Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

I sit and look out,

hearing the ocean rolling in front of me…

head back,

eyes closed,

… and I’m gone.

Counting on my daydreams to carry me away,

and they do, quickly…

I can taste the salt on my lips,

the uncomfortableness of the sand scratching my skin,

the breeze — the breeze is welcoming across my burning skin.

The sun is high in the sky but my daydreams don’t care,

they grab hold of my thoughts… filling my head with a world of forgotten promises.

Our truths are so varied but we end up at the same place,

a ship bringing us close to shore,


If I could fly… I’d spring out of this dream and jump in the waves,

I’d relax as the water churns around me,

I’d forget to remember that the world can be messy.

I’d forget to remember that bruising is a lesson I needed to learn.

I’d forget to remember my way back isn’t through you…

and it’s not here.

Not on these pages.

Not in empty words that bring me to my knees.

Not in a half truth.

Then I know…

the way back is in this wave,

carrying me steadily along,

building and building until it’s out of control,

a tidal wave spilling onto a beach because it got in its way.

The pain surges through my mind as I crash without warning,

left to sort it all out,

separate it into neat organized piles of chaos.


in the debris left behind,

is my beautiful star.


in the debris,

is my necessary truth.

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this is the poem i didn’t write.

it put me on a collision course with all the stones i threw.

it pushed me within inches of the blue part of the flame.

it made me hold my gaze so long my eyes burned.

it tied me to the tracks and walked slowly away.

it cut my anchor and left me drifting from the shore.

it opened the door and locked it as i passed through.

it cringed when i sang out of key.

it left me stranded on this page because you were afraid to acknowledge it.

it whispered in my ear all the ways the pain would go away.

it thundered around in my head not letting me sleep.

it clinched my jaw so tight it ached for days.

it held me under the waves until i quit struggling.

it confused my mind with a race track of thoughts.

it hummed in my ears at a deafening silence.

it filled my pen with angry words and sneered when i couldn’t let them out.

it laughed when the words went astray.

it proudly held up another rejection note.

it jarred me awake just so i wouldn’t remember.

it convinced me that breathing was bad.

it gave a fleeting thought all the power.

it lied and said there’s no room for any space between.

it told me you read it.

it pushed dysfunction to the front of my head.

it made me look ridiculous for pressing publish.

it promised it would all be clean slated.

it yelled when i tried to start over.

it ripped out my heart and wiped it on this page.

it cursed me with a year of silence.

it jumped from the highest cliff to the jagged rocks below.

it smiled at me from the murky bottom.

it complicated the words i wanted to say.

it dared to think i wasn’t strong enough.

it quivered when i said “fuck what you think”.

it shook in fear at my determination.

it laid prostrate long enough to write it down.

this is the poem i didn’t write.

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do you sleep?

there’s a humming in my ears,

a ringing,

a sound that will not go away.

i cover my ears,

i bury my head,

… and yet, it is there.

there’s a singing i can hear,

a song,

a chorus just out of my reach.

i turn my head,

i strain to hear the words,

… and yet, it is there.

there is laughter all around,

a joy,

i see it in the distance,

reaching out my hand,

i can barely catch the vibrations,

… and yet, it is there.

there’s a life i can see,

a light,

i turn my face,

i raise my hands,

i can just feel the outline,

… and yet, it is there.

there is courage in this place,


my feet run faster,

i jump and my wings spread out,

… and yet, it is there.

it is there.

do you sleep?

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The field next door is perfectly mowed, I look at it because to me it is the world… my world. The world that keeps me company every summer. In the middle we’ve carved out a baseball field where we play every day. I never worry about being the last one chosen… they all want me on their team. I run fast. I hit hard. I throw far. I never give up. I am wild.

There’s a dirt track that circles the boundary, worn down from the motorcycle that the boys next door own. I sneak on it, out of the sight of my grandmother. My legs are too short to crank the kick-starter so the boys do it for me. I ride around the track, my sweaty brown hair flapping uncontrollably in the summer heat as I beg the bike to go faster as I approach the bump that will send me into the air for a brief second. I am wild.

The boys are waiting as I round the corner, screaming at me over the roar of engine to stop because it’s their turn. I keep going — they’re twice as old and twice as big as me but I laugh wildly as I tear past them for another time around the track and over that bump. They curse at me, laughing, when I finally stop and call me punk and squirt and pat my head and none of them go as fast I did — none of them. I am wild.

The sun disappears and we say our goodbyes for the night, I’m the last one to leave at the end of every day and the first one to arrive in the mornings. The boys walk to sit with the adults gathered in the backyard of their house. I turn and give the field a final look before I wind my way through the opening in the bushes that separates the field and the serene perfection of my grandmother’s immaculately groomed back yard.

