Running Down a Dream

I’ve been visited by dead people before.  It’s pretty common for me.  When someone I love dies, they will visit me in a dream. We may chat, or have a picnic, or cry together.  It’s a sweet way to get closure, and I can always tell when a dream is not just a dream, but a visit.  I’m grateful for whatever part of me is open enough to let them through.  Sometimes other people’s loved ones come to me in dreams, too, and ask me to relay messages, which I do.  I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t believe in this sort of thing, to which I’ll now respond with my favorite Nicolas Cage quote (from City of Angels) – “Some things are true whether you believe in them or not.”


This is my Sincere Face.

Last night, I had a dream that was a visitation.  It was about Tom Petty.  Yes, the celebrity/singer/songwriter/cowboy/Traveling Wilbury.  That one.   I have always felt a special connection to Tom’s music, since I was a kid I’ve loved his songs and identified with his lyrics. I was sad, as a lot of people were, to hear of his passing and disappointed that I’d never been to see him in concert.  It wasn’t something I dwelled on, though, and as life does, mine moved on.

So the last few nights I have had some strange and colorful dreams.  I attribute it to the full moon + partial lunar eclipse in Capricorn (don’t get me started on Capricorn).  Last night’s dream was colorful and lively, but different. If you’ve had visitations you know what I’m talking about.  It’s almost like lucid dreaming, in that you’re aware something is different and this moment should be cherished, you try to look around and remember things because you know it will be over soon and you don’t want it to be.  At the same time you’re trying to listen and pay attention to whatever wisdom the visitor is there to impart.

I won’t detail the whole dream, but I will say that the part that felt most important had to do with my boots (navy blue Doc Martens with a zipper on the heel) and his boots (unknown brand).  We compared boots.  Tom Petty gave me some tips on how to care for mine, and how to make the leather feel smooth and buttery like his.  (Yes, I felt Tom Petty’s boots, and yes, they were as soft and luxurious as you might imagine.)

The other important part had to do with him having daughters.  One a brunette, she had a little chubby-cheek face and a dress on and she was precocious and chatty.  I mark this as important because it wasn’t something I knew about him.  I didn’t know TP had children at all, and I had to look it up on the internet to confirm it.  Two daughters, according to Google, and according to Dream Tom.  That, for me, is a confirmation.

All of this has left me with a sincere curiosity, and a hope that maybe the great Tom Petty is one of my spirit guides.   He’s not the first person to visit me after passing, but he is one of the most interesting and I hope we get to chat again.

Damn the Torpedoes. My guides are cooler than yours.

A couple important notes about dream visitations: Our loved ones, guides, anyone on that plane can take on any form.  My grandfather sometimes visits as the “him” I remember, and sometimes as his younger self.  Tom Petty went back and forth between young and old, seeming equally comfortable with all of his different human “selves”.  Also, visitations are not usually romantic in nature (unless the person was a romantic partner, and even then it’s not likely.)  If you dream about making out with Steve McQueen in the back of a limo it is probably a wish-fulfillment dream courtesy of your own subconscious, and not an actual visit.



I have had my ass grabbed in meetings.

My breasts the subject of conference calls.

I have been shushed, interrupted, and disrespected.

Twice I have been assaulted.

Both were men I trusted.

And yes, my scars run deep and no, it’s no excuse.

It is, though, the truth.

So when a man I love tells me to trust him

I’m already a little bit wary

Stepping out on to the ledge, will you really carry


Or will I fall again, break apart, hold my own heart?

What you can’t understand is how hard I’ve fought

Just to be treated as a person, an equal.

But we are not colleagues, roomies, friends.

There is no equal, that’s all just pretend.

We are simply beguiling predator and his hapless prey.

So please, stay away.

I can assemble my life without this kind of help.

Kindly walk yourself to the door and out

Keep your hands off my ass and

My name out of your mouth

And just





In Response to a Letter I Shouldn’t Have Read

The Popliteal Fossa

Some guys say knee pit

What the back of the knee’s called.

[Also, I hate you.]

Which is to say, I don’t hate you at all.


Three people this month.

Three people took my ideas.  Plagiarized. Pilfered. Stole.

