Saturday, March 31, 2012

Poetics: Night Mer(d)es


They all start the same
these days, my son, one or the other
the place doesn't matter
   it's the falling----

watching as something happens to them,
each whorl of their fingertips felt
bumping across my own as they slip further
    from my grasp
&

i can't do a damn thing

but awake in sweat, bed sheets
holding me as prisoner as my help
                                                less
                                                   ness

it wasn't always like that, once
i was in the woods, all butterflies cocooned
& hung beneath empty bone arms
tearing at me as i ran, breath ragged
on my neck, of the one hunting

the moon, a white hole, in the black
crush & crackle of leaf and limb with each footstep
drag & night calls, i fell
   rolling,
                       rolling,
           rolling
his weight upon my chest, a drawn dagger flash
in upraised arms when his hood slips
& i see my own face
    the last second before death

but awake in sweat, bed sheets
holding me as prisoner as my help
                                                less
                                                   ness

perhaps i need to lay off spicy food before bed
or anything else that feeds this illusion
i have control over anything
          but myself, killing myself
to spin the world in my own direction.

Today at dVerse  Poets, Stu McPherson is exploring what lurks along the shadowy rims of our REM where the sandman turns tales darkly. He will open the doors at 3 pm EST.


Just got home and had an amazing trip and wrote many happy poems, which will just have to wait until tomorrow. Thanks for all who stopped in while i was away. I will be making my way around to check in with you soon.

91 comments:

Mary said...

One!

Bonnie said...

A powerful description of helplessness Brian. It has been very hard work for me to come to the realization that I ultimately cannot protect my children from the harsh realities of life. We can serve their lives, but we cannot always protect their lives.
Sounds like your dreams are working to help you metabolize this existential given. :)

Mary said...

Sounds like scary nightmares, Brian. Hard NOT to be able to catch the one who is falling. I have had this kind of dream too sometimes, wake up with heart beating fast. And welcome home, Brian! Glad you had a great time!

Heaven said...

It's great to read your poems Brian.
Happy to see you had a nice time.

I can feel that helplessness and falling...I used to wake up, before full consciousness, and break out into sweat like I am still dreaming.

I am looking forward to Poetics...Stu is an amazing writer ~

the walking man said...

Control is often an illusion. most of us never recognize the moment before a ball joint separates and the car we were just a second ago is one stuck boat anchor.

No I find it best to not force control but to simply be aware of all I can be. Beyond the house of me...*shrug* what is there for me to hold on to? The kids? Hell they are all gone, slipped into their own routines and doing well wi'out us. That's the good part.

ayala said...

So happy you had a great time and I can't wait to read your happy poems. Those dreams terrorize us...feeling so helpless..first it was us...now the children which we want to protect so desperately ...powerful and a great capture.

Claudia said...

very vividly described..could almost feel the cold sweat on my skin as well and the helplessness that i think all parents can relate to... i'd love to spin the world in my own direction...but then..it would probably end up all in the wrong subway stations...so...glad i can't...smiles

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

As a father, I can totally relate to the emotions you have skillfully conjured here. Nicely crafted.

Gloria said...

Like walkman I think control is an ilusion,like always nice Brian, welcome to home, hope all of you have a nice weekend!

Chantel said...

Even into my 20's I slept with a dim light on and music. The fragments of a second upon waking from those dreams...in the blackness, were spent in terror that the dream was real.

Anything to make that moment seperate from the dream. Anything.

Brandee Shafer said...

Have you ever had, as they say, the "witch ride your back?" Not that these nightmares don't sound terrible enough. Glad you had a nice trip!

Laurie Kolp said...

Glad you're back, Brian. I can't wait to read your happy poems.

When I was growing up I had a recurring nightmare that was a precursor to vertigo (which I now know is Meniere's Disease)... not a pleasant experience at all but I remember it vividly... will have to write a poem about it for today.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

dude- this is awesome- you capture that trapped feeling, that claustrophobic, paralysed feeling that a nightmare can induce so well. I think as we travel through life and experience more and more, have more responsibilities- and indeed have more to care about- we maybe feel like there is more to lose- and the appearance of your children in this just slams it full of emotion. Great, tumbling flow to this as well.

^.^ said...

Cats will always land on their feet ... unlike humans ... Wow, Brian, perfect ten for this perfect nightmare. Love, cat.

Pat Hatt said...

