I’m stuck in a dream when I awake – disoriented amid the imprint of clingy cats with sharp claws, a lingering kiss, the domestic violence shelter, some of the friends we once shared, a long car ride through a depressed neighborhood and on darkened roads.
Another vivid dream, so real I believe I was really there – and in a sense, I was. Mark Doty’s latest before bed has led my nocturnal wanderings down my own deep lanes, it seems.
Madonna is singing about ghost towns as I drive to my morning dentist appointment – she’s still kicking ass, still leaving all these wannabe divas in the dust with their crappy songs, still singing the soundtrack to my life just like she did in those long ago years. I am in fierce immediate love with this new song. (“When it all falls, when it all falls down/ I’ll be your fire when the lights go out/ When there’s no one, no one else around/ We’ll be two souls in a ghost town.”) The credits of my unshakable dream scroll to the theme song.
I distract myself from the drilling by composing a poem, wishing for paper. I’m a perfect patient, my dentist says. So relaxed. Poetry will do that to you, I think. Two hours and two temporary teeth later, I have something I think I can work with. you will feel a little pinch …. I try not to step on Pink Floyd’s toes.
The Novacaine dissipates as I alternate between sleeping and reading. I’m engrossed in M.O. Walsh’s stunning debut novel My Sunshine Away, a fantastic title with a story I cannot put down because of writing like this.
“But for every adult person you look up to in life there is trailing behind them an invisible chain gang of ghosts, all of which, as a child, you are generously spared from meeting. I know now, however, that these ghosts exist, and that other adults can see them. The lost loves, the hurt friends, the dead: they follow their owner forever. Perhaps this is why we feel so crowded around those people who we know have had hard times. Perhaps this is why we find so little to say. We suffer an odd brand of stage fright, I think, before all those dreadful eyes.”
These lines take hold of my soul. I return again to my numbed ghosts – my lost loves, my hurt friends, my dead who follow me forever. The ones I still see as an adult. The ones who crowd my dreams.
You will feel a little pinch
–and I see the needle
before I close my eyes.
You give me the play-by-play
–we’re going to remove all the decay
as if it was that easy.
I’m back in last night’s dream
–the claws, the cats, that long kiss ….
Tell me if you’re feeling any of this.