Sunday Aug 20

Dower-Poetry Kim Dower’s first collection of poetry, Air Kissing on Mars, (Red Hen Press, 2010) was on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list, and was described by the Los Angeles Times as, “sensual and evocative . . . seamlessly combining humor and heartache.” Slice of Moon, her second collection, (Red Hen Press, 2013), was called, “unexpected and sublime,” by “O” magazine. Kim’s work has appeared in Garrison Keillor's, "The Writer's Almanac," and Ted Kooser's, "American Life in Poetry," as well as in PloughsharesBarrow Street, and Eclipse. Kim teaches a workshop called Poetry and Dreaming in the B.A. Program of Antioch University. She lives in West Hollywood, California, and her website can be found here.

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Do Not Disturb



“I could sleep for days on a bed of lapels,”
my friend Debra says.
I understand. I could sleep for days
on a couch of buttonholes.
We’re tired.
Everyone’s tired.
My dog has been sleeping
in a bed of dog hair all afternoon.
I don’t know why
he’s so tired; all he does is sleep,
but I’m trying not to judge.
I now believe sleeping
is as important as being awake,
that we make our clearest decisions
in the bleary gray moments
of eyelid flutter, lifting our heavy legs
in and out of the warm stream of dreams
where sheep and cows float like barges through clouds,
stray bullets catch breezes as we hold hands
jump through windows wave goodbye to our dead
loved ones who are wearing clothing we thought
we’d discarded.
Let’s go to sleep now.
Come here.
Lay down beside me.
It’s our time to rest.
Put on my golden pajamas,
satin blindfold scented with lavender.
It’s too late for us to be awakened
by the trivial needs of others.
I’m drowsy with expectations.





My Mailman Pees on the Gate by the Dumpster



My mailman pees on the gate by the dumpster,
I’ve seen him do it twice. My co-worker, she’s
seen him, too, was afraid to tell me for obvious
reasons, and when she told me I couldn’t
believe her because it was too repulsive to picture.
But I saw him just now, again, downstairs,
I was about to throw my trash away, the end
of my workday, it’s dark out there and there
he was, his back facing me, arms disappearing
into the garbage bin, so I looked away real fast,
scared that he might turn, see me see him,
try to kill me so I wouldn’t tell the police
or whomever one tells when one sees something
like that -- we’ve all heard the stories --
postal worker gone mad, maybe because someone
saw them urinating outside in close proximity
to where they deliver the mail, and from now on
when I reach my hand into the cold metal box
it will be with trepidation, disgust, abject
sadness, imagining growing old, losing control
being alone at dusk with nothing but other people’s
bills and invitations stuffed into a bag, tugging
at my shoulder which burns from the weight,
fingers too stiff to unbutton the uniform I once wore
so proudly back then when I didn’t need to pee
with devastating urgency, when I delivered my letters
clean, abhorrent-free, my key chain shining, dangling
engraved, “Mommy’s Favorite Mailman.”





Home Invasion



Driving while sipping a mixture of peach nectar, bee pollen,
coconut water, breaking news on the car radio: home invasion
Highland and Melrose, they’ve broken into a board and care,
elderly people in chairs, squad cars circling, helicopter above.
The black cat with no name who hangs around my house,
tags that say, “I am an outside cat,” and “I know my way home,”
came inside yesterday. I had left the door open so my blind,
deaf dog could let himself out, and the cat slithered in,
made himself comfortable, rolled around on my crushed
velvet couch, his silver tags clinking. My dog knew something
was up, sniffed around but couldn’t find the cat , so cool, jumping
over the pillows onto the coffee table, burying his nose into my roses,
my dog, who spends his days sleeping, went nuts trying to find him,
caught the scent, was revived, sprung into action with athletic timing,
lunged, bit him on the ass -- this cat never saw it coming -- ran out
the opened door, my dog all proud, macho having protected his home,
and as I slurp the last bit of juice -- color of bile -- bee pollen filling
my stomach, firing up my brain, I turn up the radio, they’ve got
the perps outside the house on Highland, hands behind their backs,
folks inside board and care alert, nodding their heads, trading
excitement. I knew something was up, says a man whose family
hasn’t heard him speak for months.