Selected Prose


Remembrance of a Poem

In my dream last night, I conceived of what I thought was an extraordinary poem, like Paul McCartney composing “Yesterday” while he slept and waking up with an original melody in his head. 

It was a sublime and beautifully rendered love poem of sixteen lines, and the particular ingenuity of its structure was that I interspersed it with another love poem, also of sixteen lines, written by Carl Sandburg. There were to be four lines of my poem, followed by four lines of his, and so on, with the alternating stanzas in regular and italic text so it would be clear who wrote which stanza. Even though each of the poems stood on its own, it was also true that the entirety of the combined poem made perfect sense when read as one, a construction I thought was exceedingly clever.

However, it soon became apparent that I would never remember the poem upon awakening, and I grew despondent over that likelihood. But then I came up with a brilliant solution. I would type the poem in the computer and hit a special “print from dream” button so it would be sitting in my printer output tray when I awoke in the morning. Of course, I realized that in the bright light of day, the poem I wrote would likely be incomprehensible, but that was a chance I was willing to take. Much like love, the words of a dream might only make sense to those who are in it.

The John Doe Effect

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