Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Timeless Coffee Cup

author’s note:

Years ago, I adopted the Maxwell House Coffee slogan as a motto for my own life: "Good to the Last Drop".


Maybe I feel the loss
of meditative ceremonies
because sometimes
this white cup of black coffee
begins to speak to me...

saying silently: "it’s just you
  and me
  at this table
  in this empty room
  in this moment--

"at the very center of the Universe:

"and what we're experiencing now
  is our substitute for
  all the ritual we've lost..."

In such stillness
I'm both expanded
and reduced
as the mundane world
peels away--

as linear time loses its line
I experience how
I extend upward
and for balance,
downward as well--
   toward the core of our world.

Again, I realize
I am constantly anchored
yet never static.

Such a strong peace...
and so, I have no desire
to cling to the moment:
I don't try to hold the spell...


I lift the cup to my lips

and in an instant
again become someone working at a table
who takes his sips, one by one

but now aware of how
I'm participating in the ritual
of the timeless coffee cup.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious poetry

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Drumbeat Deep

author’s note:

“My friend, I want to the market and bought the Dark One.
 You claim by night, I claim by day.
 Actually, I was beating a drum all the time I was buying him.”
           -- Mirabai
              (trans. by Robert Bly)


I left my lawnmower in the yard
and went to answer a distant drum

believing drumbeats always lead
to the fire of tribal ritual revelry--

to people, to parties.

But this invisible drum
pulled me to a dark well
in an expansive savanna
of isolation.

I then surrendered
to the force of higher instinct:
I would let that ominous plodding beat
take me deep

and once taken, I would remain--

I'd keep on hearing the drumbeat within

even while mowing the lawn
and trimming the hedges.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
one more book promo

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wholesome Zombie-Hood

author's note:

I'm not too aware of what's in our current crop of zombie TV shows and movies...

But apparently, the zombie is still "the other guy" and not ourselves.


Though I've spent
so much time mining
down in this cave
I regret to say
I can't yet
provide a guidebook

but if a few of you
now feel the need
to descend into this basement
--this dungeon--
I can give some encouragement:

though others may worry about you,
don't worry yourself--

that blank stare comes from
the eyes having turned inward

and that blank in your mouth happens
when the zombie listens deeper down.

Yes, your walk may feel robotic
but even when sequestered thus
the need for decorum may require us
to go through our usual motions...

This passageway
has existed for ages

but today
we have no horrific rituals
to take us into and through
such catacombs
so we must perform the sacrifice

I'm my own
I am the midwife
at my own birth.

Don't worry, undertakers:
this grave has just enough space
to keep us alive
as we finally put to rest
what must die;

don't worry, midwives:
after we've grown enough
the lack of room in this womb
will force us to break out--
to sprout.

Don't worry, zombies:
this tomb supplies good nourishment
so we will climb from our crypt
--our crib--
feeling refreshed, feeling strong

and then, darkly wholesome.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
another Glorious Tedious promo

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why the Sun Follows the Moon

author’s note:

I wrote this poem after reading John Bierhorst’s Mythology of Mexico and Central America.  But this story can not be found in that excellent book.


The sun didn't happen by accident...

Obviously, our great hero


broke his head open
high on the granite mountain
at the edge of our world:

he sacrificed
for all the hungry children
by beating his skull on a stone
until finally the cranium burst
and corn kernels poured forth
in a grand eruption
of golden flame.

Since that time,
has run through the sky
chased by his own brain fire.

His sister tracks him,
day after day--
cooling him down
night after night--
she is the moon,
she is Totamapua.

She knows he wishes to remain
alone with his wound
so she keeps her distance

but as he sinks down in exhaustion
each night, she begins to cry
and so, cools his inferno:

as her tears flow
we see the moon go
from full to empty

but because her love overwhelms her
the moon fills back up again...

while down below,
the people watch and wonder
if Moon Sister will ever
join with Sun Brother

--her husband, her father, her son, her lover--

he whose ferocity powers our lives,
he whose burning light feeds our crops,
whose madness often scorches our soil
and burns our crops--

whose brain fire too often drives us mad.

At night, in the darkness
he fights to find his reason--
with only Totamapua’s light
to guide him.

