Poem Therapy 2:58 P.M.: Dream In Which I Meet Myself - Lynn Emanuel

Dream In Which I Meet Myself
Lynn Emanuel

Even the butter's a block of sleazy light. I see that first,
as though I am a dreary guest come to a dreary supper.
On her table, its scrubbed deal trim and lonely as a cot,
is food for one, and everything we've ever hated: a plate of pallid
grays and whites is succotash and chops are those dark shapes glaring up at us.
Are you going to eat this? I want to ask; she's at the stove dishing up,
wearing that apron black and stiff as burned bacon, reserved for maids and waitresses.
The dream tells us: She is still a servant. Even here.
So she has to clean our plate. It's horrible to watch.
She pokes the bits of stuff into her mouth. The roll's glued shut like a little box
with all that sticky butter. Is this all living gets you? The room, a gun stuck in your back?
Don't move, It says. She's at the bureau lining up bobby pins.
Worried and fed up I wander to the window
with its strict bang of blind. My eyes fidget and scratch.
And then I see myself: I am this dream's dog. I want out.

According to the Jungian dream expert I heard on the radio sometime in the not too distant past, all people, animals and things in dreams represent ourselves, or aspects of ourselves.

Based on the dreams of the last week, I see myself in symbolic form as: a very aggressive man, a salmon, a large rock in Hawaii called Hat Island, a mischievous black-speckled brown fish, a woman accusing a man of unimaginable selfishness, red shoes, an anthropomorphic rhino beetle, a baby with blues eyes, an Orient Express-type train, packed suitcases, an ancient Aztec soccer player, friends that are enemies in disguise, a condescending police officer, a church pew with a turquoise cushion, a bare knuckle boxer at an opera.

Bare knuckle boxing at the opera? My dreams are evidence, that symbolically, I am a serious mess.

I heard Lynn Emanuel read close to seven years ago at the Finch Lane Art Gallery, also known as the Art Barn. I had never heard or read her poetry, but after her reading, purchased all of her books that night.

I will admit listening to her poems, especially inside getrude stein, Inventing Father in Las Vegas, and Homage to Sharon Stone, I got an immediate literary crush, (crush for lack of better word choice), in the same way people get celebrity crushes when they see actors or performers.

I didn't jump and wave or take her picture or ask for a picture of us together, but I did get her autograph - she signed my books.

The lines Is this all living gets you? and I am this dream's dog remind me why I immediately fell for her words.

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