Sunday, February 20, 2011

BURDENS TO BEAR AFTER DREAMS THAT DO FADE

I awoke with a cry from a strange and disturbing dream last night, convinced that I would remember it come morning, as its unusual hybrid of horror and hilarity unsettled something deep within me, but when sunlight emerged, the dream subsided, and I wondered if this was what would I feel like in those moments before death, the details of life forgotten completely, odd, intangible emotions the only remainder to guide me wherever it is that we go when we go.

Something to do with Germany. Something to do with children, two of them, a boy and a girl. Blonde-haired, the both of them. As a child, I had a recurring nightmare involving a golden, curly-haired boy, and a black, mammoth, sponge-like creature that swallowed me whole, again and again, nightly, and perhaps this dream from last night was a sequel of sorts. A reckoning.

And that's it, essentially. No details, no plot, no narrative thread of any kind whatsoever -- all of it, gone. All that I'm left with is vague and quite primal. Fear, basically. That kind of low, lingering dread that builds in your stomach and rises like vomit. I've yet to watch a film, or read a book, or listen to a song, or argue with a friend, and be left with the kind of terror and panic that a bad dream can build.

They start somewhere else, beyond our own skulls. These dreams. If an afterlife exists, if we've all been here before, and might come back once again, I'm slightly convinced that our dreams do emerge from that place, or one of its offshoots. They do not peek their way past waking life's mortared bricks. Emotions in dreams are stronger than those lost in life. There's something wondrous and frantic about such a blunt supposition. This might imply that we live our strongest felt selves while asleep on our pillows. Think of it! If we're lucky, seven or eight hours a night, with drool leaking from lips, our farts and soft moans unheard and ignored, and this is the state that arouses our most intense forms of touch. Not physical, but the force that one feels when a lightning storm starts its crackle. Sex, spite, tender, torment, ecstasy, despair, a motley arrangement of humanity's pulse. Can we get that from life? Intermittently, I suppose. But we need sleep and our dreams to relish these vices. And I think they may drift into our nights from those voids that await us all after death.


Even the bad dreams I often want to keep close. Don't go, I think. Stay, I plead. Give me all your details, and I'll cherish them so. Of course, this is not the means by which nightmares are enshrined within our soft psyches. They must exit forever, so that their power endures. All of our books and our movies are nothing but grasping attempts to recover those visions that move us in slumber. Imagine a dream that would last for long months and then years: Would its power be dimmed, or else would it rise and then build like an endless orgasm? Unbearable, or exquisite precisely because of its lack of release?

We let them go, though. I suspect we must. Imagine remembering each of your dreams for all time, from birth unto death! Surely a waste, no? I often consider our nighttime reveries as nothing more than stray junk, the mind's masturbation, their meanings all moot. Other times, usually at night, often when I can't sleep, I reverse my own theory, and declare that these dreams are gifts from those gods that we can't see or perceive when daylight burns bright. Or perhaps they are a small present I give to myself. My sleeping self is a self quite apart from the "Scott" that roams through waking life. He tempts me to loiter in dreams, embrace their strange moods, and upon waking I wonder: Which existence, which weight, has more burdens to bear?

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