One day, he’ll heal his wound.
One day, we'll heal Sun Brother.

Moon Sister knows
that in truth, it is not
she who follows him
but he who follows her

so she waits for the day
when he’ll realize his need,
she waits for the day
when he’ll see what he seeks.

One day she’ll heal his wound.
One day she’ll heal us.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Strange Beauty

author's note:

I wanted to revisit this poem on Valentine's Day.  A good follow-up to the last poem, I think...

It's not written to anyone in particular...

...but to everyone in general.


I wonder at you:

when I look into your eyes
I see there's more there
than I can ever hope to see

so I can't break away:

where there's more
than can ever be seen
there is mystery--

there is beauty.

l want to witness your mystery
so I can remember
how beautifully strange
this life is--

realize again
the wonderful strangeness
of my own life:

my half-awake olive-drab eyes
become mysterious creations
when found in the black center
of your fathomless wells:

eyes that mirror my eyes--
eyes the same as mine
and yet, so different...

how strange.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
another OPEN ALL NIGHT book promo

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Original Wound

author’s note:

It seemed appropriate to follow a poem about rainbows with this poem about a human being who splits in half.

But perhaps it's not the best poem for Valentine's Day...

...or maybe it is.


According to the story:
our problems first began
when the first human being
couldn't decide which direction
to go in--

North held a promise
but so did South.

Due to this dilemma
the first human then split in half...

Both halves felt the loss; however,
both halves saw the other half
as "the other":

as the exact opposite of itself

and so
they didn't try to get back together
but walked away from each other:

one half went North
while the other half went South--
both of them searching for what
might heal the wound...

As with any journey, both halves
found many obstacles in their paths
and because new things can be
so very hard to see
they often mistook those blocks
for the very thing they sought:

at first, thing might seem to be
the right thing
but then, as it was seen
more clearly, it wouldn't seem so right,
after all.

The happy ending of our story
would appear to be obvious:

after the North half
reached the polar cap
without finding the answer
it would begin to descend
just as the South half
would eventually ascend

then the two of them would meet again
and from the understanding they'd gained
finally realize their mistake.

Unfortunately, on ground level
the situation remains in chaos

we humans keep trying
to go both ways at once--
thus, we continue to split
and split: the halves
just keep on halving--

populating our planet with people
all searching for what might mend
the original wound...

both versions of the story
explain why you seemed so perfect
when I first saw you:

you appeared to be the half
that could make me whole.

But maybe my mistake is fortunate
because this error in perception
has brought us two together
where my blindness may be cured
(at least, in part) along with yours:

yes, I now realize you're not
my other half, but
I know if I keep working
to see you better
I'll discover a mirror:

a reflection that shows me something
I've missed in myself--
   that helps me retrieve
   that same something.

Likewise, I hope
you can find something of yourself
as you peer into me...

not the other half, of course
but, maybe, a big part...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
book of the SOULTIME

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Rainbow Reminder

author's note:

I'm not chasing rainbows.


I believe I finally understand
the reason rainbows must fade:

the arc appears for a few moments
to remind us of the tantalizing possibility--
to echo our deep desire

which is:

to create an arch
composed of colors bonded together
--a bridge

connecting one side to the other,
connecting opposites:

letting us know, once again
how much we want union.

But then,
tiring of our worshiping smile
the ethereal bands evaporate--

prompting us to stop
gazing heavenward
and get back to the work
of ending our long storm.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Inconspicious Giants

author's note:

Just to be clear...

The first two lines refer to a statement from the Book of Genesis.


Yes, there were giants
in the land in those days...

but don't worry

giants walk amongst us still--!--

however, they're of a different breed
thus, often unrecognizable
to the untrained eye:

they don't bang their chests
or beg to be elected President.

these towers are governed
by enough humility
not to use the appellation
of "guru" or "priestess".

Some even seem to be weeds
because weeds
are simply plants
for which a purpose
has not yet been discovered.

During the daylight hours
street lamps are taken for granted

but in the long night
the moon and stars will be
too distant to illuminate us
and so, we'll depend upon
the extraordinary light
of these ordinary lamps

then finally perceive the height
of so many hidden giants.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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