Friday, July 27, 2018

What I Discovered at the Sleep Lab

author's note:

Peace: always a work-in-progress.


In our studies at the sleep lab
the quietest test subjects
often report
such loud dreams.

For instance:
the muted woman
who told us how she'd fought
to keep herself intact
as she spun up inside
a crazy gray tornado:

she described her struggle
with an elation absent later
when she awoke from seeing
a white dove perched
on her sunny window sill.

I wanted to say to her:
ironic, isn't it?--you're
more excited by the war
than by the peace you've earned.

But no, I did not--
we're only allowed to make
some marks on a chart.

that evening I again sounded off
over drinks with my associates--
abandoning my science for the moment
to repeat with certainty this belief:

the dreams we record are proof
that all lives--
  even those so common
  even those so low
  even those so quiet
hold the highest goal.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Old Hope Reborn

author's note:

Whoever invented the alarm clock must've hated dreams.


In the dream...

my shoulders slumped
in sad humility

as I looked down at
my footprints in the dust
and saw such chaos--
just a roundabout mess of steps.

I could see no gain
in that circle of clutter--
no, only loss.

But then a voice
(maybe within, maybe without)

you're a labyrinth within a labyrinth.

So I checked again
and lo!--
I began to see a design...`

a pattern too soon shattered
by the dull drill of my alarm.

But though I can't recall
the truth I saw
at least, I again believe
a plan exists
for me...for all of us:

so again I have hope--

perhaps foolishly so
but oh--
I enjoy being young again.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton searching for my best beliefs: poetry ebook

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Light from a Dark Dream

author's note:

No such thing as a bad dream!


As I struggled to navigate
the dark labyrinth
of that dream...

what a shock when
the thin guiding thread broke
and soon after that
my small lamp blew out

then in the smoky fog
I tried to find my way
with careful fingertips

but my sense of touch
had dulled.

What a blessing that dream!--

when I awoke to its light
I began to see again.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
my war for peace: poetry ebook

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Return to Center

author's note:

“I was asleep but my heart stayed awake.”
    -- from Song of Songs (trans. Ariel & Chana Bloch)


In the dream...

a waterdrop
from a towering redwood tree
created the single ring of a ripple
in the center
of a pond's black mirror:

the ripple spread--
into a silver wave rising--
gaining momentum

until it met
those rocks along the shore:

a crash, but not destruction
just a loud bounce:

the ripple quickly
put its ring back together
then began the return--
a return to center--

diminishing down
to a wee circle
then down
to a single still point...

a point that sat in ideal peace

only for a moment, I'll admit
but that moment was enough

for me to renew
before I went forth once more
to sound myself
against those rocks.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poetry ebook

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Sunday, July 08, 2018


Up from the bottom
  of an old pond,
  that duckling
has seen something strange.
     -- Joso (trans. Beilenson/Behn)


In those ocean dreams...

I want to bob on the top
of the water like a buoy
even though I know
if I don't dive down
I will be dunked

dunked again:

drawn down
by some force of nature--down
to dark depths
where faces float like jellyfish:

they seem so foreign
and yet I'm told
they're all a part of me--

even the women
even the animals
even the machines.

Occasionally I’ll witness
a face so luminous--
I burst to the surface with joy

but more often I'm greeted
by something much dimmer:
maybe a blank-eyed robot
or a drooling dog.

So next time I find myself
bobbing at the top
I may again resist
when I feel
that downward pull...

even though I know
I'll be dunked if I do

yes--dunked again.

© 2018, Michael R. Patton
what I learned while alone: poetry ebook

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Declaration of Independence

author's note:

Around every Fourth of July, I revisit this poem.

Full disclosure: I'm not always able to live up to these words.


I'll be damn if I'll be terrorized
by anyone

including me--

I have looked into the mirror
and seen how mean I've been
to myself.

If I can face that monster
why should I cower
before those who lack
the courage to look
into their own reflections?

When they bombard me
my legs may tremble
but I won't jump--
no, I'll pirouette in triumph:
my dance will be my revenge!

Though they curse me to hell
I won't curse them--
after all
I know the wounds
of their hellacious suffering.

On the other hand
I can't sincerely bless them to heaven:

I haven't yet healed myself
to that degree of empathy.

I have stopped
and stopped
and stopped
my monster from mirroring
their vitriolic violence

and maybe that's blessing enough.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
My War for Peace: a poetry book

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