A Dream with no Corners: waking life experience
When I was a little girl I was trapped in a dream with no corners; no exit holes. I remember dreaming dreams in which I thought I’d woken up, where I’d go about my daily routine only to find the world slightly askew, at which point I’d wake up…possibly within a dream or without…and I remember the disorientation of realizing it was impossible to discern between wake and asleep. As a three-year old I would sit in the soapy water of my bathtub, mesmerized by my wrinkled little fingers, turned to prunes from too much bath-time. And it would hit me again and again… “am I awake? Am I awake? Is this for real?” I would say this in my mind to my open little hands.
It was that moment that somehow burned itself, like a scratch on a record, and played itself over again and again…often when I’d accidentally notice my hand in the shower and remember that initial dreamy wakefulness…and then the soapy water turned into the night sky…and my hands were the stars; these perfectly silent embers, cold and constant. Somehow, imagining them with no personality at all…just these accidental explosions of matter- seemed the most transporting thing of all. And then, I guess I figured…I guess anyone who knew me sort of figured…that the natural course of events would build clearer walls between my wakeful dreams and dreamy awakes…but despite my best efforts no such thing really came to pass.
If anything, I found myself jolted by the sudden electric current of other peoples’ wakeful clarity…perhaps I was speaking as if a sleep-walker…or with the sort of license that you might use in a dream while talking to some spectacularly strange figure of fantasy that couldn’t possibly be real? Whatever it was…whatever it is…I’ve never quite gotten the hang of being awake…not in the real sense that seems to be the common public…implicit secret of social life. Being asleep all the time makes one susceptible to hearing strange things at different octaves simultaneously. The radio buzzing in the background can suddenly become a stampede of elephants that drowns from my ear all other frequencies of sound…including other people’s conversations…conversations that may be happening right across the table from me…and all you can seem to do is nod your head in time with the elephants and hope it will be mistaken for wakeful comprehension.
They say you should never wake a sleepwalker…why this is I’m not exactly sure…I have heard the superstitious rumor that it might cause the sleepwalker to become comatose or in some way frozen in walking sleep…in any event…I’ve learned that there’s no point really in trying to wake up completely…it makes me extremely sleepy to try very hard to be “awake”…so the days pass by like waves, rippling layers of dreams that form elliptical pools of water; crescents that divide again into droplets and drip drip drip down from the faucet with the leak that will not fix; words that rise and ripen and gather themselves again to form people, and things, and letters to name my dreams with adjectives from waking life and back again over and under the rabbit burroughs; the rhizomatic spores carrying me ever there; wherever I am never sure is one thing or the other.
I leave you with the immortal words of John Lennon, who wrote this song as a tribute to staying in bed…and not letting the pressures of the waking world get to you…
When I wake up early in the morning, Lift my head, I’m still yawning.
When I m in the middle of a dream, Stay in bed float up stream.
Please don’t wake me, no don’t shake me, Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.
Everybody seems to think I’m lazy. I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy.
Running everywhere at such a speed. Till they find, there’s no need…
Please don’t spoil my day, I’m on my way. And after all, I’m only sleeping…
Keeping an eye on the world going by my window, Taking my time,
lying there and staring at the ceiling, Waiting for the sleepy feeling…
Please don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away. And after all, I’m only sleeping…
Keeping an eye on the world going by my window. Taking my time,
when I wake up early in the morning, Lift my head, I’m still yawning.
When I’m in the middle of a dream, stay in bed, float Up stream.
Please don’t wake me, no don’t shake me, leave me where I am
I’m only sleeping…
image from lennon