Monday, August 30, 2010

Ruminations of a Ticket Taker

author’s note:

As Mary Oliver once wrote: "These are not just words talking."


Sometimes when I'm standing
at the main gate I pretend

that I have been given the task
of judging each one that passes--

I may be playing god
but I am only playing--

I can only imagine
what I'd see if I was so high

but to try to imagine
raises me just a little bit

I long ago realized so many walk about
ready to explode
if they merely hear
the wrong syllable accented.

But to see deeper into their thickets
I must reflect on my own ticking anger
which has broken open a piranhas nest
sporadically in the past,
in the not so distant

So I'm able to defuse
by watching at the gate:
if I examine those
who pass before me
I will see the pain, see the grief
of pain
in seeing what gives birth
to anger, I will not explode,
or if I do, I won't
aim myself at anyone,
except perhaps

Though I play god
I am humble enough to know
I can never truly know
those who walk through
but if I look long enough
I will see myself

and if I see enough of myself--
        ingest steadily
        with the might
        of a termite--
I will know all of you well enough
and so, finally stop aiming at myself.

This work is nutritious.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

God of Lightning

author’s note:

Dreams exaggerate, but do not.  I believe those grand dramatic productions show us how we truly feel during our waking hours.  With that in mind, the poem below should be taken as a dream: an exaggeration, yet absolutely true.


In my dream
the lightning god
created the world--
              my world
has been a lightning world

of brilliant blazing flashes
that vanish in my grasp--
my life has been a lightning life
with a cow bellowing
in the storm belly
of my earth

with stones
of light that cut
my ground--but
I say plow it open--

the blood of my testament garden
will happily feed flowers and grain.

In prayerful expression
of this desire
the arms of my life reach
upwards toward
the bruised blue clouds

though I know the fulfillment
will leave me stunned and shuddering--
rung up, bleached and breathless--

yet still wanting more.

I have many other gods--
wind gods, lake gods,
plant gods, and more--

but my first god
--the one suspended
   outside my door--
will always be
the god of lightning.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

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