Friday, January 2, 2009

Dreams: Lyn Lifshin


the night was hard work, dreaming,
the strangers in the house
stain the air. I was going to be
abandoned. I could tell and finding
my crystal beads tossed on the
floor, apt to be cracked, turned to
rose dust didn’t help. Or the man who
seems an intrusion stinking up the
bathroom. Before I slept, I was
appalled I had forgotten my Abyssinian
cat’s birthday two days ago though
I remember it was the date Harper and
Row took my book. Was I the cat,
abandoned in my Sunday depression
though I always remember my cat before
her died Feb 11, 2002. The guests
seem oblivious to me, they are cocky,
the singy, touching types. I wanted out,
to get out before I was abandoned.
Then I wake up shaking, horrified thinking
it’s never been so long since I talked
with my mother. And then, like the
man with Alzheimer’s, going thru his
daughter’s death each time he sees
her in her coffin, remembering, awake
I can’t go to see my mother,
she’s dead



fast shots of a dancer
in muted clothes
shooting thru space
needing a lot of space
around the greys and
guavas nothing
red Gitana's favorite
color nothing bright
as blood but muted
colors frozen in a
cube of glass every
thing suspended it
can't grow or die
What I say is caught
in ice that won't melt



Your smile’s like sun
flowers he said
as tho
embarrassed his
hands were
awkwardly the
ring on his
second finger
close to her
from that room
a wheat sea
blew under the
door bright
as straw
and his warm
parts on
her belly
those small
bones that changed her
bones to water
And not even
his name
until later
when the floor fell
the room
turned into a
and the paint cracked


BAD DREAM # 279, JUNE 22

I go back to Vermont, to Middlebury.
It’s been a while, another life time?
And the uncles, the dead ones hover
in shadows, ghostly, their lips and
cheek bones on faces that some
how aren’t there but then, nothing is
as it was. The beautiful bookstore
with the flat above it where I dreamed
in my lavender back bedroom of
starring on Broadway or writing a book,
now looks like collapsing bricks about
to be bull dozed. This can’t be. There’s
no bookstore, no sign there’s ever
been one. The bricks shift, the building
looks like something too dangerous
to enter after a hurricane, a house of
tooth picks one small breath could
make fall down. Even Main Street, a
perfect New England small town
where Life magazine came to photo
graph this perfect calendar frame, the
red and green lights strung for Christmas,
children on sleds and of course the traffic
police who checked out every boy who
came to pick me up for a date my
mother would wait up for me from.
Have I been comatose a hundred years?
Where is the town I knew? What could
be left but mice and droppings in the
mostly abandoned street. Drug vials litter
the street instead of flower boxes and
geranium. When did the town become
a slum, a torn blighted disaster? The
only color is gray. It’s as if the mortar,
whatever held all that mattered together
dissolved. A heart beat. Just the touch
of one brick and everything I thought I
could keep will crumble



I want to be
air and flame,
my arms wings,
my feet beating
the ground
for take off.
I want the
grind, the
shimmer of his
pelvis, my
skirt flaming,
want him to
hold me in a
frame nothing
wild escapes from

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