Not able to do a thing but watch as those fall
All around your hall
Even if you grow super powers and your mohawk is 50 feet tall
The nightmare just won't let you answer the call
They can be quite scary
Even have a killer berry
At least you had a fun trip
Which I'm sure many a verse you'll shoot from the hip

Rebecca S. said...

Oh yeah, the spicy food would do it :) I relate to that desire for control, but really good things began to happen in my soul when I began to let go of what really was beyond me...felt so much lighter. I like the descending help - less -ness. And the French play on words in the title. Cheers!

Valerie said...

Looking on the positive side, nightmares are only bad dreams, an airing of anxieties; they are not real and never will be. Sounds like you eat cheese at night.

Natasha Head said...

Okay...let's make this one a book! A prompt that is so up my alley and I have to show freaking houses!?! fantastic, fear filled, dream scape Brian...and so totally jealous of your happy writes! ;)

Christine said...

My brother and I experience night terrors sometimes, they were extreme just after my parents died, the feeling of falling out of bed is the worst for me. Very weighty poem indeed.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...
"but awake in sweat, bed sheets
holding me as prisoner as my help
less
ness"

I now know why you seems to "connect" to your readers... Because Of the "connection" that you make with all Of as human beings.

[Your [beautiful] poetic words are very descriptive and I like this stanza from your poem:"i have control over anything
but myself, killing myself
to spin the world in my own direction."


[I'm [quite] sure that we all have felt this way at one time or another in our lives...]
Tks, for sharing...I hope that you, and your readers have a great week-end... too!

deedee ;-D

Wolfsrosebud said...

do believe, as one gets older, they become more real...

hedgewitch said...

Vivid projection of that nightmare state--and of course every face one meets there is oneself, the reaper or the lover, the murderer or the child. Excellent images throughout this one, bri--its good to have you back.

Betsy said...

hate those kind of dreams! Maybe putting it down into words will rid your subconcious of it.

I also read somewhere that if you say "I will not dream about...." just before falling asleep, that you won't. I've tried this on several occasions and it has always worked for me! Maybe your twin brain will let it work for you, too. :)

Glad you had a great trip!

SueAnn said...

Whew!! I am worn out from running and sweating and falling.
Love the melody of this one
Hugs
SueAnn

Daydreamertoo said...

Pheeeew. I have some wicked nightmares too. This is so filled with scary images. Fabulous writing.
Soooo glad you had a great trip and are home again with some wonderful poems to share :)

rosaria williams said...

Not in those dreams! We are totally, hopelessly out of control. I'm wondering if people with cushy jobs have nightmares too.

Jannie Funster said...

I know what merde means in French!! :)

had some very weird dreams last night but can't remmeber them.

I like the empty bone arms line. nice!

xo

chromapoesy.com said...

or anything else that feeds this illusion
i have control over anything
but myself, killing myself
to spin the world in my own direction

Such depth of wisdom here today wrapped in amazing wordplay! Loved the poem, I expect excellence from you but sometimes it astounds anyway :).

Magpie said...

Yes, Brian...lay off the spicy food! What nightmares. I love how you described the moon though. Welcome back! I feel human again today for the first time! Yea!

FrankandMary said...

But it is crystal clear here that you are the author of your own story. Oh, but unattractive facts.
Damn them. ~Mary

FrankandMary said...

I'm throwing out that Taco Bell gift card I was going to send you for Easter.

Jenny Woolf said...

A grreat poem as usual Brian - you are so gifted and I can feel the emotion along with you.

Sorry if I've been missing out on comments - I don't have access to my computer rifgut now and the iPhone is a royal pain - it won't allow me to do all kinds of stuff on blogger like edit posts or use flash And even getting the comment box is not always possible...

Anne said...

I didn't know where you were going with this until you got to the part with the spicy food and then the lightbulb came on. Very cleverly done Brian.

tony said...

Like In The Zoo ----> Don't Feed The Animals<---------

Tara Miller said...

Terrifying nightmares, love. Reading this made me feel like I couldn't breath and very anxious. Hope they go away soon...

Jackie Jordan said...

An awesome dreamscape! Your depth of feeling is overpowering, and your poetry is so eclectic.

Jan likes to sleep with the Investigative Discovery channel on - this makes for frequent nightmares ... I've never dreamed of killing so many people in my life!

California Ink in Motion said...

As a parent myself, I can relate to your poem. The help less ness is so over-powering. Good to read your writing. Missed everyone.

