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)

Our Trespasses

Our Trespasses

From thick decades, 

memory emerges, with 

miniscule shames and sins,

to taunt and accuse again.

Laced like briars between

raw sinew and bone,

the castigating voice

scratches and pricks.

Unable to forget, thus forgive,

all the awkward trespasses

harbored in memory

claw their way free, 

like lizards from eggs, 

hungry and ready to feed.

(January 31, 2019)

Broken Telegraph Lines

Stop. I’ve said too much

to you. Stop. Like smoke,

I hold traces: conversations,

finger tips along my arm.

Stop. I cannot. Stop.

Love crushed me. Stop.

Still you run rampant

through my poems. Stop.

For years without reply.

Stop. I want you still

To say something. Stop.

What vague answers

Can I give you? Stop.

Other than this. Stop.

(November 21, 2018)

Dreams Interrogate the Day

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Questions

which remain unanswered,

as if on a student exam,

befuddle me. I wonder

the possibilities: lack of time,

lack of knowledge, lack of trust.

Some stay silent, although known,

because the question

was never asked—or

never formed

clearly enough to be able

to be asked. Or I feared

the answers might be

the ones I desired.

 

(August 19, 2018)

The Weight of Regret

Court-Weight-Scale

to lost friends

 

The weight of silence

is not the same

as the weight

of absence;

anymore than the weight

of disappearance

can be the same as

the weight of being left.

 

The weight of forgetting

is much lighter

than the weight

of the forgotten—

for it does not carry the weight

of all that can be remembered.

 

(July 25, 2018)

Familiars

 

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“Proust had a bad memory,

                         the only kind worth having

Beckett argues: there’s no remembrance

                         and so no revelation,”

–Denise Levertov

 

 

Like stray cats cautiously

patrolling the periphery,

memory haunts the present.

Even small transgressions

resonate into horror,

for there is no possibility

to repress, a form

of forgetting

inherent with silence,

abused children,

and broken lovers.

The details blur and slip

from one to another,

unfolding their lines randomly

within a new context,

until you realize

what it is

you have done,

and that it cannot

be undone.

 

(June 5, 2018)