Tag Archives: dream interpretation

#299: In a Dream, a Hammer Crushed a Teacup

2298485ae175c7ceee72ac189ebd4cbb

In a dream, a Hammer crushed
a Teacup, Seagulls flew overhead,
one, wearing a Ballet Slipper,
having lost its mate to a Shark.
I sit at a Wobbly Table, recently
crowned a third time by my
Dentist, singing the Rowboat song.

My therapist, who specializes in
dream interpretation, is sad.
He has no idea what it means.
In fact, he says, he’s worried
about me. But he takes a stab
at it, anyway, because, you know,
what the hell. Hammers, typically
symbolize a violence of some
kind, Teacups, insecurity,
Seagulls, a moment of scarcity,
Ballet slippers, a thing
for ballet slippers, Sharks, danger
lurking or the fear of it, Wobbly
tables, instability, especially
concerning furniture, Dentists,
masochistic tendencies, and the
Rowboat song, infantilism.
None of it is good and
he recommends that I check
myself in. Offers condolences.

This is when I decide to
stop seeing this particular therapist.

I trust my own interpretation:
Hammer: strength, obviously.
Teacup: intellectual sophistication, duh.
Seagulls: rising above the garbage of the world.
Ballet Slippers: a thing for ballet slippers.
Sharks: personal power and agency, of course.
Wobbly tables: a healthy, but off-kilter approach to my problems.
Dentists: the fear of Dentists. Nothing we can do about that.
Row row row your boat, gently down a stream.
Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be just fine.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

#232: The Writer Dreams of a Debilitating Incompetence

writer1

When I don’t drink
my dreams are more vivid
and sometimes that’s not good.
Last night I dreamt I was
workshopping a piece of fiction
with a large group of super smart
writers. I had the manuscript
in front of me and I was supposed
to read a section of it out loud,
but I couldn’t decide what to read
and the pages were all out of order
and none of it made any sense to me
and I couldn’t even remember what
I had written about or even recognize
the words and sentences and paragraphs
on the page as my own. It was
terrifying and I was struck utterly dumb
while this group of people impatiently
and in painful silence waited for me
to get my shit together enough
to give them a reading while
I pointlessly thumbed through pages.
I continued in this torturous
manner until my alarm went off
and I was jarred awake, feeling
like somebody had hit me over the
head with a rubber mallet,
a hangover after not drinking.

I wondered what it meant.
There’s the obvious interpretation,
just fear of failure sneaking in,
or worse, the fear that some day
the things I love and the skills I most
value will be lost to me.
And then I worry: in my waking
life, have I become more forgetful?
Do I more often find myself searching
for a word I know but can’t place?
Do I forget a student’s name when
I see them in the hall, or when I call
on them in class? How long did I spend
this afternoon searching the room
for my copy of the novel we were
studying until I realized that it was there,
right where I left it, almost under my nose?
Why don’t I write more fiction?
Or maybe these images are not at all about
what I fear I may lose, but rather,
substitutes for a feeling or an experience
recently of being out of control,
not having a handle on things,
being unable to use my wits or skill
to solve a problem. Maybe, just maybe
what I was really dreaming about
was my 7th period freshmen,
most of whom won’t or can’t do school
while I feel powerless to help
or motivate them. It’s a similar
feeling, and after almost an entire
career, when one should feel at the top
of one’s game, it’s scary as hell
to feel like you’ve got nothing up your sleeve
but a demoralized resignation. And on
the eve of this nightmare I had trouble
getting to sleep stewing about this
very group of young people. I seethed
for an hour.

They’ve already called a snow day
for tomorrow even before
the stuff comes down.

I think I’ll drink to that:
To a snow day and more pleasant dreams.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

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

dreaming

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Poetry