Lisa

hyperCRYPTICal said...

A superb write of how nightmares capture us beneath the bedsheets!

Can't wait to read your happy poems!

Anna :o]

velvetinapurrs said...

A cool read Brian..lots to like lots! 'hunting the moon' the help less ness, the repeats..I really like this though 'all butterflies cocooned & hung beneath empty bone arms' ..and of course the end..'to spin the world in my own direction'..very cool..

lifeisaroadtrip said...

Boy, I hate the kind of dreams where I can't remember what they were about but they've left my tummy doing flip flops.

Welcome back! I've missed your beautiful writing. I am reading a book whose author kind of makes me think of you. Your work is much better tho!

adan said...

wow, you were doing some processing there in that sleep! whew! glad you woke ;-)

the language really reflected the rush in the dream

esp liked,

"the moon, a white hole, in the black
crush & crackle of leaf and limb with each footstep..."

whowww! nice work brian ;-) welcome back!

farmlady said...

...but we keep trying don't we?
Wow! Great poem. Scary!
Get some rest.. but not deep "rem" stuff.

Ed Pilolla said...

i feel your frantic energy in this dark forest, hunting, being hunted. losing grip is a powerful symbol. great ride.

Fred Rutherford said...

Cool piece. Different for you for sure, but no less effective. Definitely spicy food before bed is never a good thing. But spicy food is so good, right? Love the use of the falling lines in here, you do that better than anyone I've read. Great job. Thanks

Luke Prater said...

Scary stuff, and evocatively penned. Lay off the cheese before bed as well as the chilis :)

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

it's true we fear ourselves, change and children growing up on us. I like the part tiring to hold to your child until he's to grown. this was go piece of work

Semaphore said...

The most difficult dreams, I find, are falling, because as you said, all semblance of control is gone. That in your poem was the trigger to a deja vu of my own personal nightmares.

Wrinkling Daily said...

Nice work here, Brian. I think most of us try to put these thoughts away so we can function but they do lurk and come out in dreams and tired moments. Having kids is both wondrous and terrifying because we can't always protect them. Security, certainty is an illusion but love is real and the reason for being.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Awesome write, Brian. Very tense. The sweating makes it so real. Been there, done that!

Joanna Jenkins said...

No spicy food and maybe no scary tv before bed???

Nightmares are NOT fun and you captured their essence perfectly.

Maybe leave the light on tonight...

jj

Jen Chandler said...

Very moving. Seriously. It read more like music than a poem. Kind of want to read it out loud. The imagery is very vivid. I felt myself running alongside someone through the woods with someone on my heels in hot pursuit.

Great job, as usual :D
Jen

Mama Zen said...

Okay, this is definitely nightmarish!

Hannah said...

Very nicely done, Brian! I love how you play with the falling in form with helplessness and the tumble of the rolling around part placing the words visually as you do. Really makes it a full felt experience!

That has got to be rugged, about your slipping boys and being chased...never fun. You captured the emotion well. Smiles to you!

S.E.Ingraham said...

well done; there's nothing worse than the feeling of losing control, esp that of what happens to your kids ... you've captured the feeling really well and the nightmarish quality too ... scary

http://aleapingelephant.blogspot.ca/2012/03/taste-of-copper.html

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Brian, chilling, def had shivers up my spine. Something about hoodies, no matter who wears them, they freak me out a little. Even my daughter wears them...! The line repeated,
help
less
ness
as though falling down a rabbit hole, so effective. Great write, and we all love you, even when you cannot post!! Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/03/30/1955-trifecta-disturbing-photo-included/

PattiKen said...

I was about to advise laying off the late night spicy snacks, but I see you've figured that out for yourself. ;-)

oceangirl said...

My nightmare is not having dreams. I can imagine your happy poems.

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite line:

"the moon, a white hole, in the black crush"

You cracked me up with the reference to spicy food. :)

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

marousia said...

Fantastic description of utter helplessness - vivid, edgy and so hideously clammy - fears for one's children are the most horrible of all - excellent write

ladyfi said...

It's heartbreaking to think we can't help everyone. But just focus on the difference you DO make.

Dave King said...

It's a lie, don't listen to them! It's not the spicy foods, they're not the culprits.

Love this one. Absolute topper.

Cressida de Nova said...

It's a chili dream for sure.

Jyoti Mishra said...

