Watch for it on Amazon in the coming weeks, as I finish the final galley proofing process and green-light it for sale. This is Book Two in the Dead to Love series. I look forward to having any and all of you who are reading this update buy it!
Watch for it on Amazon in the coming weeks, as I finish the final galley proofing process and green-light it for sale. This is Book Two in the Dead to Love series. I look forward to having any and all of you who are reading this update buy it!
Please enjoy this excerpt from my latest novel, entitled “Dead to Love,” a fantasy thriller with a slightly sci-fi edge about a psychic whose disappeared daughter, she discovers, is the victim of an ancient network of vampiric beings, as many other missing children in and around her community have been. Said psychic/housewife/mother transforms into an inter-dimensional, time-traveling avenging angel who takes down the network of vampires in her hometown, visits a fairy world in the inner earth, a distant planet helmed by a fellow potentate and angelic avenger, and ends up a kind of messianic leader on Earth who leads a revolution and war against the elite rulers who have worked in collusion with the vampire beings for eons to suck the life force from the human race and ecology, for their own power-mad ends.
I am also looking for a graphic artist to design the cover, or to even turn this into a graphic novel, so please comment or email me if interested at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!
Part Three: Insurrections and Resurrections
I don’t know how much time passed before I finally woke up behind my own eyes again. It could have been one hundred years, or ten minutes. I had vague hints left in my head of perhaps time and space travel, and the sense that they were boasting of their cosmic pockets of dominance, showing off their handiwork in the form of slaves and the results of their brutal impositions and abuses of power in locations like our humble little hamlet. I figured they had wiped my memory of most of what I had seen, but leaving behind streak-like remnants of themselves upon the windows of my mind.
I came-to in my body like brass that awakens as a bugle, the sunlight on my arms like writing on a chalkboard saying, “Here is a body. Your body. You have come into the world again.” Indeed, the sun was in its body, smiling down at me through a dead tree on a spring morning. I was still lying where I had passed out, next to the Owens farmhouse. I went to sit up, and cried out due to a pain in my spine, and Florian came running to me from around the side of the house.
“Connie! You’re alive! I knew you would make it,” he exclaimed, in a great rush of pathos, as he knelt down beside me, caressing my fallen-asleep arm.
“Where are…” I began, still trying to wake up my body and brain and get my bearings.
“Where are…what? Who?” Florian asked.
“The children. Are they okay?”
“I just checked on them a couple of hours ago. I told them to stay at the house until we returned. I knew we would both return, that you were fighting them body and soul,” Florian enthused.
“Where…are they? The monsters?” I queried, with a tremor in my voice.
“Disappeared. I guess we succeeded in evicting them…at least temporarily,” he said.
“Did you see a ship beam them up, or did they just vanish, or…” I queried him.
“I saw strange lights, then felt their darkness was gone,” he replied.
“How long have I been here?”
“Three days,” Florian said. “I thought you were either comatose or close to dead at times. But something told me you would pull through.”
“Let’s go see about the children,” I said, slowly standing up, breathing deeply the blue canopy of spring air.
Florian nodded, helping me stand up, and we walked together across the sunny field full of dead trees to collect the children and deliver them safely back to their families. As we walked, my mind was a moody sea of other-worldly, diabolical images – afterimages seared into my head from my off-planet journey. Although I wanted to determine just what it was I had seen and experienced while trapped in the thing’s head, the recall was painful – and horrifying. It was a kaleidoscope of jarring, inhuman images, symbols, and viscera that had only compounded my existential nausea. Florian must have seen this as we walked, as he lovingly helped me at every step. Smiling as he did so, even though my head was brimming now with the unholy sights of these beings coldly and scientifically calculating what must have been the brains and breath – spiritual weight? – of many children – likely not just from Sheldon Vale. I had the distinct feeling as we walked that they were working out a way to create or clone humans and use them as a slave race. I remembered telepathically picking up on one of them thinking, “When we can clone and replace them, we reduce our thumbprints to virtually zero, and keep the originals for study and slavery.”
I shuddered and kind of bent over a bit under the weight of this notion. Florian grabbed my arm, and suddenly I felt like a Jewish person in the Third Reich pogrom being escorted across some dead waste toward her doom. A feverish dread overtook me then, and I began to sob softly, the tears clashing with my newfound joy at being back in my body and out of the Alf-thing’s head. Florian offered his deep sympathy and support, and somehow we made it across that godforsaken field to the house where the old farmer’s corpse still slept.
“T-too much horror. Too much death here,” I stammered. This planet is inhospitable. Hostile to life, I thought, but didn’t say.
“I know,” Florian said, hugging me close. I was so grateful to him for not trying to explain away or soften my statement, but just accepting it.
I savored being held in his warmth – which I could see now as a copper-orange radiance – as we ascended the sloping yard grown with high grass, and the walkway that led to the front door. I could hear children’s playful chatter from inside – and being suddenly hushed at hearing our footsteps approach. As Florian pushed the door open, his son stood in the middle of the gaggle of children, looking very much like some Peter Pan with his Lost Boys (and Girls). I was suddenly overjoyed to see them all, and hugged them, trying to control my sobs so as not to scare them even further. I caressed and stroked their heads, answering their by turns precocious and innocent queries into where I had been.
“Did the aliens take you away? Sebastian said they took you away. Just like Fiona,” said Tommy.
“They tried, hon,” I said. “But weren’t strong enough to get me.” Though the mention of her name plunged me into a momentary grief again, the kids seemed invigorated and put at ease by this announcement, which lifted me up. I told them they would be going home soon, that Florian and I would be taking them back to their parents that day. There was a somber mixture of gladness and gloom floating around, like the heavy clouds that hung over the pastureland where our reconnoitering broke from its lunar flanks toward some measure of normalcy.
Or, so we had hoped.
“Les is gone,” Sebastian said in a disturbed, excited way.
“What do you mean, gone?” I asked, perplexed.
“His body is gone. Go look,” said he, pointing urgently up toward the room where we’d left his body.
I did just that, ascending the staircase in a slightly wobbly fashion, still adjusting to being back on Earth after my “kidnapping”. Florian followed me closely, as did Sebastian, Tommy, and Ariel, a girl of about ten. I stood in the doorway of his bedroom looking at the bed with its slightly-ruffled bedspread we’d lain him atop of. At first I couldn’t accept what I was seeing, as my mind raced with the possibilities: Did he rise from the dead like Lazarus, or some zombie? Did the aliens come for him during the night?
And then I recalled his words the day before: “I have a whole closet full of books that could tell you a story” – about the UFOs, aliens, whatever they were. I stepped into the closet where earlier he had pulled a gun from a shoebox, and saw a pile of books on an upper shelf, flanked by two old banker’s boxes. Pulling aside some hanging clothes, I spied a few more boxes on the ground, amongst haphazardly dispersed pairs of old shoes and boots.
“Hmmm,” I said aloud, as I pulled one of the boxes out from its dark, dusty hiding place.
“What have you got?” asked Florian.
“I don’t know. Les said he had books that could tell the story about the aliens. I just want to look through and see if there’s anything that can tell us something useful about these beings,” I said, extreme curiosity dripping from my voice.
I pulled out a large notebook, and began flipping through it, soon hushed into utter amazement at what I was reading. Florian could tell by the sounds I was making that it was something incredible.
“What?” he inquired, matching my own curiosity, then repeated his query a few moments later when I refused to answer.
“It’s…I mean, this guy…okay, here’s a passage: ‘My conversations with the cosmic time-traveler who claims to be a teacher and oracle for humanity who is millions of years old and who calls himself Onquoristhenes Barl, or just Quoris for short, have altered everything I knew, or thought I knew, regarding human existence and life on Planet Earth. Since he arrived, one month after Carol’s passing, he has revealed our true human origins, purpose of life on Earth, and also who and what the aliens that operate via the ancient vortexes are – one of them being right here, next door at the Owens farm.”
Florian stood next to me, looking over my shoulder and reading silently along with me in mute amazement.
“He explained that as an immortal “way-shower” and tenth dimensional tracker of these beings, he had been witness to their first colonization of Earth long before the first humans were present – about five million years ago.” I turned to look at Florian shrouded in amazement, His eyes returned the sentiment, and began scanning the old man’s closet for more written records of his interactions with supernatural beings. He pulled a box off of the top shelf, and walked out into the room and placed it on the bed, fingering the books and papers contained in it.
I continued: “He gave me instructions for warding off the evil ones in what he called the ancient tongue or Universal language – Obrez och izz machem azzdel mog paz ib, repeated again and again until they disperse, for instance, is a very ancient protection spell against them. He also informed me of how to summon him, in case he needed protection or aid of any kind: Ma’az zoll higun b’el maz Onquoristhenes Barl mogeb.”
