Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blues For My Mother

I got stones in my passway and my road seem dark as night.
- Robert Johnson

The sleeping has been bad lately.

When it happens, it’s brief and fretful. It’s easier to just stay awake. Especially when the dreams are almost uniformly disturbing.

I mentioned these dreams once before and they haven’t improved much. I’ve been assuming it’s due to one pill or another.

Now, of course, they seem to fit right in with my general disposition.

I wish I could describe them to you, but it would be impossible. I could tell you about the strange, washed-out, sepia-toned color of them or the way they seem soaked in an incredibly potent kind of despair, regardless of what’s actually happening. I wake up profoundly grateful that they’re over.

It’s the part that I can’t describe that’s the worst part of them.

They’re stark as well. Sad, empty landscapes with few people around. The ones you do meet you want to get away from as soon as possible.

In this most recent one, my late mother was greatly upset. The few things left in our now empty and darkened house were being gone through by strangers who just took what they liked.

I peered down at them over the rail of the staircase. My mother seemed in terrible emotional distress. It all felt worse than death, like being buried alive in a coffin.

Things got worse from there.

It’s a funny thing about my dreams. Very often I seem to revisit places that have been exclusive to my sleeping life. Places I’ve never seen, except in other dreams. Stores, homes, even libraries.

It’s not just déjà vu, either. I know for a fact that I’ve dreamt these places up before.

It always makes me wonder how the brain works. What does it mean that there’s some interior world lodged deep inside my head, and that it’s actually got landmarks that I visit more than once as if they were familiar destinations?

It worries me. What happens if you get stuck there?

I wouldn’t want to get stuck in these recent sand-blasted horrors.

Or maybe I already am and they’re telling me that I need to find a way out.

Once in a while I’m reminded of how beautiful the world can be.

Last week the weather turned unseasonably warm and we had a few days where you didn’t even need to wear a jacket. In January!

I drove with the windows down and enjoyed the smell of the fresh air. It was glorious.

And there was this brief moment when I caught a hint – just a hint – of green, of Spring. It was this subtle fragrance that cut like a knife and disappeared.

God, there it is, I thought. Life! I remember what it smells like!

Now I’m back in the tomb again.

Except now I remember that smell and I want to dig my way back if I can, the way that a plant or a flower does.

It just feels like I’m doing it with a spoon and it’s bent.

I can’t stay here in the dirt with you, Mom.

I love you, but I can’t.


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