Why Do We Dream of Dragons?

My friend the waitress talked to me
As we were waiting for the aging credit card machine
To give its verdict
As to the availability of my funds

(She’s very young, and nice –
She smiles at me and talks to me as though
I was someone near her age.
She’s also very talented, an artist)

She’s gradually painted all the walls
Of the Mandarin restaurant she works in nights
While taking college classes days

Her latest painting is of the characters
Of the Chinese zodiac, so called
With a rat, an ox, a tiger,
A rabbit, a snake, a horse,
A goat, a monkey, a rooster,
A dog, and a pig, all beautifully
Arrayed

I asked where the dragon was, and she said

I dream of dragons all the time
I think about them in the night
In worlds of distant fantasy
My mind, there, with their wings, takes flight

When I’m at home or school or here
When I am bored, or, when I’m not —
The world of dragons seems more real
To me, than the one I’ve actually got

The credit card machine spat out
It’s grudging acceptance of my loan
She looked away as she handed it me
To somewhere far away, alone

Why do we dream of dragons, sir?
And leave off only with regret?

To know we still have worlds to see;
And wings to use
That we have not used
Yet

The Grove

I woke. My people turned to trees.
Then wondered, if I had the chance
Could I, too, with the cold winds learn
  to dance?
 
It is the grove that gives us life.
The sun, the soil that we share,
The tears of those who watch o’erhead,
  their left-by mulch, subconsciously aware —
 
I sleep; my people growing tall.
Now am I just too fast to feel
The slower dance that’s only dreamed,
  but far more
 
  real?

Swingsets (I)

Like a ghost, I wander,
There’s my father sitting on a bench,
My mother talking to
Two other women in their once-bright
Summer dresses,
While my sister, acting cool,
Is lounging on the grass
Out with the big kids
Over by the woods.

Like a spirit, hovering,
I hear the squeaky sounds of kids,
Like sneakers on a gymnasium floor,
My brother and me,
Dressed for swimming,
Swinging ever higher,
Letting go in perfect arcs
Of weightlessness that last
Until we land.

Only with clouds gathering
And wetness in the air solidifying
To we begrudgingly head back to bicycles
And cars, my family walking back
Towards a cinder-block house
My sister furtively looking over her shoulder
At the tall dark-haired boy,
My brother looking up ahead at
The water tower,
And me wondering why
My father and mother never walk

Side-by-side

Somewhat Midnight Hill

Far from the place we used to live,
Wandering rivers find the sea;
There, on a somewhat midnight hill
Stands a young couple, you and me,

Far from the gray mistakes we’ve made,
Foundering ships and trips on wire,
There, on a somewhat midnight hill,
Watching the smoke float ever higher.

Oh, for the now appearing stars,
Indigo sky and velvet blue,
There on a somewhat midnight hill,
I can be I, and you can be you,

Far from the flags and voices raised,
Ocean heard breathing, constantly:
There on a somewhat midnight hill,
I can feel you, and you

See me

Flowers Cannot Fix It

You have this dream, that she’ll be there
At dinnertime tonight
And, if you make it perfect
Everything will be alright

But flowers cannot fix it
Cannot make this dream come true:
Don’t worry friend, she’ll smile again —
But it won’t be

With you

. just one desire .

we chase at times the wild prize
that runs from us unflaggingly;
we track at times the quiet hope
that slides and sidesteps, stealthily –

or maybe, we’ve just one desire:
a slender, lonely, candle-beam —
that we have never chased or tracked
for it’s right there,
in every
dream