She sits by the open window, the warm breeze blows the curtains back just a bit, the family next door laughs and screams and curses. She can smell the spilled beer and the unfiltered cigarettes as if she were standing in the middle of them… instead of where she is, on the edge of the footstool peering through the open window. I join her.

We watch together and listen together and we are silent, together. I wonder if she wishes she were sitting in the backyard with them… unencumbered by the foul smells and prickly words thrashing through the summer air all around them. I look at her. I see the want in her eyes… briefly. I stand up, tired of watching, and walk away, leaving her there… still staring.

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I see you… standing there on the corner.

A cigarette hanging from your mouth, your fingertips are yellowed by the repulsive habit. Your hair is dirty, there is no color… just the color of alone, empty, left-over. You’re clothes are disheveled. I imagine you sifting through the pile of used clothes, strewn across a cold concrete floor –piece milling your outfit together, hurriedly before anyone else joins you. Then you pick out your mat and place it in a spot close to the bathroom, you think you have a better chance of sleep with the faint light creeping under the door — the complete dark of the large room scares you.

I know this about you… I can see it.

Once your mat is in place you sprint to the front of the line for food… you know you have a better chance at seconds if you’re at the front, you know this because you watched the others those first couple of times and the power of osmosis gave you the knowledge to survive these nights. When you have your food, you pick the table closest to the front… closest to the line. You can gauge the quantity of food left and when you need to get back in line. Your eyes dart back and forth between the line and your food only you can’t even see your food — you don’t care. It’s hot. You eat. You look right through your plate to the memories of a life you think must have been lived by someone else.

I know this about you… I can see it.

I can see the baby being held by a mother — love in her eyes, a smile on her face. Her hair falls gently past her shoulder and tickles your cheek as she sings Van Morrison and there you are… into the mystic. Dancing around in her arms, clinging to the warmth of her breath, inhaling the sweet scent of her dreams — the dreams she had for you. The report card she knew she would frame, the touchdown she knew you would catch, the college she knew you would attend… she knew you would have her gypsy soul. And she danced and she twirled and you closed your eyes and…

I know this about you… I can see it.

When the morning comes you gather your things… a backpack with clothes, a toothbrush, a marker, matches — your cigarettes. You stand in the line again, waiting for your breakfast and the sack lunch for later. You put it all in your backpack and you wait outside for the van to leave and carry you back to this corner — this corner where I pull up to everyday and I watch you put that cigarette to your mouth and I see your yellowed finger tips and I wonder if anyone ever held you in their arms. I wonder if you ever knew the hope of someone who believed in you. I wonder if anyone ever gazed down on you while you were sleeping and wished you dreams of unicorns and bunny rabbits and clouds shaped like hearts. I wonder if anyone ever stood up for you — I wonder if you remember.

I see you… standing there on the corner.

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“Be that girl they sing about”,

I tell you, but only so I can hear.

You’re sleeping, your hands tucked under your cheek as if they were placed there for a painting. Your tattered blanket wrapped gently around your soft brown hair. Your worn stuffed bunny flopped across your feet.

I stare.

I listen to the rhythmic breathing — in, out, repeat. I bend down and I inhale a lung full of your freshly shampooed hair. I press my lips to your cheek and I want to bury my heart right there, forever. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.

I whisper into your ear, “Be that girl they sing about.”

I stand in your doorway, just looking at you breathe. It’s so strong and sure and alive. Your eyes twitch from the dream you’re having… bunny rabbits or unicorns or maybe, you’re dancing and singing. Maybe you’re walking on the beach in search of the perfect heart-shaped shell. Maybe I’m with you…

I stare.

I whisper before I leave, “be that girl they sing about.”

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I have a dream, always the same dream, on many occasions, since I was a young child… always the same dream. The people in the dream change, the place that the dream happens changes… the premise stays the same though — a tornado is after me and I can’t out run it. I try — I run as fast as I can, jumping fences and ponds, scaling walls and sliding down unknown paths, when I can’t run any farther, I hide in the most distant corner of my dream, I even yell at myself in the dream to “Wake Up!”. The tornado always catches me — then I wake up breathless, scared, eyes out of focus, stumbling in the dark — the same dream… ever since I was a child.

I guess, at this point, trying to pretend that my most recent dream was anything other than a tornado chasing me down while I frantically tried to run from it as I’m guarding my loved ones from its path — would be pointless. It was, in fact, a tornado dream. One of the most vivid tornado dreams I’ve ever had — with a few plot twists that I’ll share.

I was at my parents house this time — my childhood home. There wasn’t just one huge tornado as is always the case with this dream… there were many, hundreds even. And they were water spouts — not necessarily tornadoes (I know water spouts don’t actually occur in Tennessee but you know, it was a dream). I was looking out the front door, talking with my father about the best course of action to take in order to avoid complete and total annihilation… staring at these water spouts surrounding our home as they readied themselves to unleash a fury of pain upon us. Then, as sometimes is the case in my dreams as well as real life, I opened the door and walked out towards the water spouts. I thought I could wrestle them while everyone else stayed safe in the house, I thought they would go away and leave us alone.

