I can’t sleep.

(released 16 Apr. 2011 for omgsongclub.com)

I’m having dreams. I wake up and I feel panic attacky because I drown to death. And for the first time I think that I can’t do This thing I want to do with my life …. my work and goals … and that I’m feeling my mortality and that time is deserting me completely and I can’t catch up. I can be pessimistic, but usually I’m not defeatist.

It’s like I didn’t know I was actually playing THAT kind of game with Time; I thought we were having a friendly exchange after dinner and drinks, not a bloodbath death match. So I’m laying beside the card table holding my intestines in, bleeding all over the rug. This is that kind of metaphor – way worse than just not bouncing back like I used to. 

You swim or you drown.

I’ve had this dream before. My stomach hits the ground and I know I’m in the same place I am always in. I’ll get sucked down if I don’t quit being embarrassed about my instincts and ditch these heavy waterlogged clothes before the sharks figure out I’m bleeding to death as I try to make sure the pretty jellyfish and seahorses don’t see me in my knickers. It’s absurd to be drowning, concerned about the sensibilities of carnivorous fish in a world that doesn’t actually exist.

The dreams have a tragically hopeful, lying little boat and usually there’s intimidating music playing off in the distance … the kind I always think i wish i could improv to that, on a boat, in a snazzy little dress, swapping solos in some high demand ensemble with great chemistry all between them. It’s always some fancy dress party on some yacht full of Relaxing Eveningwear Conversations and The Better Cocktails. This time, the music ended and MY music was playing (the song I put in here … which I haven’t thought about for a long time because I’ve been writing a lot.), but with fuller-real orchestra to it. I rarely dream my own music that I’ve already written. If it’s new music, it’s something I’ve yet to write and often I forget it before I wake up.

And usually in this Drowning-Dream, I’m being sucked down in some dark harbor, some place where I can see twinkling city lights and fishing boats and the outlines of buildings – like those places where detectives meet to whisper about conspiracies or where they probably go under those bridges to hide the bodies. But in last night’s dream, I was in the ocean in my sundress with the little sash and my sweater and these cowboy boots that I have and those were dragging me down to the bottom. The boat was very, very far away.

And I died slowly. My lungs filled with water and I felt them explode. I woke up and I blamed my heartburn for the feeling. I have that now and I take medicine for it. I feel old now. I blame fried chicken and a series of disappointments and mild to moderate betrayals. 🙂 Perhaps I am being dramatic.

In all seriousness, I know that I am on the verge of something. My beliefs have been lost in some kind of karmic spin-cycle. When you are not sure where the center of your soul is meant to sit – or whether or not you were ever the sort of person who the universe allows the luxury of having a gentle, loving soul … it takes an adjustment period. I never wanted to grow up to be hard as nails.

Mom would have been 64 this year. I’m so far beyond needing to talk to her it makes me laugh rather than cry. I laugh at myself instead of crying now a lot of the time and it feels reassuring, like a slap of discipline or just jumping in the pool instead of easing in.

Dreams of dying are not supposed to be bad, apparently. They signify peace, or change. Maybe it’s the universe, teaching us. And I think I am probably afraid of something. I keep looking for land. But I know that there’s nothing for me on that boat full of well dressed people.

The boat people would probably just throw me a martini. And then while I was sinking, rather than wanting a lifeboat like a normal person, I’d request another drink.


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