Under the Skin: 101 Unfinished Dreams

 

1)

. . . fast forwarded

into a dream I couldn’t swipe

off my screen

 

helplessly

watched it surf

over my body

 

shimmering

 

images floating

in pink and gold

as most clouds do

before sunset

climbing crawling

across my body

 

naked

 

cold wind

blowing

from the device

 

alien screen

I no longer recognized

 

causing the trees

growing all over the flatlands

of my chest

to frost over

 

a low rumble began somewhere

north of the eyes

up where the forehead ceases

and merges

with the head

 

my hair no longer jet black

I noticed instead

a sudden silvering . . .

 

 

2)

. . . the sound of a boat

anchoring itself to the wooden pier

 

somewhere

 

close at hand

the crow

competing

with the blue faced boy’s flute . . .

 

 

 

3)

. . . a swiftly silenced moon

 

wrapping itself frantically

in rolls of black and white film

lying at the foot of an old 35 mm projector

its sprockets torn

unfit for viewing

 

in a desperate attempt

to stop the bleeding . . .

 

 

 

 

 

4)

. . . floating downstream

my dead body

 

on a dirty brown river

strangled

by hyacinths with lavender flowers

 

mocking its progress

 

greedy underwater roots

conspire

to suck me down

for I am alive

I know it

and will

any moment

right now

this very instant

wake up . . .

 

 

 

5)

. . . woke up

to a sky slivered

into tall green shoots of grass

lazily swaying

to the sound of the flute

from that earlier dream

 

only

 

it was no longer the blue faced boy

but a scarecrow

the size of an elephant

playing

as it trampled the grass

in which I lay

unable

to stop the dream . . .

 

 

 

6)

. . . she sat up all night

laying bricks

 

one by one

 

building a wall

between them

 

while I tried

to distract her

inviting her

into my dream . . .

 

 

 

 

7)

. . . the boat long gone

into the sun

 

I followed its silhouetted wake

with my eyes shut tight

like a receding afterthought

 

the blue faced boy sat by my side

clutching his silent flute . . .

 

 

 

8)

. . . I remembered lifting

your naked leg

stretched across my thighs

so as not to disturb

the slumbering snake

 

lying coiled

between our sleeping bodies . . .

 

 

 

9)

. . . entering her locked room

 

blindfolded

 

I heard the flapping of wings

not quite bats

nor birds

as I hastily unknotted

my blindness

the shadows flew out

of my mother’s window

into an indifferent sunlight

 

I stretched the black fabric

across my eyes

only to hear

the flapping of wings

 

once again

whispering my name

 

in a familiar voice . . .

 

 

 

10)

. . . nothing ever moves

in this ongoing dream of stillness

 

not the wind

not the trees

not the clouds

nothing is capable of motion

 

or so it seems

 

even I am fixed

rooted in this landscape

my legs buried

in freshly dug earth

up to my waist . . .

 

 

 

 

11)

. . . doors flung apart

mangled heap of metal

the windshield

a spider web of glass

the car crashed into my dream

as I struggled to shift gears

waking up

in a room without walls

where uprooted trees

lay buried in bricks

wounded

bleeding all over . . .

 

 

 

12)

. . . through the cracks in the dream

the shadows

escaping

 

one by one . . .

 

 

 

13)

. . . words

lost in a haze

 

summon

 

the fog

in all its whiteness

 

crumpled memory

of a dream

 

grinding

to a halt . . .

 

 

 

14)

. . . the shadows in this dream

lengthen

refusing to get caught

by the light of the sun

within arm’s reach

the night

gasping for breath . . .

 

 

 

15)

. . . he is back

the boy with the flute

the one with the blue face

I see him sitting

in the precise spot

where the right of the wall

meets

the left corner

he sits whittling away

at his flute

almost as if sharpening a pencil

soon

there will be nothing left . . .

 

 

 

16)

. . . stepwell

going down

 

down

into the still dark

brackishness

 

a dream

about drowning . . .

 

 

 

17)

. . . silver patch of night

on the floor

 

shimmering

behind eyelids

 

groping

 

for a dream . . .

