NaPoWriMo 2015: day 28



AFTER THE NIGHTMARE 


i wake up a
                   brup
                           tly 
(allatoncewiththatfinalsickeningimagestillbehindmyeyes)

and remind myself

(yetagainyetagain):
                  it was only a dream

(onlyadreamonlyadream)

this image
a montage
of death
I've actually seen 
in my life,
mashed together
with a Game of Thrones death scene
powerful enough to scare me into waking 

(theterrorafterwaking)
(calming.my.racing.heart)
(slowing.my.breathing)

these nightmares  
used to be recurrent,
seemingly endless,
night after night 
of being chased
or shot
or worse,
the popping
of a skull under my tires 

terrifying,
distorted memories,
trauma,
jumbled empathy.

i learned to repeat them 
to solve the puzzle,
to remind my dream-self,
while in the dream:
                this is only a dream. 

(i.cannot.remember.my.last.nightmare.)
(i.contained.it.i poemed.it.out.)

but they can't all be contained 
they can't all be solved
some things happen 
and cannot be undone

(the.images.come.from.my.life)
(it..is..easier..to..shake..them..off..now..)
(to...remember...i...am...here...not...there...)

(to poem it out)

i am here
               not there
(in my past)
(in our collective past)
(in our real life present)
(endlesstraumaendlessgrief)
(ohourendlessgrief)

to calm my racing heart,
to remember:

 i . am . here . now .

i have survived 
you have survived 

and for that i am grateful

even as I mourn
those who did not

survive 

(.oh.our.endless.grief.)
(.i.wish.that.was.only.a.dream.)
(except.grief.reminds.us.of.what.we.love)
(and we loved you)
(we love you)

______________________________________

*dedicated to the memory of Freddie Gray, particularly, may his memory - and the memory of all those killed unjustly - be a blessing and a reminder that we need to work towards justice and equality. 

And it is also dedicated to the memory of all our beloved dead, including those killed in the earthquakes this week in Nepal and my cat, Roshi, whose death was another, more personal spark of this nightmare/poeming. 

Roshi's was a particularly gruesome death that was entirely my fault. I backed over him in the car. (I think I've written about this here before, but I'm on my iPad, so you'll have to search for links.) 

We just watched two seasons of Game of Thrones and there's a death in the penultimate episode of season four that dredged the memory back up. Skulls are so protective. Until they're not. 

Roshi was a rescued-from-being-feral street cat that had been extremely cautious/ super paranoid around cars, so I had assumed he'd scampered away, as usual, once I turned on the car. Ours was not a quiet car. And he would literally fling himself away from the sound of any car, normally. But that day he didn't. Why, I don't know. His death is not a good memory and it has no solution except to grieve and forgive myself so I can continue living my life as it is. 

(Because Roshi was "only" a cat, I can do that legally, too. Sometimes the nightmare-terror is, what if it hadn't been a cat - I've read of that happening. And of course, there's media imagry to remind me that happens to people, too. Skulls are skulls. Heads are heads. But last night, I turned Roshi into one of my childhood cats, which was almost as terrifying. Oh Angel. You were a good cat, too.) 

Anyway, I hope you don't need the back story of my cats to get the gist of the poem, but I needed to let it out here, too, not just in the poeming. Because the personal and the events happening in the world intertwine, here. 

As I tried to say/ said in the poem, my nightmares are a mash of images that happened to me and what has happened around me (including media and collective angst). I suspect this is true for nightmares in general, but I don't really know. I only know my experience with them. 

I can lucid dream, but I can't go back in time and fix what is broken. 

I can only mourn. 

And that grief points the way to remembering what it is I truly love. And to remembering that I am called to keep repairing the world, which includes repairing the broken pieces of me. 

May all beings be whole. 
May all beings be loved. 
May all beings be free from suffering.