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When you’re tired, everything’s worse

Three poems by Kim Dower

Kim Dower is the City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood.
Kim Dower is the City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood.

What It Means When You Dream

  • You Bought a Red Cadillac
  • it means your face is on fire
  • it means your hands grab anything that moves
  • it means you want to be kissing her scarlet knees
  • it means you want one bloody shrieking crimson haunted wish
  • to finally come true as you speed past
  • your blindfolded childhood drive until your life
  • finally works it means you want a ride so fast so smooth you’ll glide
  • into home right through your front door no questions asked
  • it means your inflamed dream is racing you into the future
  • where naked people are waiting to greet you embrace you
  • are lined up to jump inside the passenger seat
  • it means your headache will recede into a night of fingertips
  • easing the pain your back drenched against the leather
  • cherry colored ignition blush like your first hot wheeled crush
  • energy pulsing feet solid on the pedal touch
  • your hands 10 and 2 o’clock like they taught you back then when
  • all you cared about was her skirt riding up over your cool hand
  • slap her thigh it hurt to look her in the eye one kiss to last all summer

Dogs and Poetry

  • Last night she dreamed of dogs and poetry
  • they were giving a reading in a living room
  • different breeds, long-haired, handsome
  • golden and chocolate, panting, stacked
  • on a loft, pouncing one at a time onto center
  • stage, their poems in their teeth, collies on edge
  • pugs in love, shepherds fierce with loyalty,
  • labs with their heads in her lap, she was sitting
  • up there with them, coaching, petting, a box
  • of biscuits in her lap, rewards for their words
  • which astonished the audience, a miracle, so fresh,
  • new, they barked in iambic pentameter, singing
  • the blues these dogs were so damn cool we all
  • wanted to bite them on their pink tender bellies
  • we all wanted to suck their life into our tired souls

Dead Tired

  • When you’re tired
  • everything’s worse.
  • Glimpsing a rogue hair
  • spurting from the side
  • of your chin is like seeing
  • the end of the world.
  • Have a nap your inner voice
  • instructs you, have one now,
  • lay down and float into the cloud
  • of dreams you should have had
  • last night when the heat
  • kept you tossing with worry
  • about people you love but can’t
  • help, can’t fix, if only they’d listen,
  • but you’re too tired to grouse
  • so you dance naked
  • through the house, singing
  • loud enough to wake the dead.
  • Haven’t they slept long enough?
  • Time to get them out of bed.

Kim Dower is the City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. She has published three collections of poetry with Red Hen Press: Air Kissing on Mars, Slice of Moon, and Last Train to the Missing Planet. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books), as well as journals including Rattle, Barrow Street, Ploughshares, Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, and Poem-A-Day. She teaches workshops Poetry and Dreaming and Poetry and Memory at Antioch University. More at kimdowerpoetry.com.

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Kim Dower is the City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood.
Kim Dower is the City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood.

What It Means When You Dream

  • You Bought a Red Cadillac
  • it means your face is on fire
  • it means your hands grab anything that moves
  • it means you want to be kissing her scarlet knees
  • it means you want one bloody shrieking crimson haunted wish
  • to finally come true as you speed past
  • your blindfolded childhood drive until your life
  • finally works it means you want a ride so fast so smooth you’ll glide
  • into home right through your front door no questions asked
  • it means your inflamed dream is racing you into the future
  • where naked people are waiting to greet you embrace you
  • are lined up to jump inside the passenger seat
  • it means your headache will recede into a night of fingertips
  • easing the pain your back drenched against the leather
  • cherry colored ignition blush like your first hot wheeled crush
  • energy pulsing feet solid on the pedal touch
  • your hands 10 and 2 o’clock like they taught you back then when
  • all you cared about was her skirt riding up over your cool hand
  • slap her thigh it hurt to look her in the eye one kiss to last all summer

Dogs and Poetry

  • Last night she dreamed of dogs and poetry
  • they were giving a reading in a living room
  • different breeds, long-haired, handsome
  • golden and chocolate, panting, stacked
  • on a loft, pouncing one at a time onto center
  • stage, their poems in their teeth, collies on edge
  • pugs in love, shepherds fierce with loyalty,
  • labs with their heads in her lap, she was sitting
  • up there with them, coaching, petting, a box
  • of biscuits in her lap, rewards for their words
  • which astonished the audience, a miracle, so fresh,
  • new, they barked in iambic pentameter, singing
  • the blues these dogs were so damn cool we all
  • wanted to bite them on their pink tender bellies
  • we all wanted to suck their life into our tired souls

Dead Tired

  • When you’re tired
  • everything’s worse.
  • Glimpsing a rogue hair
  • spurting from the side
  • of your chin is like seeing
  • the end of the world.
  • Have a nap your inner voice
  • instructs you, have one now,
  • lay down and float into the cloud
  • of dreams you should have had
  • last night when the heat
  • kept you tossing with worry
  • about people you love but can’t
  • help, can’t fix, if only they’d listen,
  • but you’re too tired to grouse
  • so you dance naked
  • through the house, singing
  • loud enough to wake the dead.
  • Haven’t they slept long enough?
  • Time to get them out of bed.

Kim Dower is the City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. She has published three collections of poetry with Red Hen Press: Air Kissing on Mars, Slice of Moon, and Last Train to the Missing Planet. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books), as well as journals including Rattle, Barrow Street, Ploughshares, Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, and Poem-A-Day. She teaches workshops Poetry and Dreaming and Poetry and Memory at Antioch University. More at kimdowerpoetry.com.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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