Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sad Dreaming




Sad Dreaming

The Catechism offered no hope,
only a sunlit oceanic lake,
dark stirrings so soft
on days of longing.

It's bad for children,
the umbrella owners
and Old West
reenactors low-on-booze
always say, mind you
we are a hundred years
away from when we palmed
real gold, God have mercy.

I fell asleep and the dream
followed me into a saloon:
1890's bluestem grass,
theatrical advertisements
for the Foys in Dodge City,
the tan girl of a red handkerchief
tied to another one and another
to make a kind of belt or sash
for a Peacemaker.

Discolored landscape,
barren like the inside
of a dead nostril.
Lake water lapped
up to the girl's bare legs.
She had run from the church,
its velvet and the priest's snuff.
Her scanty white blouse
caught golden sunset light.
She said, The land is too solemn,
trodden down by all this newness
that no longer elevates us.

The dream tracked me down
with no great trouble at all,
found me in a broke-chair
Ely, Nevada, gambler's hotel:
wax apples and wooden bowls,
coffins for settlers and satin
ribbons on the wrists of hookers.
I came awake feeling melted,
hearing two women scream
for mercy from each other
in the room next door,
tasting the black shroud
Belle Starr was wrapped in
for her gap-toothed burial....
The dream came from
a glacier-moved rock,
as if the goddess of gravel roads
was lying on the bed next to me
kiss-'n'-pause, kiss-'n'-pause...
whispers of great disappointment.

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