Thursday, June 28, 2012

By Design

“...having come
 the bitter way to better prayer, we have
 the sweetness of ripening.”
      -- Tomas Transtromer (trans. Robert Bly)


Though l marvel
at how a child
can stitch itself up
in order to survive...

to me, adulthood
requires even more courage
from wounded children

because we must awake
and work so hard to break
the binding of
our secure cocoons--

fight so hard to break open
those old wounds.

I'm encouraged
for the whole hamstrung human race
when I see this terrific design
moving jaggedly through so many lives

because the transformation of one
and one...and one...and one

and yet another one

might just evolve us all...

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Real Mixed Metaphors

author's note:

I so enjoy being serious.

But I also enjoy being nonsensical.

So I've tried to satisfy both desires in the poem below.


My clipper ship, though real
is also a leaky tugboat--climbing

up this real mountain

that's also a flat dusty desert
with a real barb-wire fence

and my real heroism
involves losing the fight
and having those barbs
rip my heart open
as I triumph in my climb

up these mountain waves

which means sometimes
I must go under

to resurrect the unknown soldier
from his tomb in the deep.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Thursday, June 14, 2012


author's note:

It seems right to follow one breathing poem with another--since one breath follows another.


I once bemoaned all
I thought I might've missed
until I realized:

no matter what I've done
I never stopped breathing
and even
the driest air
feels so dense
in my lungs--

such life in what appears to be
so immaterial!

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Monday, June 04, 2012

The Green Feathery Tree

author's note:

“Green leaves–you may believe this or not–
  have once or twice
  burst from the tips of my fingers.”
                            -- Mary Oliver


I chopped down
the green feathery tree
because I wanted control

over all my kingdom--!--

but as if to spite me
the green feathery tree
shot right back up

I yanked its stubborn feet
and long toes
from the ground--!--

but then the soil washed away--
the earth itself ran from me--

with nothing to stand on
I slipped all the way
down the ravine

and at the bottom
the water, in disgust
quickly evaporated.

Thus, I gasped for breath
as I flopped in the mud
on the dead riverbed--

somehow I'd lost my limbs--!

Finally, in desperation
I began to crawl on my belly--
began to wiggle my way up
the slimy cliffside--
wanting only to return
to where I had been

and in the process
of struggling to gain a foothold
I sprouted hooves
then legs and feet

and while trying
to grasp the rocks
I grew arms and paws
with claws

then fingers for those nails

and though this growing
caused me much pain
the higher I climbed
the higher I wanted to climb--

having lost the earth
I'd come to love the Earth
and the more I loved the Earth
the more I loved the sky

until the wings of this love
sprouted from my spine--

at first, these wings worked
and strained
then they learned to glide.

But once the wings had lifted me
to the clouds
my love of the Earth
brought me back down--
set me down
on the ledge of the ravine

and because I was so happy
to see the Earth, the Earth
welcomed me, embraced my feet
and long toes--the water flowed
back to greet me--!

But though rooted again
I still yearned for the sky--

thus, my limbs grew up
and my fingers leafed out:
in this way, I live
in both places at once

and no longer play king--
instead, I stake my place
as strong humble servant.

© 2012, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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