 

 

 

18)

. . . again

the unnerving

 

stillness

 

in a dream by now familiar

the one in which everything is

motionless

unmoving

even unmoved

by all that happens around it

 

around the dream I mean . . .

 

 

 

19)

. . . the shooting star

hurtling into the sea

like a dream

at daybreak . . .

 

 

 

20)

. . . lying on a bed of leaves

hesitating

 

to move or breathe

in case I disturbed the autumn leaves

into stirring

 

I felt the caterpillar

crawling

on all its tiny legs

over my thighs

as I watched it

disappearing between my legs

for a long time

 

the rapidity with which the leaves

changed colour

was astonishing

but my wait was soon rewarded

as the butterfly

fluttered its wings

skywards

 

the spring leaves began

their stirring . . .

 

 

 

21)

. . . at a beach flat hard and silver

the sea a milk pond

foam

tickling my feet

making me giddy

rushing

retreating in turn

 

I bent down

to gather the white foamy bubbles

only to discover

that the palms of my hands had turned

into sieves . . .

 

 

 

22)

. . . they were there as promised

only I didn’t know

for I was asleep in this dream

not aware of parting the curtain

to a grey cloudy morning

the white owls

both of them

standing

just outside my window

the glass pane separating our noses

that’s how close they were

unmoving unblinking owls

totally drained of blood . . .

 

 

 

 

23)

. . . I often talked to my dream

and sometimes

it answered back . . .

 

 

 

24)

. . . criss-crossing a room

filled with soot

in anticipation of a fire

yet to be lit

my footprints

searching incessantly

for a match . . .

 

 

 

25)

. . . neck deep in the dream

and sinking further

I heard the crows fly past

noisily . . .

 

 

 

26)

. . . crumpled

into a sheet

white-faced dream

about splattered ink . . .

 

 

 

27)

. . . the sun collapsing in a heap of shadows . . .

 

 

 

28)

. . . just

out of reach

the daylight

 

poker-faced . . .

 

 

 

29)

. . . the room had sprouted frames

 

photographs came tumbling down

an avalanche of family and friends

like an album of stilled memories

 

I stopped and stared at the one empty frame . . .

 

 

 

30)

. . . the whitening black

of daylight

charred remnants

of thought

hurriedly scribbled

years of relentless groping

for meaning?

 

Or a dream

 

returning

to a dubious homecoming . . .

 

 

 

31)

. . . it took a while

in fact it took the entire night

for me to wipe the shadows off the wall

 

inch by white inch

 

I scarped

and I rubbed and

I washed all traces

of the shadows

that had encroached squatted

set up home without seeking permission

and had refused to budge

despite pleas and entreaties

but at last I succeeded

in reclaiming the wall

pristine white or so I thought

but soon a handful of shadows begun to appear

seemingly carefree nonchalant

lingering casually gathering

growing becoming a bunch

a group a large number

of mismatched helter skelter blurs

jostling for attention

as I watched

the now fully armed to the teeth

occupation army

take over my wall once again . . .

 

 

 

32)

. . .  I take the candle as close to the screen as possible

forcing the shadow by the scruff of its neck

to bend yield succumb

and then

without warning

I crush the flaming wick

against the cloth

setting it on fire

 

watching

 

as the flames devour the shadow . . .

 

 

 

33)

. . . soot

gathering like a storm

above my head

as I lie on the bed

stare at the ceiling

through a darkening haze

black

weightless dry rain. . .

 

 

 

 

34)

. . . she grabbed the dream

from his hands ripped

shredded flung trampled upon

an entire book

perhaps all sixteen hundred handwritten pages

torn up each one of them

 

rewrite my life she said

 

before walking away. . .

 

 

 

35)

. . . having left the daylight behind

she hesitated outside the door

then as if

her mind made up

she entered the dream . . .

 

 

 

36)

. . . up to my shins

up to my knees

up to my thighs

slowly rising haze

the earth as if resting

just beneath the clouds

 

my feet sinking

into a well of memories . . .

 

 

 

37)

. . . glint of sunlight

on what else

metal

blinking out a tune

on a silver saxophone

churning the blues

into a long night

of melancholy

poured into glasses

overflowing with dreams

 

flooding the streets

with purple wine . . .

