Regular Poem: Like a Heartbeat Drives You Mad

18 Nov

I tend not
to keep my visions to myself–
I tend to
share them with whoever
will wrap around my dreams
with me,
blanket themselves in my imagination.

I tell them
like a traveling bard
singing of adventures
memorized and set to music
about how

my unconscious mind cycles
(I haven’t been able to pinpoint
any correlation
to lunar cycles
or hormone cycles,
stress or food,
It cycles at its leisure
like me on a wine-drunk
spring night
on my cruiser,
jingling my bell at raccoons.)

This month
(I might begin
in introduction–mysterious,
I’ll dream every night:
intricately plotted,
of wonder and woe,
haunting melodies and laconic meanigful phrases–


Last night,
(I might continue,
lead with an example upon which
I will build my argument)
behind my eyelids,
under my sheets,
within myself,
my slumbering brain

saw with its unseeing eyes
the woods–
not any woods I consciously recall,
not any woods that exist–
Ozarkian and Evergladesian
at once,
dirt roads
not winding but sloping,
sloping up and down–
a roller coaster–
the horizon appearing and disappearing as
the car I’m driving is bouncing
like a cartoon car.
on the top of the mountain
an animal tableau:
two cougars ready to fight,
a gigantic donkey,
three timid but curious does watching, waiting.
The bouncing car bounces down to a valley;
the vision is gone.
The bouncing car bounces up to a peak;
the vision emerges again

In the dream
(other things
and I might recount them
depending upon audience engagement,
but the point is)
I was unsettled
by this strange herd of strange animals
so far away on the hilltop
and so big,
poised in almost combat
but never moving,
intimate in its strangeness and

They say
(I might add
for ethos–
scientific credibility
rather than the mystical
nature of
one who dreams often and loud)
you can’t read
in dreams.
But I could’ve sworn
(I might add
for pathos, a touch
of the confident but vulnerable)
I read a text message–
or maybe I heard the voice of the person sending it and merely saw a jumble and assumed I had read it–
(I might add for logos,
the rational dreamer)
that assured me the
had been weird
but ultimately had meant nothing–
in fact that the picture I had sent of the scene
was a poorer quality
than the other picture the sender of the text
had also received,

I was convinced,
wondering at the
import of the portent.

And I awoke
with foreboding,
(I almost always
end with my waking feelings in
a tidy, pointed conclusion)
a metallic bitterness,
with scratchy eyes
as if I had been allergic to
the woods
or donkey dander.

And so I don’t
keep my visions to myself.
I invite others–
women who come and go,
the rain that washes one clean,
the thunder that only happens when it’s raining–
into my own

silence of remembering.

3 Responses to “Regular Poem: Like a Heartbeat Drives You Mad”

  1. Silver Screenings 22 November 2015 at 8:56 AM #

    This has nothing to do with your wonderful poem… I’m here shamelessly asking for advice.

    I mentor a creative writers’ group for children in grades 5-8. I’m trying to encourage one of the students to experiment with poetry because she’s clever in capturing moments and feelings. I’ve been showing her some of your poetry to get her out of the Poetry-Must-Rhyme mindset. She says she doesn’t understand this style of poetry which, I think, is her fear? unwillingness? to experience it without the old children-poetry paradigms. (Does that make sense?)

    Anyway, the advice I’m seeking: How can I encourage her to explore poetry? Was there something – an experience, a poet – that encouraged you to write poetry? I think she could have a lot of fun with it and help channel some teen angst… Do you have any recommendations?

    • TheBestofAlexandra 22 November 2015 at 9:41 AM #

      That sounds like a project, for sure! I often ran into this problem when I was teaching, and I never could seem to convince anybody who didn’t want to be convinced.
      I might start off with some Dickinson because she’s a good transition between fully rhymed and fully unrhymed. Also gives you a good opportunity to discuss different types of rhymes. You might also find that your mentee is not only having problems with the rhyme but also the meter. That’s why Dickinson could be good, too, because she almost always uses a traditional meter even if she doesn’t use a traditional rhyme scheme.
      Another direction you could go is Ogden Nash. His poetry usually rhymes, but it’s silly and clever and unexpected.
      And of course Shel Silverstein–some rhymed, some not, always great.
      One thing I used to really enjoy before I started writing poetry on the reg was taking a type of poem with very rigid rules of either meter or rhyme or both and writing that type of poem until it was no longer challenging. Sonnets got me into it, but I found the rondeaux family of poems more interesting because they all necessitate repeated lines. I did it as a thought exercise and for fun. I didn’t actually start writing poetry as any kind of emotional outlet until pretty recently.
      I hope this helps.
      I’m super enjoying being your poet friend, by the way. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Silver Screenings 22 November 2015 at 10:32 AM #

        Thanks for the suggestions – I will give those a go. I never would have thought of Ogden Nash. Brilliant!

        Thanks for sharing the writing tips, too. Good advice for any kind of writing, if you ask me.

        Ultimately, you’re right. You can’t convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced.

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