No Shortcut in Art of Dream

No Shortcut in Art of Dream

You led me onto the shortcut; we had to walk
our bikes through the ruts. I already doubted
the time-saving, the mustard dirt depressions stumbling
more than one step, the embankments that separated
this path from the road unsettling, when I saw
the first body, the individual hairs of crown and beard shockingly
wire-like in the way death
turns strands to prongs, each follicle
an endpoint, lips dragged into

It was half-lodged in a cavity, a
collapsing catacomb
in the mound–
did I call your name out loud or just think whoa, that you would see
it soon enough- for you had stalled behind me now–and that we better phone the police
at the other side, when I walked on past three more,
their hair crested in the odd slopes of bodies’ fall, rumpled waves
of sleeve and pant, skin yellowed
as the clayed earth–and maybe we should turn back, I thought;
absolutely that we should turn back, for I could see the blur of more
around the bend, and called
your name but could not see you, cursing that part of you
that fed on line and shape, color
and symbol, that, even in horror, would look for what
might be made into art, that you might draw
from, when it occurred to me that there were possibly assailants
too waiting ahead, with sharp-knived mouths, fists gripping,
and that maybe even going back would not
get us out of this, and
look at me now too, writing of it.

Admittedly a rather odd draft poem that I thought I had posted last night (the first day of April) as a possible start to a poem a day for the month. But it is not a regime I think I can keep this year, and even last night I forgot to press the “publish” button. Agh.

I will link this to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

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28 Comments on “No Shortcut in Art of Dream”

  1. hedgewitch Says:

    I see by your tag this was a dream, as I was wondering–it has that feel of a reality not suspended, but twisted into a new and frightening shape. We do make art out of things that terrify and appall us–the only control we have over them perhaps? This is a stunning poem, k, and glad you found the publish button eventually.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Thanks. I am already en route (as it were) in the sense of in NYC before my trip and have decided not to take my computer for very reasons so working from iPad. It’s a great great device but I’m not so used to working on it at this level, so little things like buttons become more important. I really appreciate your comment as I felt uneasy about even linking it up to anything. I may forego some linking though as I don’t feel like I’m in a very good position to return comments right now. Thanks again. k.

  2. janehewey Says:

    “the individual hairs of crown and beard”.
    was the line that changed it into more of a nightmare
    for me. the up-close details, for me at least, are the
    ones that continue to reappear long after the event.
    and “lips dragged into scowl”
    I did not see it was a dream, only gleaned it from Hedge’s comment. I found myself sincerely hoping it was fiction.
    One of the most interesting emotional aspects of this poem for me is the change that occurs with your fellow-traveled. The person led you onto a short cut, ends up stalling, and you are the first on the scene. For some reason that really haunted me.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      It’s an odd piece, and maybe should be clearer. I think in the end it is about how being involved in making art changes the way one sees and interacts with the world, but I’m not sure that comes across as I only slowly decided that that was what it was about. k.

  3. brian miller Says:

    geez…i am glad it was a dream….was thinking a little stand by me going to go see the bodies…it def feels real in the reading…lots of good detail with an edge to the eerie…

  4. claudia Says:

    oh heck…what a dream…i opened my mouth when you came upon the first body and forgot to close it…ugh…sometimes difficult to know what dreams mean… i have dreamt two strange dreams lately that i would love to have interpreted… i wish joseph would..smiles

  5. A fabulous, gripping write! Bravo!

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! not a dream (but thankfully a dream) but a nightmare. Geez, K…..something to wake up panting from.\

    Very visual, very viseral, and very haunting. I would say some wonderful imagery here, but it is too disturbing to think on it.

    However, there is a flow and it’s grounded in such realism that I thought at first (disregarding the dream tag) that you could have been reporting on something you actually saw…Yikes.

    When a poet (or writer) can get a chill out of readers…they are hitting all cylinders.

    You consistently do that for me. Even if it makes me very uncomfortable, but what is life except both comfort and the other?


  7. zongrik Says:

    great imagery like the rumpled waves of sleeve and pant

    where is the food when mother is not?

  8. What a study in incongruity. I felt like I’d walked onto the set of Criminal Minds and then you bring in creativity in the midst of destruction. And the ending…perfect.

  9. Deborah Says:

    I’m not into nightmares since there’s enough of that in Washington but, you sure had me running in a clammy sweat k!

  10. Mama Zen Says:

    This feels raw and unsettling, and it’s amazing.

  11. apshilling Says:

    Publish buttons can be tricky . . . buttons are everywhere; everything is a button and i’m always pushing the wrong one! πŸ™‚

    You are a tough task master, a poem a day!? no wonder you are having bad dreams! but you do find shape here among the angst of and pressure of the thick . . . no shortcut but perhaps a far-out map πŸ™‚

  12. Rowan Taw Says:

    Definately a dream that would stick with you, and well worth the effort in capturing here.

  13. Tony Maude Says:

    Gripping writing, Karin, from first line to last. The short-cut immediately had me thinking of Pilgrim’s Progress. Dreams/nightmares like this are the only ones I ever remember.

  14. The sharp-knifed mouths and fists gripping at the end sealed the creep and shiver factor for me. And your details of what the dead body looked like was so fine, so real.

  15. You end this piece with an artist’s ultimate truth… we create from all realms. Horror, joy, abhorrence, bliss. They all have a place in our writing arsenal. The details here add a chilling, real effect.

  16. kkkkaty1 Says:

    …thought of the movie ‘stand by me’ at first, but after the 3rd body I knew it was more real! Scary but well written..

  17. wow. “sharped-knifed mouth” – read it twice…. I also enjoyed “cursing that part of you that fed on line and shape, color
    and symbol”

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