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Whose Dream Was It?
Dreamed 2008/10/18 by Chris Wayan
We journey so far, so long. My family's
near forty years younger; I'm fifteen.
But it's 1938, not '68, and we're Chinese
fleeing the Japanese Army. Refugees
from the Empire of the Sun! Hop trains
til we acquire (don't ask!) a Volkswagen van.
Crawls on and on. I flinch when planes
hum too near: I fear they'll strafe or bomb.
But all just vulture-wheel. So far. So long.
We drive to California. Peach orchards sprawl.
At last, across the sky, a wide steel smile.
Not the Golden Gate; we're in the Delta still,
Gate to the southeast Bay--Fremont, Sunol.
Silver the next bridge--four towers, three spans.
But no groved islet, tunnel-pierced: a mere
prelude to the true Bay Bridge. So near,
but not yet home. Journey of ten thousand days
(so long; so far) ends in a single pace
(O please) to peace. We long. We long.
I wake from my dream on a bench in sun;
My old college. Students snack and chat.
Up walks my mom. I blurt, still half adream,
"I had an endless nightmare--we were all
refugees from hordes of the Rising Sun."
She gasps "You really are psychic!
You know your father always swore
he never saw blood in that Pacific war,
but weeks now, he wakes from dreams of fire
howling every dawn." So Dad's alive again!
Though a memory-haunted man. But when
are we? He lives; the twentieth century, then.
One silver decade back (or did the bridge's spans
mean two or three? Unsure.) But I concur
my nightmare journey must be his war
memory upwelled--passed on. That year
was long before my birth, but back in '38
Dad really was fifteen. And then...
I wake for real. Again. This time I'm sure.
I'm home, in the City of Peace. So far.
- "Whose Dream Was It?" In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice fears she may be just a figure in the Red King's dream. I know the feeling.
- Fleeing the Imperial Japanese: my friend Edith, a painter, was a kid in Shanghai when the Japanese invaded.
- Flinch at planes: despite my peacetime childhood, I do. I always have. When did I learn that fear?
- Southern Delta: yesterday's paper mapped how the Sacramento Delta's flow has changed in the last century.
- San Francisco: city of world peace. Where the UN was born. Where I was born. But in dreams, I'm still a refugee. Which war's still haunting me?
- Wake up screaming from war memories: my mom's father, a pacifist, drove an ambulance in World War One and had lifelong screaming nightmares. My dad was in the Pacific theater in World War Two, but never at the front. None of my recent ancestors were refugees.
- Inherit my dad's war trauma: the follow-up dream on the terrace hints my recurrent fevers may be a family thing. My sister Miriel suffers weird inflammations, my dad died of a rare paralyzing virus, my mom's dying of a baffling lung disease.
- Ancestral or past-life memories? Helen Wambach hypnotically regressed groups of volunteers and found many Americans in trance described dying in 1930s China from Japanese bombings (yet few of her subjects even knew of this--American history books neglect the Chinese Holocaust). The dream hints I may be one such; my odyssey is from refugee-trauma to peace.
- ACTION: Take heart, O refugees! The hippie bus of peace is slow, but patiently crawls on.
- This is Dreamverse #35. A dream-poem a week. I can't do one a day--too harrowing. I'm underpowered, like peace. Crawl on!
LISTS AND LINKS:
I'm Just Not Myself Today! -
Age-bent dreams -
Race-bent dreams -
outcasts and refugees -
false waking -
my mom, Marcella -
pseudo-psychic dreams -
my dad Jerry -
dreams about dreams -
clocks and time-measures -
time travel -
transcendent dreams -
San Francisco -
Dreamverse series - the next Dreamverse time-travels too:
The Chaparral of Time
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