Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wisdom Creek

author’s note:

Sometimes, I'll ask myself if a poem is really true to my experience.

I didn't have to ask about this one.


I usually I try to hide from you
the strains of my inflated violin--

a baroque score devoted to

I prefer, instead, to write about
how I sat down in solitude
at the wisdom creek.

Truth is:
under the spell
of such high-strung illusion
I often neglect to visit
those healing waters...

but blinded by my operatic cloud
I'll eventually trip

and land down hard, on my back--back
at the wisdom creek

then, in my stunned silence
I will hear a deeper me
and in listening, discover
some solid peace

for a little while, at least

as my monumental tumult
eases down, flows down
the stream--gone--

only to return, too soon

but with the rebound,
my song resonates
with true strength
--a fresh clarity

for a little while,
at least...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Winter's Cave

author’s note:

A fitting poem, I thought, for the beginning of Spring.

Through March 22, you can get this poetry book for free on amazon.


Sometimes, I retreat
to a Winter’s cave
and allow all my growling
to spread thin
over a lake of frozen stars.

But even when hibernating
the bear rises and falls
with each breath--
the waters slosh
underneath the ice
until the stars
break apart

and then I return

from a repose too sweet to hold.

for a short while at least
I've regained
my gentle strength...

but knowing at any moment
I might accidentally stir the bear
and then be forced to contend
with its claws and teeth again.

Yet amid such contention
the two of us can occasionally
locate the balance of peace

then I'm able to enjoy
the slow indomitable roll
of awakened bear power.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Service Record

author’s note:

The religious practice mentioned in the poem is--or at least, was--true.

I guess it's like buying an indulgence.


In Bora Bora, kings believe
they must pay priests
to pray for them--

otherwise, they'll convert
to hat stands upon death
and be forced to serve all ghosts,
high and low.

But I accept
a different kind of karma:
if you are not willing
to be a hat stand sometime in this life,
you'll need to become one
in the next.

How else would you earn
your three hundred sixty degrees?

I myself have held
plenty of hats and coats
for others, high and low.
Also umbrellas.

The restraint of such tight rooms
pushed me, finally, to lift my head...

only then did I see
the lofty ceiling
slowly opening
to the sky.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
new steps

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sacrificial Nights

bat flight - March 12, 2014s

author's note:

A companion poem to the last one posted...

I've had scary dreams, nauseating dreams, dreams that have weighed on me all the next day.

But I've never had any "bad" dreams.


Though in sleep my body needs
a good feathery rest...

my soul requires those bat wings
that trouble my eyelids--

by the day's erratic fuss
the upside-down angel
stirs a wind, swirls me up
with no care at all
for my coziness--

only to be dropped
into the cold monk waters
so contrary to
the gentle dinner evening
I've just enjoyed--

through the thunder of the depths
where I'm again shaved by electric fishes
with razor-sharp fins

to be beached the next morning:
in the sun, I burn from the cutting--
but though burnt, I'm never quite done.

From the repetition of such exercise
I've surmised:
no amount of sacrifice is ever enough--

the sharpened point
can never get
too fine.

Perhaps that's why
we struggle so hard
to extend our lives
instead of surrendering
to the soft rest of death:

I know
I have so much more
to offer up
in the batty days and nights
of this dark angel.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Glad to Share My Incredible Nightmare

author’s note:

I'm reminded of the expression, "He's a nice person--when he's asleep."

Whoever coined that phrase has never seen my dreams.


What a night!--
hail rained down
through my dreams
to stick in my heel and crop
all the next day
as I tried to talk, to walk
as if not so discombobulated
by a sleep
that was non-sleep.

The steam of what boils in my heart
finds release in dreams--
at times, refined
into a pipe organ melody angelic

but more often blasting a cacophony--
sometimes quite terrifying:

those fists of ice shrieked in a thundering wind--!

But I must admit
such lightning storms
give me a charge--
despite the frazzled
burnt-crisp aftershock:

a charge absent the next night
when I'm refreshed and eased
by gentle visions gone in a wisp...

leaving me with no better story
than to repeat what happened
night before last.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A New Sisyphus

author's note:

I've decided to alter the Sisyphus myth of the ancient Greeks...

I think we need something more encouraging--to my mind, a better truth.


I present myself as an exhibit
of a necessary human hunger--

necessary, even though
this drive nearly kills us--kills me:

I move my feet
so as not to be devoured
by my hunger--
I climb mountains
desperately trying to satisfy
its goading goatlike appetite:

it demands more
no matter how high I go.

In my blind innocence
I feel my way along
and every strong round stone I touch
becomes part of my sustenance--

every watery cave becomes a cookstove.

Now I love
even the tedious steps
having come to realize
each one nourishes me.

So, I'm not disappointed
when I reach the mountain top
and still feel the yearning--

no, I can hardly wait for Morning
when I again begin at the bottom
of yet another mountain--

another, but with its base
rising from the peak of the last.

I can't rest in this struggle
to feed my driving hunger
but without this desire
I wouldn't be alive...

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Our Search for the Abominable Snowman

author’s note:

I no longer entertain the idea that Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, or the Abominable Snowman might exist as physical realities.

But I do believe people witness these creatures.


What drives us
to search for the Snowman
round and round this mountain
every swirling Winter?

After all, our efforts
wouldn't seem to add up to much:
his footprints disappear
in the snow dust
before we can track him down.

But despite the frustrations of our hunt,
by Spring, my companions and I
feel a strange satisfaction

as we follow rivulets
from the melting snow
down the rocky pass--
the gang of us joyfully returning
to the fields where our women
hand us the reigns to a plow horse.

Does the Snowman truly exist, you ask--?--

all I can say is:
as I work the land
I swear I can hear
its echoing bellow
far away on the mountain--

faint, yes, but deeply felt.

As I feel that sound
I descend.
As I feel that sound
I ascend.

So I know why I am driven

but I still don't know by what.

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

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