Posts Tagged ‘dream’

The Dream Speaks



Some dreams are meant to wake us up.

Like the dream when the man approaches your car

and you roll down your window to ask him what he needs


and he speaks in words you don’t understand.

What? You say to him. What are you trying to tell me?

And he pulls out a chainsaw and thrusts it through the open window


and instead of recoiling, you try harder to hear

what he’s trying to say. What are you saying?

you ask him, still wanting to make sense of the man,


believing he has something important to teach you.

He is here to teach you some people are not safe.

And why is it your survival instinct is so slow to kick in?


At last you thrust the car into reverse

and swerve down the narrow road before launching

into the air and soaring, soaring away from the man,


somehow unsurprised when the car lands in a canopy

of trees. And you are unhurt in the arms of oaks.

When you wake, as you do, each time you try to return to sleep,


there’s the man again, his chainsaw reaching for you,

the evil snarl on his lips. Wake up, says the dream.

Not everyone can be trusted. Why is it so hard


to wake you up? How can the world support you

if you choose to stay with what hurts you,

if you don’t let yourself be launched?



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Which, they say, is impossible,

but we all know the impossible

happens. If you dreamed

that you died, then I would

slip myself into your dream,

which is also impossible,

but now we’re on a roll

of impossibilities. So while

we’re at it, let’s say that while

I am in your dream, I slip

out of the dream and into

your room, which is really,

really impossible, but

wouldn’t that be cool,

to travel through dreams

into each other’s lives?

And then, once in your room,

I would watch you sleeping

and if you tossed and whimpered,

distressed by your death,

I’d lay my hand on your head

and I’d say, shhh, it’s alright,

You’re safe. I’m here.

And you would settle deeper

into your pillow, and I would

watch over your sleep and hum

a little song about home,

and the moon would hold us,

because this is a poem

in which impossible things happen,

and its long silver arms would

be warm and tender and soft,

and I wouldn’t wake you

in case it means I have to leave

the dream and find myself

unable to tell you you’re safe,

I’m here. I’m here.


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One Blooming


looking outside myself

for my dream, when all along

it takes my shape



Thank You Letter to My Lungs


No matter the shame,

the fear, the loss, the pain,

you bring the outside in

and then share what’s inside

with everything else,


and rhythmically, quietly,

hidden and tireless,

you stich me,

unite me

to the cloth of all that is.


How do I sometimes

ignore the communion?

And you breathe on,

barely audible prayer,

weaving me into here, here, here.




One Reason for Clarity



playing hide and seek

with myself, I always win

I always lose










The Lesson



I said to love I am lost

and she gave me


a ladder, a leaf,

a crooked blue door,

an alley I’d never

traveled before,


a room with no ceiling

three circles, some green,

bouquet of uncertainty

scent of spring,


a small red window

a straight backed chair.

Still lost? she said.

Now share.

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She tried to fly

by catching moths

and tying their wings

to herself.


He tried to fly

by studying flight

as if reading

were enough.


But in their drive

to fly they both

lost sight of what

they had—


two legs that leap

and run and walk,

and kick and climb

and dance.

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after Ellen Bass



To trust life, that is the thing.

To trust it even when there are gaping holes

in the walls of your certainty.

To trust it even when your foundation

feels like a strange place filled with strange people

who all feel more at home in you than you do.

And when fear enters you like a bear in your basement,

or like three bears, all of them famished,

all of them rummaging through your emergency stores,

yes, when fear offers to give you its name,

when fear brings you a ladders and says, Here,

climb down into yourself, into this chamber

of strangers and bears,

when you would rather go anywhere but in,

that is when you step onto the rungs and go down,

one rung at a time. No gun in your hand.

No bear spray. No knife. There is honey

in here somewhere. And tea. So much here

to offer these hungriest parts of yourself.

And you are ready to make peace.

You are ready to meet them and share.

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I wanted the artwork hung on the wall, a slip of paper with bright splattered paint. I had no tape, no tack, no nail. But strange, in the corner I noticed a small brown mound of shit. And strange I could not smell it. I did not know how it had come to be there. Did not know how long it had been on the floor. And for reasons I can only explain as urgent, I considered its sticky properties. The possibility clicked in before the revulsion. By then it was too late. I took my naked hand and smeared a brown arc on the wall, then pressed into it the art. It held. It occurred to me to be embarrassed. It occurred to me it was gross. Unhealthy. Unnormal. I was repulsed. And slightly proud in making due when resources are few. There was some pleasure in the way I shocked myself. Not with what I did, but with how I dare now to tell the truth.


**Dear friends, this is, of course, from a dream. 

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Dry December




Winter, this year,

like the dream

in which I must

call someone

but I cannot

remember who

it is, only

how important

that I call.


When I wake,

I walk to the phone,

but waking

brings me no

closer to remembering.


Off the porch,

the pansies

wear plum

and gold—

there is summer

in their softness.


I stare at them.

Who is it

I am supposed

to call? And

what has happened

to winter?


The sky

turns a bluer

shade of blue.

The pansies

nod. Whatever

they know,

they’re not telling.









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all morning

unable to untangle

what is real

from last night’s dream—

part of me reaching

back to massage it

into being, part of me

packing the lunch,

making the tea

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Big Escape



I thought if I made myself small enough

I could fit inside the box labeled happiness,

and I folded my dreams into neat little squares

and kept them on a shelf labeled later.

But life leaks.

Happiness knows no box.

And who is this woman unfolding the dreams,

wrapping them into blue turbans, green capes,

and magic carpets of every hue flying out of the box.

Where is she going?

Dang, she looks familiar.


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There are tigers in the forest.

I used to think I was tame. No one

knows why they are given

a certain task. My task

is to catch the tigers.

We keep each other strong.

My arms are bare. My head

is bare. We stay awake. We prowl.




A friend offers me a bit of something dead.

What is dead is dead, but still I try

to make of it something useful. I tie it

to a ribbon of blue and cast it into the forest.

The tigers do not care for beauty.

The tigers care nothing for what is dead.

It is me that they want.

I stay strong. The tigers stay strong.




I walk closer to the tigers

until we are face to face.

I have nothing to offer them

except for myself. This is all

we ever have to offer.

The tigers follow me now.

Once I thought I was hunter.

Now I see we are all each other’s prey.




There is a room with no windows,

a room with two hidden doors.

I lead the tigers here, though I

have never been here before.

The first door closes behind us

and as the tigers explore

I push on the weight of an inner wall

and slip through an inner door.




Anything tame is a lie.

It is only me that I want

and I will do even that

which I think is impossible.

I do not need a weapon.

I do not need a lure.

I am the wall that I slip through.

I am the hidden door.


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