Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heroic Alone

author’s note:

After I’d worked on this poem for too long...

...I considered how far we’ve traveled--some might say “fallen”--from an age that could produce the heroic lines of The Charge of the Light Brigade.

But human consciousness is such a burden--heroic effort is required from all of us.


One man left alone
trying to cope with
a fishing vacation

--spading for worms
under a broad black oak
when a sudden pillar of sun
through the shadow of leaves
transforms the mundane scene
into a stone secret

that he works to ignore
while shifting through the soil
until something elastic squirms and wriggles
on his palm.  Such dark work
--with its moistness--makes him feel
uncomfortably quiet.

One man left alone
--trolling among the cypress trees
when the motor shuts
he begins to paddle and knows
the trees watchfully take glee
in his anxiety
--how alien
   the splashes now sound
   echoing across the swamp.

Dry-docked, he sits
in a motel room,
and examines
his water-logged feet--
those wrinkled toes
look old and sad.
Though warts are
to be expected
they remain

He squints through
the glare of the plate glass window
at an empty parking lot
--is he the only one
   left alive
   on this strange island?

He picks through
his last box of worms--
one last little crawler
struggles at the bottom.

He puts the lid
back on,
then puts his shoes
back on
--getting ready
   to go out
   for a good fish dinner.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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Sunday, June 14, 2009


author’s note:

I could write the book on patience.  If I wasn’t so darn restless.


The moment I saw you
I groaned with birth
in answer to
a premonition.

I could already feel
the weight of you
in my bones.
And nearly cried
with the pleasure.

I was hungry with waiting--

for a century
of days
I’d squirmed in the sand,
my movements describing
angels and snakes.

For another century
I lay Christ-like
on the water

until finally
I collapsed within,
I surrendered myself--

from that time on

--I devoted
this new life to a union
only known to me
through the prophecy
of dream.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Message from Another Sphere

author’s note:

Whatever “they” are, they’re probably not what we imagine they are.

As to their purpose, perhaps we need only watch them move.


Music--that’s the reason

we’ve been encountering
all those aluminum-skin

Space Aliens.

Their message
has to do with music:
waves of vibration: music:
the purling water of life:

an extended sequence of sounds
that can tune us, that can attune us
so that our orbits may follow
the harmony of the invisible

and thus, dance that slow ballet
that all the other planets
already seem to understand.

But those Space Aliens aren’t here
to make us listen--
no, they mean to lead by example:

see how they play in unison:
attuned to one another:
executing perfection effortlessly
--no need for radar:

as with ants, all are one, but unlike ants
each one remains individual.

They’re here to show us
that, yes, it can be done.
With practice.
With eons of patience.
Yes, they say,
in proper time, you too
can hear the music
and follow along.

I believe them.

Because I saw all of us children
in the dream--

in the dream, we were together, asleep
under the skin
of the Great Mother.  The heavenly dirt
that is Earth.

All us children filled
with the vibrations
of the same thundering
heartbeat: the steady beat
that in silence, I sometimes sense
through all of life.

So as I see it:
since the music is in us
we should be able to follow

but buried asleep
we never hear
the harmony

as a result
we play
like an orchestra
just tuning up

--though at certain times
we do feel it.  We can feel it
when some far off echo nudges us
in our slumbers

and while still halfway under
we extend our antennae
(groping delicately)
until we touch
what we do not know
and yet remember.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Shadow Invasion

author’s note:

“Political reality has little to do with reality.”
       --  from The Eagle’s Shadow by Mark Hertsgaard


The child we invaded
died for our sins.

You don’t know the child
of this story?
The one hunched in a ditch
as if in a womb of mud?
No one told you?

We attacked to protect
that child’s future
and the future
of that child’s children
--was that the idea?

Our humanity
is fragile.
Our humanity
is not guaranteed.

I say this
to those directly responsible
for this oversight--
         to those
         who have made me
         indirectly responsible--
I say this:
the people will eventually leave you

this exodus may take many downward steps.

But eventually we'll accept those children
as our own.
We will see that what is broken
takes too long to heal.

We will finally hear the ghost
of that dead child

and follow its instruction.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sight for Sore Eyes

author’s note:

Sometimes I think the key to rewriting a draft is to first remove all my favorite lines.
For example, from the poem below:
             “...every eternity
              eventually passes.
              That which can not
              be destroyed
              finally fades.”


Amazing--when I think of all
that’s invisible to me, all outside
the normal rainbow spectrum--

for that matter,
I know I miss
much of what
already is
available to me--

I don’t know what
I only know
that I feel
I’m missing.

A reporter once asked
Ray Charles
what the worse thing
about being blind was

and he replied,
“You can’t see anything.”

And yet absence
can sometimes bring forth
those incredible florescent monstrosities
in the deepest blackest
ocean depths.

But I can’t walk around
with eyes closed.

If I really want to open
I think I first need to see
what’s begging
for my attention.

To see the familiar again
is to see more
than what I already know.

To suddenly see
the familiar

--isn’t that what we call

I think I avoid perfection
because Perfection always
seems too short a time

but also: the demands Perfection makes:

--no exceptions: acceptance
of all...including
the impervious mid-range gray:
that dead gray of a day without fire:
a gray so flat you think
you’ll never feel
light again.

But after acceptance
I pledge my will
to penetrate--devour--
what only appears

No, I won’t take “no”
for an answer--because I know
I won’t be able to see
more of what’s invisible to me
until I’ve finally swallowed
more of what
now blocks my vision.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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