Nightmares and Memory

Ah goddamn it,
the nightmares
are starting to talk again,
I hear their cackles
slowly rising
into the damp air
and I wonder how
I will respond to them
once they start to scream.

I go back in time for now,
to forget the present despairs
and remember the wild and strange
events of my past.
Did I ever tell you
about that time
on a Friday morning in June,
I brought a bottle of pretty pink wine
into the shower with me,
sitting in the tub
swapping sassy rants with the showerhead
and the bottle
thought it rude
to interrupt us,
so he said nothing.
And after finishing the bottle
that could’ve been a prism
reflecting light,
he fucked off to the trash instead,
and I slumped
onto my bed and passed out
since I hadn’t slept for two days
dreaming of times almost forgotten:

brother and I
staying up til 5 in the morning,
swaying in rocking chairs on our back porch
with the twinkle lights
stapled to the walls,
drinking whiskey,
smoking cigars,
talking existentialism and
the fall of capitalism,
Sherlock Holmes and Dostoyevsky 
(and yes, that’s really how our conversations would go);

a night in which a fuck buddy now a stranger
convinced me to drive to Atlanta
after getting off work at 11,
got fucked up on the way,
headed to a club
of shiny people
moving in their sloppy ways,
grinding and rolling my eyes,
Jesus this is so boring,
and I wanted to shove my way out of there
and dance revolution in the rain
on the streets outside
the conditioning concrete walls
just to prove I belonged to no one;

a time I flew to Colorado
and read a paper on Lacan and Kubrick
out loud at a conference
and felt smart for the first time
since my dad had died
who always told me I was talented and
wise beyond my years,
and finally feeling a connection
with the people around me
like I had found my free minded family;

once you and I
saw a poster in the hallway at school
for a protest in D.C.
the next day
walking against 
that horrorshow war,
and we jumped in my car
after making some road trip CDs (of course),
drove through the night
to stomp with the revolt spirits,
being spit on and yelled at
by the sideliners
appalled at our
demands for less body bags,
capital hill
a war zone in itself
of armored guards
with the biggest guns Id ever seen
and their teeth dogs
hauling people off to jail
in big white vans;

Singing Beethoven at Carnegie Hall
in high school
and believing for a moment
that there might in fact be a god
which seemed to me to be found through
a remembering of the sacredness of art;

Getting lost on the streets of London,
spending nights in a youth hostel
with a couple from Australia,
climbing the pyramids in Mexico City,
capsizing in a sailboat in Boston Harbor,
seeing ghosts walk in and out of rooms
at my moms house,
watching drunk frat boys
try to walk home after parties
my freshman year of college
in a tiny town in Ohio,
driving to New Orleans
and standing in a vampire shop
with my brother and my girlfriend
as a celebration
after his last round of radiation
which held off the brain cancer
for a few months after that,
the only two times I didn’t sing
in church when my dad died
and then my brother several years later,
screaming at my abuser
in a dark parking lot in Tennessee
fierce enough that he backed off
for the night,
chatting with strangers about Ginsberg
in coffee shops in Minnesota
as the snow came  down,
refusing cocaine from a boy
in a gas mask
and some 4th of July party,
writing my first poem
sitting next to a stream
in my backyard of forest in Michigan,
dragonflies glistening in the sun.

Deep breath,
remember and forget
and remember again,
art is its own life force,
death comes to us all,
feelings come and go
no matter the intensity,
I have survived and learned
so much thus far
as I look back
and no matter what our
nightmares tell us,

we can and will rise above them.

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