Sunday, April 05, 2009

Water Project

author’s note:

In the movie, The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster, the main character attempts to return to his suburban home by swimming there--by going from one backyard pool to the next.

An interesting concept.  But I was disappointed when I finally caught the movie on DVD.  Though the swimmer did reach his intended destination, he was not healed by the experience.


They never dipped me
in the water--I
dipped myself--
I did the job
only I could do--

through blind steps
I baptized myself
on many occasions.
For instance:
crossing the street
I sometimes
tripped into
a rain pothole.  Once,
all the way up
to my ears.

And as I stood there
with my eyes at water level
a violinist with the likeness of an angel
stopped and said, “I see you’re doing well.”

I caught the pun--well--but she gave me
more than heavenly word play:
from her I recognized the benefit
that arrives under the guise
of catastrophe.

All my work
had not
gone for naught.

After her high assessment
I felt especially special--
a diamond among ice cubes...

...until I looked around the room
and saw all those other people all
dripping wet...having baptized themselves
again and again...

...saw all our waters
on the floor, pooling together
--continually accumulating--
rising higher and higher
as we sit and play hearts and clubs
--few noticing the lifting tide
from our own baptismal waters...

...though maybe we can sense it
creeping up, can sense
its energy building in our bones--
or else when we sleep
we can hear its ocean roar
and feel how the whole town rolls
on a wave, guided by a current
that seems to be growing
out of control.

I will be baptized many times more.

But now when I find a pit
of brackish, cave water in my way,
I don’t try to avoid the inevitable--
I dive right in:
crocodile infested, home to sharks,
playground for piranhas--no matter.

I just hope the pit
has a spring
at the bottom--

but yes,
the pit always has a spring
when I’ve reached the end.

I prefer the sweet, clean artesian.  The splash prism.
Or else dark waters as calm as a frog pond.
I prefer your waters, to feel your waters
blanketed around me.
But I will swim where I need to swim.
To reach the depth I need to reach.
To be purified in the wash that erodes
old skin--

whatever river
will carry me
to the bridge.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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Blogger Goldenrod said...

"swim where I need to swim" ... "a diamond among ice cubes" ... "the depths I need to reach" ... "to be purified in the wash that erodes dead skin" ... Such beautiful, hopeful and optimistic phrases, Michael. Made me feel almost young again!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Actually, I feel better the older I get.

2:40 PM  

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