[Intermezzo] Word-Dreams: Vegetable Poems

The best poems are written on the hardy limbs of vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, and parsnips. Delicate truths spiral up stems and skip across indentations left by careless produce handlers. Gut-words escape from the penetralia of the mind, to end up nib-scratched on rutted, aromatic skin. Ink soaks into small fleshless creases, and pools at the roots. Cabbage leaves are the superior blotting papers of the Cruciferous world.

The stuff I see in my sleep

A frequently updated blog about the movies my mind shows me while I’m trying to get some rest.

I have a friend. You don’t know her, so the proceeding may not strike you the same way as it did me.  I know this woman personally though, so even if you don’t find it amusing in the least, take my word for it: this story is hilarious.

It is very important to me to mention that this woman – for the sake of anonymity, let’s call her ‘Clothilde’ – would never do the things described below.  She’s one of the most independent, truthful, self-reliant people I know, safely employed in the field of IT and making more money than I could ever hope for.  Because of this, I found it odd when she unfortunately – bafflingly – popped into my head one night and made a terrible showing of herself.

The dream started out with me in some kind of stationery store when I get a call from Clothilde on my cell phone.  She was asking about places that she could vacation in that begin with “St” while on her honeymoon subsequent to her impending wedding, the news of which took me totally by surprise. When I asked her who her fiance was, she didn’t seem to be sure.  There were a lot of vague things about her wedding plans, since she only made them just to enjoy the vacation package that would follow suit.

Selecting her intended was an interesting story. Apparently, in a way that made zero sense to me after I woke up, she had managed to fake her death via simply lying in a coffin. No pulse-obscuring procedures, no means of hiding her body heat – she just lay in a coffin and played dead. She did this because she was going lose the lease to the coffin if she didn’t use it by a certain date.  She had overheard a lot of positive comments about how she looked during her viewing, so, after the ruse was over, she had decided to marry the guy who paid her nicest compliments. He was happy to proceed with the nuptials, presumably unfazed by the fact that she had faked her death. Some guys can be blinded by love, I guess.

So, cut to the day of the wedding.  It was being held at the house I grew up in.  One would have expected the ceremony to take place somewhere directly associated with Clothilde – such as, say, the house she grew up in – but this was a dream that seemed to insist that no practical logic interfere with its narrative whatsoever. I was hanging out in the basement (story of my life), which was oddly devoid of a lot of guests, and by some impetus, I decided to head upstairs and see how the wedding was going.  Why I was in the basement when the ceremony was happening just upstairs

Surprisingly, I found Clothilde, alone, resplendent in her wedding dress – and in tears! The wedding had been cancelled due to a rainstorm.  That’s right:  the wedding was called due to inclement weather.  This would mean that all the guests, the caterers, the pastor administering the ceremony – all of these people decided to up and leave because of a storm. The storm that was happening outside, despite the fact that this was an indoor wedding.

She was heartbroken, sitting on a chair in my family’s kitchen (a rare reference to real life: my family’s kitchen is actually right above the basement).  Why she was heartbroken, I don’t know.  Her affection for the guy she was going to marry was rather questionable, seeing as how she couldn’t even bother to learn his name.  I guess she was really looking forward to that vacation.

It seems that her cleverly-plotted machinations would have all come together, except for one fatal flaw – she, or somebody, kept humming the chorus to the Hamster Dance.  It had occurred to me that that song samples Whistle Stop from Disney’s Robin Hood, which was sung by Roger Miller (he wrote King of the Road ).  I was under the impression that Miller was a county/Western artist (he was more of a novelty song writer), and if she didn’t stop singing the techno-based hamster song, someone would figure out her game, and her whole plan would unravel.  And I was right: her insistence on humming it (or somebody’s, I couldn’t tell who) resulted in a meteorological event so severe that even her anonymous groom left her with no future plans for a do-over.

Okay, now, it is important to me at this point that I remind you that I feel that this person, in reality, is noble, hard-working, and very intelligent. I have never been under the conviction that she has ever faked her own death, would marry simply for gain (and even then, just for a vacation that she could have gone on by herself), or would inadvisedly insist on singing a remix of a Disney tune that was sure to ruin her matrimonial proceedings.  It is so unlike her, in fact, that I had to share this dream knowing she’d get a kick out of reading about it.

If you’re reading this, Clothilde, then thank you for participating in my weird dream.  It was great working with you!

The stuff I see in my sleep

A frequently updated blog about the movies my mind shows me while I’m trying to get some rest.

My brain seemed to have some trouble making up its mind.  This was one of the jumpiest nocturnal narratives I’d experienced in quite some time.

