when they turn ugly
are the more familiar landscape
and taste real in their message
though I drive them out
like wolves from the lambs gate must
be refused
prophecy or fear demands
we turn the taste of metal in our mouths
wondering which alchemy
holds the pick
to let us out of this clink
wrists accustomed to confine
sometimes I climb inside the nightmare
looking for signs and meaning
did one mind really create this world?
why am I so talented at weaving
the wrong perspective and
so weak in my try out for cheer?
was it the day I was left alone
to forage and forget how to be
one of you
or in wandering too far from the path
did I eat poison and lapse into a sleep
from which I am still part?
is this real or
do the hands of my foes
restraining wakefulness
feel the heavier and familiar both?
for we learn to grind our own grain
the sounds the pain
separate the chaff from the seed
who is and who is not
trust the mask
trust the god
trust the cat who sphinx like will
scratch and spit
they say women have no sisterhood
and circumcision can rent our heat
they veil us and shave us bald
we stand in our sagging against the merit
and scald
I recall once hearing a woman berated
for not sucking deep enough
without needing to see
I felt her knees ache, her back bend
her neck like a wilted flower
given out of obligation not affection
it taught me
to suck long and hard
in hope I could
remove the stopper holding us down
bursting we’d climb
out of our bottle
genii’s in rags
what would the world do if
men became pregnant and jin
held the whip?
what would the world do
if women no longer tore at each other
with blackened nails?
what would the world do
if I learned the way home
and nightmares were left to fringe
the lonely woods beyond
where crows pecked the gloat
exulting in their horror
what would I do
if I woke up whole
and climbing out of a sun filled bed
went downstairs to breakfast
and there you were
your arms out, your knives dull
sitting at the table set for all of us

0 Replies to “Pesadilla”

      1. It’s a cliché of course, but the baby crying on the floor makes you think the woman in the bed (its mother?) must be a monster. Unless it’s the baby…

        1. Actually that’s very interesting isn’t it? Shows us the bias of our perception so much! I mean would we think that if it were a man? That’s what I like about paintings they do point out our bias in a way we usually do not see it. Very true. I did feel that also. I wonder what in it is the monstrous part – maybe the idea of indifference?

          1. It’s probably because the mother is supposed to be caring. If she ignores a crying child it’s a sign that she is unnatural. Probably possessed 🙂

  1. All so hauntingly familiar, the dream you can never wake from. What would the world do? Then I ask myself, what would I do? Brilliant Candice, I adore the places that your words take my mind to, for reasons and reasons.
    ~ Mia xo

  2. The painting is almost too overwhelming to look at, and your prose, this passage in particualr resonated with me: “why am I so talented at weaving/the wrong perspective and/so weak in my try out for cheer?”
    Well done

  3. Another thoughtful, powerful poem. The nightmare that becomes through–or reflects the horror of our world.
    I agree with you and Jane that the painting is creepy. (And the baby on the floor definitely could be a demon baby.) But I kind of thought the woman woke to the nightmare of having all these crying babies. Maybe she nursed all the ones on the bed, and then the one of the floor suddenly appeared.

    1. There you are! I missed you! I hope you are well talented lady. Thank you for reading this. The painting was enormously disquieting I thought it perfect for a nightmare poem! That’s true, she could well be waking in her nightmare to those things, that’s a good interpretation I found it very surreal but then that’s why I thought it fit the idea of a nightmare so well. xo

      1. It’s nice to be missed. 🙂 The painting is disquieting! I’ve been working on the book. I had to research and write a chapter for someone who vanished, plus some other bits–maybe about 16,000 words or so, not counting my fun poetry writing. 🙂 I’m still waiting for some entries to come in.

        1. I so wish i could help, really support you on that, in awe of the achievement hope it is purchased by every health and medical and social work and psychology and gender studies class, so worthy in a day when little is. Respect to you hard working and talented lady.

  4. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe
    Our nightmares become our manufacture, and the manufacture becomes our nightmare.
    Powerful! and outstanding words of imagery.

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