Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ghosts in the Trees

author’s note:

When I read that in Thailand the ghosts live in trees... just sounded healthy to me.


In Thailand
they say ghosts
live in the trees.

I wish we'd provide
such an open home
for our own ghosts

instead of trying to shove them
down into the basement:

shades rebel
under such confinement

and rise to wreck havoc
in our lives, in our world.

Yes, I know
exposure to the light
doesn't take from a wraith
of its power of fright

but when we hang the specter among the branches
we can live more fully
by walking in the dappled shadows
of its sad mystery.

We can feel more fully
by we allowing the persistent pain
falling from those ghosts
to permeate our skin
like a mist.

Only in the open air
can we learn to accept
the shocking thought
that some hauntings
never really leave us...

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

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Back to the Sea

author’s note:

“All of me, why not take all of me?”
       -- from the song by Gerald Marks & Seymour Simons


This conflict started
when the first cell split

thereby creating friction
as the two new cells
jockeyed for position

then when those two broke
into two apiece
the heat increased

and continued to rise
as life continued
to divide.

Now the planet nearly boils--

the oceans swell
and threaten
to overwhelm us all:

soon, we may be totally adrift
--in this new freedom, we'll lose
   all stable points
   of reference.

Hard to know where you are
in the sea, because
you can bob up and down
apparently stationary, for months
or even years

while secretly
the waters shift you
hundreds or thousands of miles:

you don't tell the current what to do
the current tells you!

On the other hand...

maybe we truly belong
back in the Green Mother's loving arms.

But be prepared for ego to go

because in the ocean
you can lose the bindings
of your personal boundaries

then your feeling sense may stretch
downward through the depths--
may extend

until you find me and I find you

and a few billion other people

creating a bond, a blend

until I'm uncertain where I end

and where you and you and you begin:

we'll all become part of something
that has no parts--

we'll be in synch--one mammoth heart.

Wonderful--but scary too
to lose myself in you

and you and you and you--

to fully live the truth of this life:

a truth we struggled so hard to ignore
through the dry millennia--

afraid of what our heart would tell us...

a truth we may now finally accept
as we try to cool our rising waters.

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

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thoughts While Waiting for the Next Contraction

pregnant woman dazzled - February 18, 2015s

author’s note:

No, I’m not expecting any new arrivals.

I’m just trying to look on the bright side of population growth.


Almost cruel
to push a child into
this whirling world
of cloud and conflict

but maybe more cruel
not to allow a soul
such a grand opportunity
to grow some more

and cruel to us and it
not to give that spirit
the chance to bring us
just a little more light

as we struggle to find our way
through the storm cloud of conflict.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
common courage: the book

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Sunday, February 15, 2015


head lock 330h - February 15, 2015s

author’s note:

Let it be known that I've found peace...

...many times...

...and though I've lost it just as many times...

I have hope: I know it's there within me.


After one of my storms
I always feel battered...

So I've worked to learn
how such tempests are born:

to be aware of
the pressurized conflict
building within

to sense
the inflated righteous

to feel the wounds
so sensitive to touch

to sit down and listen
to the whimpering
of my burning frustration.

This education has lifted me:

I need not wait for hindsight--now
I can often see the wiser choice
when I'm actually in the moment

--sometimes I can even act
in accordance with the wisdom

and thus, avoid another hell storm.


if such a weak-willed man
can find ways to deal
with his internal rumbling...

why can't a great nation
also refuse to be ruled
by the wild wind of its fear?

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

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Hope for Myself, My Hope for the World

ash bird - February 12, 2015s

author's note:

My goal isn't to write my story, but to write our story.


I wish I could assure you
salvation naturally follows destruction

but the bird doesn't always
rise from the ash.


if the fire of the our present
becomes a conflagration in the future
I will try to write of hope--

just as I do today

as I struggle to learn
how to maintain a stable peace
without losing my fire--

as I struggle to learn
how to grow a strong flame
without the blaze bursting
into a one-man conflagration.

On this mission
I often collapse into ashes
yet I keep raising myself
back up

strengthened by hope.

My hope for myself
is my hope for the world.

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

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Sunday, February 08, 2015

Working with the Dwarf

author’s note:\

In a dream, I tried to knock down a series of tough dwarves--but they were all the same dwarf.

The line of dwarves just kept on coming.  From that dream I learned: he can't be beat.


Sometimes, in the uncertainty
of this shadowy room
I've responded with hot fear

--with anger--

and in the flare
of that sudden fire
revealed a self
I'd tried to hide

even from myself:

a demon to subdue--
or so I once believed:

when I applied the whip
and the cage
that great force revolted
against my tyranny.

So now I try to find
productive channels
for an energy so fierce:

how can I use
that tough dwarf?--

how can I stop it
from using me?

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

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Our Geology, My Geology

author's note:

If this poem seems overly pessimistic...

...just remember: optimists have shorter life spans.


I can feel the tension
swelling within our Earth

as the heavy crust slowly shifts
and massive bullhead force
scraps and butts against
massive bullhead force...

We've all witnessed the results
of such subterranean conflict:

in an instant
fault lines crack open
like bursts of lightning

then tall buildings shudder
and collapse--
their confidence dissolving
into dust and rubble

likewise mountains crumple and crumble
leaving only bottomless sinkholes

and oceans swallow coastline
with total lack of conscience

as innocent people scream and wail
through burning streets and fields.

Yes, I know quite well
the nature of plate tectonics

having erupted so many times myself--

I've studied and experimented
with various ways of easing
the tension between inner forces--

forces moving blindly
according to their own
willful reasons.

I'm still learning
how to slide the conflict

to disperse destructive energy...

and sometimes in the process
I create a public works project.

I know I can do little now
to ease the tensions mounting
within the world we've made

but someday...

after the energies released
have ripped through our cities
and countries...

maybe you and I can use
what we've gained
through our own painful

to help close the fissures

to help bind the wounds

to help build back

but stronger--wiser--


© 2015, Michael R. Patton
common courage: the book

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Sunday, February 01, 2015

A Visit to the Paper Store

author's note:

Come on, come on, come on, come on
now touch me, babe...
                     -- The Doors


I once spent
an hour well-spent
shuffling through stacks on shelves
in search of the perfect paper

for this craft project:
replicate a solitary heart
seen in the darkness of a dream.

I'd hoped
one of those paper textures
would help me recall
the feeling of that moon-white heart

and though several did seem
almost right
"almost" is not quite.

Yet as my finger pads traced across sheets
of various weaves and thicknesses
I discovered some type of perfection
in every grade--
high and low and in-between:

each new pleasure
spurred the desire
to touch just one more...
just one more...

until one particular paper
finally stopped me--
that rough gray sheet
actually seemed to shine
from the shadow of the shelf...

so I touched
with the trepidation of hope

and in turn, was touched
by a quiet fabric so alive:

somehow this paper provoked
a deeper feeling--

reminding me of the empathy
I sometimes feel
when I'm watching on the street--

an empathy I also experience
when I sit down with someone
who I sense has known
a history similar to my own.

So later, at home
when I eagerly
--yet tenderly--
put scissors
to those receptive fibers
the result expressed
something beyond
mere decorative design:

when I see that heart shape
I recall someone lost...

someone whose history
is part of my own.

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

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