Cat in the Night (and Other Haikus)

Talk

We have gone so deep

I can feel the cool grip

of dreams at my feet.

 

A Happy Poem

It started with rain,

pooling as the water ran

down the grey sidewalk.

 

Iris

Gazing in your eyes

past the warm ebon guile

to a lonely heart.

 

Oh

Just one syllable

slipped between these solemn lips

followed by silence.

 

Cat in the Night

You crept on the bed

and curled beneath the folds

of my comforter.

——

 

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BEAT

Beat

 

I am lying in the dark

with a hand held over my heart

listening to the heavy thud

of blood pumping through my veins,

 

and the beat seems to blister

as the blackened air grows thicker

in this hollow veil of smoke

that cloaks my body from pain.

 

Still I wonder about the chains.

The stains that silence the soul,

dragging behind the cinder

like the cross behind a sinner.

——

 

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CHRISTMAS EVE

This isn’t a happy Christmas poem. This poem is something I wrote in the very early hours today, after we received some very difficult family news yesterday, and had to suffer the bitter reminder that Christmas is just another day of the year, plagued with the same pains as so many other days. So, if you aren’t in the mood for a downer, I recommend you don’t continue reading. If you are ok with that, check it out. I’ve copy-pasted my usual “after poem” stuff, so if reading more of my work interests you it is easily accessible, but the real me is not as chipper today as those closings sound. Thank you for your time, and for your support.

Christmas Eve

The stockings were hung, and the tinsel strung out

in hopes that Saint Christmas would soon be about;

the fires were low—so low that a whisper

could snuff out the flames like winds in the winter.

I shut off the lamp, and shuffled along;

away to my bed to dream my dream song.

But this year the sound of the clatter that rose

was only the phone ringing in the shadows.

I dashed to the doorknob and flew down the hall;

I rounded the kitchen to answer the call.

Hello” I announced in a voice oh-so-tight.

I’m sorry, good sir,” came the voice in the night,

“the news that I bring isn’t fit for this eve,

yet Christmas joy is what I’m tasked to thieve.”

“Thieve?” I asked, “Well don’t beat around the bush.”

“I’m sorry, good sir,” he said in a hush,

“at half past three, we found young Mary was dead;

hung by the rafters with a noose ‘round her head.”

He continued and yet the words were all lost;

deeply buried under hallowed winter frost.

I trudged out the door and up through the snow;

“Lustrous” Clement called it, hours ago.

Her favorite lines had been “Now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!”

And now, as leaves at a hurdle take to the sky

so too, I imagine, that her spirit will fly;

Out! Beyond those bustling lights;

Out! Away from suffering nights;

Out! Over oceans sick with sorrow;

Out! Flying past lonely tomorrow;

“OUT!” I cry, with a fire so alive!

“OUT!” It echoes down the steep mountainside!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

Perched over the chasm I sing: “It’s Christmas tonight!

Merry Christmas to all! and to all a good night!”

——

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DREAMS OF VISIONS IN FIRE

Recently, I had a dream about fire. It was well past midnight, but I had grown cold beneath my cloak in the woods, so I decided to build up the fire again. The cinders in the fire pit were nearly out, but because I was quick about getting the kindling I managed to relight it before it went out entirely. I sat there, waiting for the flames to grow as they gnawed hungrily at the wood. When they were finally big enough, I pulled back my gloves and bared my fingers against the heat. It was soothing, like closing the door inside a toasty home on the night with heavy rains.

The longer I sat by the fire, the longer I stared into it. It was beautiful. It snapped back and forth to an unheard tune, like a lost dancer looking for its partner. Eventually, the body of heat morphed into a vision of a reality far, far away. It was a ballroom, with its own massive hearth, filled with elegant dancers, all dressed in matching red outfits. The fire snapped again, and suddenly I was looking at the cosmos, full of dancing red stars—each moving in a disjointed pattern. There was no rhythm to it, yet it somehow look completely expectable.

The fire snapped again and I was back home. Not the house I lived in, back in the village ten miles east, but home. The long expanse, across a thousand miles, through rivers and over mountains. A home I had never seen, yet had always known was mine. And looking back out at me, from inside my home, was a beautiful woman. I somehow knew she was my wife, though I had never been married, and in her arms was a small baby crying with a voice that I couldn’t hear. She looked at me, and smiled. I put my arm out to reach for her, but as I did the fire snapped at my wrist, and the images burned away.

