The Good Fight


 

Like all religions, our new mythology must show us the value of humility, yet also empower us.

In the best of times, we need this sense of humility.  In the worst of times, we need this sense of empowerment—or else we drown in our own despair.

I wrote the poem below during a time of despair.

I felt powerless.  My country had fallen into—leapt into—a disastrous quagmire.  The quagmire of Iraq.

Before the invasion, I could see how desperately our leaders wanted that war.  What amount of protest would stop them?…

Then, after the invasion, I could see how our actions would cause great harm and suffering to those we said we were liberating…

…as well as to ourselves.

So I wrote this poem to remind myself that I was not powerless.

I wanted to remind myself I could do something to stop war, could do something, on my own, to stop terrorism.

I am still working on the project described in this poem.  I’ll probably be working on it ’til the day I die.  No matter—it’s the good fight, the good war.
 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

I have not yet
abolished terror, but
I plan to accomplish that goal
within this life span.

Don’t tell me I can’t—
you can tell me many things—
that I can’t be a gourmet chef
or a mathematician—
that I can’t master the two-step—
that I can accept

but don’t tell me
I won’t conquer terror
because
I refuse, refuse
to be terrorized
by anyone

including myself

including those
who I fault because
they too closely resemble
my mirror.

I will awake—
awake
to the vermin
in my stew—
awake
to the fractures
in my math—

awake to all that is broken—
awake to see how all is round
and can never be broken.

So…if you try
to terrorize me
you will only end up
terrorizing yourself.

If you bombard me
I will dance.   That dance
will be my revenge.

But I choose
not
to criticize you.

Any fear I stew
will be reserved
for my own
dining pleasure.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
dreaming steps

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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