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Dreams of Nowhere

I haven’t dreamed in a while. I don’t know why I haven’t. Perhaps it’s a side effect to sleeping less than 6 hours a weeknight. Or perhaps it’s because I have so much on my mind that my mind doesn’t have enough energy, creativity, or desire to dream. Anyway, I awoke around 4 am last Friday morning and wrote this all down.

I was in what felt like a small town. More specifically, it was a subdivision in a small town bordering a highway- one of those busy streets which cuts through a town, without the blue or green signs of a major interstate. I tried to walk out of this unfamiliar place, but I couldn’t get out that way since it was blocked by barbed wire and a sign which said “private road.” As I stood there, I watched as a man in a rusty pickup truck rolled precariously down a hill as he reached out the front passenger side of his truck to pick up his poodle by the nape of its neck, oblivious to the sharp declination of the hill. Somehow he managed to do this and avoid crashing into the house he was headed toward.

Then I was in an old Honda which felt as familiar as the old navy blue Volvo station wagon I used to drive. A split second later I was on foot, wandering the dusty streets. Everything had a strange green patina. I ducked under some strange combination barbed wire/power line which was hanging so long that I could somehow lift it, and safely. I was aware that there was some danger of electrocution, so I had a tool which could lift the lines and short them out. However, I lost this handy tool when I lifted the last power line and it got stuck on a round cylindrical type tank which I suppose was a transformer sitting on the ground. I didn’t want to retrieve the tool since it was partly metal and was now touching the transformer.

I journeyed down to the end of the street and came to this dusty ruin of a building. My mind shifted and suddenly I was watching myself cast as a runaway child. The decorative glass blocks I pawed at were dusty. I finally found a slot 1 foot high and 3 feet wide high up on the wall. I reached for it and pushed myself up to the slot which had some debris in it. I tried to pull myself up because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

I succeeded and saw that the way up was a shaft which had several layers or floors of openings to go through to get to the top. It was like looking up a very narrow elevator shaft and seeing the floors compressed one on top of another.

Suddenly I found myself standing on the upper side of one if those plastic houses which children used to like to play in on their backyard lawns, the kind which have windows and yellow shutters and red roofs. The house I was standing on was slowly lowering to the ground while the perspective tilted M.C. Escher style. I was confronted by a man I felt was a father figure in my dream, or some sort of authority which was mildly disapproving of my actions.

He asked me why I was running. I thought it was a stupid question.

Scene Shift
Then the scene shifted to a commercial for something called “Pepsi Power.” It was a round, black-and-white logo. I saw the profile of a successful perfumer like Drakkar Noir or something. Somehow I knew his backstory; his parents wanted him to be an architect but instead he made fashionable clothes or something.

There were some cologne bottles around his small, turn-of-the-century tile bathroom. He arranged his cologne bottles on the edge of an ironing board. Somehow I dropped one and it fell tumbled to the ground and cracked. Suddenly I was in a room facing a twin bed with navy sheets. I was facing my sister and found that the cologne bottle had lost its left edge from the fall, was broken open and was now spilling odorless cologne onto the floor.

The last scene of the commercial was a man flipping up charms on a set of cologne bottles which had a bronzed look. They were balls, stars, and squares which said “Mom and Dad”. The tagline said Pepsi Power with the new logo in color while the man and the cologne were in black and white. I remember wondering how incongruous the messaging and color were.

Closing Thoughts

I don’t dream as often or as vividly as I used to. But when I do dream, I think I have a lot of dreams where I am escaping or trying to run away from something. Maybe it’s that I’m running away from a reality I don’t like to a reality of my own making. What’s startling about this particular dream is the plethora of commercial (even if completely fictional) messages which seem to be embedded in some long-forgotten area of my subconscious. It’s also the first dream I have been able to completely record from start to finish with so many of the little details after experiencing it.

After so many dreamless nights, I think the difference between dreaming and dreamless sleep is this: one experiences the endless creativity of subconscious emotion in one while in the other one is merely passing time.

What does it all mean? Who knows? Maybe something important, maybe nothing at all.

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Away

Counting down the hours until I must wake
Feeling there’s such little time to do all of what’s at stake
Thoughts collide within my head and battle for attention
Some are happy, some are sad, and some I just can’t mention.

