Thursday, April 29, 2010

Monkey Horse

author’s note:

It bothers me that, on some computer screens, my longer lines may be broken at the wrong point.

I satisfy myself with the thought that what is most important will not be lost.

“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”
                               --  Shakespeare


If you want to know how
a horse performs
with a monkey in the saddle--

I will tell you
of my years of trying
to break through.

A horse knows where to run and when.
A horse can feel the wind
and follow the currents to the stream,
follow the flow of grasses
to the stream.

The horse can feel the veins
of various invisible ores.  Veins
of earth blood.

So the horse doesn’t even need to think...

Whereas, the monkey--

don’t even mention that monkey to me--the monkey

has a calculator.  And when the monkey
spies the portrait of a banana
in a department store window, the monkey

calculates the angle, the distance, the wind resistance.
The necessary trajectory for its jump…

but does not feel the question mark
as the hair rises on its back--

does not see the clear plate glass
until too late.

Through force of will
I have sometimes broken barricades.
But I’ve also been broken.  Too often.

We proudly display our cuts
from the shattered glass.
But to what good?

I’ve felt enough cuts--enough
to make me finally accept
another way.

A way not so grandiose
yet equally dramatic.
A way in which I can be simple, humble.
A way in which I can flow down
through the earth veins
to the heart, to my own heart,
to a heart much greater than I am.  A heart
that frightens me
with its grand power.

A heart that comforts me, comforts me
with its grand power.

I tried to calculate
my way down to that heart.
Now I’m listening
to the hair on my scalp.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Paws Grow Strong

author’s note:

“The multiplicity of gods correspondeth to the multiplicity of man.”
                --  C.G. Jung


They parade our gods
when we die--

the gods we carried,
plainly hidden.

When we die
people feel the need to say
the truths that sound
like make-believe:
to say that
she was creation, sun
and moon--

she broke stones open

into bread; made her blood
into milk
for her children.

Even when a man curls up
to grub in a cave
until the end of his days
he battles, just like any natural god
of trial and error.

Yes, but what about me--?--
a small voice squeaks:

I hope people will appreciate
the claw marks this cat
striped on the trees--

but even more, I want them to know
how--in the process--my paws grew strong…

They can, they will
if they look into
the water of my well
and see a mirror.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Burning Light

author’s note:

I've never been cool...

But now, I try to keep from boiling over.


A long time ago,
I thought I heard someone call
from below decks
from the dungeon
from the storm shelter:
“More light!  We need
  more light!”

Being young and presumptuous
I assumed I was being summoned.
Reared on hero dreams
I would now accept the task
of raising the gas lantern
from the bottom of the ocean...

but the ocean seemed so cold
so deep


and my hands wrinkle when wet--
          so instead
I ran to any distant latitudinal point
that flickered a hope.

But this movement, this desire
seemed to snuff any potential light…

until one day, I looked down and found
a flame creeping up my coat sleeve--!--

where could
that wildfire
have come from?

I then began to realize
how I was burning inside
when you don’t find the answers
you are consumed--
my own inferno had slowly
eaten through me.

Now when I hear the call
I hear the call within me.
Yet as I listen I can hear
that same voice
in the raging crowds
that scorch the streets:

I believe we all
want to get at something
that embers deeply--
something that erupts
in our many flare-ups.

Will this flame destroy me?
Handled correctly, this light
will only destroy
what needs to be destroyed
for my own safety.

“More light!”--I hear the cry
  from the temple shadows.

But I’ve already begged at many altars.
So now I see no other option
but to beg my own pardon.
To beg my own blessing.
To beg myself for the life
of my own famished flame.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

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