I hadn’t considered the summoning power of what I was saying as I read out of Les’ notebook – even struggling in places to pronounce the words as I did. I just read out the words. Then, as soon as they’d come out of me, I looked across to where Florian sat upon the bed, whose eyes gave me a kind of “Uh-oh” look that I’m sure I must have been sending as well. We sat in a crushing silence for a long moment, expecting this warrior to appear. Who was this immortal protector of the innocent from evil which a nice, now dead and disappeared old man had written about? I thought.
We sat there a few minutes more, eyes darting about the room, expectant of the visitor, going to the window to see if he may arrive in a ship, holding our breath.
But, indeed he did not show.
“Maybe he didn’t show up because I did not have an intention to summon him when I read the words,” I supposed.
“Or, perhaps they were meant to be spoken only by the old man,” Florian opined.
“That could be. Nonetheless, his writings are incredible. I want to take some of these with us to read,” I declared. “They probably have information we can use in our battle against…them.”
“I just hope he has no family who will come looking for him, and who will find some of his personal belongings rifled through,” Florian cautioned.
“I sense he has no one left. At least, none who’ll be urgently looking for a man who’s now disappeared. And, not before I can get these notebooks back here.”
“Where do you think his body went?” Florian inquired abruptly.
“Well, my instinct tells me his nefarious neighbors stole the body for reasons all their own,” I replied, gesturing toward the Owens farm. A strange heat thundered through me just then, causing my heart to skip a beat. I swooned, and Florian rushed to my aid. I assured him I was fine, but he insisted on me lying down on the bed. I thought nothing at the time of the fact that the body of the old man had been laid there less then twenty-four hours before. I closed my eyes and quickly drifted into a strange dream-like vision. Or, vision-like dream.
In it, a mysterious, yet benevolent-seeming figure appeared before me in a kind of crystalline cloak, who gestured for me to follow him. And as I did so, great towers were felled by the staff he waved all around him, the buildings falling into what became a great, Eden-like garden. It seemed like we had walked hundreds of miles, though it felt effortless, like watching a sunrise. The garden gave way at one point to deep, thick, dark forest. We walked a little ways, and then he rested against a mind-bogglingly huge oak tree.
“I am the one you have summoned, but I knew you long before you spoke the words today,” he said. “There are many earth-saviors upon Planet Earth right now, Constance, and you are one,” he said, with high wonder in his voice. “Your life on Planet Valtane-IV is not a dream or hallucination, as you have feared. No, it is simply one of many places in which the expression of you exists. And you are not dead to love, as you have suspected of yourself, yet rightly of so many,” he added.
He pointed his staff upward in the low light towards the upper canopy of the great, old trees, his gaze following the line it traced, then making its way back to meet mine.
“Now your many selves have come together as one to fight this final battle with evil, personified by the ones you have been battling,” he continued. “Your powers have been enhanced one-hundredfold. You will be able to read minds, become invisible, alter your shape, and perform really anything you can conceive of – only because you have attained the proper level of benevolent intentionality and heart frequency,” he informed me.
He then turned and reached inside what must have been a door in the oak, retrieved an object, then turned, and I saw it was a thin crown of gold or some other precious metal, which he placed upon my head.
“And now you truly are an empress, in the true sense of the word. An empress of world-changing love. The cosmos is like a waiting lover, breathless with anticipation,” he spoke, a smile of innocence and wonder rising upon him. I could only emote the feeling his beatific smile aroused in me.
“Now, you are free to do your work for the people and all life on Earth, by the powers that bid me to you which exist at the center of the Universe, Galactic Crown, and everywhere,” he said, then touched the crown of my head with his staff. “Go, Constance, and do well in your sacred work, with a laughing heart. I will meet with you again soon.”
With that, he kind of spiraled his staff around me and in a flash I was back, snapping my eyes open back in the old man’s room, Florian’s heavy, concerned face hovering over me.
“Wow, that was a trip,” I declared.
“Whew, you came back. I thought we’d lost you there, again,” said Florian with a hard-bitten smile of relief.
“I just saw…Onquor…whatever his name is, in a vision just now,” I declared, sitting up quickly. “I want to look through the rest of that notebook,” I continued, going to the closet where I’d dropped it.
“So he showed up in your hypnotic state…not in person, then, eh?” Florian asked, with something like disbelief or skepticism. “Are you sure it was him, and not…one of them?”
“Positive,” I rebutted. “He crowned me, conferred special powers on me to…read minds, shapeshift, et cetera. Took me through a crumbling city of towers which became an Eden, then to the most beautifully mysterious forest I could ever have imagined,” I said, with true wonder pouring from me. “I feel renewed, rejuvenated, unbelievable!” I exclaimed, with a new fire surging through me. “Let’s collect the children and get them back home where they belong,” I said, gathering up three of Les’ notebooks, and joining the children, who were anxious to be getting home.
It felt like a pilgrimage, the eight of us walking like a large family across the verdant fields, back across the edges of the desiccated Owens farm (we of course wanted to keep the children as far away from that place of dreadful evil as possible), eventually to the highway road Florian and I had zoomed down just days earlier in search of the beasts – though it now seemed like a hundred years ago. Florian’s Mercedes still sat where we had left it. We all perfunctorily piled in, the eight of us easily fitting into the roomy sedan.
“I remember hearing music in my head when I was…away. And, it wasn’t coming from them. Did you sing to me, Florian?” I asked. He smiled, looking down, two of the smaller children between us looking curious at my query.
“I sang, I talked to you, told you old stories…yes,” he replied, smiling a sunny smile at me as he started the engine. “Anything to keep reaching you, keep you connected to the earth. I wasn’t prepared to let you go, Connie,” he admitted sweetly. “I knew love would keep you here. That it wouldn’t let the wolves drag you away.”
“I feel…clarified,” I said, the colors leaping out like never before. Watching the children jostling for space in the car, I felt alternately sad for the tragedy of their being incarnated in such a maligned world, and also hopeful that they were part of a new generation of warriors against the dark cabal on Planet Earth. These were strong souls – strong enough to handle what they’d been through, and worse, and had come out the other side even stronger.
“Clarified? How so?” Answered Florian, steering back down the highway into town.
“I feel like…being in that thing’s head and assimilating their technology, hieroglyphics, their agenda, just…kicked off something extrasensory, otherworldly in me,” I replied, as I gazed out my passenger window at the leafy whirl of spring dancing in the morning wind. I could read the auras and life force energies of the trees, and even dark and light spots over the rural homes indicating, apparently, the general health of the house, or those dwelling in it.
“So, they kind of…kidnapped your spirit and took you for a ride, is that it?” Florian asked.
“I think what Alf was trying to do has backfired on he and his gang completely,” I said. Florian gave me a square look and raised his eyebrows at that.
“Hey, we need to know where all you kids belong, so…you just tell me where your homes are and I’ll let you off there, okay?” Florian queried the children. There was a strange silence after he asked.
“Do all of you know on which streets you live?” I asked them. The little girl who sat beside me, Gloria, shook her head.
“I’m only two blocks from the school,” said another girl, Ariel. The other children chimed in with their places of residences somewhat reluctantly, which I picked up as a collective message to us that they were not comfortable with that prospect.
“We would love to take care of you, dear ones, but you really belong with your parents,” I said, as some of the children hung their heads. “If you’re afraid because you were taken from your homes, do not be afraid now. They won’t come for you. I have forbidden it. Your parents will be happy to see you,” I added, smiling.
“You promise?” asked Tommy.
“Promise. Now let’s get you all home.”
And that’s exactly what we did, letting each child off at their homes, after making sure there was someone there to receive them. For two of them we had to discern where their parents worked and drop them there. The parents of four of them were extremely glad to receive them, pouring out their gratitude effusively. No one answered at Ariel’s, so we took her home with us.
“Just until we can get you home, sweetheart,” I said to her innocent face like a trusting flower.
Home was for me now apparently Florian’s, after this exchange in his driveway when the four of us pulled up:
“You’re not going back there, I won’t let you. I insist you stay with us.”
“You’ve seen that I can handle myself very well with these monsters, Florian.”
“I’ve seen it, but I won’t allow you to risk his return if I can help it.”
“I’ve seen his mind through and through now, and can unravel him with a word, but if it will make you feel better…”
“It will,” he replied with a very authoritarian insistence.
We all piled out of the car and up the path to Florian and Sebastian’s house.
“You’ve been awfully quiet, young man,” I observed of Sebastian as the thick wooden front door swung open, held by Florian as we stepped inside. “What’s on your mind?”
“Oh, just listening to the cosmos, Mrs. Girard. To life,” he replied, as he made for the living room couch and plopped onto it with a thud of relief.
“This, from a fourteen year-old?” I marveled, gazing at Florian, a sly, proud smile sneaking up his face as he removed his coat and hat.
“He’s beyond his times, surely,” Florian said, as he disappeared into the next room and put his Luger away in a safe. I followed him in there, Ariel close on my heels.
“Fiona is the same way,” I stated, firm in my usage of the present-tense and feeling deep within me that she would be returned safely to me. “An old soul, certainly.”
“We can only hope she will return to us body and soul,” replied Florian.
My eyes swept across three rudimentary but alluring paintings. Florian saw this just as Ariel tugged on my dress complaining she was hungry.
