Clemency + Dispensation {Poem / Poetry}

Up before the sun (with good intentions)
Back to sleep (with no intentions)
Rise, shine, quadruped shuffle
ground beans and hot water
sleepy-eyed talk of dance, and creativity
what it means to be good at something
to own what you put into the world
without guilt or fear of being singled out
she asks
when did I know I had something
how old was I
who got lost along the way
how do you know friends
–where is the line between supportive loyalty
and praise cloaking a blade
I tell her:
I thank the blade
here, run a finger over scars of insincerity gouging sarcasm
words that whittled away my arias to murmurs
but murmur I owned
10 years at a time
stumbling along small
until enough love filled my lungs
full and lofty
raising above the myopic fog
to the light of now
40 years, a long time to hum a lifesong and
not cry out infinite joys
17 years, a brief lesson in wearing confident skin and deflecting the subtle dismantling of peers
Leave them be, wish them well, love your song.
DJD 2015

Date Damsel. (Prosery)

the transitional girlfriend of the calendar.

Not like the other months. Her personality a mix of closing a door and lighting a bonfire; bittersweet memory and new imaginings. You meet her and instantly you’re comfortable–she’s a bit of extended December.

She is the palate cleanser, the slate-cleaner
she looks the other way and has regard for but no connection to your past. January only looks forward with you.

Halfway through you’re cozy, in love, comfortable hibernating from the rest of the year. You picture yourself being together another 11 and a half months.

When the birds start singing their wake-up call outside the window in those last few days, you realize it’s not forever. You need more. More than January can offer, and you miss the predictable familiarity of other months.

Like any bridge relationship, she helps us out of the used, the stale,
the old and into the full-of-potential, bold new year.

As much as you are grateful for her constancy and loyalty
you leave her
for another,
more turbulent, less kind and
marginally forgiving time. A time you already know.

February waits

with open arms

to welcome you back to the calendar.

Eventually, January will do what she does best: begin anew.

DJD 2015

Give In, Not Give Up.

And they tell me the only thing I can do is pray.

It’s so powerful, so mighty, so positive.

So why do I feel so powerless, so scrawny, so angry?
(This is far from my usual mode of positivity and optimism.)

One of you has been betrayed.
It is clear from your posts that your heart is leaking pain everywhere you go
like an old car leaves an oil trail down the street.

Some of you are ill.
I do not say “sick” but ill. Your body is fighting a fight while you are held hostage by those ravages and maneuvers.

Some of you will have surgery soon.
I know you are afraid.

A few of you are having parenting issues — whether you are the parent or the child.
A lot of frustration and needless back-and-forth of not listening to each other and power plays. (This you can handle yourselves, but I pray about it anyway because it couldn’t hurt.)

Many of you are healing or lonely or hopeful Love will come through the door…
that your own prayers will literally be answered.
Honestly, I want to answer every single one.

Gratitude is everything, I know this.
(Where is that magic wand we had as kids? We could just wave it around and *poof!* everything was magically
time for supper and then a bath and story and bed.)

So many of us just want the very best for those we know and Love
and for those we hardly know but Love anyway.
I ask for better
I ask to be given opportunities to be a better person, mother, friend.
And they are provided hand over fist.

We mend what we can, as best we can.
After that, the only thing left to do is give in and pray.

DJD 2014

Vow in Autumn. (Poem)

Nothing haunts me more than the things I never had the courage to say.

Partnered with longing to take back spears thrown in the heat of battle, or the enmeshment of insecurities weaving a relationship fabric so warped, it serves as a battle flag to avoid that same slope and ditch in the future.
Destiny.  Fate.  Karma. God.  Loneliness. Consequence.  No consequence.  Proximity. Repetition. Inebriation. Lust. Curiosity. Boredom. Challenge. The Hunt.  The Ease. Familiarity. Chemistry. The Lure of What We Cannot Readily Have.  The Urge to Fix.  Genuine attraction.  The Need to Disappear.  The Hope of Being Found.
Many and random are the ways we come to each other.  Complicated and baffling, passionately embroiled or dispassionately detached, waltzing in circles until one makes a move.  Then another.  And, still, another, until we are picking up speed and lowering eyes and taking down walls and dropping to our knees in gratitude that someone, finally, Loves us.
Flaws and all. 
Secrets and perversions and all.

