The Nightmare

A dream can seem but an inconsequential sequence of images,
conjured up by random fluctuations of neurotransmitters,
or the lapse of meaningful cognitive barriers during sleep,
but just as often a dream can carry all the weight
of waking experience, regardless of its technical cause,
and leave behind a pain equal to any other.

In a frantic search for safety, I fled through the strange
and unfamiliar streets of an ancient city,
wherein every object was deceptively obscured
by Night’s delicate veil.
Every shadowed shape terrified me yet I moved undeterred,
and at great speed;
my progress, at times, felt like effective evasion,
but was always matched
by the man pursuing me.
“He has killed,” I reminded myself,
“and will kill again should he discover me!”
Every cautious backwards glance, removing my eager attention
from the path ahead,
filled my mind with new and terrifying fears,
for which no earthly reason could relieve.

Not long into our eternal chase, I managed to evade his advance
by taking shelter within the subterranean chamber
of a subway station.
On the platform stood a number of strangers
who stood and stared at me with burning, angry eyes—
their gaze so fixed and penetrating,
that they instantaneously conveyed a message of lethal import.
They looked at me as though I had disobeyed
some providential ordinance,
a feat no mortal should, nor could, accomplish,
and sought with righteous conviction the remedy to my crime
by pushing me onto the tracks before an oncoming train.

Between this world and the next there can sometimes seem
as though there is but a thin veil separating the two.
If it were not for our fine neurological organization,
the difference might not be so apparent at all
and would indelibly blend realty and feeling as one.

On most mornings I am able to awaken untroubled
but on others, less fortunate, I have found myself strangely paralyzed.
As I struggle to reanimate my limbs
I progressively felt that I have done this before,
many times before.
Something was holding me and wouldn’t let me go
but all that I could see was the ceiling of my bedroom and nothing more.
Not a monster, not a murderer, but a phantom oppressor
whose strength wields itself unyieldingly,
had held me there in place.
Then, in a moment perceptible only after the fact,
I awoke with full control of my body
and the strange uncertain suspicion that what I experienced
could have been more than the figment of a dream …
but how could I, withdrawn from the neat distinctions of Sense
have reason to suppose
anything more than a mere hallucination?

Sometimes a dream can seem to mean nothing at all,
for some may bear no significance whatsoever,
but the dreamer is a poet of the highest quality,
and for them the images of a dream are infinitely significant.

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