Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Blessed Findings of Our Lab

author's note:

Another selection from my collection, Open All Night: poems of our dream life...

However, this is not a plug...not a promo.  Nearly everything in that book can be found on this blog.  No reason to pay the .99.

Unless you really want to...


In our work at the sleep lab
we came to realize
our ordinary subjects
were just as fantastic
as what they dreamt...

When we woke them
to learn of their dreams
they spoke with drowsy dizzy
confused fascination

of routine dangers
such as cracked axels
and broken anchor chains

of crucifixions--
such as surfing on a cross
down and up
oceanic mountains

of ghosts--of so many
silent shadowy stalkers.

Of course, their dreams often brought them shame
but just as often, our dreamers beamed proud
while telling how they'd endured
adverse environments--

though the scenario might be
as tedious and mundane
as sitting on a sofa stuffed with hostility
in a suffocating room.

Yes, our subjects traversed
some difficult roundabouts
but fortunately, on occasion
they would return
to an island where the sun surf washes up
to soothe the bruised heart--

a brief vacation but enough
to buoy us before we again embark.

At the sleep lab
such golden dreams
are not set apart
but duly noted
as with all the rest:
in figures and on graphs...

but sometimes
after work, over drinks
we'll unscientifically admit:
those brilliant moments are proof
of the blessedness hidden within
this adverse mundane life.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
Open All Night: poems of our dream life

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

After the Carnival

author's note:

I wanted to write a book on how to work with dreams...

Instead, I composed a book of dream poems.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't accomplish the first...

But since, ideally, poetry can take us to a place beyond words, perhaps I shouldn't feel so bad.


Do these hot bright dreams
truly reflect my cool days--?--

or do they come to rebalance
a self made lopsided
by my mundane routine...?

When I stop to consider that question
--if I stop long enough--
eventually I'll exhaust my thought
and in the interim, I'll begin to see
what I really feel, and realize again:
even on a gray winter’s day
I experience a summertime carnival--

--what a carnival I am--!

the best of the night begins
after the rides have all shut down--
when the lights soften
and a breeze blows
the sawdust clear of chaotic footprints...

what then quietly rises within
amazes me so much more
than a monkey riding
a carousel horse...

thank god, I’m a mystery to myself.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
book of dream poems

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Golden Death

green shoe gold sprout - September 22, 2013s

author's note:

Years ago, I printed a sign and placed it on my refrigerator: "Nothing is for Naught."

I guess I just wanted to help myself feel better.

I no longer have such a sign--I no longer need one.  Most of the time.


Years ago
after questioning those Inquisitors
who tormented my dreams...

I came to realize
I was trying to grow
by stretching myself
on the rack--

I would break
if I didn't learn gentler tactics

but turning those torturers
into wiser men
required such work--
so much of my mind;

in the process
I seemed to have lost
so much of my life:
   the gold dust shifted down
   between the floorboard planks
   to lie buried in the dark silent soil.

But recently
a wise man asked me:
does anything really ever die?

While considering that question
I began to listen...
and in deepening, began to sense
something down there--
growing, spreading, starting to rise:

has some unknown crop developed
below my awareness--?--

last night in a dream
a gold sprout sprang up from an old worn shoe--!

So I'm finally beginning to see
the design:
death does indeed seed new life--

just as our ancient myths tell us...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Drastic Eagle

author’s note:

If it happens in a dream, it must be true.


When the eagle plummeted from the sky

straight down into the water--

I felt so confused:
how could anything so powerful
crash--?--how could something so grand
simply vanish--?--

but because my astonishment
left me thoughtless
I began to feel the message
as the eagle told me:

in order to get through to you
I had to take drastic action
in this dream:

how else would you know
I am wounded--?--

how else would you know
you must save me--?--

how else would you know
you must push yourself
down and down
into the cold water--?--

how else would you know
to go against
your basic instinct--?

after considering all I've recovered
I can finally say:
    I am so glad I disobeyed
    my reasonable fears.
    I am so glad I obeyed
    my unreasonable desire.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Good Fight

author’s note:

It seems right to end this poem (and many others) with the "..."

Because it--and the rest--describe a work in progress.


