Dream Journal #36: Vague and Unconsummated

We were lost in the city, a post-apocalyptic Disneyland, searching for a car. We had driven to town for a birthday party.  Her birthday, a blue car. My hair was long and tousled, like it was in my thirties, not like now. The party had been in a building, like a school, but under construction, or in decay. There was a moment when we had kissed, or when she had kissed me, or almost kissed, which kept playing back in my head. Why had I turned away? Several times we passed a house which was being gutted. A large tree, like a live oak, had grown throughout the house’s framework. She clambered up the tree, to reach the second floor of the house. A large bare-chested man with a handle-bar mustache and tattoos, like a circus strongman from the 1890’s, came out and tried to sell us the house for 340,000 dollars. He said the house was only two stories, although it looked like four. We left to find the car. This went on for hours, or minutes. We would split up, return together again, push the car’s door lock key hoping to see lights flash. When we had left it for the party, the car was the only one on the street, now in the early morning light, the streets were crowded. It started to rain. A man running a uniform store overheard us talking about the house and said that we might as well buy a noose right now if we were going to buy that house. He started to tell us a story, but his assistant interrupted to show us a chef’s hat like they used to wear at diner’s or fast food restaurants, like Burger Chef in the late 60’s. Near the shore fisherman were unloading their catch from big nets. Along with the assorted fish, body parts, like arms and legs, stuck casually from the nets. She kissed me again, or tried to kiss me again, or was that the same kiss? Why did I turn away? At the party, a poet we both liked was reading her poems. No one was listening. Since the floor was being redone, broken tiles were strewn about like crackers. She looked around the crowd and wondered if there would be anyone we knew there. People I had known from work, or school, whom I had never socialized with talked together in small disconnected groups. Everyone seemed uncomfortable, and for some reason that was my responsibility. My brother-in-law, Jim, stood in the corner whispering judgmental comments, and combing his mustache. I left, but could still see them as if through a glass store front window display. The streets were empty and slick with rain. The blue car was nearby, but we had somewhere else to go. Home? An apartment? It was a white building, near where she had kissed me, or tried to kiss me. Why did I turn away? She followed me to my hotel room, commenting on the large leather chair and the open curtains as she entered. When I stepped out for a moment, she started to write a note on a pad next to the bed. She stopped and said it did not matter, when I came back into the room, interrupting her process. She said the room was over-priced. We left to find her friend and have a drink. It was emblematic somehow of the whole affair, unconsummated and vague.

(September 20-23, 2019)

Marginalia

The ghosts in his forest sift

between the bramble, collect

momentarily in clearings,

and compare notes on their

unconsummated affairs.

His apparition slips along

her edges, begging the margins

she ignores. Annotations,

without context, entangle

his thoughts, growing a life

of their own, a meaning

of their own, as blooms

of moss on the forest floor

disguise the broken trees

in a green effulgence.

He tries to trace her designs

within her fractured words.

Each turn he takes leads away

form yet another possible exegesis;

until, he falls into a clarity

forever uncertain and voiceless.p

(May 5, 2019)

Turn


a turn toward the other

whether in body or spirit

a turn toward some other

than myself to complete myself

a turn toward the other

like the horizon turns east

always seeking after light

a newer day to exult in

the earth’s curve the curve

of your breast silhouetted

in dawn’s light slipping

through our bedroom window

I turn to you from the dark

seeking your warmth in turn

(April 15, 2019)

Returning Home


Like lover’s forgotten notes,

disturbed dreams fold

into night’s pocket. I wake

into another dark morning,

surprised I was still asleep.

It’s wearing to be aware

even in one’s dreams. The days

protective surety thins

and the ground falls away

into air. Too often I return

to you, who does not exist

beyond my desire for you

to exist. Like stepping 

suddenly into a forest 

clearing, each narrative 

trace left from dream,

or memory leads me into 

a present space. Not caught 

up in past complications,

nor the fractal explosions 

on the verge of occurrence,

I notice momentarily 

the effulgent light along

The edges of the shimmering 

leaves, and I am happy.

(January 15, 2018)

Ars Poetica: The Fiction of Truth


Since I do understand the importance

Of narrative, I tell stories without

Telling stories, like now, as I write this

Poem. I’ve created a fiction of me,

Truthfully, yet still a grounded fiction,

Who is speaking to you, someone absent,

As if we were strangers ordered to share

A rough table in a pub. But instead 

of talking about the local football 

team, or rudely about the government,

I talk to you as if you are in love,

Listening, as I speak, rather than write,

These simplistic thoughts upon this blank page,

And pretend you did not leave years ago.

(January 11, 2019)