Archives for posts with tag: dreams

by Jennifer K. Sweeney

one simple thing
a weightless note full of rise

form as dependent on breath
breath as dependent on lungfuls of habit and duty

two white balloons behind the bone cage
sea-moons buoyant in the sea-body

on the night of her birthday
a woman dreams of a thousand

white balloons pouring
from the curtains of the sea

everything winterish and beautiful
a thousand billowings

failing as pieces of sky fall
all the time and we do not see them

this is the gravity of happiness
giving breath back

the world is possible
and beyond human
“Song for a White Balloon” appears in Jennifer K. Sweeney’s collection  How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at

Image: “Scattered Crowd,” art installation by William Forsythe. Learn more at

by Stevie Smith

In my dreams I am always saying goodbye and riding away,   
Whither and why I know not nor do I care.
And the parting is sweet and the parting over is sweeter,   
And sweetest of all is the night and the rushing air.
In my dreams they are always waving their hands and saying goodbye,
And they give me the stirrup cup and I smile as I drink,   
I am glad the journey is set, I am glad I am going,
I am glad, I am glad, that my friends don’t know what I think.

Source: The New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1988).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Florence Margaret “Stevie” Smith was born in 1902 in Yorkshire, England. She began writing poetry in her twenties, and her first book, Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936. Smith’s first collection of verse, A Good Time Was Had By All (1937), also contained rough sketches or doodles, which became characteristic of her work. These drawings have both a feeling of caprice and doom, and the poetry in the collection is stylistically typical of Smith as it conveys serious themes in a nursery rhyme structure. Much of her inspiration came from theology and the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Her style is unique in its combination of seemingly prosaic statements, variety of voices, playful meter, and deep sense of irony. Smith was officially recognized with the Chomondeley Award for Poetry in 1966 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1969. She died in 1971. (Source:

by Ginger Andrews

Using salal leaves for money,
my youngest sister and I
paid an older sister
to taxi an abandoned car
in our backyard. Our sister
knew how to shift gears,
turn smoothly with a hand signal,
and make perfect screeching stop sounds.

We drove to the beach,
to the market, to Sunday School,
past our would-be boyfriends’ houses,
to any town, anywhere.
We shopped for expensive clothes everywhere.
Our sister would open our doors
and say, Meter’s runnin’ ladies,
but take your time.

We rode all over in that ugly green Hudson
with its broken front windshield, springs poking
through its back seat, blackberry vines growing
through rusted floorboards;
with no wheels, no tires, taillights busted,
headlights missing, and gas gauge on empty.

“Rolls-Royce Dreams” appears in Ginger Andrews‘ collection An Honest Answer (Story Line Press, 1999), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ginger Andrews, born in North Bend, Oregon, in 1956, won the 1999 Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize with her volume, An Honest Answer. She has lived most of her life in Oregon, where she cleans houses for a living with her sisters. She is also a janitor and Sunday School teacher at her church. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, Poetry, River Sedge, The American Voice, and in several anthologies, including Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor. Keillor has read poems from An Honest Answer more than ten times on The Writer’s Almanac.

Photo: “1935 Oldsmobile” by Rich K, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

by Jim Harrison

A secret came a week ago though I already

knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.

The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds

are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.

I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite –
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation

and now they’re roosting within me, recalling

how I had watched them at night

in fall and spring passing across earth moons,

little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing

on their way north or south. Now in my dreams 

I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,

the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying

me rather than me carrying them. Next winter

I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado

and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching

on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye

and I’ll return my dreams to earth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jim Harrison is the author of thirty books, including Legends of the Fall, Dalva, and Shape of the Journey. His work has been translated into two dozen languages and produced as four feature-length films. In 2007, Mr. Harrison was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He divides his time between Montana and southern Arizona.

Painting: ”L’Homme au Chapeau Melon” (1964) by René Magritte

by Jennifer K. Sweeney 

after the waiting years     leaden years
keening oceanside for an answer
from the original dark
you emerge distinct
one life perpetually not-there
then    suddenly at work with long division
sac of cells we
watched in the flux
via negativa
you eddy forth     little blue fish
little big heart
to be here with me now
means we made a study of
insistence     means
I will not forget the profound
absence from which
you began
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections: Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), available at, and How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at Visit the author at This remarkable poet offers private instruction and poetry critiques. Learn more here.

Painting: “Blue Fish” by Ed Smith. Prints available at

by Jennifer K. Sweeney

In your sleep
the year advanced.
Perhaps in a Japanese rainstorm
33 umbrellas opened at precisely
the same moment—
a ballooning
then a click—
and you were allowed further.
Go with your blue apples
falling from the night-trees.
Go with your muddled
Carve impossible faces
in the pumpkin.
Scoop a net of seeds—
one for the trouble you’ve caused,
the rest for the trouble
you wish you caused.
The skeletons wear marigolds
for eyes.
They let you pass,
lantern-hearted, happy.
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of two poetry collections: Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), available at, and How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at Visit the author at This remarkable poet offers private instruction and poetry critiques. Learn more here.

Painting by xetobyte, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. View xetobyte’s art at

By Pablo Neruda

It was passed from one bird to another,

the whole gift of the day.