So, I approached the closest water-spout and realized I had made a terrible mistake. I turned to go back to the semi-shelter of the house with my mother and father, but it was too late. I was knocked to the ground by the water-spout and began rolling about uncontrollably. I was able to grab a handful of grass from underneath me and clung to it to steady myself. The water-spout crashed over me like a wave in the ocean and my feet were lifted off the ground so that I was doing a hand stand as I continued to cling to the grass. There was water everywhere as I was submerged in unrelenting wave after unrelenting wave… and then I remembered — I love water.

I love the ocean and playing in the waves and being tossed around like a rag doll and steadying my feet in the sand at the edge of the water and diving deep underneath the crashing waves… I smiled. I let go of one hand and looked towards my parents who were standing in the doorway observing the chaos and I gave them a “thumbs up” (I might have winked as well, you never know — it’s my dream).

So there I was… upside down in the front yard, clinging by one hand to the grass below me, drenched in the most beautiful blue salt water, giving a “thumbs up” to my parents and a coy smile — and the water-spout was gone. Just like that — gone. I felt so self-assured, so confident… I stood up and moved towards the next water-spout and then — I awoke.

For years I have been fleeing those tornadoes — for years I have been trying to out run those damned tornadoes. I never could, they were always faster and stronger and I always woke up breathless and scared. Until this one night when I stood my ground, this one night that I didn’t run, this one night I grabbed on to the smallest blade of grass and I realized I didn’t need to flee the moment. I realized that some moments just take more patience and hesitation and assistance — some moments take assistance. So I’m daring myself to get up off the ground and move towards the tornadoes to see where they toss me. What about you? Any tornadoes tossing you around?

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I was watching the Disney channel, well… actually I was listening to the Disney channel because it has replaced any type of newscast that I might have time to watch. Listening because when I allow my eyes to venture to the screen, even if briefly, I become sucked in to a vortex of cute kids with great hair and exhilarating lives (also, they can sing), so I try not to allow my eyes to make the mistake of looking too long.

They have these brief little public service announcements for the kids, about fruits and languages and recycling. I heard a brief sentence and I have no idea what the context was but the statement intrigued me and, clearly, stuck with me. It was this, “What do I want to be when I grow up? I don’t know what I want for breakfast. How about asking me what do I want to be today?”

I thought this was perfect, really. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. The best I can come up with is someone who is helpful, friendly, good for a few laughs, and makes her friends crazy only a minimal amount of time. I’m not quite sure what job that would actually be — I’m still looking I suppose.

My oldest daughter is beginning high school in less that 10 days — a freshman. She has many possibilities ahead of her and she is exactly where she should be — some days she wants to be a writer, some an artist, some a pediatrician, some a zoologist. All perfect I think.

When I went to the freshman orientation recently, I was scared. Apparently there are different “tracks” at high school that kids get on to prepare them for college and a career. If my daughter wants to pursue a medical career, she takes one certain set of courses; if she prefers to go straight into the business field, she takes another set of courses. We had approximately 72 hours to think about what course of study we would initially put her on. At 14 we had to start planning for what she wanted to be when she grows up and our decisions could greatly affect her education, the college she applies to… her life.

During my freshman year of college, I changed my major three times — psychology to child psychology to English Literature. During my sophomore year, I changed my major twice — English Literature back to child psychology to elementary education. During my junior year I changed my major once — from elementary education to special education. Then I graduated and got a job working with children with learning disabilities. After a year, I decided I wanted to work with children with behavior disorders. After a few days… I decided I wanted to work with preschools with multiple disabilities. After 13 years, I decided I wanted to work with children with autism. In between, I thought about going to law school and medical school and becoming a writer and there were a few moments of wanting to manage a carnival and possibly drive an ice cream truck. All things I wanted to be right then.

Back to my daughter, we choose the course of studies that would put her in the medical field. We also slid in at least one course on acting (you never know). She doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up and I’m very fine with that. Neither do I, really. This week I thought about being a chef and owning my own restaurant, I thought about going back to school to become a veterinarian or possibly a lawyer, I thought about opening a school for kids with autism, I thought about becoming a writer or a poet.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be someone who can say I was everything I wanted to be, I was someone who never settled in jobs or love or life, I was someone who acted with compassion and fervor at the same time. What do I want to be right now? I want to run a hotdog stand and sell the best grilled hotdogs in the land. What about you?

