note on dreams
reading reb livingston's post about dreams
made me think a little about my own dreams and their impact on my writing. when i do remember my dreams i do because my dreams are vivid manifestations of a host of stressors. mostly memory of my dreams evaporate upon waking and become wisps of unconnected images by day's end.
when i do remember my dreams i don't try to tease out the symbols to get at the root of their meanings. i accept that my brain is attempting to work out a logic of reasoning behind whatever worries and/or obsessions i'm in at the time.
e.g. i posted a poem a couple of weeks ago, '2 dreams', dedicated to ernesto priego
because i had a dream about ernesto and the imagery from the poem comes out of that dream. i've no idea what the imagery's significance might be but i know that the dream was about friendship and physical distance. the result of the dream was the poem.
how does one know that the life of poetry become a life? for certain the life in poetry, the life of poetry, does not come from some manual even if we, or me, read biographies of writers when just starting out because we, or me, are trying to figure out how to become a writer. the life in poetry is a continuous process of accretion of readings, experience, accident, determination and luck. it is different, even if the ambitions are the same, for each person. we never know if we've arrived even if by age of 60 we've accumulated about 5 ft of shelf space with publications with our names on the covers. the life in poetry is a series of missteps, stumbles, exultation and utter pleasures in the going and never arriving. the tao of poetry, yes.
well then anyway, i suppose i became comfortable in self-doubt and poetry after a dream. since my late teens when i began to think of writing as my way of living i entered my 20s filled with extreme shyness and doubt. i knew my writing sucked ass but i was determined to develop. by my early 20s i was taking a writing class and befriended a couple of student-poets. the classes, i think, really had no impact on my development as a poet. my education came from living in the stacks at the library and going to poetry readings.
it was the night before a reading when one of my friends was a scheduled reader. at the time i was pretty well hooked on berryman's dream songs
. i'm the furthest poet from berryman. i'm no natural scholar, i don't have a monumental drinking problem, i don't have a huge ego either. i don't think. anyway, berryman was my man at the time. i loved his look, thick, black-framed glasses, tweed jackets and thick, grey, wiry beard. i don't remember the particulars of my dream but what i do remember is that i was a tattooed version of berryman. i relayed my dream to my friends who gave me a quizzical look. tattooed berryman?
they asked. yes.
i was not a confidant man then, nor do i think i'm confidant now. what does it matter. when in doubt fake it, is my mantra. the pose becomes the stance. i've been alight with language and imagination since my dream. it perhaps was no confirmation of my becoming a poet. but neither does writing, reading and publishing. for any of us. i conclude my dream was a way to say yes to poetry. the tao of poetry. for me there's been no other way.