 

 

 

 

38)

. . . hurriedly wiping the mist from her eyes

I groped for the sun

hidden in the darkness

and hung it in the sky

just so she could find her way home . . .

 

 

 

39)

. . . the wind took a deep breath

and let out a sigh

at the sight of the upside down tree

its branches drowning

in the waters of the lake

as the bird with red and blue feathers

looked down on a sky

covered with brown earth  . . .

 

 

 

40)

. . . even as the boy with the blue face

swam away from the shore

making sure to keep the flute dry

the woman rose from the sea naked

her arms tied behind her back

with seaweed . . .

 

 

 

41)

. . . lampposts rising out of the concrete

their branches rusting over brittle twisted metal

swaying like lost trees

in a forest long choked of air

and sun and rain the wind blowing hot

the dust and empty water bottles

in blue pink and lime green plastic

as I trundle my way in a wheelchair

just below the flickering orange glow

 

of lampposts rising out of the concrete

 

their branches

rusting over brittle twisted metal

swaying like lost trees

in a forest long choked of air

and sun and rain

the wind blowing hot

the dust and empty water bottles

in blue pink and

lime green plastic . . .

 

 

 

42)

. . . some dreams yearn

aspire

long to fulfill themselves

and not grind to a halt

 

midstream

 

slowly sink out of sight

leaving at best a ripple

or two

to mark their departure

 

this drowning

without anything

other than an aftertaste

on a chalky morning tongue

pretty much a life cut short

is not something these dreams want

but what do you do

when someone else is composing your song

and not liking it enough

to complete it . . .

 

 

 

43)

. . . in a dream about being born

struggling to severe the umbilical cord

from the language of its birth

as the alphabet drowned

in its own waters

 

unable to scream for help. . .

 

 

 

44)

. . . in a dream about not being able to write

I bury shards of rectangular white sheets

from a hurriedly torn notebook

into a field covered with snow

white on white

feeding a hungry muse

 

hibernating

in sub zero temperature . . .

 

 

 

45)

. . . parched earth

my throat

its voiceless echo

resounding in the night

as I stumbled into its depths

and lost my way back

 

from one dream to the next . . .

 

 

 

46)

. . . I stand still in my giddiness

the tall glass towers circling around me

in a frenzy of light and shadow

as everything comes crumbling down

and all that is left standing

are the row of tress

denuded of leaves

just behind the heap of rubble

and metal and smashed glass

sentinels without armor

sturdy trunks still silhouetted

against the horizon

I just know

that I will soon hear the flute

and imagine the blue face of the boy

in my spinning head . . .

 

 

 

47)

. . . before my eyes can adjust to the haze

the night descends

as if from nowhere

shutting out the dream . . .

 

 

 

48)

. . . beneath each breath

the slow ever so slow unfolding

of a dream slowed

slowed behind each dream

the breath

unfolding

like a sigh . . .

 

 

 

49)

. . . the protesting murmur of the light

as it drowned into the dark blue ink of night . . .

 

 

 

50)

. . . my feet echoing my unease

I stepped into a street

as deserted as your eyes . . .

 

 

 

51)

. . . threading the needle

forehead creased in concentration

stitching unsteadily the twilight . . .

 

 

 

52)

. . . an abandoned alphabet

on a sheet as white as snow

 

and as cold . . .

 

 

 

53)

. . . shatter night

into tiny dreams of daylight

chased by shadows . . .

 

 

 

54)

. . . hovering

between my tightly clenched eyelids

a grey cloud

curled into a fist

refusing to open . . .

 

 

 

55)

. . . staring at the sun

for as long as it takes

for the dream

to fade . . .

 

 

 

56)

. . . an entire alphabet of dreams

under my feet

 

awaiting trampling . . .

 

 

57)

. . . in this dream I made paper boats

out of every conceivable bit of paper I could lay my hands on

from plain white sheets

to newspapers

to old magazines

even loose pages from torn books

and used envelopes

from countless Christmas cards

deft and capable of staying afloat

and given the right wind

sailing

or speeding

in the momentum generated by rain water

in gutters outside the house

to storms

manufactured by swirling hands

in bathtubs

but in this dream

of over a thousand paper boats

of different sizes

there is no breeze and therefore

nothing can sail

in this stationary landscape

of an entire fleet under siege

as I sit continuing to make more boats . . .

