#38: Last Night I Dreamt I Was Awake and Unable to Sleep


I’m not especially skilled at dream interpretation, probably because I don’t invest the time.  However, here’s a poem about one of the most annoying types of dreams in my personal repertoire.  True story.

Last Night I Dreamt I Was Awake and Unable to Sleep

Last night I dreamt
I was awake and unable
to sleep.
In the dream, I got up
and decided to watch a movie
and I landed on a new
film by the performance artist
Laurie Anderson
in which all the dialogue
(which was really a monologue)
was delivered in reverse
chronological order.
I love Laurie Anderson
but I was too fatigued
for this particular experiment
and decided to go back
to bed where I was already
sleeping to try to get some sleep.
In many ways, dreaming
about not being able to sleep is the worst
kind of dream, a disequilibrium
of purpose, the sensation
of not doing a thing you’re
actually doing, like teaching
sometimes, or living, loving,
all manner of things attempted
and fallen short,
like dreaming you’re awake and trying
to sleep,
not quite like sleeping,
not quite like waking.
And in the morning,
when you realize that the whole
time when you thought you were awake
you were actually asleep,
you feel better, but not sufficiently:
happy, but disappointed, cheated, and tired.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

2 thoughts on “#38: Last Night I Dreamt I Was Awake and Unable to Sleep

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