I started off in the Recurring Hotel.  I call it that because I have stayed there before in other dreams.  It must be part of a chain – whenever I’ve dreamt of travelling, I’m always checked in at the Recurring.  The reasons for my staying there were unknown, and apparently outside of my concern, because there was something else on my mind, something far more worrisome, intimidating, and impending. I hadn’t been to work in a week, and was due to go in that Friday.  That day was dragging inexorably towards the present, and it hung over my head like an anvil suspended by fishing line.

Like the hotel, the theme of inevitable doom would pop into my dreams frequently. I know that there’s some big thing coming up.  I also know that I either cannot handle it, or that I can handle it, but I find doing it repulsive.  Opening night in front of a live audience is coming, but I realize I’m unprepared, don’t know my lines, or am sick of the theatre.  That kind of thing.

So, I had to go to work in a few days, which I was dreading.  I was working in a movie theater, and I did not want to go back.  My managers were strangely tolerant as I had played hooky for several days.  Inexplicably, not only had they not fired me, but they seemed eager for my return.

The whole dream was permeated with a sense of overwhelming tension and anxiety – I really did not want what was going to happen to happen.  What made it worse, however, were the delays.  Something would always crop up to distract me from my dread. For example, a friend of mine had approached me at the hotel.  She was grim and worried, asking me for help.  Her husband had downloaded and installed something in her computer, and now strange files were showing up on it.  I tried to explain that he was probably downloading the new files himself, but stopped short of making him seem like an unfaithful husband (the real-life counterpart to this couple couldn’t be happier with each other).

But enough of that! The scene suddenly jumped, I was off to the boonies of New Rome, located just beyond the west side of Columbus.

Hovering above the landscape, I was perusing a living model of the rural territory, dotted with a small neighborhood, some home businesses, a fast-food restaurant or two.  When I say ‘living model’, I mean that the things on the model were actually alive – except for the O-scale train set that circled a small house off to one side. My first introduction to Google Earth just an hour or so before hitting the sack can be thanked for that.

So then – jump – I was at the home I grew up in – another frequent occurrence – in the kitchen with my dad.  In reality my dad has sadly been gone for eight years now, but that wasn’t stopping him from making me some bacon.  I didn’t want bacon; I didn’t like bacon – in my dream.  I feel that it is of the utmost importance here that I stress the point that it was my dream-self that wanted no bacon; real-life, flesh-and-blood, corporeal KM Scott loves bacon, and if you were to have even the slightest desire to buy me bacon upon encountering me in person, you should feel free to indulge that desire in the most recklessly exuberant way you can manage.

So dad was making me breakfast, including bacon, and my world was blinking in and out. The schizoid editor of this nighttime head movie had apparently tired of jarring jumps between settings, and decided it would be more fun to quick-cut between the eerily mundane and the chillingly dark.  Blink and I’m in the house, only this time without my dad.  The narrative had switched to a horror film where I was being menaced by a current coworker who was actually some kind of conscious zombie.

Blink again and I’m back in the kitchen, horror movie totally gone, protesting dad cooking up the pig flesh, watching a politically-charged news show wherein they wanted to smear their philosophical enemies by showing Indiana Jones in reverse, so that Indy was chasing the boulder instead of the boulder chasing Indy even though that’s not how the film was shot and MAN THIS WAS A WEIRD ONE. 

It was around that point that I blessedly woke up.  Well, in a manner of speaking.  More like I stirred myself into a middling-space between being awake and asleep, while nailed down by the pinning sense of anxiety that had haunted me throughout the experience.  Finally my bladder conquered my dozing and I woke fully – at 5:41 AM.  In a defiant stroke against the night’s freakout, I got dressed, went downstairs, and got an early morning snack.  I kept myself moving to clear my head.  Victory.

And then I went back to bed for a quick nap before work.  Brilliant idea.  I emerged once again into the land of undefinable shadows and dread.

Only this time … I was back in school.

I didn’t wake up screaming.  I’m too strong for that.

The stuff I see in my sleep

A frequently updated blog about the movies my mind shows me while I’m trying to get some rest.

I was in a car with my family.  I have to assume they were my family, because we all resembled each other.

The thing of it is that this family differed from my real-life immediate family in two ways:  the first is that my family had exactly two children: myself and my brother. The family I was sharing a ride with seemed to have a fluctuating number of people in it, anywhere from six to … well, a number that would have seriously exceeded the passenger capacity of your common-variety automobile.  Of course, this was one of those larger, late-70s style autos, which were much roomier, so perhaps that had something to do with it. My family had stopped using those kinds of cars by the time my brother was born, as had everyone else, since chassis designs had changed considerably during the 1980s.