 

 

 

58)

. . . rushing headlong into the dream

I ended up crashing through to the other side

 

concussed

 

my head dizzy with the impact

the dream lying equally shaken all over the floor

I looked around in vain

for something in which to gather the shattered pieces

and found instead the blue faced boy

backing off in fear

 

his flute stretched forward in defense . . .

 

 

 

59)

. . . in this room full of blue light

there is not a single face I recognize

 

there are many faces here

men and women

standing shoulder to shoulder

all of a similar height

all naked

all bathed in stillness

 

I can hear them breathing

that’s how I know they are alive

 

that and the way they roll their eyes

 

all of them in an anti-clock direction

as if to follow with their eyes

the sound of a distant flute . . .

 

 

 

60)

. . . she gave me a bucket full of soap and water

and a rough grey cloth

as I entered the room

with the seven candles

saying in an abrupt

and commanding tone

that I should proceed to wipe them off the walls

 

after which

she pointed in the direction of the restless shadows  . . .

 

 

 

61)

. . . responding to the knocking at the door

I hurried out of my chair to open it

only to see that there was no one there

unless you count the fog outside as a likely visitor . . .

 

 

 

62)

. . . the rain clouds gathered

at the foot of the trees

hanging upside down

in a room with a painted sky for a floor  . . .

 

 

 

63)

. . . under the upside down trees

sits the blue faced boy playing his flute

while the clouds that had gathered

in last nights dream begin to fall

creating a delightful percussion effect

of the raindrops

on fresh warm earth . . .

 

 

 

64)

. . . I sat in the furthermost corner of my dream

in the shadow of the slowly revolving fan blades

and watched her lying across the handwritten sentences

of an earlier dream I had inscribed all over the white sheet

the bed bending under the weight of my words . . .

 

 

 

65)

. . . trying to open the window and let out the fog

but the window remains steadfastly jammed

so I take a deep breath

and smash my fist through the glass

 

the fog slowly begins to bleed . . .

 

 

 

66)

. . . you turn in your sleep

accidentally uncovering your nakedness

the sun embarrassed

murmurs an apology

while I continue to sit

in the furthermost corner of my dream

wondering

 

why have the fan blades stopped revolving . . .

 

 

 

67)

. . . she took the night in her hands

and began to tear it in to tiny little shreds

after having completed her task she lay down

seemingly to rest and fell into a dreamless sleep. . .

 

 

68)

 

. . . in a dream about numbness

the shot of a receding long distance runner

dogged relentless step after step with unflagging rhythm

legs like pistons arms punching the air around a heart thumping

towards a horizon running into a sky

made white for this purpose . . .

 

 

 

69)

. . . eyelids clenched

holding on to a fragile dream . . .

 

 

 

70)

. . . speech piled up stacked

these words crammed into space

as tiny or as large

depending on your memory

soon the actor will enact speak emote

and language will find utterance

and resonance

only there is no actor

just the dream

meandering amongst the stacks

the words the imagined utterances

and resonances lost

completely and utterly . . .

 

 

71)

. . . she kept telling herself

that she must write a monologue

in which the lines lead to dead ends

like wisps of memory forgetting their way home

so you can meander and not be afraid of losing your lines

for they are already lost . . .

 

 

 

72)

. . . shatter the calm

as you loudly crumple

crush the sheet toss it into the shadows

flickering on the wall

let rage devour the dream

you have just discarded  . . .

 

 

 

73)

. . . I changed dreams

as you would sides

and shovel in hand

continued to bury the night . . .

 

 

 

74)

. . . I take the neatly folded shadows

I had packed a long time ago

smoothen them with the palm of my hand

lift them from the shoulders

hang them in the sun

 

empty the suitcase. . .

 

 

 

 

75)

. . . the dream emptied of everything

except the fog

surrounding the bed

with its greyness . . .

