Friday, March 07, 2008

Tiger: revision and thoughts about dreams

I'm posting this revision for readwritepoem's prompt about dreams.

For a while I made the effort to write down my dreams when I first got up in the morning. I did it pretty consistently for about 6 months. One of the reasons I did it was that I'd hoped to find some good material for poetry.

It didn't turn out that way. Most of my dreams were frankly pretty ordinary. Some of them might have made good ideas for stories, but there just weren't any that really called out to have poems written about them.

This is one of the few-- maybe the only-- poems I have written that I can definitely say is based on a dream I had.

Mason was the first to go. They said
a tiger found him walking down the trail
behind his house.
Then, after he was dead,

Bundy moved into town. His courage failed,
he told me, sitting sweating at the bar.
"The jungle's just... so big. And I feel frail."

He meant to hide among the crowds, the cars,
the man-made smells of sewage, gasoline
from eyes that watched, implacable as stars.

He hoped the city noise, the loud machines
would hide his steps from predatory ears
but tiger senses must have been too keen

to be defeated. Bundy met his fears
just two blocks from a busy liquor store.
No-one saw what happened.
All these years,

we never talked about the way it was before:
the tiger cub, the stake and chain, the gin,
the vicious entertainment of the bored

young men we were. We knew it was a sin,
but never guessed at fatal consequence,
avenging angel dressed in tiger-skin.


I'm not a fool, to doubt the evidence,
the tiger tracks round Bundy's bloodstained corpse--
though older hands, the more experienced

would tell me that my intuition's warped:
"It's twenty years now-- animals forget
and tigers don't come into town." Remorse

and fear in equal parts are what have set
my feet upon this deck. I'll be secure
and happy, once this stinking scow-barge gets

me clear of harbor!
What's that, on the shore?
What's moving in the sea, to leave that wake
of moonlight ripples?
Let there be no more

pretense; the tiger comes aboard to take
what he is owed, and I go willingly
for he is beautiful enough to break
a heart once cracked by its own cruelty.


Collection available! Knocking from Inside

12 comments:

pepektheassassin said...

This is a terrific poem (again), and fun to read as well. I love what you've done with this dream! I think I will go buy your book....

anthonynorth said...

Excellently done. Lucid, as in vivid dreams.

ozymandiaz said...

loved the read, dream tiger images, cool beaners.
I have gotten several poems from dreams but not necessarily ABOUT those dreams, more like ideas I guess, some feeling or another I held onto.

Christine said...

Great poem, riveting story. It flows so well. Love it.

Beloved Dreamer said...

Oh, what dream and what a poem. Tigers are indeed beautiful creatures as are we all. Your avenging angel guards us all. Well done.

love-bd-Melanie

Linda Jacobs said...

That last line is reverberating in my head! Love it and the pace of this poem!

chicklegirl said...

I like your completely different take on the themes of justice and absolution. The imagery was exquisite and haunting.

paisley said...

i am sure i have read this,,, maybe even just a portion of it... it was amazing then and even more so now... thank you for sharing this... what an amazing dream scape....

twoofusridingrainclouds said...

awesome, awesome poem. the pacing, the wording, each successive line was exactly what i was wishing it would be in my mind. It feels like this poem is exactly as it should be. so cool, i love it.

twoofusridingrainclouds said...

awesome, awesome poem. the pacing, the wording, each successive line was exactly what i was wishing it would be in my mind. It feels like this poem is exactly as it should be. so cool, i love it.

twoofusridingrainclouds said...

awesome, awesome poem. the pacing, the wording, each successive line was exactly what i was wishing it would be in my mind. It feels like this poem is exactly as it should be. so cool, i love it.

artpredator said...

fascinating--wild dream, worked into a narrative--with very cool rhyme scheme (which I usually don't like!)