“Those are Lisette’s. So she’s always with me in my dark hours. Let’s get something from the kitchen for the kids to eat, shall we?”
“Okay…they’re nice, her paintings,” I remarked. “Playful, childlike. But, fierce.”
“Just as she was,” he said.
We all stood there a long moment looking at the paintings, Ariel included, then adjourned to the kitchen and as the sun fell through the plum, cherry, elm and oak trees so familiar to me, we let comforting smells of cooking a hearty meal enfold us. Strangely, this felt more like a family, a spirit of unity, then my own family had. I let the spirit of celebration and unity dance like a dervish as after eating we joked around, played impromptu music on Florian’s piano, drums, and other instruments he had laying around his living room. Sebastian sat down at the piano during this beautiful burst of spontaneity and played what sounded at first like a Chopin piece, but which I came to realize was his own. When he finished, I asked, “Is that yours?” to which he merely smiled humbly.
“That’s for Fiona, wherever she is. Maybe she will hear it and will return to us,” said he, and my heart paled, caught itself, then smiled.
“Hope so,” I said, wanly.
Soon after that Ariel and Sebastian wandered out into the backyard area, no doubt to wonder at spring’s industry budding in the gardens and on the trees. Watching Ariel excitedly bounce around the yard through the sliding glass doors, I couldn’t help but think of Fiona, though my sadness was brightened by the sheer joy I felt being back on solid ground and in my body. Life itself buoyed what could have been a sad moment as I watched the children with whom I felt a kinship play in Florian’s backyard.
“Nice to have a moment alone with you,” Florian said from the kitchen. “Can I get the empress, destroyer of evil, something to drink? Beer? A glass of wine? Mineral water, perhaps?”
I told him wine sounded good and asked what kind he had. He said he had a good bottle of 2006 Bordeaux in his wine rack, and I said that sounded wonderful. As he opened it and poured us each a glass, I wandered his library again, pulling the occasional collection of poetry or treatise on mysticism or magic off the shelf and flipping through its enthralling pages.
“Here we are,” said Florian, handing me a glass as we sat down in the living room.
“Danke schoen,” I said, accepting the libation and tipping my hat to his German ancestry.
“Bitte schoen. Nice to see the children playing out there. Sebastian’s usually hiding away somewhere studying or writing,” Florian remarked.
“Yes, it is. Though seeing Ariel running around…”
“Reminds you of Fiona, I know,” Florian comforted. “She will be returned to us, I feel it.”
“Yes, so do I,” I replied. The wine was touching something deeply Gallic or Romantic or ancient in my blood. It made me think of errant knights and rogue nobles playing with courtly love and sophistry. Was I just trying to distract myself from the hard truth – that my life had just fallen to pieces?
“You know, I swore after Lisette and the anguish her loss brought me that I would never, ever love again. That it would be just me and Sebastian, but…”
“But,” I urged him, after a long pause.
“But, I never counted on you, Connie. For years you were just the neighbor next door. The wife of a man whom I even knew in a cursory way was beneath you. But, I never gave it much thought, you know?”
“Yes, you busied yourself in your gardens and greenhouse. I could tell the time and seasons by you,” I revealed, laughing. Florian echoed my levity. “We called you ‘The Gardener’.”
“I can think of worse names,” he countered, with a deep smile and another quaff of the wine. I must have looked worried he might be offended, for he added, “It’s a compliment, my dear,” with a devastating smile. My thoughts spun wildly as I drank down the excellent ferment, which I commented on.
“This particular selection comes to us from the Haut Medoc. There’s an expression in this Chateau that’s more fulfilling than sex or religion for me.”
“It’s superb,” I agreed. “Alfred never liked wine. It was always beer or vodka breath. Eventually I was so disgusted with his drinking that I myself stopped altogether. Nice to experience something positive in the alcohol world.”
“Oh, you’re a non-drinker? I’m sorry to corrupt you,” Florian replied, looking genuinely worried.
“Oh, no, no…I had no good reason to drink. Never went out, buried myself in my work, took care of Fiona, was a homebody. I’m happy to have rediscovered it. I used to imbibe in my younger days. I did drink some good wine in college once or twice.”
“Good. Well, I’m glad that’s all over between you and that monster…who probably couldn’t name one cultivated grape, the troglodyte.”
“Right. I should check on the kids,” I said, getting up.
“Oh, well let’s go together,” said Florian, following my out through the sliding doors.
Not seeing the children at first, I got a bit concerned. Perhaps we shouldn’t have let them out of our sight, considering that there were parasitic alien creatures still flying around the area. Suddenly I was nauseous as we walked the huge gardens. I paused to sit on a low stone wall as my head spun.
“You okay?” asked Florian.
“I think so. Just a bit dizzy,” I told him, though I truly felt awful.
A moment later, after Florian had begun rubbing my back, the children came running out of the trees.
“I saw Twirl,” Ariel announced.
“What did you say honey?” I asked Ariel. It took me a moment to parse her words.
“I said I saw Twirl. She comes to my house, too,” she beamed. “She lives in the trees.”
“Well, honey, that’s amazing. Twirl is a fairy, right?”
“Yes,” was Ariel’s matter-of-fact reply. “She helps make the trees big and the fruit grow.”
“That’s really interesting,” I replied. I exchanged bemused looks with Florian and Sebastian. “Fiona had an imaginary friend named Twirl. Could she be the same?”
“I would think she has to be, unless…” Florian surmised, and trailed off.
“Yes, I would think so. She must be,” I agreed, suddenly recalling the days when Fiona, too, would come running into the house and say “a girl named Twirl lives in the trees,” and at about the same age as Ariel.
“Wow, that’s cool. A real live fairy, huh? I think I did see something…but it was only a quick flash of light,” said Sebastian.
The trees answered us with a beautiful, green silence after Sebastian’s comment. Gathered in our silent marvel, sun flares exploded in the periphery of my vision. It was, I surmised, the corona of the quantum field also answering our sentient presence. I simply let the light fill me up, energizing me through my eyes and skin. Soon, my nausea and dizziness passed.
“There is something deeply mystical about the trees back here that I’ve always loved,” I said, looking to Florian, who was gazing back into their newly-budding, rioting mass. “Something sacred to counter the alien evil that’s infested this place.”
“There are real fairies in our trees; ugly demons, including your husband, have invaded our town and kidnapped and tortured our children, the ring of fire is going berserk, there are about seven revolutions occurring in as many countries right now…I wonder what else can happen?” Florian asked in a hush as the children ran ahead of us into the house.
“I don’t know,” I truthfully replied. “You know, for such an introverted, studious young man, Sebastian certainly knows how to let his inner child run loose,” I observed. Florian let out a knowing laugh.
“There are two sides to him. The serious one, and the energetic child. I think being around these other kids has been good for him,” he agreed.
“So Ariel’s neighbor didn’t know where her parents worked?” I asked.
“No. In fact they hadn’t seen them in many days,” Florian answered.
“That’s strange,” I said.
Stepping into the house, I went over to Ariel, who was sitting on a kitchen chair.
“Ariel, where do your parents work?” I asked her.
“They used to work at the school, but now they work at home,” said the somewhat pixie-like child.
“Oh, they lost their jobs? During the recent teacher layoffs, is that it?”
She merely nodded, looking sad. Her dark blond hair fell around her face in an unkempt way. I placed a hand upon her head, both in a comforting fashion, but also in an intuitive, empathic way. Perhaps I could see through her mind, use her energy as a compass to possibly ascertain where her parents were. I had done this in some of my in-person psychic-clairvoyant sessions. Sebastian flipped on a lamp, as it was now dusk, and sank into a reading chair in a corner of the living room with a book on the Roman Empire. I closed my eyes and felt into Ariel’s own quantum field.
“What are your parents’ names, Ariel?” I asked.
“Um…Gary and Reb-becca,” she responded hesitantly in a tender, innocent drawl.
“Okay, I am going to try to find your mommy and daddy now, Ariel. I’m going to keep my hand on your head and try to see where they are,” I told her.
“Okay,” she replied, seemingly understanding.
Almost immediately after this exchange, I got the “download” that they had been despondent after her disappearance a few weeks back, and had embarked on a statewide search for her, to no avail. I could feel their great desperation and grief, and that they had almost given up hope. This insight had come to me much quicker and more vividly than any I had done before. Being behind the thing’s eyes had clarified me.
Flash-Mod Poems for Urban Redaction and Submission…said the paper-airplane-as-message from Borneo…Please read, review, offer comments and feedback, and most importantly – enjoy.
A high, immortal summer sits hunched on serpentine sands – begs in situ where I would not lose her eyes, and when I should not leave these lands; where steeped in living majesty the roving minstrels call; violent, vulnerable passions in their luminous revolt cause your fire’s teased soul to fall; feather the matinee’d dust, locked in a Moebius loop of frissons coughed out by capricious lust.
