A Dream Within a Dream
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand–
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep–while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
— Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849
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EXPLODING THE SPRING MYSTIQUE
Good Morning, World! Captain Eileen her
At her little morning desk
Dying to tell you at the crack of dawn
How Dearly she hates it
How Spring truly sucks.
Here we have it outside my morning window
Birds twittering, buds newly greening on perky branches
“Tweet”, another fucking bird.
And I had to go through a whole night to get here.
That’s the part that’s really hard to swallow.
I had to lie awake for hours thinking of how I hat just about
Every man, woman and child who walks the face of this earth
Myself included, I find self-hate extremely motivating
I thought of everyone I’ve ever fucked or wanted to and
Thought how unrewarding it was. “Can’t take it with you!”
Like they say.
I thought of the conversations I’ve had.
Nearly the mystery was unraveled in 1962.
Then in 64, 67, 72, 73, 73 and 74. And those were the transcendent
Conversations. Not to mention the warm friendly variety, or
The pitiful confessional motif. Both of you
Pour out your sorrows and feel instantly better.
“And I thought I was fucked up!” each thinks.
I thought of my dreams of becoming a great poet & then I
My poet friends who dream no differently. I thought of my
Poet friends and how they have no right to live within
The revolting egocentric realities uniquely expressed in
Syntax all their own and then they print their own poems
In their own little magazines.
Was it Marlon Brando who said, “Looking up the asshole
Anyhow, by 35 most poets either can’t do it anymore
Or have ruined their lives of or the lives of others or have
Simply realized that all of it was a farce.
Suddenly strack at 35 by the genuinely mediocre fact of your
Which previously stood as a backdrop to the cosmos or
And now ... Har, Har, Middle-Aged Poet!
Joke’s on you. Broke and not very good-looking.
Though I don’t plan to stop at this moment.
Sure, I hate my friends and they hate me and there’s no one
fuck except the ones who won’t fuck me and they like to
And I like it - my poems keep getting better and better.
But the fact is
If I am no longer a poet, then I will to face being a
Mediocre human being now, rather than when I’m 35, as is
35 will be terrifying.
A) Unless dead or raving mad or abandoned with a large
And a pint of Wild Irish Rose, I will be B) teaching a
or C) penning a villanelle, as one poet puts it, or
D) just taking a shit and suddenly the joke will be swarming
Around me, a nettle of fears and doubts, cold icy sweat,
I’ll be standing on a stage reading a fucking sonnet and
Whomp! “Your life is meaningless! This is the last
“What, What...” I’ll mutter, swinging my arms around
But I know what it means: “You blew it, Baby it was a joke.”
So I go home to my lover (If I’m that fucking lucky when I’m
35 ... Why should it start then? But listen, this is the clincher...)
I go home to to my lover, who’s of course in her early 20s
A Younger Poet. There’s a note on my pillow
Sorry, Honey, you peaked.
Arrrgh! I shriek at the heavens.
All those years I chortled at men: Ha! You guys are done in
at 18. Your “prime.” We women don’t peak until 35.
I collapse on my bed, a sexual and artistic homicide.
Though still breathing, and it is Spring.
— Eileen Myles
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