 

 

 

76)

. . . sound

of feet

 

running

 

after the echo

of rain

upon metal . . .

 

 

 

77)

. . . in stealth

the light entered the room

taking care not to disturb the boy

the one with the blue face

and the now silent flute

as he huddled in the far corner

dreaming . . .

 

 

 

78)

. . .  this dream grown fat

feeding on itself

a bubble about to burst

as I imagine waking up

and ripping the night apart

screaming soundlessly

unable to wake up . . .

 

 

 

79)

. . . drowning rapidly

into the swirling waters

I recognize your sleeping figure

on a bed floating past me

your arm reaching out it is the last thing I will see

before succumbing to the darkness . . .

 

 

 

80)

. . . recede dream depart

take your suitcase with you

the one I had packed a long time ago

with neatly folded shadows

smoothened with the palm of my hand

nothing must be left behind

in this house with the peeling walls . . .

 

 

 

81)

. . . inhabit the dream

the one at the end of the line

patiently waiting

to come out of the shadow . . .

 

 

 

82)

. . . I dream of the future

the one that lies in tatters somewhere

behind me . . .

 

 

 

83)

. . . multiple mourners mourning

their own deaths silhouetted

against a darkening horizon

shadows created by puppets . . .

 

 

 

84)

. . . in whispers

from an exhausted defeated throat

a past that continues to haunt dreams

remembering . . .

 

 

 

85)

. . . the sound of fluttering

dreams in the wind

or brightly coloured flags

atop a mountain or

perhaps a heath a

high flat piece of land preferably

one that is visited relentlessly

by winds without mercy

not cruel just

lacking in sensitivity. . .

 

 

 

86)

. . . eyes

tight fists

in motion

 

blurred

 

images

of a vision made dream

landscapes

gathered

over seasons

one merging into another

refuse to settle

a sleeping wakefulness . . .

 

 

 

87)

. . . eyelids slammed

shut

like a prison cell

just out of reach

the waking up

trapped as it were

in a dream

its edges tinted by a dawn

also just

out of reach  . . .

 

 

 

88)

. . . running

running

hopelessly

into a fog

 

disappearing dream  . . .

 

 

 

89)

. . . waking up

to a fierce sunlight

 

breathless  . . .

 

 

 

90)

. . . the shadow of

an uncertain dream

a solitary cloud

dived into the sea

in a bid to drown . . .

 

 

 

91)

. . . the street lay

in the dark

 

bare

in the flickering light

of a naked dream . . .

 

 

 

92)

. . . waking up

to a street

empty of all sounds

except

the muffled echo of

a swiftly retreating dream . . .

 

 

 

93)

. . . tears

streaming down my cheeks

staring

at the slammed shut eyes

of the blue faced boy

dreaming

the same dream . . .

 

 

 

94)

. . . at the edge of the shattered

dream a dream

of rubble unsettled

dust

no sign of rain . . .

 

 

 

95)

. . . flailing

with leaden arms

at the fog dense

 

scattering the grey

 

rescuing memory

from sight

in a dream about blindness . . .

 

 

 

 

96)

. . . the shadow

stripped

its cloak of darkness

 

slipped

naked

into my dream

 

a shimmer of light

across

my sleeping spine

 

the moon

stirred

just enough

 

picking up the discarded dark

disappearing

into its folds . . .

 

 

 

 

97)

. . . its twilight

forcibly drowned

 

the surface of the lake

ripped

off its calm  . . .

 

 

 

 

98)

. . . crushed underfoot

the words

 

ground

into silence

 

an unfinished dream

about shattered mirrors . . .

 

 

 

99)

. . . an eternal whiteness

detaching itself

from the night

steering

only by the light of the stars

 

the dream setting sail

 

the moon promising

a safe passage . . .

 

 

 

 

100)

. . .  thin

transparent

gauze-like thought

fluttering uncontrollably

in the wind

brushing

against the cheeks

of a nascent dream

 

struggling

 

to find a foothold

in the storm . . .

 

 

 

101)

. . . remains

of a hurriedly departing dream

 

under the skin

 

like warm breath

on a winter’s morning

escaping . . .

 

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