The second dramatic difference was that, in my waking life, we were African-American.  We continue to be African-American to this day.  The people in the car – though I could not make out their faces exactly – were Caucasian.  They could’ve all passed for the parents and siblings of Kirk Cameron.  Unable to see myself, as no mirror was presented, I was left to assume that I, too, resembled the rest of the family.

I realize as I write the above paragraph that there may be those amongst my readership who have an interest in the study of race and social psychology.  Please understand – this dream should not be interpreted as me harboring a subconscious desire to be white.  I don’t wish to change my ethnicity any more than I wish to change into Kirk Cameron, and I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WISH TO BE KIRK CAMERON.

The content of the dream was … disturbing, to say the least.  I’m not a big fan of horror movies or human tragedy, which is why I wasn’t enjoying my experience with the Camerons.  As I was sitting in the back seat, passenger side, I found that, somehow or another, we were involved in some kind of “soap opera horror tour”.

Much in the way one could go to Universal Studios and ride the movies once upon a summer, here we were experiencing the fun and excitement of driving through an outdoor mock-up of a neighborhood, a set meant to serve as the backdrop of a popular soap opera.  What soap it was for was not revealed.  My memory is shady here, but I believe that, at the end of the drive, we would be able to exit the car and actually tour the set of the show, replete with a chance to meet the cast.  Realistically speaking, this would not jibe with the shooting schedule of a soap opera, what with being interrupted by tourists all day.

The night of the dream, a friend of mine and I were in a movie theater, when we came across an advertisement for the Dark Shadows movie coming out this summer.  She thought it looked interesting. I had explained that the film was based on TV show of the same name, sort of a soap opera with gothic horror elements.  That might have been the inspiration for the night’s entertainment.

But as far as I know, Dark Shadows was never a gory program.  My daytime drama dream tour – different story.

Apparently, the tour was fashioned so that we would drive through the streets of this upscale fictional residence (name not provided) and watch as people were slaughtered, either by some evil entity, or even by us with our car.  The whole thing started with a chorus of the doomed singing about the tour and telling us what we would be experiencing, kind of like the singing heads of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride.  The primary difference being that the singing heads were never torn to crimson-spewing pieces and left dead in the streets.  The exact details of this blood-n-guts suburban safari is lost to memory, but there were two distinct elements of it that clearly stick out in my mind:

  1. I was disturbed.  Seeing innards haphazardly decorating the windshield of the family car is not something I appreciate seeing while trying to sleep.
  2. My mother did not approve.

I know the latter because she sat in the back seat with me, a detailed and constant figure among the infinite number of backseaters who would appear and disappear at random.  I want to take a moment here and make a note about my mother:  she was the driving force behind the family car-trip vacations (though not usually the driver).  It was she who packed the bags, procured the snacks, made sure my brother and I didn’t suffer from motion sickness, and was the life of the entire experience, pointing out fun and interesting things along the way.  Niagara Falls, Mackinaw Island, Disneyworld, Canada – my mother secured these wonderful memories in my head, and I’ll always be thankful for that.

Here, though, she was not enjoying the excursion at all.  Knowing my mother for all of my life, I’m sure the real-life counterpart would be at least as disquieted by what she saw.

The whole thing ended on a joke.  I can’t remember what the joke was, but it had something to do with Freddy Krueger driving the car – I kid you not.  Thing is, Freddy wasn’t the cackling monster as he is portrayed in the movies.  Here, he seemed rather perplexed, as if he’d just learned that we knew he was the driver all along.

Then we took one of his earphones. Yeah, Fred Krueger was wearing earphones in my bloody dream, which one of us was able to just pop out of his ear, prompting a confused look on his mangled face.  Apparently he was so undone that he couldn’t bring himself to turn around and kill us.  Schooled by the Cameron family, I guess.

Intermezzo: Like a Yoko in the Night

Yoko Ono stole my commission. Behind that sweet face is a heart sated with greed. She walked away with three of my customers. Each time I stood there, mouth hanging open mid-sentence, she just kept on smiling. Saying soothing things to them, never missing a beat; her theft audacious under the fluorescent lights. Wide-eyed, brown-eyed, soul-eyed. No hint of wrong-doing troubled her placid face. She took their sales, pocketed their money, said strange things and sent them on their way as if nothing was wrong in her world. It wasn’t. Each time she turned to me, pirouetted, and grinned. “This is how it is done. This is how you make a sale. It’s easy. Follow my lead and you’ll be just like me, my dear.” I kept tumbling after her, now sure that she was right: I really could learn a lot by watching her. She’s crafty, serene, enigmatic. I suddenly, forcefully knew that she isn’t driven by greed at all. A few seconds later I looked over, expecting to be gifted with her smile and odd natural wisdom. She wasn’t there. The sun was hitting my face.