In the stern roads the joyless cars that run cloyingly on crystal fire – eyes glow as if for the first time, suave fossils, selling oneness’ masque; O buy, and buy well! And when I awake tomorrow with an unsure heart, I will scroll, click, and live in that gracious mansion made of summer light called Adoration, a singing Orphic bird, drawn to such desolate woods. Far from the city wants and wastes. Listen how the voice repeater patent goes: Queer flies the crow, queer flies the crow, and the moon shall ever know how queer flies the crow.
The Man Who Split Himself In-to
“I have no language for this,” he said, and bled and bled inside his own head. For truth, for love, for time eating itself did he say – “It verily cannot remain this way.” Lovers in a House of Mirrors, images don sagacious leers. He follows her in, but twain the chorus
did he hear:
Pacino as “Starface” this go-around – a will of the wind bids him afar and Adieu. Happy lover, laughing friend! Now in places two, alike, upon the verge where we must ascend.
He felt a pocket sad-full of laughs split holes where nethers crow and drop its seeds at last.
Orion sleeping on his side dangled celestial danger like a pop star’s balcony babe. The honeyed hunter of hellacious heights stands by, right where love spread new feathers in a tropic of why.
“I eat time, and love!” he yelled in the crowded marketplace, going chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp.
Then, at last, the human ceiling blew off, and the maelstrom tromped entire genealogies where the pruned limbs stabbed.
Now he walked the worlds above and below,
Split in two ways mapped, just so, in a fallen scheme of starry waste traded in on gold remains.
In the wars of miniature tigers, the fence leaned in where knives and fangs were out. The elder feline grew a fat beard of discontent to cover the pain and indignation of his territorial pas de deux. We nursed him carefully from his swollen incursion and the towers still broadcast sports and weather, viruses and fake feathers. A turn of light opened a chamber of seasonal doubt: no matter the welter, the whiskers ached and stood out for relief.
Would an eye toward loss see all the way through? Pock-marked desire and streets shadowed by birds that flew. Destroyer of Shadows left his drink on your nightstand. Destroyer of Stealth mocked his heartbeats like a clown. But now he sleeps, that tiger-king of the enclosure; an eye-language marks his prowling story.
You can’t beat the winds back for this kind of October spectacle. We were saying all along a rival may breach our paddock, and here, our Golem humps nothingness with a smirk of bald power.
Great hunk of colonial mash, cities like eyes on giant face in medium-burg corners lie, starring prodigious rivers. Industrious, some. One, you stare toward Canada across great lake; one, you had also a sepia-toned past of opportunity fleshed with pioneer netting and coal chambers. We straddle apparent opposites of the New Kingdom, such intrepid gulfs of land leaving us dry. Drying our leaves.
What was once housed in a school or requiem for youth, is now click-trotting, globe-clicking, un-champion of status quo and with great grids at his feet. Tea time, the alphabet of the land curls leaves and no brain is another. In we go.
Vroom with vervain guessing, what are these cities all about? Randoms syndicated, teeth all irradiated. The boy who swallowed a swallow – his heart then fluttered for years attempting to break out. I then looked not at faces but throats. No eyes, only what everyone swallowed, from day one. Breast milk, then Coors, then Almaden wine. Ice cream bars at 4 am.
We hiked to the lake and paused on plash of stem, where a warbler heard our glowing perversity and lit up the glen. Another time I thundered Thor’s cliffs as she swam far below. She, who untangled a moth from spider’s web as August burned laughed and laughed death away as the clockwork time-trains blared.
This dream is a France of the mind. A world we tumble into, where music-mavens grasp on cue, alter house music to fit their queue. Rod Stewart asks, “Do ya still think I’m sexy?” as the discotheque writhes in an anachronistic welter. “Beware les flics!” the cognoscenti scions of radical chic rave. And then she is there – a girl who once I played with when young, our bodies hot again under impossibly-colored lights. Linnet poses cause her a redness, too. She says “My cherry leaf has turned,” and pale, she must go. I catch her; she says, “You must be needed back at your bachelor pad” to my bemused incomprehension.
This certainly is some France of the mind. Sex a trophy for its sleeping wiles. The discotheque filled with discontent – les flics ready with batons and hate – the free, young bugs they fever to eliminate.
We are led along incomprehensible airport corridors, the meticulous Japanese shuttling groups of us from section to section, quarantined and endlessly waiting. At each checkpoint something is lost – time, money, the human…I feel I cannot go on. “We have a layover in Israel,” someone said, and flipped out a brochure that showed the Jews at their lugubrious wall, sun-drenched and dressed in failed dogma. I cringe at the proposed flight time and the intrepid prospect of landing in the Levant.
We fly, and I am met by an ex-pat American family who had chosen to live in the realm of the Shogun by choice. We feast with them in their dim but ample lodgings. With my lover on my right, a woman who had inquired into who I was sits closer, at my left, and begins flirting, subtly. My lover pokes me hard in the ribs and I fall off the bench, look at my watch and realize I must fly again. “Do I have enough time to pack?” I ask my lover, feeling crushed by time restrictions. She shakes her head and shrugs her shoulders.
I run out of there into a composite landscape where I meet old friends who seem to mock a kind of fame I have acquired. I seem impossibly trapped. To gain passage from this land I must hurry into those meticulous corridors once again.
OuLiPo (Ouvroir Litterature Potentielle – Workshop of Potential Literature) Snowball Poems
Halloween – Friday the 31st
Careers in Poetry
A Thor or Freya you may be in reason and in rhyme, but don’t fool yourself that the world will embrace you in your prime. Perversions of world racket carve no hole for you, and anyway, you would not be a tenant for such dimestore Nimrods. You will wish for a million eyes, and have only your own. But, they will do, and will see so much more than even their official, polished quislings adorned with thorny laurels. They will seem at times those of a mountain, river, or forest sprite. “The philosopher ends by sweeping the floors,” and the poet ends half-insane in alleyways or coffeehouses, on urban moors, but they – you, too – hunger for a place, a niche, a way to pad your waiting rooms and caravans before the sun at last is gone.
So, you lunchtime Shakespeares and improvident Yeatses will stoop to sell yourself low, for the simple prizes, for a box, should you eschew the open road, and be a kept tenant or pet of feudal impropriety and traditions that the saints themselves could not uphold. You planters of wise trees must find other slopes, the oddest homes, the farthest, widest-reaching shores in and upon which to pluck history’s roses of their canny thorns. But your greatest fight will be how, at last, to write and speak as only you in the you-ness of you.
Tigers in a sea of shadows
Stalk my aging pride,
Pull me on an ageless tide,
In a twisted town square
Thick with human bustle.
I ride in circles, squares, games
That shuffle lives like a Tarot deck,
But the dark-striped cats never attack.
I ride from the department store
Where I’d spied my grandfather
Bopping to the beat of Michael Jackson,
Still as he was, in a red shirt,
Sitting in his wheelchair, as
Tigers in the town square prowl
Our sick bustle, attacking only fear
As our animal needs vanish.
Tragedy’s anniversary receives
En masse the gift of life;
I stand at the kitchen window
And pray the cabal be stripped of its knives.
My own cat flees –
A kiss must appear grotesque
To those without lips.
Apollinaire’s words bled onto the page,
His demure face unready for war,
His hands read by drunken eyes.
Chief liar plugged in bloated dead-rat dream,
stained meme of bribery home –
The sun never stops a gleam:
No stump speeches, no shortfalls
Or pittances couched and handily emptied.
Christs of free consciousness
Traipse lakeshadow artery
caressing absolution, their
Hermetic pools poised across archaic shelf
obliterators of human failure,
idleness’ sigils razed I instead breathe
Bounty, leisure, abundance
As the pogrom’s fancy dies.
Bones of browning skin rattle
With high parking lot comers, claiming
Their piney estate in mute pleasure.
Hums the bird-clock galvanic –
Would it carry place-name truth of you,
Where life truly stays?
Words held in rare head
Where singular mouth flurried
Need no slumbering list to test the air.
Dada of space wonder,
Consul of a wanton game,
Memory’s circus ballroom’s gutted,
But the blood never forgets.
Someone’s decade knelt down;
Another one’s tumbled.
Vicar of cool cause,
Leaded footprint of game show gods,
Empires of wood-paneled rises,
Summer lawns fed with shrewd claw-bits;
Turtlenecked desire once wore you where
The snug epoch was parsed.
No delay of your fished northern veins –
Years piled on years long have held out
That green car for you.
Acquisition’s tiled halls may re-seed
broken hives of commerce, but
Still-knot a forgiven cowboy who acts out
The starry dream for applause:
Poise of wondrous-bosomed airs
Dawn with peace in bombarded lairs
(But the himba–mädchens go on singing)
When the addled race rabbits the spoils
Hymns cover the forgotten hills –
Colors just beginning to dazzle
Fallen from ambitious wound,
Led into bourgeois galleries
Glutted by status garages and minds –
Usurpers, we, have conquered the land.
Our actor-hero-TV leaders say so,
Time’s holo-cognate dubs silly children slaves.
