Wednesday, April 2, 2014

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

In a lifetime normal men have 1 ½ wives (could be true), 2 ½ children (no longer true), 6 ½ cars (more or less true) and sleep 8 hours a day. But who among us wants to be normal? I’d fight with my life for my right to be abnormal. Yet all things being relative, compared to the CEO, now cocaine addict, sleeping in a cardboard box by the off-ramp, I am a normal guy. Therefore it was no shock to realize that at age eight-one I have been asleep for 27 years. ( 27 X 3 = 81)

That’s a lot of time spent in pajamas. And it doesn’t count all the hours, day-dreaming, spacing out starring into my bran flakes or napping. One might expect me to have stumbled upon some ancient truths by this time. If I had I’ve forgotten them.

27 years of sleep is not a bad thing. I am rowing my pea-green boat gently down the stream. Sometimes merrily toward Eden; other times fitfully in flight from paradise. Life is but a dream and with a little luck one I may not soon wake up from.  Just about every night, while the cow is jumping over the moon, I’m dancing  by its light as I act, direct and write my script in this absurd nocturnal theater piecing together scraps of the day. I dine on mince and slices of quince all with my runcible spoon. And just what is a runcible spoon? Don’t ask, just keep rowing.  

It is part of a runcible life we make up as we go along. The dream-life spills over into the light of day as a brief glimpse into an inner landscape. What a crowded mansion our dreams have laid bare seen as a drunken montage. It takes a pickled mind to dream a pickled dream, one marinated in the brine of eight decades. Our dreams present themselves with great truths written in a foreign tongue, upside down in a fractured narrative. 

Dreams remind us of the elasticity, the stretch and contours of imagination. We might marvel how time is collapsed and the sequential chronicle of life is in disarray. How fluent we are in gibberish. How unstuck from the Apollonian we can be to revel in the Dionysian.

Each day dies into sleep. MacBeth murdered sleep. Hamlet saw it as an end to a thousand shocks the flesh is heir to. Some nights are a balm to hurt minds but other seem to injure the psyche into an unease which could be truth. The dream never announces itself but comes in disguise entering through a door we’ve left ajar. We are such stuff that dreams are made of.

So I walk in somnambulance through my day, bursting with love and alert to a vaguely familiar place, a fecund inscape unseen by anyone else, teeming with remnants, overheard remarks, misremembered echoes of voices said or unsaid, amplified and lodged in my ears, early terrors from a childhood closet, disowned parts of myself. Or a vision of unsurpassed beauty beyond all adjectives except perhaps, runcible.

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