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It was fitting that the night I wrote about dreams and how we all need dreams in our lives, that I dreamt. Not one of those dreams that whisk you away to a quiet walk on a beach with a friend but one of those dreams that wakes you in a panic and it takes you several minutes to convince yourself that you’re okay and it was just a dream — but it stays with you… all day. In your thoughts. In your fears. In your heart. This dream has stayed with me. It was bloody and gruesome and disturbing and alarming and made me feel helpless and lost and scared…

The lion was on the prowl.

Lurking around, out of sight,

Hidden from me.

Hidden from the others.

It pounced all at once and you were gone — ripped apart, shattered.

I looked away so I wouldn’t see.

I tried to calm the others and told them to look away as well.

Escape was impossible.

We stayed hidden as long as we could — if we stayed hidden it couldn’t touch us.

Then you went outside the safe,

It saw you and you were gone — ripped apart and shattered.

I looked away again — I just couldn’t see.

There was screaming.

There was panic.

It prowled — slowly, pacing, watching, waiting.

Waiting for us to think it was gone — but it never was.

We knew if we could just get away, it would be over.

We would be safe.

There was an opening in the clearing — some ran.

They made it.

But I stayed there — too scared to move.

Knowing when I moved it would see me — it was me it was after.

I looked out and you were walking closer… trying to reach me.


“Don’t look!”

“It sees you!”

But you couldn’t hear — my mouth wide open but no sound came.

It slowly approached and still you walked towards me — unaware it was there,

waiting to take you too.

I ran out to stop it — but my feet were frozen to the ground under me.

I can’t move… help me I can’t move.

I waved my arms and threw a rock — it laughed at me… it laughed.

It ran towards you as I watched.

I could do nothing.

And you too, were gone.

…I awoke. It was over. It was just a dream. I listened closely to hear the roar, the roar from that horrible lion. All I heard was the faint bark of a dog from a neighboring home. The quiet left me paralyzed briefly. I stretched from under the armor of the covers to hear the roar — I just knew I would hear the roar. The fog that was wreaking havoc on my mind was lifting and giving way to the real world that surrounded me — I would not hear the roar, it didn’t exist. Perhaps tonight.

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I think, honestly, the dreams we have when we are sleeping fall into an area of “must have’s”. You must have dreams — occasionally at least. Dreams seem to be something, good or bad, that we need to help level out our waking hours. I think dreams can enlighten us, entertain us, confuse us, scare us. I read recently that the number one emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety — I don’t need to be asleep to experience anxiety…. but it does seem to be a prominent emotion in my dreams.

Dreams seep into our nocturnal down times, sometimes like boulders falling off a tall cliff, sometimes like a small pebble being thrown into a still pond — we remember them if we’re lucky and we share them — sometimes we embellish them. The good ones get repeated or continued and the bad ones never leave our thoughts. We can recount them years later with accuracy, as if they were true events experienced vividly and consciously. I still remember a dream I used to have when I was younger about a basement and Frankenstein. There were steps leading to the basement and I had to go forward — backwards was never an option in this dream. And as I went forward, I could sense that Frankenstein was drawing ever closer. I would stop… afraid to move, and there I would stay until I awoke — scared, anxious, teetering on reality. Why some dreams leave us and some stick around I have no idea.

Perhaps the dreams that have a more significant effect on who we are and who we become are the ones we have while we’re wide awake. The ones that take us to visit new friends and the ones that lead us to new trails. The ones that guide us down unfamiliar paths and hand us new opportunities and new experiences — those dreams… the wide awake dreams are the ones that feed our souls and form our psyche’s.

When I was younger, my wide awake dreams were of being a professional tennis player, a writer, and one of those people who performs juggling feats on Venice Beach. I learned how to juggle, quite well actually, and use the skill to impress friends from time to time — sadly, I’ve never been to Venice Beach so that portion of the dream is still waiting to come to fruition. I played tennis on my college team — but losing seemed to be easier than winning… so the dream of being a professional tennis player has gone. Then there’s the dream of writing. The internet and how-to blog sites made it easy to revisit this dream a few months ago when I started First Pages. So the dream of writing is (partially) alive and (sometimes) well.

Our dreams change throughout our lives, just as we change — and change is good. Change means we are present and continuing and becoming. Sometimes our dreams are fulfilled and sometimes they need a bit more time. Some dreams stay dreams.

I like the thought of our asleep dreams and our awake dreams meeting somewhere in the middle of laughter and hope. We must have dreams… we must have hope and laughter and even anxiety. Because we are forever emerging and evolving — and your dreams will make sure you get there… when you’re awake, or when you’re fast asleep.

A painting comes too me from afar; who knows how far; I divined it, I saw it, I did it, but even so , the next day, I cannot see what I have done myself. How can anyone penetrate my dreams, my instincts, my desires, my thoughts, which have taken so long to develop and to see the light of day, and comprehend what I have put into it, perhaps even against my will. ~~ Pablo Picasso

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