Three people who consider themselves upstanding citizens

Who use words like “Never” and “Always”.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,

I am sincerely, offensively, flattered.

What can I do?  Is it my fault?

I am continuously moving forward,

Working on boundaries and my own dreams,

Not talking to anyone or sharing anything

Can’t risk it. Everything I give gets taken.

I don’t want to be your muse.

I don’t want to be used anymore.

siren [poem draft]

My hips move like ocean waves

Pulsing, crashing, gyrating

To some ancient rhythm only I can hear

Smooth, inviting, life-giving and


I could kill you if I wanted to.


My song calls you out into the depths

Curious, enchanted, beguiled.

Wading in my waters and forgetting yourself

Fluid, calming, immense and


Abandon hope, all who enter.


Cling to me, swim away from shore

Dance with me on the ocean floor


I want to drown you

I want to drown you

I want to drown you.


thank you note

Thank you for being the one,

For illuminating the dark places

Inside me

And for showing me

I deserve more.

Thank you for being the one,

For opening my eyes to truth

About myself

And for pushing me

To grow.

Thank you for being the one

Who shone brighter than the north star

In my nights

And for showing me

What love is.



The queen sat, soot faced, in a heap upon the grass

She wept over all that could have been

She wept over the past

But as the morning sun broke through

And the smoke began to clear

The queen realized the burned down castle

Was the freedom she once feared.

And so the queen set off that day,

A new song in her heart

Excitedly contemplating what was to come

Grateful for this brand new start.

Timing, cont. [draft]

“I want a divorce”, she said.

The words hung in the air like a thick cloud of melancholy smog, emanating the kind of heavy, vague sadness she imagined hung over Los Angeles in the mid-nineties.  Angie paced back and forth by the apartment steps.  She had walked down from their second floor apartment to get some fresh air, to think things through, but the air wasn’t fresh and her thoughts were equally foggy.  Each time she practiced saying them, the words got stuck, hung like a horse pill in her throat.

“You can do this, damnit.”  Angie was pacing faster now, wringing her hands.  She made herself stand still and take a deep breath.  Why was this so difficult?  Crew hadn’t loved her in years, she knew that.  They hadn’t had sex in months and worse, neither of them wanted to.  Conversation between them had dwindled down to a measly “hello” in the morning and “goodnight” before bed, with sometimes a speedy “love you” as a way to get off the phone at the grocery store.   Crew had been sleeping in the kids’ bedroom for three years now.  Divorce made sense for him, for both of them.

So why couldn’t she say the words?

They hadn’t been a fit from the start: He liked horror movies, she didn’t.  She disliked tattoos, he was covered in them.  He didn’t read books at all and she dreamed of owning a library so vast it could never be completely filled.  Hell, she was a writer.  Crew had never voluntarily read anything she’d written.  If that wasn’t a sign they shouldn’t be together, she didn’t know what was.  And now, a decade into a mediocre marriage, Angie was steeling herself to cut the cord of complacency from them both.

Now that the day had come, all she could think about were the good times.  The reasons to stay.  The parts of herself she had only shared with him, and the times he had been completely vulnerable with her.  Reliving their wilderness hikes, nights spent watching bad b-movies, and asking each other questions about their deepest, darkest, secrets was part of what kept her hanging on to him, even now.

Crew had been her savior, a mild-mannered man she met after leaving an abusive relationship.  Standing on the beach saying her vows to him, she remembered how sure she felt about him, and she remembered why.  “He’s never raised his voice to me”, she bragged to herself.  He had been a cool balm to her soul after being burned badly.  Crew was not an angry guy, she knew she’d never have to worry about him hurting her on purpose, and for Angie that was the most appealing thing about him.

Leaning on the railing of the apartment steps now, struggling to keep her wild emotions encased in her chest long enough to practice politely shattering both their lives for good, Angie felt both grateful and angry for the last ten years.  She pushed herself up, pacing back and forth on the small patch of grass near the stairs, and tried again.

“I want a divorce,” she said.


She wondered now if any of the big  choices had been his.  Turning the pages in her mind, Angie surveyed the pictures as best she could of their past and all their years together.  It was she who pursued him when they were dating.  He had tried to tell her he wasn’t good for her.  He didn’t want kids or a family, he had told her one steamy Georgia night sitting in the back of his green Jeep Wrangler staring up at the stars.