In the dream...

while crawling through the tunnel
I discovered this white alcove
--a slender shaft of sunlight
   coming from a fracture
   in the ceiling brick--

kneeling there
in the bleached dust
in the light, in the shadow
I felt so quiet--

that deep peace
more daunting than
the typical cacophony
of my dreams

and so fear begin to rise and I awoke...

nonetheless, I didn't quite lose
what I’d found:
the next day, whenever I thought
of that space underground
the usual blur of noise inside me
became just a bit less

but as a result
the threatening feelings
buried beneath the blur
became a bit louder;

no matter--
now, I'll gladly listen:

I'll take on all challenges
if, in so doing, I can return
on a more permanent basis
to that place of peace--

seemingly impossible, considering
what I know about myself

but I'm given hope
by the good news
I received last night:

I’m crawling down that low tunnel,
enveloped in darkness--
my progress
                 ever so slow

as I fight against the wind storm of my fear...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quiet Commotion

author's note:

I'd like to thank those who have been tolerant of my menagerie...


Last night, while dreaming of
my solitary house
I opened a broom closet
and a bundled body fell out...

So now I'm trying to unwrap
yet another resident--

one more character in a wide cast
that includes both commanders
and slaves, both mountebanks
and monks

and some of the monks
can sometimes be mountebanks
and the mountebanks,

So please excuse me
if I don't invite you in--
what may seem quite quiet
actually contains a carousel
of commotion:

yes, at first, you might enjoy
the entertainment
but in time, a circus
can become very overbearing.

On the plus side:
dealing with such a menagerie
has taught me tolerance.

But knowing the strain of that lesson
how can I ask you to be
as tolerant of me...?

© 2013, Michael R. Patton

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Sunday, September 08, 2013


owl eyes - September 8, 2013s

author’s note:

It doesn't have to be an owl.


One fortunate midnight...

I woke to find in my bedroom window
two golden fire eyes with pits of black.

I froze dumb, struck to core
as the owl peered straight into me--
examining, taking the sum
of all my troubles, conflicts
beyond number

not to judge me nor feel pity--
just to calculate my progress
in this refining process.

Overwhelmed, in but a few moments
I could bear no more and so shut down.

Nonetheless, the next morning I felt satisfied--

what I'd only vaguely sensed before
had just been confirmed as fact:

this world does indeed have eyes--we are being monitored

and though our guardians
can seem so distant
so dispassionate

their presence indicates
this life is
of enough importance
for the unseen to take note of us.

I realize you may say
the owl was but a dream...

well, perhaps that’s so

but I’ve never known
a dream to speak false

so if the owl's not out there
the owl must be within me...

either way,
what I'm doing counts.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
you can now buy these poems, instead of getting them for free!

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Dream Time for the Simpleton

simply complex - September 4, 2013s

author’s note:

One of my favorite quotes:

This world is not stranger than we imagine--it's stranger than we can imagine.
           -- Charles Fort


Before, when I slept
in this damp basement alone
my ladder would unfold
and begin to climb

until its top rung intersected
with the bottom rung of that ladder
lowering down from a spinning cloud

but now perhaps sometimes
your ladder rises with mine

and we climb that other ladder together--

hard to believe we reach
such heights at night
when our lives seem so ordinary
during the day hours...

except in those rare moments
when I bother to stop

long enough to see the truth
of something so much a part
of my life
that I easily forget
just how incredible it is--

for example:
your hair, your tresses--
a cascade of constant motion:
your waves are indeed waves
blazing wild splashes of light.

Overwhelmed by such complexity
I again become simple with fascination
and deepen into the mystery...

in that way
for a few brief moments
amid the usual routine
you and I become a dream.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
dream steps
my 2nd novel

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Sunday, September 01, 2013

In Sleep Before Birth

penny dream - September 1, 2013s

author's note:

With great reluctance, I cut these lines from the poem below:

I must have known of you
before I was born
because I felt
the shock of recognition
when we first met.

I believe the idea is valid; the lines just didn't fit.


When I close my eyes
in slumber--
when I open my eyes
to dreams
I’m as smart as I was
the day before I was born:

before I was born
I must have known
gold dust would fall
if I'd work patiently
with all else that fell
upon my shoulders

because in dreams I've seen
how I'm working constantly.

I must have also known
I'd feel trapped in this net
until I could surrender
to its frightening security

because my dreams have shown how
I'm struggling so hard to trust.

So I know now
what I knew before being born...

but in the blare of daylight
I can so easily forget
and again I'll feel bound
and again I'll feel burdened...

only later, when I'm cradled in sleep
will I see the need, the gift, the truth--

when closed for the night
I’m as open as a baby preparing for birth.

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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