Tangled

It’s all tangled in my head now.

Devotion, duty, greed, selfishness. Where are the lines separating them? My dreams are saying that in this, there are none. But that can’t be, can it? Everything has bounds, limits. Where are they and why can’t I see them/set them?

Sweet dreams aren’t made of these

Or, my dreamscape has suddenly become hostile territory.

Been having lots of similar-themed dreams lately, and I feel like yelling at my subconscious about them. Not that yelling will actually do anything, but I’d feel better, damn it.

I know what the dreams are pushing me to think about, but I don’t want to think about it. At all. Ever.

My subconscious has never listened to me about such things however, and is merrily pushing this issue into my face when I go to sleep. So I get dreams like the last two I posted about.

My life was easier when such things were quiet.

Me, a name I call myself: a dream

I dreamed last night that I was standing in front of a mirror and asked to name myself. After a bit of thinking about it, I reeled off a bunch of things I suppose I could call myself.

A voice told me to stop and I halted in mid-word.

“You’re forgetting one,” said the voice.

I searched through my memory, but couldn’t recall having missed a name. I opened my mouth to continue the litany, but the voice stopped me again.

“You’re forgetting one.”

I said I wasn’t, as there weren’t any more names that would fit.

The voice said there was, and I was being stubborn, not saying it. It was the most important name, and if I spoke it, I could begin to truly heal.

I couldn’t think of this all important name, and for the rest of the dream I felt like the princess in Rumpelstiltskin, saying things only to be told “No, sorry, try again.”

This poem speaks to me

The Myth of Innocence
Louise Gluck

One summer she goes into the field as usual
stopping for a bit at the pool where she often
looks at herself, to see
if she detects any changes. She sees
the same person, the horrible mantle
of daughterliness still clinging to her.

The sun seems, in the water, very close.
That’s my uncle spying again, she thinks—
everything in nature is in some way her relative.
I am never alone, she thinks,
turning the thought into a prayer.
Then death appears, like the answer to a prayer.

No one understands anymore
how beautiful he was. But Persephone remembers.
Also that he embraced her, right there,
with her uncle watching. She remembers
sunlight flashing on his bare arms.

This is the last moment she remembers clearly.
Then the dark god bore her away.

She also remembers, less clearly,
the chilling insight that from this moment
she couldn’t live without him again.

The girl who disappears from the pool
will never return. A woman will return,
looking for the girl she was.

She stands by the pool saying, from time to time,
I was abducted, but it sounds
wrong to her, nothing like what she felt.
Then she says, I was not abducted.
Then she says, I offered myself, I wanted
to escape my body.
Even, sometimes,
I willed this. But ignorance

cannot will knowledge. Ignorance
wills something imagined, which it believes exists.

All the different nouns—
she says them in rotation.
Death, husband, god, stranger.
Everything sounds so simple, so conventional.
I must have been, she thinks, a simple girl.

She can’t remember herself as that person
but she keeps thinking the pool will remember
and explain to her the meaning of her prayer
so she can understand
whether it was answered or not.

The caged lion: a dream

I dreamed about lions. Lions roaming the halls of this…house? Anyway, they were all around, rubbing against me and each other, and doing big cat stuff.

Except for one.

This was a really big lion in a really big cage in the middle of all the roaming, rubbing throng. The lion wasn’t wild, wasn’t causing any trouble that I could see, but the cage it was in was locked with a really heavy chain and a huge lock.

There was a man standing by the cage. I asked him why all the rest of his cats were roaming about, but this one was still locked up.

“The others aren’t causing any trouble,” he said.

No, I said, but neither is this one, so what gives?

He looked at the lion, a very pretty female with huge golden eyes. “Her owner thinks she’s a man-eater,” he said.

I asked if she’d ever eaten anyone before. He said no, but that the owner was afraid that if she was released and let to roam, she’d take it into her head to have a person-sized snack and be an unstoppable menace.

“Has she ever been out of the cage?” I asked.

The man shook his head. “Been in the cage since she was a cub.”

“Then how can she be a man-eater–even potentially–if she’s never even been out of the cage?”

The man shrugged. “That’s what the owner thinks.”

I asked him why he was here, if these weren’t his cats.

He said he had an extra set of keys and would let the caged lion out soon. “She needs to be free to roam,” he said, then smiled. “To decide if man-eating is something she might want to do.”

I said that doing that might lose him his job, but he shook his head and said that the owner trusted him and his decisions.

The lion in the cage looked at me with those great golden eyes. She made a cat sound–something like mirp!, except in a lion voice–and flicked her tail at me.

Then I woke up.