When Nightmares Fade

When Nightmares Fade

screaming in my dreams,
startled to wake up trite

Sadness, and
screaming in my dreams.
Used to study them
write them down, contrite.

But we, sad people who
have done no wrong
have wild incoherent
flying symbols in our dreams.

There is a secret bird
who flies, and
won’t speak

Screaming in my dreams,
startled to wake up

I really do
want to embrace
those tender élan vitals, but
soul-mates in the shadows of regret
are trying to earn a tan
every year when
redemption summer returns,
hot beached grit, and
ground shells

Sadness and screaming in my dreams,

Who is she
who will speak the truth

Who is she
who will hug me, and

make every dream
reflections of her love:
joy to wake
in the ripples of her heart,
her pool of love
an easy swim

Sadness a distant mountain
laughter in my dreams
joy to wake singing, because

she tells me her dreams
and I understand
—Douglas Gilbert


5 thoughts on “When Nightmares Fade

  1. I’ve got the bird in my dreams too…
    I always believed it had to be something to do with the fact that my dad’s nickname was ‘bird-man’ when he was younger…we had a LOT of birds, all different kinds and I loved them. Once I got stuck on top of the homing pigeon coop and couldn’t climb back down the tree beside it that I had climbed up. I yelled for my mom for what seemed like ages before she finally came out into the backyard to look for me. Lucky for me, I was saved and didn’t have to make that big jump down at 4 1/2 years old that I was about to attempt. I think that might be my earliest memory. No wait, I remember falling out of my bed at 3 and cracking my head on the nightstand. That was the first one…we had to drive to the emergency room for stitches with a bloody towel on my head, I remember the red streetlights. Ok, now I’m rambling.
    but, i have the bird in my dreams…

    1. Bethany,
      EEE yow, so much adventure for a 4 1/2 year old. Just a bit of judgment in time saved you from jumping. Memories —
          I see it’s an advantage that I left things ambiguous.
          I can’t seem to find a balance between being too vague and giving too much detail.
          I wanted to change style — my old stuff was an extended complex sentence for each stanza. I wanted to do something different, more like a song. But I can’t seem to get a balance between ambiguity and soggy detail.
          I’ve been trying to understand the style and structure of songs but I’m surprised to hear, which I never noticed before, that many are beautiful but actually, the lyrics are trivial.
          And so now I’m developing the worst of both: vague and trivial maybe.
          But, anyway, I see that being vague lets each person relate to their own dream bird.
          When I was a kid,the tip of my finger was cut off in a door and my Mother wrapped it up in a bloody towel. I had an operation the next day to get a skin graft from my thigh onto the tip. Years later I heard that at that age(12?)[I think I was just on the borderline of possibility], without an operation it would have grown back– at a certain age we still have the ability to regenerate limbs like frogs or something. But who knows…Oh well, doesn’t matter — it’s mostly Ok. A little cold in the winter. And with lumps on my thigh I found out that I form keloid tissue. Something I should know.
          But this poem is a side effect. I was supposed to finish my fictional blog but I kept procrastinating and so I wrote a poem instead. Writing is so painful. Sometimes if I drink something, I don’t mind writing badly, and don’t mind saying, this is not working — how can I improve it– and I can edit and revise without pain, but also it dulls the sense of guilt so when I said to myself I should finish the blog, I didn’t feel enough guilt to do it, so I wrote a poem instead. Geez, I’m so unenlightened, I feel so unauthentic, because the real me is so plain and crude like the child who might be a little bit charming but hasn’t mastered the grammar to be extant in the world of professional being…. But I did manage to realize that “trite” in my poem is a predicate adjective and so is perfectly ok. It modifies the subject. To have used “tritely” would have ruined the poem and totally changed the meaning. But I’m on the bandwagon of lost causes: after a verb it should be “slowly” and not “slow” but they’ve already changed the dictionary to make slow an adjective and an adverb because everybody has been saying it wrong for so many years. I wonder when everything I say will be made right by popular demand. Yeah, yeah, yeah, whenever he makes a typo, add it to the dictionary. I think that would speed things up for me…

  2. Honestly, I can’t believe that you’ve EVER written anything badly!! But if you say it’s so, then I must believe it, right?
    My specialty happens to be badly written poems though and lately, i haven’t even had the time to write those…I’ve been overwhelmed with all the stuff going on in my life. I bought a house! I’m working a lot and trying to be a good mom to my kiddo so half the time i feel like i’m spinning in circles and dizzy from everything i try to accomplish in one day. I wish I could take a month or two off from work, but my manager doesn’t even like to give me two days off in a row so I can have a 4 day weekend off. Last time he asked me if ‘I was serious’! I wanted to take Eric on a fun mini-vacation before he started school again.
    Wow! You cut the tip of your finger off?? OUCH! That would be so scary…I’m glad that you got it reattached. That’s really odd that people can regrow parts up to a certain age, I never knew that. The human body is so fascinating.
    Anyway, I wish i had more time to finish replying because I feel like I have a lot more to say, but I have to get ready for work, there are drinks that need to be served this afternoon and i better not be late…

    1. Wow! Congratulations. You bought a house — I hope the financing is manageable. I love all your little terms of endearment — kiddo — I bet you’re a great Mom, and I’m sure he’s well entertained by your spinning in circles. Mommy is spinning — now you just need a song or maybe you can spin straw into gold. Oh, I don’t know, do people still read Rumplestilskin — those Grimm’s fairy tales are kind of weird. One these days, I should get an unexpurgated version with notes that explain the cultural background that it comes from. I wonder what the folk tales originally really meant in the political context of the times. Oddly, when I was read that story, I never asked and didn’t know what “spinning” actually was… I hope your boss doesn’t make you “spin” thread — it seems like a tedious process, but you’re a good rambler so I think you could spin a good story or poem.

  3. Thanks! It’s so nice for Eric and I to have our own place again, it’s all the small things, like picking the CD i want to hear and being able to play it loudly enough that you can hear it all over the whole house without someone telling me to turn it down or off (and being able to sing along with it, without feeling shy!). Or like being able to keep my coffee maker on the kitchen counter (my mom is very set in her ways and doesn’t like clutter). Eric’s best friend is within walking distance so they play together all the time too, back and forth between the two houses. It’s been great and the payments are completely manageable, i was lucky and got a 4.87 interest rate which really helped a lot.
    I have all kinds of endearment terms, everyone close to me has little nicknames, though Eric has the most by far, lets see, umm…my cubby (like wolf or bear cub), baby bird (which has evolved to little bird or chirper since he doesn’t like being called a baby), sweet pea or sweet potato, sugar pie, if hes being wild it’s tornado or whirlwind…now I’m laughing at myself, those all look kinda silly when typed out like that and there’s even more that aren’t as commonly used as those!
    I love fairy tales! but they are kind of misleading especially all the ones where the princesses are swept off their feet by their prince for everlasting love, I mean, does that ever really happen? I’d like to think it does but I didn’t sit around growing my hair super long to throw it out a window to be rescued. Perhaps one day I’ll be swept off my feet and won’t need to spin straw into gold or anything like that, just a smile, a heart and some warmth should be enough to do the trick if it’s meant to be, ya know?

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