what dreams may come

not even elevator earthquakes.
Joseph with his coat couldn’t tell
me why the back of my eyelids show
pictureless dreams, leave me imageless.

The end of a bad poem I wrote in college titled “I don’t dream, I don’t write.” I was a confused poet at this stage. I was taking traditional poetry writing classes alongside a language poetry class. The language poetry and its deconstructive ways fouled me up. It left my poetess vessel empty. I tried and I forced poems and continued to work with Pulitzer Prize winners and Poet Laureates, but my poetry never bounced back from Tan Lin and his structureless lessons on structureless writing. The above fragment is from a forced work. Obviously, I was blaming my dreams on my minds confusion. I remember sitting in class after having read this poem to be work shopped and my Pulitzer Prize winning professor claimed that it was unbelievable that no one dreams of earthquakes. I tried to argue, weakly I said that I actually had a recurring earthquake dream, one in which I was in an elevator, hence the line. He also said that no one dreams in color and my reference to Joseph’s coat of many colors was misplaced. I couldn’t argue with him because I couldn’t, in that split second, recall a dream filled with color. He shut me up because he had gray hair and spoke quietly and sparsely and he created tension between us. There was so much silence between us. I wanted to beat the silence, but I was wading through my own understanding of poetry and he wasn’t helping so I just shut up. I never really spoke in his class again except to read my poems that people, including him, then berated. I think about him every once in awhile. It is usually when I am recalling dreams and I think how wrong he was, that my dreams can be vibrant and violent or quiet and sad. My dreams can be whatever my mind needs to process. He was so wrong. But, every time I recall I my dreams I cannot for the life of me remember if it happened in color. The color never plays an important role so the remembrance of its existence escapes me. Until today, pulling into to a school parking lot I remembered the navy blue bedspread and matching couch, I remembered the tan butcher-block kitchen counter tops and the silver utensils. I remember my friend’s dark brown hair and his sister’s semi-red hair. I remembered the color. I remembered the color.

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