So I’ll be winging my way out of this fair town
Taking it all in while my eyes are looking down
And slowly flip through the verses on thinly printed pages
I’ll hearken to the hoary wisdom of the bygone ages.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the words for what you wanna say
Sometimes you gotta give it up and give it all away
This life we live is not our own, and not for us to keep
Instead it’s meant for so much more, if we do not fall asleep.

But if the night should yield too soon into lasting day
And human eyes shall see no more the visage of my face
I hope the God I serve will beckon me to with Him stay
And men will find that I finished well the course and the race.

-CC

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Fleeting Frightful Fancy

Moments drift by in long, shadowed hours
Stealing away the night
While moonbeams sink their pale-blue teeth
In paths which bite the dark.

The soul while bathed in dawn’s argent light
Can sense all the beauty of the world.
Long it labored, this bright scene its favor
For a day without an end.

But drowsy madness seeps
Into minds still wakened
and o’ertakes its mark at last
When slumber’s beckoning goes unheeded
Too long, to hear its siren call.

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Dirges Before Dawn

No small amount of sadness comes along
With every kind of death it seems
When at last we lay to rest our hopes, desires,
And forgotten dreams.

Some try to fill the deep’ning void
With distractions from life’s end
While others search for answers
To questions they cannot comprehend.

Pity, worry, sorrow, anger
Despair and all its kin
Bind the human soul like shackles
In parts strangers have never been.

Yet all who stare into the black
Which slowly pales before the dawn
Still hope the light will shine once more
When all night’s fears are gone.

Surrender to the Lord and Author
Of the end of all our days
Is as hard for the human heart to do
As ants who seek to know man’s ways.

From hands which grasp longingly
Or cling tightly to the things we love
Our grips must loosen, our arms spread open
If we’d seek wisdom from above.

So hearken, Heart, and recognize
The still, small Voice which speaks
And cast away the things you most hold dear
And He’ll give you the best of all you seek.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

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Life

A friend of mine wrote a thought-provoking comment, so I decided to edit this post with an explanation for what I believe it means.

It is true that the essence of life cannot be easily distilled into the example of a simple game, but neither can it be fully captured in a poem, story, prose, painting, sculpture, or any other art form. Yet I think life sometimes does lend itself to abstraction, even to the point of making analogies of life events. Sometimes we have the advantage and relish small victories; other times we experience failure when we lose strategic “battles” or feel as if we’ve lost something quite dear to us.

However, we do sometimes get chances to start over again, to pick ourselves up when we fall, and learn from the bruises we inflict on ourselves. Or perhaps the game of life is one played largely against oneself; when one part wins, another loses. Maybe it’s not always a zero-sum game, but well, I think maybe I’ve taken the explanation too far at this point…

———–
Bishop takes Rook,
How the mighty do fall!
Knight takes Queen,
How they crumble so small.
Then Pawn takes King,
With the air of revolution,
But now the game starts over-
And it’s time for retribution.

-CC

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The Prince and the King

The Prince and the King, a Parable

A crown There once was a king who ruled a vast empire which stretched over mountains and valleys, plains and seas, and deserts and tundra. The king knew his only son would one day take the reins of power, and wanted to prepare him for that monumental task.
One day the king was hosting an ambassador in his court when the young prince suddenly appeared, brushed aside the royal heralds, and approached his father’s throne. Interrupting the visiting statesman in mid-sentence, the prince brashly asked, “Father, I have been thinking. I am a prince, but I want to be king. When can I ascend the throne?” The king, who was as wise as he was just, thought for a moment.

Mindful of the eyes of many dignitaries fastened on his august personage, the king asked his son, “You have interrupted an important meeting with an ambassador. Since you wish to be king, let me test your knowledge.”

The king asked his son about the longstanding trade issue he had been discussing with the ambassador. The prince, dumbfounded, said nothing.

Sighing, the king said to his son, “If you had known more about geography, literature, and history you would have been able to answer my question. Do you know what you should do?” Continue reading

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Saltshakers and Risk Takers

This is what happens when I start thinking about life: I encapsulate my experiences and thoughts into music, poetry, prose, or pithy sayings. Take them for what they’re worth, and don’t forget to pack a salt-shaker.

Things Learned in 2008

1. Honesty seasoned with momentary pain is better than a life wracked by regret.
2. Sometimes, when your heart speaks louder than your head your ears aren’t working.
3. Corollary to #2: When your heart speaks louder than your head, there’s usually a reason.

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