Awake.... Help
Less
Ness
this was awesome !!

A fantastic read !!

James Rainsford said...

A great description Brian, of the helplessness we all experience in our worst nightmares.

Charles Miller said...

A powerful dream that tears away so much of our pretense, perhaps of control. That is something that dreams shred, the idea that we somehow control our lives completely. My children often come into my nightmares and these moments are truly horrifying, especially where harm comes to them. The last part of your poem is terrifying, creating that linkage between the world of dreams in past and present, trying to make sense of this chaos.

Secret Agent Woman said...

What we fear most often haunts us in our dreamlife.

kaykuala said...

In a nightmare one is always up against many. It's how one gets out of it, sweating or otherwise. You pictured it very well. Brian!

Hank

rumoursofrhyme said...

Brian, as you said over at my place, our nightmares are so similar, but so different too; you chasing yourself and me discovering my corpse. Your writing here is giving me chills on a warm day in Scotland (yes we do have them, just not very often).

Bodhirose said...

A terrible place to awaken in a panic...and our waking fears do show up in our dreams.

ds said...

It's the falling, and the fears--for our kids, for ourselves. And we wake in sweat.
Imagery is gorgeous: the moon as white hole, butterflies cocooned beneath empty bone arms, and then the ending "this illusion/i have control over anything/ but myself, killing myself/to spin the world in my own direction."
You nailed it. Thank you, sir.

Ginny Brannan said...

The worst nightmares are ones where something happens to our child, or someone we love. And the feeling of helplessness and waking up in a cold sweat that follows. Have woken up in a sweat with my heart racing, never quite grasping or remembering what scared me so. You have captured the visuals and accompanying feeling so well.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

That was fantastic! Intense, with an unexpected ending.

Daniel said...

You know I feel like this too, and way too often. I know it is not healthy, but my mind goes off on its own way and I can't seem to stop its wandering.

Beachanny said...

Now yours is a true nightmare. Love the framing accentuating that falling off the ledge of reality, living, safety. Very effective and scary. How to catch a nightmare!

California Girl said...

Hello Brian! I've been away too long. Dreams, esp those on drugs, as I've had lately, can seem so REAL. I really hate the falling kind where you jerk awake at the very last moment, heart racing.

Lydia said...

Here's the weird thing: I absolutely get this, although I never had children. It reminds me so much of a recurring dream I used to have when I was a child myself...only in the dream I was a mother, a pioneer woman with long, blond hair, running while holding the hands of my two children running beside me. We were overcome by the native Americans chasing us and I laid down on my back on top of my two children to protect them. I was looking my killer in the eyes as the dream ended. (To this day, I cannot sleep on my back - feel too exposed looking up at the dark.)

So. I feel this poem deeply, desperately.

beckykilsby said...

This feels so strikingly familiar and yet you twist it your own way. Just one example that makes this a surprising and therefore much appreciated read:

the moon, a white hole, in the black
crush & crackle of leaf and limb

The Empress said...

I hate nightmares.

The worst is the time where you try to wake yourself up, to get out of the world you're in, and you try screaming but your voice is silent.

That in between time, of not being able to get out, is worse than the nightmare.

happygirl said...

Welcome back and sleep well. I find if I limit carbs before I sleep, I sleep better.
"crush & crackle of leaf and limb with each footstep
drag & night calls, i fell"
Hate falling dreams. LOVE flying dreams.

zongrik said...

you're the only one that nailed the one thing worse than just a nightmare, and that's awakening in your pool of sweat.

i missed posting this on linky. :(

semantic feeling

Lisa Golden said...

Brilliant. Those things that make our eyes snap open, our heart race in the dark.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

yikes, nightmares are sometimes so vivid arent they?

adeeyoyo said...

I wish we could guard our children every minute of every day from harm. Unfortunately all we can do in the end is trust God to keep them safe, and let go... Very hard lesson to learn, Brian.

Josh Hoyt said...

Glad you made it home. It is really fun to catch up on your poems. Thanks for sharing them!

Syd said...

I don't like for the days to go by so fast. It is as if time is at warp speed sometimes. I'm glad that you had a good trip. Welcome back, dude!

Apryl Gonzales Sweet said...

Heart wrenching are the nightmares about our children... I feel your pain, literally. Prophetically ill fated and yet awake and aware... 'tis but a dream. What a read!

Goofball said...

merde indeed to have such nightmares

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