Timmy's dream poem inspired me to write this - it's very, very rough. It doesn't have the polished use of language that Timmy creates - but I'd like to take it somewhere. I find writing like this helps - it's a sort of writing limbering-up & stretching before the marathon of writing my play!
When I can’t sleep I make myself hover on the ceiling.
On the bed below, my lips are counting sheep.
I glide round the light shade to the open window
and hang outside on the gutter.
There’s a fingernail moon, and a fox on the lawn.
I follow it to the gate and fly above the oaks, above the church,
over spiky grass on the South Downs
and hitch a ride on the cab of a tanker
to Leatherhead. I head for London.
I follow a train over the Thames at Bank
and land at Oxford Circus.
I wait at the curb.
I am a man.
Young, tall, wirey.
A leather jacket.
A worn, black leather jacket.
The Great Portland Street traffic lights are red.
A car stops. A car with a guy in it.
I grab his neck, pull a gun from my belt and put it to his temple.
I am in the back, my mouth at his ear.
I tell him what to do.
We drive east, then north.
In Tottenham Court Road he begins to snivel,
says he has kids.
I leave him alive and walk to Camden Town,
down Albany to Regents Park.
I climb the iron and wire fence.
I smile at the cameras.
I stir up the monkeys.
I open the cages of the birds of prey.
I let the wolves out.
The police are here – blue lights and stun guns –
but I know the alleys,
the shortcut to Regents Canal,
the tow path to Maida Vale.
I need to feel mean.
There’s a restaurant on a corner,
With candles and silverware.
I push my way in and shoot the maître d’.
No, I push my way in and shoot an old man
sipping soup. No, I push my way in and
shoot someone. Anyone.
In the eye.
The left eye.
There’s sirens at Marble Arch.
I want to go home.
I must get from the Edgware Road to the south coast
before morning, before breakfast, before everyone’s up.
Kate: (only my opinions here. Take them for what they're worth....I like this just the way you've written it.....
....drop the first four lines and start w/the strength of the opening image: "There’s a fingernail moon, and a fox on the lawn." I like this. And change the title. I don't want to know you're dreaming. Or at least let me figure it out.
...try it w/o any punctuation. just my opinion but it would help the "dreaminess"....get rid of any excess words you can...maybe play w/the line format even more to accentuate the dreaminess....
example: I open the cages.
Let the wolves out.
..."I need to feel mean." Great line. Isolating it really smacks.
Read Hemmingway's "Big Hearted River" or any of the Nick Adams stories...focus on Big Papa's lack of adjectives and modifiers. The story has nothing to do with dreams; it's just a guy fishing. But there's no dialogue and wonderful detail. After detail. After detail. Like your poem.
(I've been asked to come read a couple of my short plays tonight at a rural theater. I've never done this before and I'm scared to death...I think I may read a couple of poems just to get my mouth working.....
Kate, I've a haiku that was originally titled Night Flight. So, naturally I love the title. Also, I did not see it completely as a dream. Pagan Spirtualist that I am, I may have every book on astral projection ever written. I like it the way it is.
I liked the poem. I like the layout. The setting off "I need to feel mean." The solitary aloneness of that line and the speaker is clear. Portentous.
Only suggestion: First line "When I can't sleep I hover on the ceiling." Cut "I make myself." I think it is implied. Not needed. Every other line is so direct and taut.
I love the specifity of "The left eye." Whew!
I love the title. Heck, that is exactly what the poem is about.
And I like to know you are dreaming, or would like to know eventually that you are dreaming. In contrast to Timmy. Anyone who has hovered on a ceiling knows what your are talking about. And even those who only wish they have hovered on a ceiling! Re: Edd's comment which is also what the poem is about, I believe. And does the writer astral travel or only wishes he/she could travel? That is the open question I like about the poem.
Your poem reminds me of one of my favorite small collections is "Insomnia Poems: Acquainted With the Night" edited by Lisa Russ Spaar. Here is a review link below. Any writer or creative person knows the power and terrors, etc. of the wee hours and I have made it a favorite of mine to give to friends. One of the best and bleakest ever written I think is "Aubade" by Philip Larkin. I also love "Acquainted With the Night" by Robert Frost. Among many others in and not in the collection. Nice to see so many under one roof, however.
You can find other links about it on the internet, but this one I just grabbed.
Hi Kate! Have arrived back from holiday to your poem. Love it.
I first read it as an escape into fiction. That hold idea of reinventing yourself in the imagination is exciting stuff. I also thought that you could lose "make myself" in the first line, and Timmy's idea of no punctuation was an interesting idea to play around with.
I don't know why, but the bit about catching a lift to Leatherhead really struck me. It was amusing on many levels, as it was an unlikely place and made me think of perhaps a historical relevance to the dreamer and then I thought that maybe also this poem was about regression. The sense of becoming "other" was prevalent and your use of language was stark and raw.
Please post some more! I am suffering from post holiday blues, so my comments may be rusty, but my enjoyment of reading other people's work is very much shiny chrome!