Wooden Nickle

It’s sometimes hard to remember, or tell, how we arrived at something, where we are. And often when we arrive, we know we will not be staying long. But we know we will bring with us, a part, that remains ourselves, as we arrive, remain, pass through, and on.

So often we convince ourselves the gripping, tangible parts of the world ought not affect us. The sexual influences we hide or ignore, how someone or something made us feel in general, what we suspect might be crazy within us, and even what we hope for, or fear. Where we find ourselves.

The young among us, before they solidify into something, often wonder if everything might be a dream. Those who dare wandering out into the philosophical, theological, or the metaphysical discover their imaginings are not peculiar to themselves. For those no longer young, it doesn’t matter if you’re a scientist, an athlete, an academic, an artist, a laborer, or any combination of solidifications.

Dreams remain, even we choose to, or cannot remember. Dreams are the magic that lives beneath our thoughts as we move through all things in our days, and our nights. They whisper strange and wonderful things to us. They nudge us. They tell us the secrets that we need to know. Dreams wash the heart and then roll it in the mud. They bridge the chapters of our lives together, from the past into the future. And they connect us to everyone else in the universe of the arcane. Dreams must be heeded, even for those who move seamlessly between dream and waking. If they are not, they become a nightmare. We live as surely in sleep.

I woke today with something for myself, that has subsequently led to many places. The clouds outside have been returning. The air is cool, and fresh. I am listening to music very much like dreams from someone in Lithuania, as I write this. It is part of what has happened.

In a game show, I watched from a camera angle high in the air, some people below in structures and flashing lights arranged much like a pinball game. I saw myself walk out into it, a winner, through no competition or other contestants. My prize was two people who I walked toward through the obstacles of the pinball machine. I admired them both greatly, and they were happy to see me, but there were two of them. There was no way I could speak with both of them at the same time because each was a world unto themselves. So the name of one of them I cannot remember. The other was surprisingly Neil Young.

I haven’t been listening to Neil Young’s music lately. But I have. Neil Young is a person who, if you really listen and allow yourself to hear, will work some of his dream magic upon you. He’s like a cathedral of trees and strong earth, with a foundation of an almost impossibly human heart. I watched us meeting from the distance of my camera angle, above the pinball machine. We shook hands, enthusiastically nodded a few times speaking unknown pleasantries, then stood apart from one another, as the show ended.

Then I was back behind my own eyes again, instead of this floating camera, where I found myself in a flourescently lit room backstage, all alone. I saw in the corner of the room, on the floor, a pile of his dirty clothes and a bag containing more. I began rummaging through it trying to find some treasure that he might have forgotten to share already, but found nothing. Then I saw my own pile I had left. Among my belongings, he had stolen the Alaskan knife that Mark Prescott had given me shortly after I’d been knifed in the back. He had replaced it with another knife whose pommel and sheath were intricately carved with color, almost ceremonial-looking. Next to it, in similar colors, was a small bag tied together with a string which I thought must be a medicine pouch. I suddenly thought of Nils and remembered how much I love him, from the first moment I saw him in the tree. I thought of Stephen, remembering lessons in familiarity and savagery.

And then I was back here, near my home, up the street, near the single grocery store that used to be the only one around. I was being handed thick metal springs by a man who wanted me to bury them in the ground after he left. They would kill people, and protect us. When he left, I and a couple other people, were looking at the ground where we were to dig, planting these heavy metal springs. We knew that if we dug a hole in the wrong place, we’d kill ourselves and everyone around us, since things were already planted beneath the ground. But something was coming, we knew it. Seeing the school buses convinced us.

Then I was back somewhere else, with the medicine pouch, which I opened. The first thing I saw was a round piece of wood with the word “xfingus” on it. It woke me up, and I kept repeating the word so that it would not fade away into the places dreams go. And now, it leads me to places, like these.