Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recurring Dream Of My Childhood

Alone in a strange city at night--
everything dark, wet from recent rain,
lights too far away or just reflections in the damp pavement;
buildings empty hulks, yet somehow watching,

indifferent,
unfamiliar,
no sanctuary.

A car pulls up to the curb--
a late 40's or early 50s model,
black, maybe a Buick or a Hudson,
and though well out of date, shiny as a snake.

A woman in red dress steps out of the passenger side--
she's vaguely Hispanic,
wearing pearls and heels.
her cheekbones are high, she's almost pretty, but cold,
pretending to be helpful. A man sits in silent shadow behind the wheel.

"Are you lost?" she asks me. Yes. The curb feels like a cliff.
"Get in," she says, gesturing toward the car.
I don't want to.
It feels like a shark's mouth, a precipice, no good end in there,
and yet, I am lost and by myself,
in this strange city at night.

Sometimes I get in, and then it gets much worse--
they drive me to a doctor, a doctor who is not human,
whose treatments are misery, and who cures nothing.
Other times, I have some sense of a memory warning me
not to go with them, and I refuse.

My temporary escape is no joyful thing, but rather,
a stay of execution to be taken up on another night.
_____

Not really a poem, but an accurate description of a recurring nightmare I had as a child.

For Bjorn's "nightmare" mini-challenge at Real Toads. 


17 comments:

Cloudia said...

The fears and monsters that make your poetry

brudberg said...

Ouch.. What a vivid dream... I often dream being lost, or having lost something, but never with such details. The non-human Doctor makes me shudder...

Shadow said...

The monsters under our beds is what created these dreams...

Sioux said...

"Shiny as a snake" is such a great phrase...

the glaucous macaw said...

I love the phrase "vaguely Hispanic." I don't know why it makes me smile so. Perhaps because I'm from San Antonio.

This is me, "trying to be helpful" --- it should say "late '40s or early '50s model" up above.

What clever language. It describes the car, but it may also give us more info about how the woman looks. "Well out of date" may do the same. She's travelling with someone, but he's not her date.

Did you mean "in a red dress," or do you like it as it is?

Beware the woman with high cheekbones. Oh, now I wonder if this might suggest that she's high on whatever's in her cheek.

hedgewitch said...

The nightmares of childhood are like no others--that fear, that helplessness that only a child can really experience. To be a child is to be by definition, dependent on others, at their mercy, and most of the time, that is what a child receives. But some people have no mercy. Here, there is only torment and fear, either now or later, take your pick. Chilling, terrifying, really, and took me back to some nightmares of my own.

Mama Zen said...

This is terrifying.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Many unresolved childhood fears here.. scary for a young person, to endure night after night.

Other Mary said...

A recurring nightmare adds a whole nother dimension to the fear.

Lynn said...

Wow - not a good dream, sounds like.

Gillena Cox said...

clearly related, sounds like some of the myths in our Caribbean folklore

much love...



Sherry Blue Sky said...

This actually happened to me in real life as a child, a man trying to get me into his car. But I knew to say no thankfully.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I guess you must have been told the same stories I was, to watch out for 'white slavers'. In my version, a well-dressed woman would approach you in a public toilet, drug you with a quick, surreptitious needle, and you'd end up a prostitute in a foreign country!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Pardon my vulgarity, but Holy Fuck! Goddamn, I'm skeeved out / freaked out by such a torment. Well done, not only the writing, but the surviving, La la LA! Mosk

Susie Clevenger said...

This reminds me of the nightmare I lived and its companion sleep horrors. Survival gets tattooed deeply when it comes at such an early age.

Jennifer Wagner said...

Yikes! What a horrible nightmare.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

I have similar dreams that can repeat and have different endings but I can't remember them in that kind of detail! What a horrible dream and I'd love to know what the symbolism means although one can guess.