To Dream List


I read horoscopes in waiting rooms. 
Watch the lie of fake wood lacquer shine against the sick.
I have been counting blessings through analyzed breath and abandoned explanations.
Wind stitched caught between moving forward and running away.
An undecorated Christmas tree, I am seeking the forest. 
I send out stanza as search parties.
Keep lyrics like lessons to lay my head against at night. 
Weekdays of workday woes have me lost,
pernicious paper trails,
a compass of confusion. 
I was meant to be someone else; more poet than prediction.
Broken by compassion,
I am finished giving.
It is my turn to take:
to take the night,
to take the unforgiving cold waters of the bay,
to take the ache of a love that only comes twice a week,
to take myself from the pieces that are torn.
To take fire and give it a home.
To take, taste, fill, drink, feel, everything red.
Knowing it is a piece of me.
So today I take 
and make things smaller:
basil leaves, broken down cars, incessant worry.
I will wrap them in bacon and close my eyes
as salty and sweet tap dance on my tongue.
This year has spent so many night breaking me apart,
in the glow of blue light
the heart on my sleeves thuds for tomorrow:
like a jackhammer, like a tsunami. 
Figure skates its symphony against my thoughts.
This axel-spun figurative language flirt,
 is always drunk on everything
its never said.
After morning champagne charades, in arms made of liquid.
Nothing will hold.
Why does everyone else get so much quiet?
I tire, searching for mine rocking chairs with chipping paint.
On borrow couches, and happy hour bar stools.
Talk to men who chase change as if it were wearing a skirt.
Time, a breathy blonde, both the position and the antidote.
I will never understand her, me or the noise.
The noise,
like rain on a hollowed Sunday.
Paper towels, Tupperware for salad, dish soap.
Everyday hiccups that sacrifice art.
When there are papers to grade and the recycling is full once again,
we empty ourselves.
Sorting our wants into bins that don't matter.
I will never win a Pulitzer at the Dollar Store. 
Trader Joes will never offer to publish my novel.
And yet I like the ordinary control the extraordinary. 
The errands that run my life,
until inspiration is exhausted.
"Come on heart, get off the couch."
Empty stomachs and dirty dishes
feel more immediate than all the "one days" and "with hard works."
I let the To Do list pile up,
while the To Dream list sits unmarked.
The dream never changes, it sits in the back, waiting for me to:
put away the groceries,
make the bed,
finish the phone call.
It waits . . . 
For attention, knowing what its worth.
Knowing I will return, eventually.
That was then, the time when I let chances sit in lonely corners.
Dust on guitar strings, computer keys that longed to be touched.
Those yesterdays year for an explanation,
but I have no excuse. Just a promise that today I will take. 
I am stepping up to the boom of the microphone,
the platform for change.
Finishing sentences, chapters, manuscripts.
Plot lines will sleep like tattoos when darlings are killed
and a word count stops its finish line sprint.
The end, the most beautiful words on an artist's lips.
So I put down the horoscope,
it won't tell me the future,
it is up to me.
I decorate my branches,
the forest is here, among the words 
on the tip of truth, tickling the tongue. 
Speak it, even if your voice shakes.
Today I take a problem and solve it.
Today I take thunderstorms of words and define a life.