Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Meditations of a Nose

author’s note:

I wrote this poem after watching actor Adrien Brody get knocked around in the film noir Hollywoodland.

Dedicated to the skunk that traipsed around the premises last night.


I know your elegant nose
has so far survived
those violent film roles...

but repeated pummeling
will eventually render
your sensitive instrument

so I suggest, instead
you let that fine blade guide you
out from the dust
of conflict and confusion

to the discover again
mind-clearing Fragrance...

for instance:
the crisp scent of frost

or the layered wet smell
of long-decayed leaves...

the gray odor of mushroom rings
carried on the stirring breeze of Spring.

But also such abrasions as
the pungency of chlorine

or the heavy stink of asphalt cooking
during Summer highway construction.

Such olfactory delights
can lead our hearts back
to the path of beauty...

Through the quiet
meditations of the nose
we may bring up
our innate wisdom...

© 2015, Michael R. Patton

listening to silence: the book

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Lovers' Stone Quarry

author's note:

Our old abandoned places have such mystery.


After the steam shovels
finally abandoned this quarry

the gray rains of Winter
filled the granite pit
with cloudy-white water.

Now, a solitary couple
sneaks down the hill

to swim--to splash--to yell
in the last sizzling sunrays
of a late Summer's day.

But in time the two
arrive at their quiet
and shyly open
to a deep embrace

then as cool wet skin
meets cool wet skin
they both discover warmth
in the anxious heart of the other

which brings me to wonder
what we might become
if this massive complex we've created
someday collapses
under its own heady weight--

what might those who remain find
as they pick their way
among the ruins?--

might they uncover
a new way of life?

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
dream steps: the blog

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Freedom Feet

author’s note:

I'm not a member of the Polar Bear Club.  But hopefully, I'm not in the Hibernating Bear Club either.


Dulled by too much security
today, I let my feet breathe:

no socks, no shoes--open again

to the shark-slash of broken glass

to the scalding sting of boiling water

and worse yet:
the abrupt cold poison
of frightened snake...

but also free to feel
the shocking freshness
of wet Spring grass--

also free to squeeze
the luscious cool mud
between my pale toes.

I woke my nervous system
from its cobweb sleep
by creating bursts
of interior fireworks--
ignited by touch.

as my eyes traced
patterns of migration
in the wide-open sky,
my foot pads listened

to the veins of a river
coursing underground.

Today, I made
a dumb man a bit wiser

by again realizing
the value--the necessity--
of small acts of courage.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Blessed Burden of The Moon

author's note:

Some believe we didn't actually land a man on The Moon...

Of course we did.  But not on this Moon:


Its white inscrutable face
hovers too close to ignore

while taunting the reach
of these stunted arms
--these starved hands.

I gaze at The Moon
until finally my desire
becomes unbearable

then I turn my eyes down
to weave a way back through
this midnight wood.

But now, I'm no longer so alone:

now I can feel that moon
beaming its weight
down onto my back--

a haunting--a burden:

now I can feel my tides
agitating within--

now I'm forced to feel
sensations, intuitions
I can usually reject--

now this life is again
an ocean of unknown depth.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
open all night: the book

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Sunday, January 11, 2015


head hand - January 11, 2014s

author’s note:

It was blessed good fortune when I discovered the books of Robert A. Johnson.


I write to honor a woman
who hides in full view--

whenever I lose her
she watches and waits

as my stitches break open--

she will sew me back up
but I must first guide the thread
through the eye of the needle:

I must nurture her
before she can nurture me.

If you claim
you do not want her
I know your poverty--

I once tried
to leave her behind
because I thought
I needed to be tough
to make this trek
across the desert...

but finally I felt so weak
I had to stop
and as I gave myself up
I realized her presence
then realized her strength--

when I looked skyward
I found her gliding
in a fleet of sunlit clouds

then discovered her again
in the cloud shadows moving
across the brown sand.

At night,
she beams down upon me
from the eye of the moon

as I nestle into a boulder
shaped like her hand.

Some meet her by blessed accident:
a burglar opens a window to rob a jewel
and ends up leaving with the bride.

She comes to me
when I finally acquiesce
and allow myself
to experience perfection...

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Digging for Her Arms

author's note:

As stated in the poem, I did indeed dig by a stump as a boy...

One Saturday, I found a diamond.  At least, it seemed to be a diamond.

Somehow it slipped from my hands and was lost.  I've searched for it ever since.


I am still the child

who dug with a stick
in the dirt by the stump--

the boy
who whimsically imagined
he might unearth
a pair of gentle arms
for the naked statute
he'd seen in a book:

he would be her hero--

she'd use those hands
to lift him to her lips
--her flowing caress
would be the healing waters
he so desperately desired.

Since that time
I've discovered other means
of excavation
to try to satisfy
the ache of that child--

ways to recover
that which was lost...

knowing now, we don't
come upon the buried treasure
all at once

the hands, the arms
are uncovered
piece by small piece:

a tedious archaeology

but with just enough found
to sustain this child's hope...

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation: the book

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Healing Song

author's note:

In olden times, people believed the souls of humans took up habitation in birds, upon death.

I'd prefer the soul of bird to take up habitation in me, while I'm still alive.


Such generosity from that bird:

offering me its golden-throated warbling
for the purpose of healing my ears
--my heart

then building a nest
to demonstrate
how beautiful vessels
though delicately suspended
can defy the storm.

I respond to its fretful notes:

the bird sings of a life precarious.

I respond to its strong tones--

the bird tells us:
I will feel the pain of this fear
and create a song of love.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

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