Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grand Obsession

author’s note:

Have a grand 2009.


If you can remain a fool
and think of every defeat
as merely a temporary setback
are you not granted
special status--?--

but worry creeps up
when I see
that cartoon
where the desert coyote
constantly schemes
to catch and devour
an insubstantial
ground-dwelling bird.

Motivated initially by hunger,
the coyote soon becomes obsessed.
He must have it simply to have it.
Simply because
he has failed
so many times before.

Yet despite his application
of complex strategies
and innovative technology...

he never once gets hold
of that irritating fowl

but worse: he just repeats
the same tired scene,
he doesn’t seem to grow
from the experience.

Fearing a similar result
from my own obsessive nature
I’ve decided
I must broaden my perspective:
no more minor obsessions:
the objective must be grander
much grander:

downright monumental.

I want the type of obsession
that occurs
in legend and myth: colossal,
timeless, infernal:
      and since metamorphosis
must, by definition, be dramatic
and thus, involve great upheaval,
great trouble--

trouble of mythic proportions--

then that will be my grand obsession:
to undergo a continuing series
of transformations.
To be reborn, not just once,
not just twice
but again
and again
and again

--an obsessive cycle
that will perpetuate
in a state of timelessness.

Don’t the timeless stories
of such quests as this
guide us through the ages--?--
enough weight to us
to alter, significantly,
the shape
of our feet--?

I understand
that to enact
a dream
of such grandiosity
carries a shattering cost.

But it’s my money

and I accept the expense
at the end of my days,
I do not want to talk
of what might have been,
to tell all the children:
that I could’ve been swallowed
by a mammoth fish
and lived to sing a sailor’s song

but preferred the solid bank.  Or

that I could’ve been torn apart
by the limbs, and then
could’ve grown back
to reach the sky

but chose instead to stay
in my basement bunker.

How can I tell them:
I could have spun
all the way through
a tunnel hell--

--landed flat
in a dead pit

--then rose up
to kneel down
to lap the waters
of Eden--

but selected a newspaper instead--?

such dares
are not only wounding--
as one by one
the props of your life
fall into the trash heap--


there’s always another mountain
beyond the one
you’re dangling from.
You know all the way over
there’s always
another mountain.

Who would choose
such bargain opportunities--?--
any fool who can ignore
how long it’ll take,
how hard it’ll be.

Loss will be my triumph.
Loss will be my heaven.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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