On Dreams

Last night, I’m immersed in The Sopranos Season 1, Episode 2, and all of a sudden, Tony starts describing this bizarre dream he had. The dream involves a vicious bird, a lost penis, and an auto mechanic, and the whole thing makes me chuckle to myself, especially after Tony says, “and I’m holding it (his penis) up, and this bird swoops down, and grabs it in his beak, and flies off with it.” You see Tony gesturing with his hand to demonstrate the scene, then the camera immediately switches back to the therapist’s forced-imperturbable face. It’s perfect. You have to laugh.

This scene also makes me think. Why are dreams so mysterious, and so varied? Sometimes they’re ludicrous to the point of being comical. But the ludicrous can turn out to be sad. Like Tony’s ducks. He loved those ducks. He truly loved them, and truly felt a loss when they were gone. It doesn’t make any sense, and that’s okay. Sometimes (most of the time) life doesn’t make any sense at all. I know dreams are proof that we work through shit while we sleep. I also think dreams are proof that hardly anything we do, or decide, is rational.

Sometimes I wake up, terrified that what I’ve dreamed has actually happened. The feeling of relief is so magnificent when I realize I still have “control” over my life, and the terrible dream-thing did not happen. But my body has adjusted to the dream, somehow. My body has, in those few moments or hours of dreaming, accepted that the dream is real. And it takes a few moments after I wake up to readjust. Recalibrate to reality.

Sometimes I wake up with the name of a past lover still on my lips, the feeling of losing them so present in my body that it feels like we just said goodbye the day before. It is real longing, conjured up by a dream. And not only longing, but clarity as well. As if, through the experience of that relationship from the dream perspective, I have actually developed a fresh sense of myself in relation to that other being. The dream is not just some fantasy that doesn’t affect me in real life. The dream has transformed my life.

And sometimes, I wake up remembering nothing at all from my dreams.

Dreams are also tied up in memory and identity for me. I remember some of my dreams, from my childhood and teen years, as if they were memories. Fully-formed, tangible memories. You know how we change and shape our memories into stories as we remember them over and over again? Some of my older dreams are like that. I know them now like stories. They’re stories of myself. These dream memories help to form my understanding of myself, my current self, in the current world. They’re important to my identity. They’re resources for me to use, lenses through which I can filter new information.

Dreams are a portal into another realm. We might think that we’re rational beings with free will, but we seem to be operating based on much more ancient, and much less linear, program than we imagine. We like to giggle incredulously at our dreams, at the weird, nonsensical situations we create in our sleeping minds, but is reality much different?

On Rage

quiet rage
beginning to announce
her speechless marriage

sweeping through, screaming
their Names

dancing then, after
only after
only after

Socks

are the only thing keeping

me from falling apart

!

One small barrier

(between me and the world)

:

The one thing

that separates me from the dream.

My

dreams were preferable

to this

.

Much softer and filled with

more desire.

May

there is a time to rest

among the soft flowers

[they exist

whether you are there

or not]