 

That’s where the dream stopped. I can’t really explain it. The red outfits I think pretty clearly mean passion in some form or another. The cosmos make little sense to me, but the rhythm between them seems to me to mean possibly something like “the universe is exactly where it means to be right now.” The woman could mean my own desires, though I don’t know who she is. In my dream, my being seemed to have an idea of who she was—like we had met previously, or would know each other when we met.

Or, it is equally possible that, after watching Howl’s Moving Castle and finishing the third Game of Thrones book, where visions in fire are a prevalent aspect, my subconscious simply had the mystical properties of fire in mind, and felt like playing out its own vision therein. I don’t know. What do you think? Do you have any cool/strange/incredible dreams like this that you can remember? Let me know!

Oh! And make sure you have a safe Halloween! 😉

 

 

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DREAMS. IN. SPACE.

Last night I fell into a dream that started at an intergalactic academy. The headmaster, a short, plump woman with a deep red hair, was dogged about the need for utter obedience in her subjects. She walked us through the school to demonstrate the success this obedience had gained her—highlighting slave labor that she had used to turn a profit for her and the rest of the administration.

Being the big mouth I am, I said something to her about the horrible conditions this meant for the poor students, but when I did, she rounded on me in anger. She called security, and I had to high tail it back to my space shuttle. I made it back, and the flight crew took off. We thought it was exceptionally strange when they didn’t chase us. Two hours passed, and then we suddenly heard a tapping sound outside the ship. Din-din din-din. It was eerie. Then it repeated. Over and over and over, and we realized that whatever was out there was making to come in. We began to throw on our spacesuits. I had nearly gotten mine on when the whole roof of the shuttle burst open, and we flew out into the dead of space. I had just enough time to get a last gasp of air before we entered the cold nothingness.

The icy world on my face stung, and the tears that flowed from my eyes froze before they had journeyed far. It wasn’t before long that my lungs were pounding and the fluid in my eyes began to freeze. In front of me was the mirror from the space shuttle, and I saw my reflection—blue in the face, with my hair flying out in all directions. I thought I was going to die. Then from behind me, the strangest thing happened. A vulture, with massive black wings, descended into the plain of view to land on my shoulders. They’ve come for me. I thought, though I couldn’t really say who “they” were. The vulture placed a clawed foot over my mouth, and suddenly I could breathe. Yet it didn’t help my vision, and the water in my eyes ran cold until everything was just an icy plane, followed swiftly by blackness.

 

So I don’t know what this dream means. In the moment, I thought the vulture was from the academy, come to kill me, but then it magically saved me. Perhaps if I hadn’t woken up in real life, my dream self would have woken up as a slave to the academy. Or maybe not. I know my disdainful reaction to the sight of slavery was well in my character. Perhaps it as something to do with the nature of unbalance within the school system—though who can say for sure. Anyways, those are just my thoughts. Let me know what you think! Do you have any strange dreams like that? Tell me about them in the comments!

 

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DREAMS OF THE FAIR

This week I had a dream that I was trying to go to the fair. The ticket booth, which was the only was to get in, was on a dirty covered hillside, behind a row of strangely placed buildings. There was no parking near any of them—the closest parking had been up at the top of a plateau, about half a mile up from the ticket booth. There were pine trees scattered about and another half-mile past you could see the fair. I had gotten in line behind a few slow moving people. I think I had been trying to meet my little brother, my older sister, and my father there.

The fair itself looked quite a bit more spectacular than the local one we get. There were dozens of rides that rose above the walls, and off to the east there was a strange roof that appeared to be made of water, which had reflected light through it in the way that a pool does. It was so exciting—and frustrating, because the line hadn’t moved. There were only a few people there. I remember thinking, Why are people so inept? before I actually decided to look around and see what was going on.

The line had three people ahead of me, all of them were elderly and white. So white, they looked as though they had bathed in a tub of bleach. All of them were wearing strange clothing. One, a woman, wore a big yellow rain coat, and massive rain boots to match. In front of her was a man, dressed in an all-grey track suit, with a pair of running shoes that had been so worn they were beginning to fray. The last person was dressed in a light green sundress, though I couldn’t distinguish if they were male or female. But they were certainly grey haired and wrinkly.

All of them were looking down, and the young woman in the ticket booth was looking beyond confused. She had called “next” several times, though even I hadn’t heard her say it until I saw her. I skipped ahead of the line when I realized nobody else was moving. When I began to walk past each person, the elderly people slowly raised their heads in disdain, but none of them moved to stop me.

