Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dark Jar



author's note:

May your Halloween be dark and scary!


DARK JAR

We need one volunteer
to stick a hand down
into this vast vase--
into this earthenware vessel
because

it's so densely dark within--
we can’t see past the edge
and so, we're burning to know
what might be at the bottom.

Though someone heard
the faint rattling of a snake
I believe it's the luscious lucky sound
of gold striking gold
echoing up from the depths--

a finer coin than any we've ever known:
those tones lift our hearts
with their soft breezy hands--!--

so please, reach down deep, for all our sakes--

if you don’t have arm enough, then dive in
and we'll send you our blessings

though what harm could possibly come--?--
after all, it's just a large jar
and anyway, someone must descend
because we’re so damn curious--

thus, we beg of you: go--go!--
that must be reason you came here.

Otherwise, why would we ask you?

How can you refuse
such a reasonable request--?--
especially since you now know
you might be the one chosen...


© 2013, Michael R. Patton
these poems are open all night

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stretch Step



author's note:

Maybe I shouldn't have begun with this poem with "don't worry".

Now that I think of it, those may be the two scariest words in the English language.


STRETCH STEP

Don't worry--

this tripping point
must actually be
a big step up for us--

I say so because I've tripped
on all my big steps

yet, I've still made my way up.

But I guess you already know
about stairways--
after all, all humans step

separately and together:

we're all learning together
on this current test
of intense upward stretching:
this heightening of uncertainty--

I'll always be learning
how to rise up from under
the weight of my fear:

the fear brought on
by this new step
echoes the fear
of every single step
beginning with my birth on--

from the first, we're told to trust
that this work is worth the pain

but though I do try to trust
I really don't believe the truth
until afterwards
when the strength I find
lifts me to feel
more strongly alive...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Life as a Vacuum Cleaner



author’s note:

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother‘s eye.”
                -- Matthew 7:5


MY LIFE AS A VACUUM CLEANER

In these dark ages...

I’m proud to report, I work to ingest
more and more cloud dust

in an effort to clear the air:

I swallow to keep from being
swallowed up--!

Though such a tedious task
might not seem heroic...

I've been told
a dragon lies coiled
somewhere amid the darkness
of those earth clouds

and I'd rather confront the beast
under my own volition

than by disastrous accident...


© 2013, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Standing...Standing...



author's note:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
          --  Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

I’m grateful for the opportunity to live in both times.


STANDING...STANDING...

Yes, I know our world has always churned

but maybe now we’re really starting to accelerate
because--oh baby!--I can barely tolerate
this ground tremoring--ready to erupt
beneath my feet--!

But I have little choice but to stand
and somehow deal with the trembling
that comes from me
that comes from all of us--

I worry that this Earth
--irritated by the vibrations
  of our uncertainty--
might finally explode
just to be done with us.

But knowing my worries
will only make matters worse
I try to feel my strength
long enough to create
a few moments of true silence.

Perhaps such peace, though limited
will help to soothe not only me
but also those strangers, standing
doing their best, all around me...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
just another author promoting his work

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dying to Live



author's note:

While rewriting this poem, I asked myself, "Is this really true?  Is this really how it is?  Really?"

Finally, spontaneously, I heard myself say, "Oh yeah."


DYING TO LIVE

One night recently
I dreamt I stood atop
a lofty mound made
of skeletons:

a precarious perch, but
I could now see the land
for miles around.

So apparently,
my many deaths have lifted me--
have given me a new perspective

but I teeter, I totter
on what sometimes seems
so unstable--

trying to balance
I hold my arms open and out
until my chest feels
ready to burst:

still dying to live...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
plugging my Glorious Tedious Transformation

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Endless Celebration



author's note:

For those using the metric system, you can change the second stanza to read:

"like the glacier that knows
 that 25.4 millimeters more
 are 25.4 millimeters closer--"


ENDLESS CELEBRATION

Though I've yet to fully shed
this old dead snake skin
I'm already celebrating

like the glacier that knows
one inch more
is one inch closer--

I am celebrating
as I believe Jesus celebrated
when stretched beyond limit
because he understood
his pain was just a matter of time--

I'm celebrating
like the cicada
that painfully breaks its shell
after so many years
safe underground--

I'm celebrating
like the cloud glad to burst
so it can release its rain--

I'm celebrating
just as the bay grown calm celebrates
after so many storms--
even though it knows
more lightning will fall
tomorrow.

Because I understand
the last step
is never the last
I will celebrate
every step of the way...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
hawking Glorious Tedious Transformation

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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Indestructible



author's note:

This poem will be included in a collection with the working title Common Courage.

I may change the title to Glorious Tedious Transformation, volume II...

...because today, I realized the obvious: either appellation would be accurate.  Transformation requires courage.  And to act with courage brings transformation.


INDESTRUCTIBLE

In the dream, I know I must step
on a round green stone in the road--

knowing
the stone will explode
and I’ll be blasted open
in a mad wrathful rush

but without becoming unconscious:
to fully appreciate hell I will remain aware.

But we all have places we must go:

when you saw that sledgehammer
you knew in an instant the merciless tool
would own you for the next thirty years

though you didn't dare tell yourself until later
what you understood too clearly at the time.

Or maybe you happened upon
someone siphoning blood
from an irrigation ditch
and immediately realized
you would open your veins to him.

And what can you say when people ask “why?”--

my reasonable excuses feel like lies
when I know well the real truth:

we stepped on that bomb
we picked up that sledgehammer
we emptied our veins
because we are indestructible

and so,
we know we can endure
all we must do
to work our way down
to that part of ourselves
that can not be destroyed...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation, v. I

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Misery of Pleasurable Mystery



author's note:

Here's another irony: I had such fun while creating the self-portrait above.


THE MISERY OF PLEASURABLE MYSTERY

Did some spirit visit in the night?--

or did a deep part of me
finally decide to ease my worry?

All I know is:
I awoke one morning
not too long ago
with a vague ache of joy
expanding in my chest:

I sensed then the end
of a term of waiting--

after so much work
so much frustration
now, finally
changes I'd made within
would materialize into
something better
out there.

But as the days passed
and I continued to spin
without seeming to turn
I couldn't fend off old habits of thought:
again I fought against doubt--

yes, my dreams have shown
a brilliant gold-pink morning
with red cock crowing
they refuse to indicate
any calendar date.

Is there a magic spell I can cast
to spring the future into being--?--

in recent days, I've tried different actions--
hoping I might break the situation open,
for instance:

I created a dream journal...and a twirling dance.

I laid stones for a new walkway...

I'm learning a new language.

I rearranged all the files
and then

rearranged the arrangement.

Maybe such motions haven't worked magic
but at least I've learned how to distract myself,

plus, now I have a skylight.

Nonetheless, one wrong move
can disturb such an uneasy truce:

then fear and distrust and hunger
begin to circle again

and accelerate oh-so-fast:

quickly I become dizzy--
too easily exhausted--I fall to the floor...

at rest, for the moment
but not at peace...not by a lot.

Yet in this bottom misery
I awaken to that other feeling--
so subtle, so quiet, and yet so solid:

a knowingness beyond me.

I'll tell you a secret:
despite the trials of my hand-wringing turmoil
I'm pleased to be living with such deep mystery...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
the above poem is from Open All Night: poems of our dream life

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