The day went from flute to flute,

went dressed in vegetation,

in flights which opened a tunnel

through the wind would pass

to where birds were breaking open

the dense blue air –
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,

I stayed suspended and green

between sun and geography –
I saw how wings worked,

how perfumes are transmitted

by feathery telegraph,

and from above I saw the path,

the springs and the roof tiles,

the fishermen at their trades,

the trousers of the foam;

I saw it all from my green sky.

I had no more alphabet

than the swallows in their courses,

the tiny, shining water

of the small bird on fire

which dances out of the pollen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973) was the pen name of the Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. (Read more aboutPablo Neruda at

Photo: “My Dreams Are Flying Away” by Marysia

by Lisa Olstein

At first he seemed a child,
dirt on his lip and the sun
lighting up his hair behind him.

All around us, the hesitation
of year-rounders who know
the warmer air will bring crowds.

No one goes to their therapist
to talk about how happy they are,
but soon I’d be back in the dugout

telling my batting coach how
the view outside my igloo seemed
to be changing, as if the night

sky were all the light there is.
Now, like two babies reaching
through the watery air to touch soft

fingers to soft forehead, like blind fish
sensing a familiar fluttering in the waves,
slowly, by instinct, we became aware.

Off-field, outside the park, beyond
the gates, something was burning.
The smell was everywhere.

Source: Radio Crackling Radio Gone (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Lisa Olstein received a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her first book of poems, Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (2006), won the Copper Canyon Press Hayden Carruth Award. Olstein is also the author of the poetry collections Lost Alphabet (2009), named one of the nine best poetry books of the year by Library Journal, and Little Stranger (2013). Her poems have appeared in the Iowa ReviewDenver QuarterlyLIT, and other journals. She has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Centrum. She teaches in the New Writers Project at the University of Texas-Austin. (Source:

PHOTO: Ron Santo, born in Seattle, Washington in 1940,  was a third baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1960-1974, all but the last year with the Chicago Cubs. A nine-time National League (NL) All-Star, he batted .300 and hit 30 home runs four times each, and is the only third baseman in major league history to post eight consecutive seasons with 90 runs batted in (RBI) (1963–1970). He was the second player at his position to hit 300 career home runs, joining Eddie Mathews, and also ended his career ranking second to Mathews among third basemen in slugging average (.464) and third in runs batted in (1,331), total bases (3,779) and walks (1,108). He passed away in 2010. (Source:

by Chungmi Kim

I painted a phoenix in bright colors
cut it in nine pieces and cooked it
in a pot at the mountaintop.
I stirred it as if cranking reels of
a movie. Unraveled were a series
of faces in mosaic.

Kurosawa appeared. He asked me
what my story was about.
Tongue-tied, I could not answer.
He handed me a token with a silvery
eagle engraved, ready to fly.

How real I thought everything was
in my dream!

In my waking hour, I see
the remnant of the war between
my head and heart.

Now in cease-fire, my chest is filled
with the fresh breeze of serenity.
I begin to breathe gently as my story
is unraveled like in a movie.

No longer haunted, my love of God soars
as I see my guardian angel smile
in the clear blue sky, transforming to
one gigantic phoenix.

My wandering in the wilderness of
the mind has taught me a little wisdom.
I believe my dreams are real
as my life is a dream.

Source: Glacier Lily by Chungmi Kim (Red Hen Press, 2004), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet/playwright Chungmi Kim is the author of  Chungmi—Seleceted Poems and Glacier Lily (Red Hen Press).  Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies, journals and newspapers, including Making Waves, Between Ourselves, Grand Passion, Surfacing Sadness, Amerasia Journal, KoreAm Journal, Poetry Seattle, on the spoken word CD, “The Verdict and the Violence,” and in a book, Selected Poems by Three Korean-American Poets. One of the poets chosen for the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry In Motion LA ’98-’99, she has given numerous readings and performances of her work, including at San Francisco Poetry Festival, KPFK Radio, KCET-TV, Beyond Baroque, Los Angeles Poetry Festival, and Library of Congress.  Her awards include the first place Open Door Writing Award for her screenplay, “The Dandelion,” from the Writers Guild Foundation, West, and Grand Prize for her play, “The Comfort Women,” at the 1995 USC One-Act Play Festival. As Co-Producer of Korea, a one-hour documentary for KCBS-TV, she received  a Certificate of Merit from Associated Press and an Emmy nomination.

by Charles Simic

On the first page of my dreambook
It’s always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn’t be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.

Source: Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems (George Braziller Inc., 1999).

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. In 1953, he left Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. His first poems were published in 1959, when he was 21. In 1961, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and in 1966 earned his Bachelor’s degree from New York University. His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year. He has published more than 60 books including Jackstraws (Harcourt Brace, 1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Walking the Black Cat (Harcourt Brace, 1996), finalist for the National Book Award in poetry; and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000, his many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. When appointed U.S. Poet Laureate — a post he served from 2007-2008 — he said, “I am especially touched and honored to be selected because I am an immigrant boy who didn’t speak English until I was 15.”

Photo of Charles Simic by Michelle Blankenship, USA TODAY.