I know that my brain works overtime, coming up with strange and atmospheric stories while I sleep. Maybe it’s meant to balance my waking laziness. I won’t ask! Here’s another one of those few from which I have awakened with a crystal clear memory. Not of its putative symbolism, of course, if you’re wanting to analyze my weirdness for dreaming surreal tales with death in them that are somehow not nightmares but simply strange and (literally) colorful, unexpected nocturnal in-head cinematic confabulations.
Do you ever feel like something unnatural or supernatural has taken hold and everything around you is suddenly unfamiliar and not what you’d always known it to be? That chaos reigns and confusion is dimming the lights and obscuring everything useful and meaningful from your sight? Do you have those times, too, when you may be quite sure that this will all pass and the atoms of your universe will subtly shift back into the places where you expect them to dwell but that for the moment, what should seem normal and clear and knowable to you is utterly inscrutable and bizarre and impossibly at odds?
Have you noticed, as I do remember to notice eventually, how often this happens around holidays and tax time?
Yeah, I thought so.
Bedding becomes at a certain time the only allowable necessity in the list of must-have, must-acquire things: a soft, squashy place in which to drop into docile dreams and a few gentle coverings to keep the nighttime’s monsters reasonably at bay. In the great grand scheme of everything, it is plain that eventually nothing matters so much to us as a modicum of food and a good night’s sleep, and that, with the essential and desirable bits of bedding to line the nest.
These are nearly universal enough desires that I think I can safely claim they’re innate and downright laudable human compulsions. And if that’s so, why then I’m quite happy to claim that as the possessor of an extreme quantity of the urge for lengthy, peaceful sleep and lots of delicious food, in that order, ergo I must be a particularly outstanding specimen of humanity. Fortunately, this approach to a philosophical stance on my being excellent by virtue of having a notable love and appreciation for the most desired of goals is so far removed from logic as to be virtually unassailable. Unassailable, at least, by persons deeply asleep, which in this tautology we all ought to be. Therefore, I adjure you, let us all seek and dive into whatever glorious sleeping comforts we can find, and make no more pretense of being productively awake.
Hundreds of lines later,
I have nothing to show
except if you count
a sense of accomplishment in having
been faithful to a commitment, in having
persisted steadily in the face of the
unseen and unknown, in being
somewhat soothed by the simple
process of having given a little
heart and soul to something
simply because I could.
However I came to exist,
I think I might be a little bit
the same kind of puzzle myself,
imperfect and utterly incomplete,
but nicely so, for all of that–
after all, I am working my way
toward being something at last,
and whether I have
an encompassing purpose or not,
I have at least
Mild-mannered Monsieur Ste-Hilaire
Went out one night to take the air
And came home newly sharp and snarky
(Full of mischief and malarkey);
I think that maybe in the park, he
Might have met a succulent
Voracious, wild and truculent,
That bit his elbows, left and right,
Infecting him that very night
(As you’d imagine, quite a sight)
With psychedelic thoughts to itch
Him to a highly fevered pitch
Wherein he met another world
And in its vortex, seeing swirled
(The way such rarities are hurled)
Strange creatures in bizarre parade,
He loosed the window, threw the shade
Upon it open just to share
With us the beastly thoughts in there
Sharp Objects Falling out of the Sky
On certain Wednesday mornings
Sharp objects from the sky
Come shearing down the sides of clouds
Like spaceships zipping by
And boulders, ashtrays, cutlery
And great meteorites
Come slashing from the heavens
—But clear up by Wednesday nights
‘OutRRRRRageous!’ she purred, ‘I’m only a lady who has fallen prey to the sentimental desires of A Certain Age to visit my old acquaintance!’ Still, her counter-suit of police Profiling would have been more plausible if she hadn’t been spotted in that location and in such a compromising position. The acquaintance in question, quivering in the doorway behind Madame De Léopard, was still squeaking with shrill accusation as the neighbors began to gather and fling catty remarks back and forth like batted feather lures. When the arresting officer demanded a sobriety test and detected that an illegal quantity of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar had been dabbed behind the lady’s ears, pandemonium erupted and many of the surrounding crowd were convinced that there was a far more nefarious explanation for her appearance on the scene than middle-aged maundering.
For my arachnophobic friends out there: hurry past the first illustration–I think spiders are pretty, but I understand that you do not!
Under the porches of the house,
amid the floor joists, posts and beams,
cobwebs and dust, dead mice and dreams,
there is a corner one last mouse
still nests in, where a little light
leaks underneath the latticed edge
that skirts the porches, where the hedge
holds lots of insects that by night
fill up his little rodent sides
and round his belly with their crunch;
this nest of his, I have a hunch,
will soon not be where he resides,
because, although he’s now grown fat,
it’s been discovered by the cat.
Bicycling up into a tree, I paused to see what I could see
between the branches, richly leaved, and saw, if I was not deceived,
a broad, expansive view indeed, and haply so, while I was treed–
but (Woe!) relaxed my braking foot and clocked my forehead on the root–
so, shorter ’twas than was my wont, this little arbor-biking jaunt.