Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Night walks

(based on suggestions from @matchtrick, @realnixwilliams, @notcharming, @ernmalleyscat, @iFigaro2u and Mark)

My mis-slept youth, dreamsled pulled

me quietly room to room.

An occasional parent tailed.

Unaware of architecture or

dubstep rain on corregated roof.

I beat a path. Frogs wobbled bass from

flowing garage gutters. I pulled shapes.

Flew on private wings,

Zhuangzi’s transformation danced

my 2-step dream on grimy kid toes.

I spoke of crows that hopped and flapped,

come morning I found a black feather

nestled on bedroom carpet, and

would not be convinced.

These days, my somnolent ambulance

correlates hysterically tired

or historically boozed.

Get dressed, get undressed,

wander half-naked for water.

Bemuse my housemates with

sudden displays of skin.

When he was newborn I awoke

by his cot at three. I had assembled

to express my love. He slept on.

My dream doppelganger

acts on my behalf. What would I

do if I could license her? Vacuuming?

They say never to wake us.

Stood outside my dream house

took possession from a fat Cheshire

estate agent, said goodbye

(or words to that effect)

to those smiling suits forever.

Awoke at my rented front door,

clutching my keys. Waving.

Moments evolve to real under my fingers,

truth is tasted on the tongue.

Disguised as myself, limbo between

sleep and world in strange horror.

Slow knowledge: the moment a bull

gathers itself to charge.

It is beyond my apprehension.

Awareness trashed; a rockstar suite.

Things thrown out the window,

stolen tea and coffee-making facilities.

A woman dreaming she is a man

dreaming he is a butterfly.

When you book a room in someone’s head,

don't steal the bath towels.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from six peeps:

  • @notcharming: "real estate agents and how i bought a house so i didnt have to deal with them anymore :)"
  • @realnixwilliams: "booking accommodation"
  • @ernmalleyscat: "the drum & bass of rain on the roof & frogs in the gutters"
  • @iFigaro2u: "dreams"
  • @matchtrick: "Somnambulism. A bull. What would you do with a doppelganger? Keys. Also disguises. Thankyou for your time."
  • Mark: "request for poem: misspelt youth: poetry by malapropism."
All the verses in this poem are true (yep). I am a seasoned sleepwalker. As a kid I did it very often, my parents sometimes followed me around. I usually just did routine things like going into the bathroom and cleaning my teeth, though if a door was shut that was normally open I would walk smack into it (blood noses). Mum tells me that once I had a dream that there was a crow "hopping and flapping" in my room, and when I found a black feather the next day I wouldn't believe it was a dream. I still don't believe it, actually.

As an adult I usually only sleep-walk when I am really overtired or really drunk (or both). I've gone to bed in pyjamas and woken up naked, and vice versa. In my uni years I surprised my housemate with occasional half-naked ventures into the kitchen (I won't tell you which half) while still asleep. When Luka was a newborn I would find my sleep-deprived self in his bedroom checking on him while I was still asleep. And yes, I once assembled the breast pump from scratch in the kitchen, carried it into his room, and was on the point of waking him (for some reason) when I woke up.

I have also dreamed of owning a house, and woken up at my front door, clutching my keys possessively. I'm glad I haven't ever gone outside, yet. I wonder where would I go?

It's a very strange thing to wake up from sleepwalking. For me it's not sudden at all, it's a really gradual process, a bit like waking up slowly from a normal dream, except I'm doing something. For a while I am completely in my dream still, and then second by second the world hardens under my hands, and I realise I'm standing at my bookshelf trying to organise all my novels by height at 3am. It's quite an odd shock, no matter how many times I find myself awake in somewhere I don't understand.


nixwilliams said...

this is great! i'm so impressed the way you managed to get all the prompts in so elegantly.

Anna said...

Thanks. As soon as @matchtrick said 'somnambulism', everything else seemed easy :)

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Or perhaps it's like leading a life in a parallel (sleep) universe.

Your last two lines made me think of Being John Malkovich.