Little Bad Dream Charm
Dreamed 2001? by Kathy Fagan
Editor's note: this poem may seem full of typos. It's not. Slow down; you'll figure them out.
We haven't found enough dreams.
I just woke up from a start afternoon nap. I
This dream-poem is from Kathy Fagan's The Charm, a whole book of incantations (2002, Zoo Press). Here, she wakes from a nap and writes a dream, still so groggy her writing is full of slips. Indeed, they worsen as she goes, hinting she's falling back asleep: she's the one "sinking to the bottom of the tank."
At least that's how it looks! But I wonder which are dream-slips, which are the poet's conscious imitations--there are so many! My dreams often have a telling slip or pun... or two. But here it's one per line! My own dream-puns are sparser, and often deep--one such can unlock a whole dream's meaning. While these are telling, they're mostly just funny, not keys to any big dream-message I can see. And yet I guess it's possible. Maybe Fagan's a dream-pun master.
So what is Little Bad Dream Charm? Is it...
One thing I will say--if this is a true dream-account rife with slips, then I know what it's about. Notice its doubleness? First the boyfish go wild but end up gasping on the rug; Kathy tries to save them by containing them again. Then she wakes--more or less--and her words go wild, leaping and leafing out of their lines, till she sinks into incoherence. The dream catches how frustrated the conscious mind can get in creative writing. Those words just won't obey! Off they go, impulsive as boys--or salmon. What casualties! And yet... only such reckless leaps lead to new life. Here, both sides get their due--leap and rescue, fever and restraint. The dream's a fair-minded clown, advocating balanced creative work.
OK, Kathy. My neck's stuck out to full extension. You can chop it now.
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