My poem runs with me in a dream

She runs with me today, a being
whose feet rest on my sneakers,
an astral body, or a ghost. Flaming tips

of sumac lips howl at us in the damp
winter morning, and mirrored
puddles lick at our legs from gutters.

On the sidewalk the letters
J-O-Y traced in wet cement
with a finger tip – a name or a feeling?

The air thickens with moisture
as we pad up the last hill toward
home, our face beading with droplets

from misted pine, cypress needles
and sweat – we are bathed in liquid as dark
as the weedy bottom of a lake.

At this cusp, this final push, we dare
to let the water flow into our nose,
our mouth, fill up our lungs, and we
recognize that yes, we can breathe.

18 thoughts on “My poem runs with me in a dream

  1. carolee says:

    i can’t tell you how much i love this idea. of poem running with you. this is going to stick with me and i’m going to imagine my poems (at least the ones in progress) trailing along with me as i go about my routines.

    this is also full of texture and sensation. nice work!

    Like

  2. Holly D says:

    You have done a wonderful job with sound in this! I love: Flaming tips/of sumac lips” and “puddles lick at our legs from gutters” !!! Fun to say out loud…and the images are familiar, but also surreal.

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  3. christine says:

    THanks, Carolee. I sort of thought of you when I wrote it, because I know you’ve been running again.

    Collin, I went back and re-read your poem, and find it even more amazing than ever. (Page 21 of ouroboros). I love how in your poem it’s the sound the poem makes as it rides shotgun, the pages fluttering, and also the hum of the florescent light. It’s a powerful poem.

    THanks, Holly. The breathing underwater part did come from a dream, several dreams really.

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  4. Michelle says:

    C, I can really identify with this. The past two weeks, I’ve been feeling – and there’s no other way to really describe it – as if I’ve been moving underwater in slow motion, cocooned and cushioned from the noisy world. It’s been peaceful, soothing – and, for me, it makes sense “we can breathe” underwater.

    Like Collin said, I also love the way you’ve created the poem as a physical entity, a companion. My poems are lazy, they don’t run with me,but they sometimes drive with me to and from work – but I wouldn’t have thought of it this way until you put it into words. Thank you.

    “On the sidewalk the letters
    J-O-Y traced in wet cement
    with a finger tip – a name or a feeling?”

    How clever!

    And this:

    “from misted pine, cypress needles
    and sweat – we are bathed in liquid as dark
    as the weedy bottom of a lake.

    At this cusp, this final push, we dare
    to let the water flow into our nose,
    our mouth, fill up our lungs, and we
    recognize that yes, we can breathe.”

    Wonderful, wonderful!

    Such an imaginative poem.

    Like

  5. odessa says:

    christine, i love so love this! sometimes a poem feels like a person to me too, chasing me around while i try to run away away from it, or vice versa. i especially love these lines:
    “On the sidewalk the letters
    J-O-Y traced in wet cement
    with a finger tip – a name or a feeling?”

    Like

  6. Julie says:

    I love it! I can feel myself flowing along with the lines. I love “flaming tips of sumac lips…” And that entire second stanza is perfect. Very powerful piece!

    Like

  7. Ingrid (durable pigments) says:

    What a wonderful idea, a poem running alongside you. And I love the vividness of “we are bathed in liquid as dark / as the weedy bottom of a lake.”

    I’m still playing post-holiday catch-up and haven’t posted anything for RWP in weeks, but wanted to drop by to say howdy. 🙂

    Like

  8. christine says:

    Hi to you too, Ingrid. It’s good to hear from you. I know what you mean about catching up.

    Michelle, Collin’s poem goes with him on his road trip in his poem Velocity. It’s an amazing poem.

    I’ve only lately started running again, that part of the poem is real. I mixed the run with some feelings I was having at the time, and blended it with a dream of breathing underwater, which is a recurring dream for me.

    Thanks, Dale, 🙂

    Paisley, you have some very vivid dreams, you would know!

    Sumacs do have red mouths, don’t they Julie? I know you know that tree, or shrub, whatever it is, since you’re down south where I am, 🙂

    Like

  9. Jo says:

    Fabulous work, C, really fabulous. It’s surreal, vivid, and so visual, I can see it all. I love the ending too, such an affirmation. It sounds wonderful too and would be great read aloud. Very well done.

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  10. christine says:

    Thanks, Jo. The end is really the only part that came from a dream. Maybe I’ll make a video of this one!

    Juliet, that’s nice of you to say. I hear you have a poem published on a new site, which I’m just about to visit.

    Like

  11. S.L. Corsua says:

    My reaction to this poem is similar to the positive feedback given by other readers. “Flaming tips” to ‘gutters’ — my favorite part, sounds like a song to the ear when read aloud. Also, dream poems appeal so much to me, as I’m into lucid dreaming. The personification of the poem may very well cross boundaries, become ‘substance’ in a way, within a dreamscape. 😉

    Like

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