Into darkness

When I catch up with my dream, I am on a hillside – a familiar hillside with the ocean stretching to infinity far below. The sun shines golden on the countryside.

I’m in a car, facing down this hillside which is so steep I can feel the pavement slipping, slipping out from under me.

Before I reach the bottom, the scene slides away.

Next, I am on the top deck of a large boat, trying to get down, down into the darkness at the heart of the boat.

At first, I’m not sure why but then it comes to me: I’m trying to follow the poem I’ve lost. It was written on a slip of lined paper. I remember watching it fall, feather-soft, into the darkness below.

Someone whispers in my ear, What colour ink was it written in? (I have come to believe that someone is me, a voice from inside).

Gold. The ink was gold, I realize. I can see it in my mind’s eye, gold cursive writing on a ripped piece of lined paper, disappearing into the darkness below.

I have to slide down the side of the walls to get from one floor to the next. It’s so steep and the poem has vanished with its gold ink, vanished into the darkness below.

I think to myself, I am chasing my lost words.

But maybe I’m really chasing my mind, sliding deeper and deeper inside, into the darkness below.

You (I will sit with myself)

Do you still indulge your memories
explore thoughts twisting in the breeze
follow their leads, unravel the knots
allow yourself to dream
those old dreams of revolution?
They are hidden now
tucked between basement dust
and damp walls;
let me sift them from
the words you once wrote,
we’ll pretend the ink’s still wet
and read them till the dawn breaks
again over the crumbling city.


Inspired by a poem that was part of but not the actual prompt from NaPoWriMo day 11, James Wright’s Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota. What a title!

Silence in dreams

I don’t remember what point it was in the dream that you called, just that from early on, I was holding the phone and you were on the other end, silent. Silent with a silence so pregnant I could feel you thinking, could feel the force of your thoughts ballooning out toward me, but I was trying not to guess them, trying not to second-guess you. I was trying to wait for you to tell me, to be honest and share with me the full scale of what you were thinking.

All through the dream, all the while we were silently on the phone – not talking – I was standing in a park full of children. It was cold, November maybe, and the sand in the park playground was frozen, a solid tawny mound. The sun shone now and then, and a wind blew, while children screamed and ran back and forth. The opposite to our silence. My mother was there, and my son, too.

While my mother watched my face – I could feel her searching for the same answers I was, the answers only you could give – my son and the other children ran back and forth, oblivious, carefree. It was the way I longed to be.

There was no closure to the dream, though I didn’t wake up. The dream simply faded, in an end-scene way, with you still silent, always just about to speak, and me waiting, my hand cold by then, cramped around the phone. There was no answer, no resolution to questions I hadn’t even spoken, simply a fading to black.

And I don’t even know who you are.

The Dreamer

rude alarm rings through the darkest night,
It rouses me from magic places roamed,
I slowly stretch and look to the starlight
Unable to shake loose the lost dream’s tone.

Still deep in thought I linger by the hour
And move distracted through the morning’s turns
Entranced, I search within for latent pow’r
While fickle inspiration sparks and burns.

My life is full, I play my roles with heart,
But all the while I live inside my head,
My spirit roams between the moon and stars,
I follow trails of fantasies untread.

I soar, I feel alive, as I create,
So I embrace my two divided states.

We Call the Treasure Knowledge (Cento)

I have been happy, tho’ in a dream,
To follow knowledge like a sinking star
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.

Last night, the moon had a golden ring
And the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky.
I saw pale kings, and princes too,
On a cloud I saw a child 
Clustered around by all her starry fays.

Here while I lie beneath this walnut bough,
Which is the bliss of solitude,
I am satisfied–I see, dance, laugh, sing
Oh! ’tis a quiet spirit-healing nook!
But I have promises to keep;
The fair and innocent shall still believe.

Take, if you must, this little bag of dreams
And dearer thy beam shall be.



This is my first attempt at a cento, Yeah Write’s poetry genre of choice for January. The title is a line from An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab Physician, by Robert Browning. My friends at Yeah Write have been writing centos, too:

that cynking feeling: the stars in secret
raceful Press Poetry: Of the din and of the darkness