The man who must discard seven years of records
sits on a stool before the fireplace, poking wells in the burnable hours.
Names fold into themselves, numbers and acronyms
he remembers shaking gently like a snow globe
the fragments dividing like ash–all transfer to smoke and air.
First the papers burn hot, loud and crowded
then blue and thoughtful, a jazz score
then grey, something to stamp and deaden–is it possible to watch
words burn without wanting a philosophy?
As a child he made emptiness bright
at the campfires of his useless family
now he sits, not sentimental but in a celebration for which
there is no card. Seven years burn in seven days.
He made up a system, something about packing the firebox at night
and banking embers against a new day
How to Tell a Dream
Nothing is duller than your dream.
Look at me, I’m yawning like a lion.
whilst you make a terrible hash of telling your dream.
I would do anything to get away.
I would sleep with my ex
to get away from this dream telling.
In fact, now I remember I did dream of sex with my ex.
who kept tucking my arms inside a sleeping bag.
The memory fills me with an airy, dense and familiar shame
like the cannoli I spit out of my mouth yesterday.
In my dreams I walk straight into situations I know will end badly.
Dreams are a play, dreams are Hamlet, the dream after death,
heir to the terror that people will keep telling you their dream.
even after you die.
In the coffin I will be settling into eternity
which I picture as some endless cannoli
and there will be a knock on the wood
It is you, again.
Hey, you say, I had the weirdest dream
and you, you were in it. OK, I’ll say, settling in: what did I do?
Tell me the dream.
The singer says he’s been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. Substitute queen and you pretty much have Merridawn Duckler’s resume. These days she also teaches, edits, and writes. For more information, go to merridawnduckler.com.