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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