I don’t remember speaking to the girl, nor getting inside the fair, yet somehow I’d made it there. I was in the water-roofed room. The ceiling had no glass, but somehow, as if by magic, the water was all suspended in the air. It was a beautiful sight, like the spirit of vacation incarnated. And it was the last thing I remember seeing before I woke up.

 

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DREAM LOOP

Today’s dream (or rather, last night’s dream) plays with something of normalcy, which is something that seems to occur regularly in my dreams, which is perhaps why I’ve struggled to remember them for so many years. Here it is:

 

I woke up, for the first time, or perhaps the millionth, gasping for breath. My room was dark, but the beam of light peaking out between my window curtains signaled to me that it was well into the morning. I took a brief look around, when suddenly the door burst in and my father was there, spewing some nonsense about getting out of bed and doing my chores. I couldn’t really make it out, but his tone of voice was clear enough. I sprung to my feet, threw a pair of shorts on, pulled a shirt over my head and walked through the door…

…then sat up gasping for breath again, again, for what felt like the first time, but may have been the millionth. At the time, I had no memory of what happened prior, just as many fail to remember their dreams moments after waking. This time there was a scratching at the door, likely from one of our cats. They would occasionally scratch, asking for food—or occasionally freedom. I opened the door, and saw Twilight, our black cat, staring up at me with great green eyes. I walked her to the door to let her out front, the pitter-patter of her feet were as light as snowflakes falling. I twisted the nob, watched her exit, then figured I’d grab myself a quick bite to break my fast. I took two quick steps to the fridge, opened the door

and again was gasping for air in my bed.

 

But this was where the dream ended. My eyes opened, and the world felt that slight twinge of real that distinguishes it from even the most vivid dreams. What does it mean? I don’t really know. I could be, very obviously, that my life is literally on repeat. Day in and day out things are too similar to really be distinguished. The repetition of gasping could very well be indicative of choking, as if I am dying by doing this. Or, it could mean nothing, and this is just some weird thing my brain decided to project, and I just happened to remember it. Who knows? Let me know what dreams you’ve had that stood out to you in the comments below!

 

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BARN FIRE DREAMS

For the past while I have been recording my dreams, either in a mental log or on actual paper, and you may have notice I’ve been talking about dreams a lot over the past few weeks. That’s because I wanted to change up my Tuesday slot, because I’m struggling more and more not to be redundant with my concepts. I mean, you can skin a cat multiple ways…but at the end of it, all you’ve done is a bunch of skin cats. And it really isn’t in my interest to have people saying something like “Yeah I get it” when I talk about my ideas. So, instead, let me describe a short dream to you that I had the other day:

 

The world began with the light from a rotting wooden roof. Sunbeams looked down on me from the rectangular holes of missing roof tiles, and the interior of the barn had grown over with moss and various other plants. But the hay was still comfortable—at least, as I realized my arm was trapped beneath a woman, it had been for the half the night we had slept. I didn’t know her name, but she look familiar, like the friend of a friend. As I rubbed my eyes and rose, stumbling, I saw that the place really was run down. The walls looked like they might give out any time, and the color of the wood was so grey with rot that it scarcely looked a color at all.

And then I was outside, almost more suddenly than my mind could keep pace with. The air was fresh like the morning after a heavy rain, though the ground gave no hint that there had been so much as a drop recently. There were a great many trees around us, though there were other small cabins mixed in as well. It looked like a world stuck out of time to my mind’s eye, yet my body felt perfectly at home.

Until, of course, a young woman rounded the corner and ran up to me. Her hair was a vibrant red, and when she approached me it was clear she had been running for a great long while.

“Fire,” She gasped, pointing back the way she came, “help.” Without a moment’s hesitation, we were off running again. I can’t say how long we ran for, nor how I got my hands on a massive hose, but there we were, spraying down the side of another barn. Everything was going according to plan, until the faint cries of “help” rose up through the barn window, and we realized someone was inside. I handed the youth the hose, and ran toward the half open door. The heat inside singed my face, but I continued inward. It was as though the world itself had been immersed in flame. The Earth, the walls, and the roof all burned heavily. Even the faint view of the light seen from the shattered window in the loft looked redder than it had outside.

I looked around, and saw a pair of children standing at the center of the room, paralyzed with fear. It looked like they had found the only place without fire, though the circle around them was growing ever smaller. There was no way to get to them, save through the flames. Somehow, I found an area where the fire was less fierce, and took a few quick steps across the flames to them. I scooped them up in my arms, then looked for the door. In all the movement I had lost my bearings. It seemed so much farther than before.