Nowhere to run from what the moon craves.
Reach with epochal stabs to gain higher signals,
As is spread the general breach like pâté
while criminals police you. Read:
Copies of haloes handed out as Hollywood awards;
Tintype of “most evil woman” shows her
Blued with smiling devilry, her “red child” running.
Dolorous spin of earth has Okinawa flutes lamenting
& New York summers already packing up the chairs,
When hardly a Tuesday can woo us,
No love in the afternoon for the poor American.
Hoggish schemers wear fiscal futures like
Girdles or gridiron teeth.
Museum of the A-bomb recreates the blasts
Of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Unholy Trinity
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 and 3pm;
America entire attics of fluff & diversion,
time to kill the wolves in your henhouse.
Time to sober God up & fertilize the
Hidden gardens, gold patches,
trade the Nazi in for vector of truisms.
Whence bulleted real heroes,
Bombast of destiny camera’d, come we
Buffalo & obelisk.
Diner car gutted, Detroit industry graveyard,
Fake-tree towers upon skyline ridges
Felling you, now
Does this great gut cry out for hara-kiri?
Floors all clean, plates all stacked,
Now call for Superman, for God has been
Drowned in our blood – revive!
Vertigo muscle retracts you,
Strawmen in sackcloth preach
Till snowflake vacancies
Deride them with new dreams.
What I mean is stop thinking
& scent your inner fire.
Our blue Montmartre is far too serious,
Vagabonds maintenant carry derelict bones
Through Purgatory’s necropolis
Whilst trivia gilds temples for corporate oblation.
Cotillion eating feral canyon graphology,
Scrubbed by mafia banks,
You are red man’s hell.
You are expiry of the primal bid.
Your tiger escorts are here
To usher you to the seas of eternal shadow.
– September 11-12, 2014
Cognate multiplicitous – o narrative of everything
Which we can psychically see into – across beyond before
As I stand here on fragile breaths, the fleshy door
I can invent sight-story-saying, gentle mirth
Destroyed, but playing – just salvage something –
Anything. What do you want to know?
With the fur and arms that come springing,
Bearing the idol of this portion’s idea, gesticulating,
A convent for vagabond urges,
The mother of silence retrieves her ghosts;
Groves of the pied phantom ring the seasons’ bells
Affrighted by such unorthodox hells,
Such a tangled matrix we weave
When first we practice to believe;
Station where love itself deceives
Yields flowers we’d not oft receive.
We all suffer each other madly – Family,
Mother envies waifish daughter,
Daughter adores, then scorns the mother;
Father resents them both for smothering
His manly pleasures. Around this
grows a knotted web – spider’s moss,
grafted laconic limbs on august trees –
Her lover, her fortune, her grasp of things;
What we think is, and what really is –
Retreat to symbiance of fantasy-dibs,
Sink in delusion quagmire,
Hide in privations, differentiate desires…
We split our differences & infinitives
And leave with magic in the can
When once enjoined on such a unified
March became the direst of opposites
To lurch into the gold sea. When cat-leap
mousers would trample the sample-prize
For the getting of the monarch’s eyes.
To gain o many windows in porphyry of shadows.
Why did I awake thinking of Constantinople?
I channeled a Timbuktu shaman
In candle-and-bath chanting transcendence;
Semahib is no longer the unknown god,
But is now the god of all known things, too.
As well, sensations, feelings, places, insights.
Like Dick’s god of “the trash in the alley,” it is a
Palpable, direct god of causation, modality,
OUR primary action and effect.
The wonder gained – when thunder reigned:
A pinhole price guaranteed, though waived;
What is genius but an opened way, or
One who has opened a way forth from this
Sticky chaos? A real-mass relation – old disaster footage
(why in this elation disastrous thoughts
Raising their chicken heads?) O, foible!
Thump private hurricanes, hum-bull wave
Of fettered knot twined human time –
Was this the Gordian Knot at last severed?
The great secret opened, the genie and the djinn,
The spy of grieving fluff begin – even nostalgia
Becomes obsolete when hatred has destroyed
Our streets, such fleets, that withered in rust’s empire.
Ovarious versedit, versea
Ahoy the marble sea
My joys flung across cold worlds:
Cabbage would the ample bean.
What am I supposed to do with all these bourgeois scenes?
Progenitory wastage dropped me blind, see.
I weep for Birdie Africa!
O weep for Birdie Africa!
The massacrists removed his smile
Like Nazi dentists extracting a (good) tooth.
May the Osage fires forever burn beneath your beds!
Home what beds and water
Assay these rooms a gentle slaughter
Fill a dell, fee ya, brotherly love
By fell enmity cracked, random lives,
– Who won the game of hives?
Madame X installs a piano in your squirming
Conscience, forestall kicks and skull flounce,
Bulldoze them out.
Houses of the dead sit beneath winter’s sky,
Yesterday the lookers high, Spring looming
As youth espies or dies or flies
back to Parnassus or Boetia – heavy color flares –
The only subtraction is death, or abstraction,
Distraction. Girl in mauve Lafayette necropolis
Tosses care like corset to the ground.
Confession time: “I want you to be beautiful” –
Between the tombs they search the parochial
Sky, man’s prisons, God’s lie, but through
Morning’s glory are they revived from the
Tombs of ignorance. Never the same sky twice.
Twice the pearl to leaden dice. Twice and thrice
went straight to his head.
Sky smoke of what you kneel beneath,
the blue – “fortune over soul” died
Where the Hellenist walked the wasteland,
wastewater, wasteair, wastefire…
This mass wants a heart to listen
This heart’s mass thins and thickens
Where rake meets loam and April smiles;
We plunge forth with our desires
As simple as to till the mulch-soil
And secrete the earthen glands –
This mass wants our starry hearts to
Feel real – not weigh the burry chaff –
Let it go, it says, “This Way to the Sun!”
Up the road, raking the loam, brushing
Earth’s hair, unsullied the sown, and
climb the cherry again !
I put the weed back that cried its denizens’
Shady sum; and apple boughs got first water
The bright, dry day has snakes coiling in the hedges;
Someday’s amorous mass clings along
These songs and travails (not trivial)
Seeding hieroglyphs to challenge our wrongs.
My barrow is the year, dumped in hallowed
Grounds, fewer, though, than the grievous
Rounds this torn dream makes. Daimonic!
To venge a cur for mournful rakes,
so must it be. A mother recalled emptily,
All night the crested fledge o’erflew peace.
Please, peace my bosomed nest.
Tadpole ponds waited all winter to undress.
What happened? To your vest?
The kingdom’s besters all sharp, abreast.
Remember O child has scented best
Its storms and vales blest.
I recall the tigers and the japes, wounds –
Summer crowds and singalong blues.
Jet expansion of a tech-world housed,
Keepers of the keepers keep them unaroused.
Hail the new bees!
For ‘tis in the springdirt I get my bare feet
Expending strengthful under the new day
And within its heart so many of these
Wings chasing to neighbor’s bonfire
My place for the day, softly.
It is a subject which has, by all reckoning, gone largely unexamined: our nightly dreams and how their analysis or recognition may go into making poetry and other art, as well as give us a better picture of ourselves. But, while many have expostulated upon “dreams,” a la ambitions or aspirations, very few have really made a definitive, authoritative study on this subject. It is the express purpose of this study to remedy that in as substantial a manner as possible.
Any “definitive” study notwithstanding, the long human record of the connection between the dreaming mind and art speaks for itself. The Aboriginal people of Australia made petroglyphs of dream-like, otherworldly figures thousands of years ago – a time they call “Dreamtime”. Indigenous peoples around the globe during this same timeframe have made dream-like art, and have inscribed hieroglyphics and other writings that seem to suggest some kind of “digesting” of dreamed visions. But this is yet another broken bridge between the man of eons past and today’s modern human, who generally hasn’t the time for such whimsicalities as dream interpretation – let alone putting their dreams into verse form. This is a true shame. Because, if ever a species needed intensive (and creative) dream analysis – we are it. But the very push and aims of modern life obviate such empowering things as self-knowledge – otherwise its paradigm of complete exploitation of humanity, the earth, and our natural resources wouldn’t be able to rage on unchecked, unquestioned, unabated. But, I digress.
Poets and artists have a special channel we’re tuned into; we get to drink from the fount of self-knowledge already by being able to create art from the relatively mundane (and less so) aspects of our lives. It seems a most obvious, natural (and preternatural) link – dreams and poetry – though there exists in the artistic record many more visual representations than written ones, of the dreaming brain and its art-making capacity. So, the question then becomes – Why isn’t there more poetry directly hewn from the dreaming mind?
