I didn’t talk about dreams last week because I thought it better to contemplate a different kind of dream. Between then and now I’ve had a lot of dreams. It feels like I’ve been compelled to talk about my own dream life. So I will.
My dreams are wild and boring. By this I mean it’s easy to make sense of them. This is the problem with sense. It’s an easy thing to lean on. Like language.
How many times have you said the word love because there isn’t another word?
The first time I ever had a poem published my mother called my wife crying because she thought the poem was about her, and that the poem was my reckoning with some horrible thing I thought she had done. This made sense to her, but absolutely none to me.
Poems are a kind of dream. They are fog and shadow and often bad memory. But why do so many of us dream of the same poem? Why are so many of us complicit in our own immuration?
I don’t trust memory as a map to truth. I don’t trust any version of truth, or the idea that it exists. Why would I trust your I?
Tell me what you know. Tell me how you know it. Tell me how anyone could possible know anything outside of what it feels to be inside them at the present. Please, do this. It’s like squeezing a throat shut with a pile of feathers.
What is the deep thing you’re looking for at the heart of the poem, the dream? I can assure you it’s never there. Not in the way you think you want it presented to you: simply.
Philip Levine was wrong. The simple truth is not a boiled potato, the surge of peristalsis massaging it toward digestion. The truth is stepping on a rake, a ring of stars around your head.
There is more simple truth in a Three Stooges movie than most poems.
I had a dream that I knew everything once.
There were several lines removed from that poem of Philip Levine’s. If you read the original you’d understand it was advertising copy.
My life of dreams is a mushroom growing in a shower stall, an awkward exchange of money, getting high on winter air, a ball of yeast growing in my gut, Hawaiian guitars, the woman walking toward me screaming “You punk ass bitch!” as I parked my car this morning.
Why don’t we let the poems do the dreaming for us? What’s so bad about admitting you’re lost?
None of this is an attempt at obfuscation. The searching’s obfuscation enough. This is me telling you that I’m nothing and so are you and in this I found love.
Are you okay with knowing that you know nothing? If not, why? Where does your knowledge come from? Follow the chain.
Don’t get lost in all that knowing.