Looking back on it now, Angie was ashamed of her naive persistence.  “When someone tells you who they are, believe them,” she whispered to herself.  It was something her Grandfather had told her on numerous occasions.  She remembered the words, but seldom did she put them into practice, and now those words echoed in her thoughts like the pulsing that stays with you long after you’ve left a rock concert.

Angie was pushy sometimes.  She wanted what she wanted and she couldn’t see past her own desire and will.  It got her into trouble.  It also made her brave.  Two sides of the same coin.

She got pregnant and he proposed and the rest was, as they say, history.

Crew was a nice guy, but not particularly ambitious.  He was… content.  That’s the word that popped into Angie’s head frequently when she made a mental list of his good qualities.

Crew reminded her of a friend she had, she hadn’t realized it when they met, but she saw it now.   Now that there were vows and babies and a mortgage, cold oatmeal in the sink and old dreams piled up by the curb.

They were happy, she thought.  If anyone had asked Angie a year ago – hell, even a month ago – what her life was like with Crew, she’d have said that word we all use when things are floating around, not good or bad, just … fine.  They were fine, their kids were fine, their jobs were fine, their marriage was fine.

She laughed to herself now in recognition of what that answer really meant.  It was a non-answer, a verbal shoulder-shrug, a personification of the indifference that had seeped into every nook and cranny of the home they had built, pushing out every other thing – every emotion, every motivation, every reason to try – until that indifference was the one thing they still had in common.

What people say and what they do are often times incongruent.  It’s a fact of life. Angie knew that and accepted it, for the most part.  Humans are human.  They are flawed and imperfect and many times, endlessly frustrating.  She could empathize with most people, and she could forgive the inconsistency in strangers and people she wasn’t close to.

When it came to the people who used a certain four-letter-word with her, though, she expected absolute loyalty.  Angie had been hurt as a child by her parents, by friends, by people who said that word.  Love.  Now, that hurt child was a full-grown mostly-healed woman, and she didn’t take that particular word lightly.


is it still a limerick if it’s sad?

you promised that you wouldn’t hurt me

you said it and i’m a fool, i believed

i’m sitting here burned down to ashes

reminiscing on life as a tree


i already gave you my happy

i don’t want to give you my sad

how can i mourn losing an abstract –

a lover i’ve never actually had?


maybe nothing i believed in was real

an illusion, a ghost, a mirage

maybe you’re scared and you’re running

and this cruelty is your camouflage


the day will come i’ll be alright again

i’ll remember you fondly and well

and hope that maybe, a decade on

you’ll show up and unring the bell



Unsolicited Advice

Don’t choose a woman who is smart, if you don’t want to be stimulated, challenged, and pushed to explore.

Don’t choose a woman who is beautiful, if you don’t plan to worship and cherish her, body and soul.

Don’t choose a woman who is brave, if you want to remain comfortable, never evolving or growing.

Don’t choose a woman who is strong, if you don’t plan to support and encourage her as she learns to use her power.

Don’t choose a woman who is mysterious, if you don’t respect the darkness in her or the magic she brings to your life.

Don’t choose a woman who is funny, if you are not willing to laugh with her, be silly with her, look like a fool for her.

Don’t choose a woman who is sensitive, if you don’t plan to understand her, reassure her and keep her safe.

Don’t choose a woman who is wild, if you don’t want your life turned upside down, your heart in your throat, your guts in your mouth.

Don’t choose a woman who is creative, if you don’t want to hear her talk about her ideas, her art, and her fascinations.

Don’t choose a woman who is honest, if you don’t want to know the truth.

Don’t choose a woman who is a healer, if you don’t want your wounds nurtured, or your heart mended.

Don’t choose a woman who is romantic, if you don’t plan to sweep her off her feet with grand gestures and fantasize about the future with her.

Don’t choose a woman who is a lover, if you don’t plan to open your heart fully and give her everything she so magnanimously gives to you.

Don’t choose a woman who is a fighter, if you don’t want to fight for her and challenge the world at her side.