The Imagination of Dreams

no steam by kingabrit
no steam by kingabrit

I woke up with the sun in my face. I got up. I went to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth. I made breakfast and ate eggs that tasted like onions. I drank coffee and stared out the window. I sorted through the images left from my sleep and separated them from the events of the day before. Slowly, they began to make sense.

I dreamed I stood on a mountain and threw off the shackles that bound me. I dreamed I kissed an angel. Her lips felt like feathers. Her arms encircled me. I was angry, but I didn’t know why. My heart raced. The clouds moved slowly. The world spun like a wheel. I was delirious. I stumbled and fell, but I couldn’t feel pain. My father, who died when I was fifteen years old, caught me as I dropped to the ground. His arms were strong. I was weak. He taught me how to fly.

“Why didn’t I die?” I asked my mother. Her answer was upsetting.

“I loved you like a son,” she said, as she bent her head down, “but you have not been a son to me. You’re the one who should have died.”

I drove into a blind curve and let go of the wheel. My feet scraped against steel and glass as I flew out of the car.

I’ll show her, I thought.

Tormented by dreams, I still sleep. I should swallow pills, but my doctor tells me I’m stupid. “Only the sick take medicine and you’re not sick.”

“So why do I come to you?”

“Because you’re stupid!” he said.

The tangles of my thoughts become the life I live in my dreams. And the dreams never stop. It is not imagination. It is real, only it never really happened.

My brother bought cough syrup with codeine. The pharmacists made him sign for it, but he’d hop from pharmacy to pharmacy until he had enough bottles for both of us. When I dreamed on codeine, I was still awake. I could manipulate my dreams. I watched them like a movie and inspected the characters as they spoke.

The room was dark. We turned off the lights to enhance the music. Jimi Hendrix curled his guitar strings around my ears, his music biting at the end of the scale. He smashed his guitar on the window panes of my mind and broke them like glass. My dreams shattered. The pieces spun deep into the back of my eyelids. Indigo colored lights and crimson shadows flashed inside my head.

I didn’t take photographs. I remembered. The images I saved became the stories I told my children. My mind became filled with pictures I collected through the years. Some of them were dark and somber. Some of them were vivid and filled with life, funny. I loved to hear my children laugh. It made me feel I had been a success. Now they’re grown, I’m glad when my stories make them stop and think.


14 responses

  1. i find, being an English man, that the Americans are a breath of fresh air owing to them wearing their heart’s on their sleeve, which is something the English never do, me included much of the time. That line ‘hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way’ from Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ is very true. As an American what would you say it is that unfetters the emotions of Americans?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question. I’m not sure how to answer that. I wrote this in a stream of consciousness so I wasn’t aware it was so candid until after I read it back. There are some redactions.

      The Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman film Far and Away comes to mind, where a young Irish couple migrate to American and become settlers in the West. Their transformation is what being American is about, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was rather intense especially the part with your mother. And also it is real but never really happened. I believe we as Americans do wear our issues on our sleeve such as your dream. I think it’s because off our manifest destiny atttude as we made a whole continent ours so we have that forward drive in us and it extends to our issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That may explain a large part of it. We feel our issues are important, whether or not they are, so we make a big noise every time we speak. We speak in proclamations. And every proclamation is crucial to our existence. It’s weird, I never thought about it until the comments here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so glad that I found your work, I love the imagery against such heartfelt and quite profound literature.
    I loved American Haiku, the images of industrial and bleak rural landscape complement each other. I loved it and it packs quite an emotional punch, very honest and also endearing. I am not an avid reader of poetry, but if it catches my eye as well as my heart, which this has, then I’m a big fan.
    Wherever it comes from, please keep it up, I hope to see more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, William. I’m humbled by your evaluation, and at the same time quite relieved. Your description of what my work evokes is the very response I try to impart to my readers. I’ve yet to hear praise expressed so eloquently, though, and accept it wholeheartedly. Interestingly enough, I don’t consider myself a poet and also rarely read poetry. It’s a process that’s developed out of necessity to tell stories that refuse to resonate in long form prose.
      I have some good things to say about your novel Under the Blood Red Sky, and I want to write an instant review but it may take me a long time to read such a detailed and extensive work. Am enjoying it immensely. I have a few words to someone just starting it, to encourage them to look past some early blemishes and continue digging deeper into a debut novel destined to become a genuine contribution to the literary genre.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kind works about my book. I am after honest feedback by people whose response I would respect. Your work is wonderful, I used the description of poet, like I would Tom Waites or Lou Reed, people who can construct words that are sublime, and add beauty to the piece.
        I have noted your comments about cultural crossover, and respect your views. Would you be so kind as to advise me where I fell short, I try to avoid stereotypes and the like, but I would be the first to admit that my knowledge could be improved.
        Please keep up your work, I have some like minded friends who would also be as endeared to your work as I am.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The crossover difficulties I mentioned were in two words only, but used frequently. ‘Stood’ and ‘sat’, as in ‘stood next to her is a boy, younger than me’ (loc 1452 at 23%) and ‘found the man sat having dinner with his family’ (loc 590 at 9% – these locs are how Kindle marks the pages. I’m on a large iPhone Plus. The pages differ according to the device). This usage very specifically says ‘British’. Common English would say ‘standing next to her is a boy’ and ‘sitting having dinner’. Though ‘sitting’ and ‘standing’ are passive verbs which should normally be reworded, in these cases they are necessary to avoid the sort of Cockney flavor ‘sat’ and ‘stood’ lend to the voice. The style in your story defaults to this usage, so it pulls the reader out of the narrative each time. Written in the 1st person, it seems the narrator should speak a more colloquial Mexican. This is impossible, as he is recounting events in a language foreign to him, but he needs to find somewhere a happy medium. I don’t even know where to begin making suggestions.

    I’m curious if the book is self-published. Did you enlist the aid of an editor? These are things that should have been caught right away by someone other than yourself. As I understand, any writer has trouble seeing this because our minds are fixed to the rhythm of our own speech. It takes an objective reader to see it. The narration is beautiful. The brutal imagery is vivid and energetic. But, I think the book as a whole needs a revision that includes a proper edit by a professional copy editor, and perhaps someone who can help you give the voices a more authentic tone.

    I truly feel this is a story that needs telling. Many readers will be put off by these simple flaws and leave the book unfinished, to their loss. In my opinion, properly produced and promoted, this is a bestseller. It appeals to today’s interest in nationalistic controversy, the war on drugs, immigration (Build that wall! Build that wall!) and government mismanagement, among other things. It’s historical fiction as it happens. Left as is, it will probably sell well. Your description is one of the best I’ve read in a long time, so my suggestions are only what I see as the book’s potential. The rest is up to you.


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