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)

Flux

“the warmth spun by the word

around its center the dream called ourselves”

                        –Tristan Tzara

He steps into seams

to sow a discord,

so as to unravel

that which cannot

be patched with 

threaded needles.

Like veins feed

extremities of flesh,

roots rip into earth

in increments

turning aside the grain

as one would wade

through water, searching.

He knows this as himself:

with walls, without walls,

doors opened, doors closed,

or no doors at all.

He stands within a room.

He confines himself

to his consigned spaces.

His hands rarely held high

in an ecstatic dance, but

tucked tightly together

holding himself wholly.

What walls wait for

him to stand before

dissolve in streams 

winding their way

toward a dead sea.

So it flows, again,

emergent, never 

itself, each moment

becomes the next

excuse for love,

the next consequence

to be sorted

like bits of broken glass

for a new mosaic

scattered across a table.

(August 28, 2019)

Lost Books

Several weeks ago something made me think about rereading Tristan Tzara’s “Approximate Man.” I searched every bookcase in the house multiple times( yes, I am obsessive). I couldn’t find it. I knew I had not loaned it out… I mean who do I know that would want to read it? Then yesterday, from across the room, I spotted it on the shelf in plain sight. I figure a ghost, or old age.

eye of the storm

eye-of-the-storm

in this vacuous world the air is pulled

from these lungs like a scream on a string

a whirlygig’s motion without purpose

other than to click and clack in the wind

 

as winter branches break against branches

with a self-flagellating destruction

my words flail against themselves in anger

searching for a simplicity not there

 

I’ve desired to speak since I was a child

but have been hesitant to raise my voice

above the churning storm outside the door

 

the constant turmoil conspires to control

like a hand at my throat each syllable

until all I could say is ground to dust

 

(September 26, 2018)

Opened

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The line demarks a space

opened in the word—

As I speak, I see

the air tremble like glass.

The length of time left

demands fealty to the page,

to a resonance with a past

that is only there in mind.

An open window no longer

distorts vision, nor withholds

access to a world other than

the tight confines of this room.

 

A vein runs my arm’s length,

spilling blood across the floor.

 

(June 15, 2018)

Supplication

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My mouth is my wound,

a stigmata of broken teeth

and words. My tongue’s slashed

like ribbons flapping

in the mountain’s wind.

My prayers snap violently

into the icy air’s silence.

 

I don’t know what to do

now: swallow my own

blood, and drown; or spit

my life onto the ground

to call forth a bitter

beast which I fear

will devour me whole?

 

(May 11, 2018)

Dream Journal #34: He Promised No Promises

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You were a dream, as was she,

but neither of you were the dream.

She kept shifting from dark to light.

Both of you were, simultaneously

light and dark, entwined like lovers

tangled in a kiss. He watched, intrigued

and somewhat guilty, as if a voyeur

peering through bedroom blinds.

The dream kept returning to you

and her together, but not together;

separate in your costumes and colors:

red and black lace against warm skin;

a part of the ambient background

reasserting itself again into day.

He woke often, then returned to you,

in the dream, with her. The dream

turned the morning back into itself,

until where each of them left off vanished,

like promises which were never made.

 

(May 7, 2018)