Quirks and habits and rituals and all.

Agendas, addictions, disintegration and slang and dented armor.

It all falls away
Layer upon layer

As the larch and birch shed summer

Leaving us raw, naked

Unhinged and insane

And out in left field, limbs to the sky, 

one more time

Until you finally have the courage to come back inside 
And sit beside the empty chair, lay

In the empty bed, curse

The words and venom and

Shamed by fear, ask, and ask

And ask

Dar Dawson 2015


Might take a while but I think we all recognize the “good” in “goodbye”.  Maybe not simultaneously or even assign it the same weight or meaning.

Weightlessness is fine for wandering or aimlessly bobbing around, here and there.  But there came a desire to be grounded, certain, and that never happened.  It is then we choose, again, direction and propulsion.  

We do this, change course, many times in life — whether by choice or organically.
I am so blessed to be loved and valued, and that is all I know, right this minute.  Right, this life.

Greenroom. (Poem)

A slow-glowing firefly rests where the cottage red garage door meets the pebbled tan foundation.  

It lights, labored, out of breath from a long summer winging warm night air.  

Across the gravel, honeysuckle continues a thin late bloom.  One must come so near for barely a hint of perfume that filled the entire yard merely weeks ago. 

If you rush by either on your way out for the evening, you’ll miss two of summer’s highlights taking their final bow.  

Let us ease into long sleeves, and blankets, and sleep, windows open as long as we can.  

Most of us are awful at farewell.  I aquiese to autumn one falling leaf at a time.

DJDawson 2012

Neil.  09.08.2015

What a strange place to be

Sending intermittent thoughts

Small prayers to ‘wasband’
he who was my husband

On the untimely but not altogether unexpected death of his brother,

Cornelius “Neal”


Named for their father


late last week, diseased liver and rattled core

gave up and ghosted him to the other side

younger at heart than most of us and most of our offspring,


with a profound lack of grounded responsibilities or any sense of sobriety

textbook wild spirit

genuine freebird *ignited lighter into the air*

Galahad and gadfly of bar rails and car-lifts

Vodka & Vicodon

Skynrd, Allmann

less refined but just as earthy

mortared with talent and deep soul


lost cause

failure to launch

rugged, salt & peppered smug grin who

never failed to glean a bosomy date or black eye from her husband, mate

or (in a few cases) a wits-end father


Swinging fists and spittle swearing from

the womb to the pine box

helluva ride

all before 58 or 59, definitely before 60


I am glad I met the other, younger, brother first.

I am learn’ed from both men, in the hardscrabble ways of wheeling and dealing for affection and second chances

though the lessons go unpracticed by my hand


He would have sold snake oil just for the sake of making a sale, and been all the more happy to white-knight-drive you to the doctor when it made you ill. With remorse, with a large battered heart, with loud rasping voice as if shout-talking over a taproom crowd, even when it was dusk alone or a baby’s christening in church.


He, best man to my then groom, arriving early that damp October afternoon. Half past the hour, an hour earlier than printed. He made sure to have the groom early, too, as it was his reputation to be late everywhere and always.


He cried through the entire service. Blubbering huge mantears down the front of his tux. His unspoken yet precious wedding gift to me — no one else – he made that very clear — was his sobriety

(for the service)


I was moved to tears.


He was present and fine past the picture-taking but stalled hard before we cut the cake. He took up with one of the photographers (both women) and they enjoyed each other’s “company” (to be polite) several times, apparently at great auditory exhibition, in her car in the front parking lot of the Garden City Hotel. I admired both his libido and his lack of decorum as I slept in my own hotel bed alone that night, the newly minted Mrs. No-body staring into the future


He cried again the day my child arrived and came, timid gusto, to sit and hold her.  Bundled bean curled against the mechanic’s arms. He held her for almost an hour in near-silent awe, and softly cried and told her the world would be kind…to her.


His baby gift was to arrive sober — just to be able to hold her. I’d anticipated him not showing or showing up three-sheeted or with yet another nameless dingbat on his arm. But, he arrived smoke-free, smacking of nothing more than Old Spice and a leather jacket.


Rest in peace, my once-brother-outlaw.

They’ve saved a pick, a stool, and a fine bottle of something just for you.

The music will be incredible, as you knew.

With respect, always,


 djdawson Sept 8, 2015