Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ignis Fatuus

Okay. FIrst there were things, small children's things-- poems, or spelling words-- on wide blue-lined paper. The paper became dirty snow, where two young men, dressed as 17th century peasants, caps, blousy shirts, dark, rough pants-- were sleeping. They appeared to have been drugged, or poisoned. I thought they were French or Italian, but from another century. A modern Chinese soldier in a brown army uniform had dropped them off from his vehicle, and now wondered if he should kill them, or let them live. He sometimes let them live. But not this time. He took an ax he carried and neatly and gently (as easy as cutting through butter) sliced through the belly of each man. At first there was no sign of their wounds, but then bright red blood began to gush. The two men sat up, seeming unaware that they were bleeding to death. Then one of them began to sing a nursery song, very softly, in English. Their deaths seemed to me to be very humane and painless. I thought how if it was me, I would rather die outstretched, face upward, so the very last thing to fill my eyes would be the sight of the blue sky, and I would die filled up with blue, and that would be good. Then it all went back to the words on the wide, blue-lined paper, words some little child had written-- was writing-- even as I woke up.

So. Figure that one out, Islanders.... I've heard it said that in dreams, you are every character, as well as every object, etc. I am the dying peasants, the Chinese soldier, the ax, the child, the paper. A poem:

ignis fatuus

in the illustrated
that happen each night as
the curtain
behind my eyes rises
fugitive people move
catbirds of life changing
skins under my closed eyelids
under my quiescent hair
on the pillow

skimming inscrutable
geographies of
words like flat stones
across the grey-
green water of mind
that sprays like sea

or resident birds
that babble across an
overflowing of bells

I sleep
in ciphers
that no one explains
mutable, exploding
at the pinions

and vulnerable to light
as vampires

(A question: Do you dream in color? I do!)

Monday, February 26, 2007
"Your Dreams Miss You!"

Remember that Rozerem ad where the diver, the beaver, and Abe Lincoln all tell the sleepless guy that his "dreams miss him." I saw a new ad this morning where the guy goes in to work, and explains his insomnia to his boss. "Tell me about it," she says without sympathy, and she walks past followed by a little blue pony....

This reminded me of a dream I had last night, where I met an unconfident, lost camel on the street. He looked remarkably like Joe Camel, if he'd been painted by El Greco--long and sad, rather like Don Quixote's horse. This camel told me he was trying to find his house, a red house, so I obliged and helped him look for it. At length, after going up and down several streets, I finally found a red house. I pointed it out to him. "Not THAT red house," he said irritably. The ungrateful wretch.

Aren't dreams wonderful?! They keep sleep from being such a total waste of time!