A Waking Dream – A Poem

I hadn’t slept1795734_10151926164662051_1447740219_n

in days. I

would lay awake

at night, waiting

for sleep to

come, but it

wouldn’t. I would

take warm baths,

drink herbal tea,

but sleep still

eluded me. It

had been seven

days since I

had known sleeps

embrace and I

was starting to

lose it, even

though I didn’t

know what “it”

was. I started

to see things,

objects and people

that couldn’t possibly

be there, while

I was awake.

The shadows of

the waking dreams

moved along my

bedroom walls, along

the sidewalks,

showed their reflections

upon store windows.

The mirror people

would glare at

me as I

passed by, watching

me, almost as

if they were

measuring my worth.

The mannequins would

move closer to

the windows, hoping

to catch a

glimpse of me

though the reflections

that shouldn’t be

there but were.

Then the unthinkable

happened. In bed

one night, waiting

hoping, praying for

sleep, I watched

as the shadows

moved and slithered.

They whispered as

they moved along

the walls. I

watched them as

they shaped themselves

into an arch

of branches. There

were thorns running

along them. Even

though they were

merely shadows, I

knew they would

draw blood. In

front of the

arch was a

sign that merely

said three words:

Sleep, This Way.

I knew I

would have to

walk through the

arch. I gathered

up my courage

and walked through

the thorns. Breathing

deeply, I did

so, feeling the

bite and caress

of the thorns

and brambles. There

was darkness for

a moment, just

for a second and

the smell of

sweat and age,

rot and filth.

When my eyes

cleared, I found

myself in an

alley. There was

but one light

that hung high

up on one

wall, flickering like

a candle flame.

I could see

shadows along the

ground, shapes that

I knew were

other people. I

wondered if any

of them were

the reflections, the

dream people that

had watched me.

I walked down

the alley, the

arch of thorns

having disappeared. Several

of these shapes

called out to

to me in

gruff, angry voices,

men and women,

the lost people.

“I didn’t do what they said. You gotta believe me. I didn’t.”

“I need a drink real bad, just one drink. Any drink.”

“I used to be so pretty, so pretty. I could have my pick of men.”

“I didn’t mean to kill her, but she was asking for it. So was he.”

“You gotta wear a foil hat, man. Otherwise they can hear your thoughts. “

“I’m so hungry. Spare a bite to eat?”

I walked on,

faster, faster, faster.

The alley and

the forgotten went

on forever and

my footsteps were

loud in the

darkness, each step

a crunch of

gravel, glass or

stone, each grab

of their arms

like the thorns

on the arch

I had walked

though to get

here. I pulled

myself away and

broke into a

run, trying to

find the end

of the alley.

The light was

flickering madly off

of the brick

walls and there

was no ending

in sight that

I could see.

Then, in front

of me, a

shadow person stood,

detaching himself from

the mass of moving

thorn people. He

held out his

hands, telling me

to stop without

words. I tried

to run past

him, but he

grabbed hold of

me, held tight

until I stopped

struggling. The entire

time it took

me to calm

down he was

talking to me:

“It’s okay man, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you, I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay.”

I stopped and

looked at him.

He was grimy

and covered in

filth like the

rest of them

but there was

clarity in his

face. He smiled

at me and,

despite my fear,

I smiled back.

“You’re going about this all wrong, you know.”

“What do you mean?”

My voice echoed

off the walls.

“You can keep running forever, if you want to. Makes no difference to me.”

“What else can I do?”

“Well, you can focus on the person who’s dreaming of you for starters.”

“But I’m not sleeping.”

“I know. Legend says that when you can’t sleep, someone else is dreaming about you and you’re awake in that person’s dream.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Does any of this?”

He motioned around

us at the

walls and the

flickering light, at

the mass of

shadows that were

people. He gave

me another grin.

“This is where your nightmares come from. Dreams don’t make any sense. They are pieces of our life we’ve already lived.”

I found myself

nodding, knowing he

was speaking truth.

“So what do I do? How do I leave this place?”

“Well now, that’s simple. You have to focus on the person who’s dreaming of you and go to them.”

“I can do that?”

“Sure. It’s your dream, isn’t it?”

I turned around

in a circle,

looking at the

shadows. I turned

back to the

man, his eyes

bright and his

smile warm, comforting.

“How do I find the other person? I don’t know how to get back the way I came.”

“You wouldn’t want to. No, your way to him is simple. See that light?”

He pointed to

the light, the

only source of

brightness in amongst

all the shadows.

“That’s him. He’s been watching over you all this time, you know. Even in the darkest of times, he’s there.”

“How do I go to him?”

“Haven’t you figured it out yet? Close your eyes, think on the light. Don’t think about anything else. Go towards the light.”

“Is that like dying?”

He shook his

head back and

forth, laughing and

smiling at me.

“Well, they do call sleep the little death.”

He said, thoughtfully.

“This is a dream, not some horror movie. Some dreams end and some dreams become a reality. That’s the great thing. So just focus on the light, nothing else.”

I did as

he said and

closed my eyes.

I thought of

the light, pictured

it growing brighter.

I could see

the brightness

of the light

growing, even with

my eyes closed,

could even begin

to feel the

heat of it

on my face.

Soon, the fetid

air disappeared and

was replaced with

the smell of

a spicy cologne

and the scent

of honeysuckle. I

heard movement as

someone moved towards

me. I would

not be afraid.

A voice said:

“Open your eyes.”

I did and

saw him and

the feeling of

the light upon

my face flowed

through my whole

body. The light

came from him.

“I dreamt of you.”

He said. I

smiled at him.

“I know.”

I said softly.

Then words weren’t

necessary. There was

only me, only

him, only us

and the gorgeous

possibility of dream.

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