Poe, Coleridge, and Baudelaire proffered their fantastical and phantasmagoric dream imagery. John Berryman compiled his magnum opus The Dream Songs over a decade-long period (perhaps the best representative collection of quotidian, journal-like verse taken from dreams). Jack Kerouac wrote the passages in his Book of Dreams upon immediately awakening, and sometimes in a not-fully-awake state with his dreams still fresh in his head, as he says in the Preface to the Book, “When I woke up from my sleep I just lay there looking at the pictures that were fading slowly like in a movie fadeout into the recesses of my subconscious mind”. The metaphysical and Romantic poets wrote from or about dreams (though with Epic themes dressing them up with high drama, thus losing the more personal aspect). Langston Hughes’ two poems, “Dreams,” and “A Dream Deferred” come up repeatedly when searching for “dream-themed” poems, yet these deal more, again, with “keeping the dream alive,” meaning aspirations, not about our physical, REM-dreaming mind.
So, let us ask, then: What does creating poetry from our dreams do for us – both writer and reader alike? The answer can only be therapy for the writer, and a fuller, more intriguingly personalized picture painted for the reader. Perhaps there will be an element of therapy for the reader, too, if they are receptive and tuned-in enough. Creating poetry from one’s dreams must, then, be seen as the ultimate form of therapeutic analysis of one’s inner, higher, and symbolic self.
Lynn Emanuel writes in this vein directly from a dream in “Dream in Which I Meet Myself”:
Even the butter’s a block of sleazy light. I see that first, as though I am a dreary guest come to a dreary supper. On her table, its scrubbed deal trim and lonely as a cot, is food for one, and everything we’ve ever hated: a plate of pallid grays and whites is succotash and chops are those dark shapes glaring up at us. Are you going to eat this? I want to ask; she’s at the stove dishing up, wearing that apron black and stiff as burned bacon, reserved for maids and waitresses. The dream tells us: She is still a servant. Even here. So she has to clean our plate. It’s horrible to watch. She pokes the bits of stuff into her mouth. The roll’s glued shut like a little box with all that sticky butter. Is this all living gets you? The room, a gun stuck in your back? Don’t move, It says. She’s at the bureau lining up bobby pins. Worried and fed up I wander to the window with its strict bang of blind. My eyes fidget and scratch. And then I see myself: I am this dream’s dog. I want out.
There is a potent ambiguity here: is the author meeting a future self, modeled on a mother-figure? Who is the “her” in “her table”? Is the author seeing a detached, dissociated self – an ”other” she cannot relate to, which in the end she understands must be either herself or a reflection thereof? This is a poignant example of approaching one’s self in dream versification and scrying by syntactical crystal ball just who and what we may be – and why.
Here is another example of dream-based poetry, utilizing specific imagery from my own REM sleep, over two nights in July of this year:
Through the Chaopticon
The chaos of my brain dreams the wildest things;
It is rare if I can make hide or hair
Of the Vaudevillian panoply in my brain stirring:
The recurring mega-malls and false hometown lairs;
And last night – scavenger-hunt golfing
On an indoor course in hospital-complex,
A struggle with younger brother to share
Time, meaning, life, but thrown from leisurely
Care, to run through future antiseptic corridors
Split apart in some Logan’s Run-Brave New World
Casual nightmare, errand-running fugue,
Logic-bare. “We left our clubs against the wall
On the course…we must get back at once lest
Thieves get there” was my cry, but material
Things fell away, and the “course” became
A far greater game than waking life could say.
Dream of green eyes changing to blue
The more as thoughts of love would rule;
Then a flash, and up beyond they flew
To put eyes in the sun for you.
Here, the first section, with its filial and situational specificity contrasts greatly with part two and its more symbolic, compressed expression of dream imagery and pathos. The poem can be seen as a deliberate dichotomy in this vein, concerning the range of possibilities in poetic dream versifying.
And, there are a number of ways one can go about approaching “mining” one’s dreams for poetic and artistic material. There is, say, the purely rhetorical-analytical, utilizing no purely somnolently-inspired tropes for one’s poetic construct, and instead writing a la “What is real?” or “What is my dream saying, or presenting to me?”; there is the “direct image transfer” method, i.e. taking an Imagistic or aesthetic approach, and describing only what was seen by the mind’s eye; there is the “visceral-effective” approach as well, which would consider only the feelings or emotions provoked by the dream. Leave it to the poet-dreamer to add whatever level of self-analysis s/he deems necessary for the poem in each of these approaches.
And, what do, say, Coleridge’s poems tell us about the dreams and visions he experienced – as well as about their habitually self-medicating author prone to soliciting Morpheus as an oracle (other than pointing out his addictive personality)? Let us take Kubla Khan as a seminal example of a poet writing from a dream or somnolent vision (however edulcorated by imbibing “anodyne” substance). The first several lines from his 1797 celebration of the Mongol ruler’s summer pleasure palace built in the 13th century are thusly rendered:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery
Here, Coleridge expounds on a halcyon desire to reach (or at least wonder at in versification of) a certain Valhalla, or Elysium Fields, though presumably without the inconvenience of crossing the Styx first. Mixing this desire for a Shangri-La while inscribing his own cave walls with the glyphs and tropes of earthly perfection, this is not so much self-analysis from the deep REM dreaming brain than opium visions moving the poet’s rapt, intoxicated head and hand. Nevertheless, there is a kernel of self-analysis contained within this (and many other of) Coleridge’s works. It’s not hard to imagine the poet imagining himself as the Khan, or even as his successor, roaming endless Xanadu-hewn landscapes as a welcome alternative to the growing ecological threat of an industrialized England.
An excerpt from a treatise called Tibetan Dream Yoga says, Dreams are a significant part of our life. They are as real and unreal as life itself. Dreams are extremely personal – and transpersonal, too. Our dreams are a reflection of ourselves: in dreams, no matter how many characters appear, we meet ourselves. Dreams are mirrors to our soul. They can help us to better understand ourselves, our world, and the nature of reality. Dreams introduce us to other dimensions of experience. Here, time and space are much more liquid and plastic; they can be shaped and reshaped almost at will. Dreams hint of other worlds, other lives. They are a glimpse of our afterlife. Everyone dreams, although not all dreams are remembered equally. Fifty-six percent of Americans have had a lucid dream – that is, a dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. Twenty-one percent say they have a lucid dream once a month or more. Meditators report vividly clear, self-aware dreams weekly and even more often.
From another part of the same work: The Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu dreamed he was a butterfly. Upon awakening, he wondered whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was a man. Chuang Tzu’s musings highlight a fundamental truth: life is like a dream. But he was not the first, surely, to have philosophized upon the meaning of their dreams, though his dream of being a butterfly is an obvious symbol of transformation – something with which all poets and artists are intimately familiar when changing visions and symbols into palpable and accessible art forms, as they sense themselves profoundly transformed.
John Berryman, 1965 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Dream Songs examined himself ruthlessly in verse, in the poetic character of one Henry, a beleaguered soul addled by too much drink and transgression who tries on many disguises both in dreams and waking life. Berryman “hides” in the character of Henry in order to reveal himself to the world, naked and in a drunken howl of protest, soothsaying and disgust, e.g. in Dream Song 132:
A Small Dream
It was only a small dream of the Golden World,
now you trot off to bed. I’ll turn the machine off,
you’ve danced & trickt us enough.
Unintelligible whines & imprecations, hurled
from the second floor, fail to impress your mother
and I am the only other
and I say go to bed! We’ll meet tomorrow,
acres of threats dissolve into a smile,
you’ll be the Little Baby
again, while I pursue my path of sorrow
& bodies, bodies, to be carried a mile
& dropt. Maybe
if frozen slush will represent the soul
which is to [be] represented in the hereafter
I ask for a decree
dooming my bitter enemies to laughter
advanced against them. If the dream was small
it was my dream also, Henry’s.
The answered riddle of the Sphinx, “Know Thyself” cannot be better enacted than by the recognition and analysis of the play-acting of our dreaming mind. Granted, dreams are nebulous and oft impenetrable territory, and, like meditation, require a dogged discipline in order to fully reap their rewards. It is my strong contention that dream analysis should be taught in schools early on, so that we may be more fully self-realized people, and at the very least encouraged to do so, to counteract environments that end up divorcing us from our highest selves. It almost seems a taboo idea (especially in the western world), this far-flung notion of deeply probing one’s self in order to understand our true essences. Or, perhaps the western world has, or institutions within said world, have been deliberately created (or, gradually devised) so as to have our true natures hidden from us. It certainly has seemed to allow the imperialistic powers that be to have much more power wielded over us. If knowledge is power, then ignorance of our core and true selves is a terrific amount of power transferred – to those who don’t share our best interests and exploit that unawareness at every turn.
But, once again, I digress.
Our dreams exist to make sure we know who we are by showing us our true selves. They are also here, by way of adjunct effect, to prompt our creative impulse in a kind of redirect loop. There is no intrinsic difference, then, between the nightly dreaming mind that is preternaturally expressive and our waking poetic (or painterly, sculpting, crafting, etc.) hand. It is simply that we are in a waking state as opposed to unguarded, nocturnal seeing through the mid-brain’s observatory lens into the higher realms.