Wood crashed around us as the roof began to shatter, shooting sparks through the air. The flames fed on the fallen wood like wolves on their prey, and grew all the fiercer. There would be no making it back to the door the way I had came. I looked around for another way to cross, but there was none. The flames crept closer, so close the children had to huddle against me tight. My mind raced, until it came to me that I’d have to toss them. They might break an arm in the landing, but it was better than being burned alive.

I did it one at a time. The boy went through first. His body soared over the tips of the flames, which in that moment looked more like the finger of Hell. He crashed through the door, rolling a few times before struggling to his feet. The girl was next. She was heavier than he was, and the tips of her skirt caught fire as she passed over the wall before us, but in landing she rolled and they were put out. The wall of fire screamed before me, enraged I had taken it’s prey from it. There was a huge crack, and I saw the ceiling finally give way. Then everything went dark.

 

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SLIPPING IN AND OUT OF DREAMS

When you start walking through walls, do you finally realize that you are in a dream? Personally, I struggle to even remember dreams, much less realize that I am in them. I’ve been trying to take stock of them when I wake up over the past couple weeks, and I’ve gotten a little better. Now I can usually remember the endings of the dreams, and if it was really vivid I can usually remember the major plot points, but I still struggle with beginnings.

Not that dreams really have beginnings. I doubt there is some voice over that says “one day our weary hero was walking through the woods, blah blah blah blah” like some cheesy 80’s movie. But let’s take, for example, a dream I had about a week ago. Somehow, I got to a point where these massive, titanic beings were chasing after me, literally bursting through buildings to get to me. The whole world knew, and the everybody was trying to help me get away from them, but I had no idea how I had gotten to that point. Was I the scientist who made them? Was I carrying some secret? Was it some other reason? I don’t know. But I am certainly curious.

The other interesting thing I’ve been trying is to slip in and out of my consciousness and dream states more quickly. Often times, I will wake up—or be woken up—before I mean to start my day. In many cases, I will have been woken up out of a dream, and will want to fall back into it. If I have to get up to do something, I’ll lose track of the dream, but if I can relax my mind into a resting state, I can often slip right back into the dream I was experiencing. Sometimes it takes a sharp turn because of this. For example, if I was dreaming about picnics, it might be that while after I wake up, the picnic leads me to a circus fair or something.

Anyways, that’s just my two cents on the topic. Do you have any recommendations for remembering dreams? Let me know!

 

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THE TWO DIMENSIONAL WOMAN

I dream myself, one night, inside the seams of the wallpaper, looking in on our house. It was a wonderful feeling—to be utterly flat, and without a care in the world, living in the second dimension. My family was there, staring back at me, like a crayon picture that had learned to dance about. There were all sort of secrets that I learned about behind the closed doors. My son hid candy he had stolen beneath his clothes in his second drawer. My daughter had a very handsome boyfriend (that was a shock, speaking that he had never come through the front door)! Whenever my mother would stop by to visit, she would comment on how the couch pillows didn’t match the rest of the household, but only under her breath when everyone else was out of the room. It became quite a life.

I eventually figured out how to move from wallpaper to electrical wire, street signs, and so on, until I could make myself useful and run errands. Nothing like getting groceries—two dimensional hands don’t work to well with carrying things. But I could deposit checks, and when I figured out how to walk inside the computer, I really made my way into a different world. My husband would open Word documents, and I would get to rearrange the letters he typed on the page. It made for mischievous fun, and great laughter.

But then I found out a secret that I wished I hadn’t. One that, living in three dimensions, I had never had to worry about. My husband kept a journal on his bedside table, and I had never looked at it before, since it was personal, but while trying to learn to transfer from wall to paper, I accidentally fell into the pages. The first few pages were beautiful. He drew, and wrote, and occasionally scribbled. There was a poem about me. It was like walking in a field of daisies.

It wasn’t until halfway through that things took a bad turn. The daisies were replaced by dead roses, and the sunny skies became covered with thunder clouds, and the beautiful words grew harsh and jagged. He missed me; resented my freedom. Jealousy, anger, loneliness, depression, stress, and all sorts of real world issues fell on his shoulders in the place of mine.

To relax, he had taken up staying late at work. I had never check in on him there, because overcoming the rocky hills he was stationed in had proved too difficult. Apparently, there was a woman he worked with, Stephanie, who had recently transferred from Washington. She had been staying late with him, and they had been entwining together as I entwined with the paintings in the living room.

Which is when I woke up, feeling lonely in the middle of the night, to see him laying next to me. There’s nothing quite like cuddling up with someone after feeling like you lived a whole lifetime apart from them.

——

 

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