If only words flowed from dreams perfectly formed. No more pouring through the thesaurus…no more pushing commas back and forth. I’ve heard of writers who can produce polished poems in just a few hours. Bernadette Mayer says she composed her dazzling 120-page Midwinter Day in a single day. But for me—line after line of painful throat clearing.
Except for one lucky morning.
I woke thinking: “Things that happened long ago should seem far away.” Still groggy, I added: “Birds, checkmarks on a painted sky. Houses, dots on distant mountains.” I rolled from bed and continued the theme, describing a painterly landscape and a cozy reunion with a friend who died long ago.
The writing rolled along smoothly until my lost friend blurted, “How dare you sell my bed?”
Whoa! Where’d that come from?
That, unfortunately, came from reality. The friend in my poem had been consumed with rage, and now her anger (or, rather, my recollection of her anger) threatened to derail the poem. To salvage it, I had to return to the hazy landscape of my dream—a place where time distorted memory.
One dream, two poems… I’m happy about that.