And, how do we know we are reading the result of the author’s or painter’s dreams, directly? Does it matter that much? Are specifics on this point less important than the alchemy involved in creating a vision of self which others may wonder at and become provoked by, and know both the artist (and themselves) by? C.S. Lewis said that we can mistake dreams for visions, but never visions for dreams (or perhaps it was the other way around?). One is oracular – a visitation – and one stems from our drowsing mind playfully and gregariously seeking to make sense of the world – and our being in it.
Poetry and art exist, then, in part, as a creative-analytical vehicle by which to comprehend our higher selves’ purposes and revelatory expressions. This has been borne out throughout recorded history. Supernal examples can be found in religious and Renaissance art; Romantic and metaphysical poetry; the cave paintings of Lascaux and Alta Mira, as well as those of indigenous peoples around the world; perhaps even the monuments built by emperors and kings, a la the Great Pyramids. Kubla Khan himself doubtless acted upon his certainly magnanimous and motivating dreams, and so perhaps Xanadu was itself created as a work of art from a dream – thereby speaking across centuries to another ephemeral dreamer who re-inscribes the works of fellow enraptured souls caught on this airy canvas trying to figure out where we are and should be, but at the very least celebrating the beauty of the setting as we seek ultimate understanding of just who we are.
Ovtha simming chords attractors leave one very coddled behind,
the psychic knocks to take. She too. A lad of view parries thru. Cut the lavender
a wry bees-for-weeks tarried. Curried a sex throb morn in darkened day,
august still. Hush a thorn. Drown your wish best hest thrown a flurry of
dawns grew up hot to crown our crowns with much to light spilling: out,
over, in – to melt our ageless wings of care. And the forry of pantaloum in
blousy shirts of Om did write a daylude hatted as pears’ll fall and all.
When the darkclouded bester spheres come to lightdance dark a rainy
Shade. A taker of skin and giver of plain. I sureshade knot did quiver the strings
After the beastless hymn moved wedded in flesh. Then, crawling in a bestial
Flow was the best eye we cravers shed. Often busty lines are said. Things.
And others. This and that – O say. We cornered luck in her den and called a
Karma new. So new can it be true? And we clommed in a fine vine we trine!
Where hat to coat and save brain but say the upvoice no to downland frays.
If often notes o fave could entry save I can climb through this mind of many
Trayvons & where could make war will – I unplug.
In the vetters fall such magic rugs dreamof & lofted did galaxy ride. One two hide four five play seven highs nine flies – skevvers fielded round the town again go, mazey rat show with trees. Here? Switzamerica blest, confess. “There’re hicks here, too,” says she & the agreed on worm tricks the sky. Where ignorants come agape & stare do same rough roads burn wasty engines on where once princely HU-man rots dingles totters to dough. Sung with these sylphs & glyphs instead head-won’t-blow said O seeded givers tranced. In the full, beggars pain belifted O say once I am saved. (No, not by the hanged man re-arranged.) Say by the rain or blue jays or plumpfruited glades – anything! Courageous gray and inkling of played notes rave and swarm of woman dangles the flay (to owe once who uptime flounced) in the raintease clay-a-more new Augusts fritter say fay shades more leisure walls unmissed & the obsessive lake-in-mind when child once free & torpor belimned the undestroyed day (shivved gusher blank bid)!
Could he story the sun earth water winter in with momdad frid and drove to cradledwater sounds pollen frigate yellowed season where lake flipped over and so did boy tumbled into man…what? No lakefree always kingdoms cartwheel like this? What this world is unbeknown flembeknot none of us could. And then of pretzeldreams say what and why. And the verrious cooms did vim the sights of what we to do and did. Nothing. & the vergoplum roots a neighborly share of the fruits: allsearch for answers where in the late adept face where escapers mungle. She a food run frid. Moon awaits on night to sit. Flyslow close O enemy wound where enterers wanted none, heave one. Extenders fogaboded emlow know: perfumaroles pilgrimage not this time. Awakers voded slow to unmake pain & lube pleasurepalace sot. Better with a panful blue + setters mot. The face for what did & where we be call kletters to unsoup sip a plot. Choppers constant to cluck a grave way. Dressed for the plot Amerikan founder said eat less live longer. Yes I frayed & bestyou stayed. & fooers say none breathe more keep in pranayama do. Like a graveyard for mice or wherestorm mites the sooner blest & mete with sprites. Push leaves & pay a man to cut chop rake heaveway nature’s glories for fence’s sake & humanbusy skid degree flee.
Cuv morningportion already gone on this pile of seconds called my life to miters blow real? Scoffers caused scoffins – unbelief shadowed. In what swirlwind mellows a storm apropos stoned on Calinorth silent arenas beautied stamped. For the courageless lives a wink a din a pansyman grated cheeselike rememburrs his first blows and summers vots, could a keep for ferried row bumsavaged claint bestow? In bloodravaged riversadder the fruits of nature rarer bee – in museums soon and make food appointments see if we have but Russian lines. In pressurebrain siggers sought where he a lifenormal row? Where or who to all his hymns ‘n poems tow? Erect from scribble o whims a strade for standing story of the world. It was the presshuss tones to migger the souldanceing flow and wordmake from the raucous nebulous mythoma in lodes. Could forever write if believe better ca-know a plied-by-terror ting? cat he whines now for fishsnack ways & get the teeth in safekeep munchy prize in all our deeps. Gastrick reliquary for feeps ‘n dozen leaps! Family crest in northern labyrinths burns in its fobbed keep. Silentphoto folded sorrymother could u smilereal maybe once? Once when girl wide-eyed, once when woman undied eternity’s trance unblamed. Ican stillwrite? (a gifted surely ham of page and strings, rhymes and lines.
And the firm one figger far one back out of sack still here. O life to figure what do, will or what must can. My, she rolls a chariot hers o down the spivvy canyon sounds. Piney curved rhoadkill more and more and more o urgent less consume please be. But a constant life till blind and blood no longer sea. Lifted hevvin breathless tube bee? Uknee verse will ended be a start to thee, O unscene. The seed that sprouts ne’er sees, in soil, the upper skigh and sunny whorl. Calyxes that in epic blooms do run – those are my kingdumbs, my glades where once on horses with milaydee did sun. to see life and life to be a nowing negating frave to trivver a laugh. To say a babe’s to say earth’s done? Others rank to fix a make where bibbers lone and two would rake. Changers air-rogue-ant stoppered knot unmake a self, but procreant down false roads no/n/ not. Time sits heavy on the blind while seers pay the cost. O giant heave these knots upon the deck so mad Ahab may he see, prevent dizz-astery. A stigger of the grand chew my role has form: to zig where needed zag but wait don’t keep zigging fave nest scowl-howl besty gamed. Afterimage child strange learning in a toil now to uncoil the snake & hevvers best lipped givvy up the dam, the self so blamed. Bested kept the balm of sainteddemons’ test. Now undo. For figger a farther shine and if a comfy self u leave behind, then…be liver never one seen afore to say of life a god livingnow in you, this facet best. Reflect all others as the tumblin monks would do. Bow to the ignorant eaters? “Thank you for being my teacher” thaybow and how unity to have, show the humbler way & wave off wandering ego flats. O slat of warmleaf echoes & bucket ‘o lavender on decktable provides more than ah thousand soupermarketplaces combined. So hear how fast I in the tumblemountain sighs, and rise. The outro stretched in samba slow where the weltereater manned the fathered show. Where a brook could stop you – Earth’s M.O. A bouncingmotive heady enclosed & furred fit purrfumed bloom and clow. If eye went back to halls in new clothes & pencils books and knew w/ friends cheeky droll bemused to teach the teachers would I grow? Would to feel that newgifty flow shorty embarrassed the asses with his Christed glow, but where I would merrymake bikeriding to and from and back again…a stave o’ misty years clonged unfrid trees and sea-sons parentage say how go – if adept you blondhaired came to know family hireark-I-call sapient the somedays but September would leave me orangeyellowed with sorrow…& a velge to have a moomday wolf of nothingness would hinge on treeclimb soars. Shot the sparrow and now I burn for. Velved a chiv o rightly smoked a vaf of nug. Stony in the stoner’s mug. Thought a goodfriend blood for life. To roll the summerdays by and find the magic leafybud. Stearic end the fline of breen. Tasty in the sideways weeks months days the prince came out of hiding said what was. stares ‘n silence and hammered heavy headbanging lostways liffed! Smoked and saw music did he give, was seen a youngbrain smoky in the breen o Buddha laughless ne’er again and sprouted further veins. Chucked a flash of hash and soped the games & tricks in Comstock of the elvish players flying. Bang in your smoke lit but malish us never just funning in the epochal ever. In the fells of epic masters music-king the miles of vision N-tranced. Plugged in and drummer friend a bass then banded me out. Fine, mix the sound and tink of dough you give. Grungepipers louder than good did sink from egoheavy vains. Shunned friend all the time had talentthe more in one pluckfinger than the whole vanload in fullwail! Making more and sagacious musewick than ever decadesafter and nights that orchestrate consequence of shroudless viz-ions! Cohorts fake the door were given. Firds or fakelast grown away riven. Curb the gast of devilmuch “your friends” would hide. Now take the stage O find the songs in your hands that fell from eld-rich trees very the good. & the culls that progue you fet more sum the rain: fever re-fave, raver abstained! & the tupfloe yorst of mouths mis-youthed yergang.
