The Spirit World

1. I live on the shoulder of a long gradual hill, and in the dream blizzard snows had been falling, so that all along the curb of the four-lane road that traces the incline, parked cars were submerged to their hoods and fenders in the plowed and layered accumulation of several days. Between two cars a space had been hollowed out — think of an igloo, more or less — and in it a small white dog was sheltering, something like a Bichon Frise, injured and bleeding with some specific damage to its left eye.

I hate dogs, as anyone who has wandered through this blog much well knows. However, the woman who is my soundest friend on this continent adores her two Bichons, and if they and I all outlive her — I am afraid if could happen — I will do anything short of adopting them myself, which is out of the question, to make sure they are okay.

In the dream I pick up the small hurt dog and huddle it into my coat, walking any distance you care to mention down the snow-choked hill until I reach an apartment occupied by the woman who was my best friend during my school years, though she decided I was not classy enough for her as soon as we had dispersed to college. This is only a place to shower and change into dry clothes before taking the dogs to the local shelter — something which another occupant of the building starts to lecture me about as soon as I am ready to set out.

I can’t take the dogs home, I tell her; I have three cats. I know the local shelter is a shit-hole. I’m sorry. What did you want me to do, leave the dog between the cars in the snow?

2. My onetime husband died homeless, a circumstance I have described here in various posts, though the civilized social-safety-net provisions which the Republican party seems to find too-oppressive-to-millionaires allowed him to do his dying in a hospital bed.  (Forgive the station identification, but it must be made.) In the dream I am standing beside him close to a lamp-post; what is it about lamp-posts? They guide us into Narnia, or darken to allow Harry Potter to transition between worlds. In front of us, in the near distance, is a woman acting as a choir director, leading a smattering of homeless men in song. A few are uninterested and remain prone on their park benches. My ex-husband remains close to me, reluctant to join the ensemble, though in life he boasted a small but distinctive talent as a comprimario bass, the “little man who sings the patter song” so essential to operetta.

In these Godawful spring weeks when tree pollen and drugs combine to make my brain into a fun house, these are the things that happen in the few hours after dawn when I get the only sleep worth the name.

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7 thoughts on “The Spirit World

  1. Dreaming about dogs. I’m glad. I don’t want you to hate them.

    The second dream is just plain beautiful, Sled.

    I have a dream (frequently) that I discover an extra room in my house. And I’m thrilled. A restless person’s dream, probably.

    Yours are a compassionate person’s dreams.

    • I get those extra room dreams too; entire floors or levels, sometimes. The most memorable one was of a country-house maze of bedrooms below stairs, filled with furnishings and assorted stuff that had been parked there kind of haphazardly, as one stores things with the intention of going through them.

      In another my cellar was far larger than it really is and actually lacked a rear wall — I mean it had broken down and needed repair — and opened onto what in the suburbs is called “undeveloped land” full of trees and scrub. A similar episode involved broken-down structure and wind whistling into an upstairs room that was closed off.

      I don’t know if this is restlessness or what, but it seems like a theme.

      I suppose compassion is there, but I note I did take the dog to the shelter and not home. It really isn’t as bad as the dream made out, at least for dogs, though for years you got the feeling they didn’t care about cats.

        • I have read your poems. I am torn between liking them and a certain uneasyness about them. I like the flow of words and lines, they are fluid (water seeping in my commentary).
          Uneasy about the love/hate ambivalence they show. I can imagine they could have caused you trouble with some peoples.
          Thank you for letting me in on them.

          • Thank you for the commentary.

            I have to think that without ambivalence poetry is likely to be somewhat flat. Fortunately, so far as causing trouble, nobody ever really read them much. The reaction, in the case of poems written to the men in my life, has ranged from complete indifference and lack of commentary to “have you written me any more poems?”

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