
too much for me.  Almost.
Not realizing that thereafter
I would always want more.

But who among us does not want more?
Only the truly peaceful one.

Even when you have given up
there’s still the desire for more--
for something you imagine
you have missed, something
down in a crystal box
or up, on a diamond rooftop.

There are so many ways to sing
and as I sat there, the moon
pulled a song from me--
not a happy song
nor a sad song,
nothing so simple--

a song flavored with the fog
that smelled of fresh dirt--
fresh because
the moon had filled
my groundhog earth hovel--

and thus received,
I found myself to be
a groundhog greater
than I had ever
believed myself to be.

Yet still plenty humble--
humble because
what I held
was such a flood
that my lesser self
became even less
until I felt
I was but a drop
or even a smaller
nothing.

And if
I could mint that song
into something
as metallic as words,
the coins would clank
these jangled cogitates:

“That other one is useless to me now--

“the one who thinks too much--

“because this fine pure flour, this luxurious milk,
  this collection of dove feathers
  has coalesced its silent lunar power
  in that ring where I battle doubt--
  and in that ring, the silent lunar power
  easily bests the fear process
  and thus, lights a lamp
  in my empty jack-o’-lantern--

“so that I can see myself
  best expressed
  in the silhouette of a bird on the top limb
  framed and blessed
  by that all-encompassing full moon.”

But fortunately,
my song did not carry
the burden
of words.

However, I do carry
that burden now:
I feel compelled
to tell you:

that since that night,
the moon has surfaced in my eyes
and if I can ever grow
peaceful enough
to rise to that moonlight
that lowered to me
then my vision will ascend
to the top of that tall tree--
where the bird sings
on the highest limb

and once arrived...

remain there
in harmony.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
dream steps
earnest audio

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Old Man, Relentless


author’s note:

Here’s the line I didn’t use near the end:

“But now wearing a top hat
  --now a sophisticated black tuxedo--
  over all that fur.”

I just couldn’t imagine him rolling the stone wheel while all dressed up.

So you see, there is logic at work here.


OLD MAN, RELENTLESS

Old Man--relentless as the driven soul.
Crawled from a hole in my chest.

Old spidery man.  I rhapsodize
his sea-bitten white-cliff face
worn to Perfection.  Old Man
crackles in his bones
like dry seaweed stepped on.

His spider web
lifts me to the sun
as if I’m the new sacrifice.
His cliff face tells me:
might as well
             wear a smile
while hanging
             from the cross.

I embrace
his cornfield scarecrow frame.
But he’s as indifferent
as death.
Indifferent, relentless.
Pulling the ox wheel
around an endless circle.

I rub his rough bull hide
for Chinese good luck.
The repeated abrasions attrition him
all the way down to white flour--
rhino-horn powder.

So I sprinkle him down
my shirt front.
Then pat my shirt against my man breasts.

I have packed him back into that chest hole.
Powder milk.  Poured into a powder keg.

So once again
I feel the crawl
of that old spider,
his hairy feet
tap dancing a ritual
inside me.

Old Man,
ancient bones,
rolls the stone wheel--
relentless...

relentless as the soul itself.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
dream steps
earnest audio

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