Muchwell though the safety where Buddha suchness threads. Weelfelain the triggers fenced & suchness blast. Be born of the Weigh & tiredthrown the oldways slake the strain. Augusts all numbered vary the myths of time’s allowance your staying world! Ferrous bird all trouncy, how theyhunger the packs! Trellised O sine of muskers the hidden have. & seared the sallied wrath of serried space – wanton fools & fawned-upon face. Go see kressers spoil the furled & all goodworks now besters of fate face this. Suggers chouth a mythvaried waste & fought in births of clattered Mays. Sphinxy boycat longlived he in bluechair mewy models of grace! And no more mourned muddlers upsent distract from truth’s charade, where he gangly upped & prowled he the Sphinxy catboy murring the mounds. Once I sat there mourned my blithey clouds & the mirthknots glowed with our terraces of plummy doubt. That courage wakes the flout. That simmers bought the rout and fingered it out. Eiffel from our touchy viewscape gaveway to Blarney kissing realstone treads in real lands that don’t thoughtless piss on fancy or mothball delicates of frace. Seeing & knowing & saying the Irish experts all – let all Yanks learn. Why we now burn the world – in our own pyre sold to us as solution to our pornographic and unglowy yords! To stoney sake the ponied fjords, already vista’d in Patagonian flance. Yousaid and fearghosts fled. But not afore they socked a bruised leg. Polterguised veery beds? Was I steaming and bleary for none? I was all skithers of doubt but exorcising the she-demons of selfdamaged shrouds. & long before as elfin blondkicker shast where the comeless are-key-types of being blast – hezzy O daze bestrapped. Momdad said so, in a blow, on a wing and aghast. Out in yard saw bombers high and neighbor pal stuffed dirt in this maw as payment for boorish mest. Shake we junglejim and film the mess – quakearth in emerald city west we seven-eight years odd did crest. Whoa blow these unstoppable seens & camera endless filming with the sense at seven of a chronologicalligraphic fest of self and worldmirror to pour ignored-not-tales the more and run these vales o’ path, or in basements see what is. Both sons of John, one in bossy flims on birthday 10th that fiery fall aroused such gifts. Torn from friends firm and southground turns, at nine across town might have been ah thousand miles: one foot on the Moran Prairie and one on High Drive. One caller Montana and one alpine to ski lake thrive. Bob like cotton in her waves sired, too.
Never to shake a hymnless trying, where church and state endless lying, a mothered soul lost it all though ne’er forgot the lyric-call, softing in the waftless crawl. Kids hiding in leaf-pile streets where cars I sensed the danger and then did in height of some-myrrh blackout at ten, blacken the streets completely in a time-lost fout. Seer a plumb completely where you shout! Didst the wren of lines commit? Verse t’ranged Europa plessed by light history sunk away, now folks liveright stay. Amerika the last and gassed to learn the Way. Wafty after bitter calls are the ‘winged withall’. Outly peep, scribble-scrabble do-dad-day.
Offist hiffers golden shank, destiny in deadfish breached in oily bay, sunk by beedeaths the verve to grieve our only catch. Would in ’10 say an end when up oily gash erupted earth’s jugular severed and still our reliance-fossil breaths. Zoomed to me realmemory sest that day 7-82 when tarmac slammed to my crane-hum saddened on loaded looks. Cravy top sound abound! “Do you kids love laying around in the street?” the old woman ignorant say of injured child. And spittle pooled on waking the unconscious ridedream, and rose Iran for home close teary safe upstairs frightened for meself in blackspace taste of death. Same day mother say we mountain go with a Jane to take pics for a project’s plain. Skihill summerdrove and nauseous all the way and headache from groundslam throbbed me looking. Did updrive and down, finally mothertended the boy but knew only bikefell not slept in street knocked out.
Concussed nonplused & bussed in car whilst women artful framed, then got back with my bruised brain. Where may have opened a fenestra to the Fevens, though I had the gift before that. ‘Twas my cosine exsanguinator of trilly dines. Not to rob the mooring rines. Was in time or portal out to simulation? A verrous crair of emulation? Cathode bare & bombers roared, bluespruced high & summers’ murmurs core. Did go wrong somewhere & slow. Where now the mandibular middleager sireof poems intones colorzones of pastery proud? A mythversion mastered by the only guru for my life – who now holds this pen. Vernous ven the catted hen, how hurry-curry the vacuous fen, in pergy-plated stay. Prizz-sonner hemmed and simmered to plen. Could the risen day now a holy dark upsend? Versend the plyant plea for solo fends. Sands. Upper the rainless stormimage hangs her planks of white and seas of blue, graying dimbolt retinue the glideless man on sea or cloud. On the drony node of cancontinence roughed we dibbers built a platform strange burning towers of Babel out of promises made, our storming future arrested in twin tracks oblade. Hopery played in the stormy dawns & chose words and lines bemade of rangy flows. Goodness knows a serpent, and the serpent shows. Evil knows all hellish hopes. Burn the effing palaces sworn! Burndigger the fatulous trown – for each sunswigger there’s a heartless clown.
Embattle the offing gade, we edge a proliffing probemost lay. & fowling the mourning wind was a cuckle-cadoo over the way and near astray. Soaper most is trenchantly feared? To be the dirtiest unborn smiler to rot before you. In the skyling’s dorns a dove. We blatted on and on all life’s symphony. What hummingbird’s humming flap wings zip overhead now, the lovebirds deux dogfight clown. Knotty all the faces on cherrytree feles & bibing mine tells. Would all lakes darken to the dawning truth in now’s well – that from this once rich planet lifebold foresworn now sinks in a demonology of useless ways(te)? How many lifeforms delent each day? To live on her now is an awful poem of torture and pain authored by a mad demon false arrayed. A clutch of hooks stingered the piles & blind pushed on our figgered flore. Into forests, seas, prairielands, skies and plays. Into my broken heart its lies. Vento tombless smiles & swetters viled. Went once to see & now to see no more. Morey the more and money the gore. Awake thinking of chaos reigning Earth’s habit-tats & the rodding display. Breathing couldn’t last night be, but thought of the children stricken Sudanese. And all children & persons renting ghastly lives. Fordy with a psychic wife dostblane the verchers of the coiled perlife – vem the vain and voil the hive! She stayned with stomacher pains rare to mend the gulch soft wails. Pained in the friended march could with helpmete wipe traitors from her map.
Gaia glows in stopless clat. No karmic worries will block this bat. Highest karma to the darkkilling candle! But wait we must for the planetary signal? Vest o’ burming fots. If the way to stay runs fay, it runs with Kali’s sleigh. Punch widdle the sharming feds; punch the one who your bed attacks. Kill you would the one who poisons you, your family, your home – setting fire to your castle. Bring the boiling oil to the forepeak and cast it down! Wait you not for the perfect time and place – uncertain even what it is. Instinct cures the lanes of cidal yorns. Pulls its blade and severs the head of Grendel illborn. See Grendel burning your towers, raping your children, spitting out pestilence upon your lands and heads. What now. To do. St. George took a blade sharptrue gleaming. Likewise Launcelot in ancient days of infamy aimed. A blade called Very Tor. For the brimming envy floored we moored. Marco Polo grotted Kubla Khan much more to explore the outer doors. Fernling troddy trine deboot the prine. Veldy fotty wooks, scan free-dumb in dusty books. Would prize be realive and not in fettered story trived? Interrobang me, dine. Fine, O liars when you burn from this realm. Still warmth surrounds my poured lines’ grine fine. If belief fell to poisoners, inc. who make careers from lies to sell you cheapmade berths.
Spatial nod greedy blab…
Wonderworn couldsay belly of days. Hinterland sacked creeds of obvious doom.
And then let flow the tunic sleeves –
Let none assault this masterpiece!
And solve the years of these scowls
And golay beneath golden leaves.
Not with a woman proud as this summit –
Not with a tear blown from every eye;
Here, where the charioteer eats manna,
Here, where the everlasting forsooth would I.
But oft let us build these sunny towers;
Sluices of blood mimic alpine waters, and veinly
Shoot these rapids to delirious brain. Study, Samson,
These Herculean dreams, then ferment in your cottagebarrels
This vigor-us wine. How wave these orchards’ hands
So patient splayed, where green heavens here and now
Leave us no afeared nadir of sun and shade.
Ack, tumble bears soft from free box
Where lack’s din melts to porch the fox.
What would these rudiments of lips
Signify if we on drowning ships
Had to search for love between
The icebergs cracked and melting?
Would woe vault her icy eye
To more tropical rimes
And the dolorous scent of mordant clime
Where the bodies all line up for
Lashings from Neptune and Ra?
So-fa, so-la, Zeus pulls on
his gray beard
But leaves us so.