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Imagined Relationships

Feb 2021

Read "Sex With A Famous Poet" by Denise Duhamel from her book The Star-Spangled Banner.

Denise Duhamel says " a friend told me, write about a dream, lose a reader..." and yet dreams have been the basis for many poems. Whether her poem is taken from a night dream or daylight fantasy is of little concern to us as readers. She fools us at first with the trashy headline image of "Sex With a Famous Poet" and after admitting it to be a fantasy, she continues at greater length to explore the reasons for and the realities of it.

Try writing a poem that comes from a dream or waking fantasy concerning a relationship (sexual or not). You may or may not want to explain that it is not "real" or explore the reality of the situation.

For more on all our prompts and other things poetic, check out the Poets Online blog.

The Dream

The dream was odd.
I don't usually have them
and when I do, I forget them,
but not this one.
In my dream you
had been gone since November
and here it is September, and
you were carrying presents
because you had missed
Christmas for everyone.
I was also carrying a large,
brown-wrapped package
and you smiled back at me
and said "You shouldn't have
bought anything for me,
because you didn't miss
Christmas, I did."
But I felt that the package
in my arms was important,
and I held onto it walking
behind you as you
walked on with purpose.
When we arrived at the
place you were walking to,
everyone was there and
they all had packages too.
You gave out all your
packages, and I watched
as you opened gift after
gift from the other people
in our dream, and I realized
we had all gotten you the
same thing--dolls. Now,
I have never heard you
say that you liked dolls
or that you even remember
having one, but I was so
proud because the doll
I was giving you was
the only one that really
looked like you. So much
so that it looked real.
You were pleased and
said you didn't want to
be away next Christmas,
and then I woke up
in the September cool
air of my bedroom. I
remembered that we had
both missed Christmas
last year. You because
you died in November
and I because you were
not there in December.

Karen A. Kimbell

I Dreamed

A group of us were spending a social evening
in a park-like clearing between apartment buildings.
Some of the time I felt the park was filled
with all the people in the World.
Most of the time, however,
it seemed that emptiness
was all there was, or ever would be.

No one but I seemed to notice the bowl-of-sky above us.
It was a grayed mauve color with the horizon lightest
and grading to a deeper value at the apex. 

A sky-filling "rainbow"
stretched above in a tremendous arc.
Its vertical band arched away from me,
intersecting a distant crossbar.
I was unable to get anyone's attention.
They didn’t even glance up when I cried out,
"There is a Cross in the sky!
This just might be the end of the world!"

I saw a silver-gray-gowned, hooded figure enthroned
on the highest rise in the park.
I wish I could remember all that he said -
I almost can, and what I almost remember
fills me even now with a sense of WONDER.
These are his last words, loosely interpreted,

When he got up and started to walk away,
I called to him,
He turned and raised his hand in blessing and smiled.

But I could not run to him.
Someone held me tightly by the ankle.

Catherine M. LeGault

Dreams Noir

I try and tie them to the
concrete facts of life.
Drowned children means
a gate left open to the pool;
beatings recall the verbal
fistfight two days back;
the Nazi chase, my
dead and unborn cousins
rising through the blood.

But so many are a walk
upon the shore, slipping sand
under bare feet -- the cold beads of
indescribed emotion popping forth

The girls in filmy white smiled
sweet upon that me who was not me,
who coupled, panting, in a blasted field

and you were there,
and you

my sister places the Lovers
next to Death
my mother narrates when
the swastikas appear
I have not heard your voice
comfort me for days.

Michelle Cameron

The Lone Ranger

When I was thirteen, he galloped across
the prairie of my dreams and
hoisted me into his saddle
holding me in buckskinned arms,
the fringe brushing against my thighs
and we'd ride and ride.
I'd be the one to remove his mask,
twirl his pistols like a bandit,
and wear his hat
as if I were queen of the wild west.
We'd sleep under purple star-strewn skies,
safe from howling winds and wolves
and the looming wilderness of adolescence.
Then one day, as all good cowboys do,
he rode off into the sunset of my memory.

Years later I married a man
without a mask,
or gun,
or spurs on his boots.
But sometimes under the cover of night,
we go places where I can still hear
the thunder of his horse on the horizon.

Barbara Whitehill

On Hold in a Daydream

I sense your silent stare
and feel desire
surging from your stoic pose.
Long left lying dormant
it emerges now
flagrant and exposed.
Still –
yet strong –
it laps like water on a dam.
I tremble for the day
when it may spill.

Cherise Wyneken