Monday, April 18, 2011

Too Normal For Me

we're in such a place,
with such a normal face,
I can hardly help but dream.

the eyes of a child,
still young and wild,
know nothing is as it seems.

Following Our Nose

we found us a road,
don't know where it goes,
we'll ride down it today,
just following our nose.

we found us a road
that fades and disappears,
it's still going someplace
but that place isn't here.

we found us a road
that leads to history,
if we're coming back
remains a mystery.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hello, my name is Beijing.

I never really liked the name when I was younger, but when I reached high school and then college, it was nice to not just be another Mary Sue. I never understood why my parents chose an exotic-sounding name, they were certainly not exotic people themselves, just a John and Jane Smith is everything but name. I don't remember my last name anymore, I haven't used it in years.

The doctors here want me to write an account of what happened to me, because even those that saw me "arrive" are too trapped in their rational worlds to see the shadows on the wall.


I was born in this universe and was a precocious dreamer. They happened every night as far back as I can remember, and were always very vivid. While I was younger, they were about making friends and having grand ol' adventures; as I grew older, they grew more refined, and though I kept many of my friends, while they were off adventuring I started building a place for myself, a home and a world around it. It was always there, perfect and complete when I came back to it, night after night, and unlike developments in this world, it didn't encroach on the beautiful world around it, just squeezing in as if there had always been room for it, or it had always been there.

In high school, I was first introduced to the concept of lucid dreaming. Before then, I'd wavered between thinking everyone could do it, they just didn't like to talk about it and being alone in my ability. My Intro to Psychology and Intro to Fiction classes changed all that. I followed those studies far beyond the range of the classroom's limited curriculum and went in search of more information both from non-fictional and fictional sources, the latter which seemed the more willing to share details.

I found Carlos Castenada and Don Juan, and thought them limiting and short-sighted; I found Stephen LaBerge and thought him remedial at best; I found Charles deLint and fell in love with his characters, finding their stories inspiring and full of hidden information.

I left school with a Bachelors in Writing and a minor in Psychology, left civilisation itself, and found myself a small place where I could continue to study and reach out to the world that I had fallen in love with. I grew deeper and deeper into my obsession and addiction, and slowly the world that I lived in, this waking world, starting to lose color and sharpness. The world in my dreams grew more tangible, more solid, and more persistent until I didn't want to wake up anymore.


One night, I went to bed, and for the first time, I felt dream paralysis. I had certainly read about it before, as anyone who delves into the world of lucid dreaming does, but had never experienced it before. I opened my eyes, and saw myself laying on my bed, staring up at myself. I tried to move, but I couldn't, just hovering and watching myself. Then, without any willing participation of my own, my body sat up, climbed out of bed, slipped on my shoes, and walked out of my cabin. I followed, still tethered to my body as it walked into the forest and down a path that I had walked so many times before. This time however, it was far more vivid, holding the color and sharpness that I had been experiencing in my dreams.

My body stopped suddenly, and I, not noticing, too busily entranced by the light around me, stumbled into it. I was re-merged with my body, and regained control over my limbs. I turned in circles, then and when I returned later, but could never find my way back to my cabin. I had successfully crossed over, but had no breadcrumbs to lead me back.

As I walked onward, marveling at this world that I felt I could more closely participate in, I recognized the forest that I walked though, and soon came to a fork in the path. There was no sign indicating one choice over another, but I had been here before, had taken both paths already, and knew where they led. I chose the left path, and soon came upon the slice of civilisation that I had built with my friends all those years ago. I found my home just as I had left it, minus the thin layer of dust that had many small footprints cantering through it.


I didn't dream while I was there, as I lived in my dreams enough while I was awake. I still went on adventures, but was a might bit more cautious lest I get injured. Injured I did get, but my days and weeks spent recuperating were no less marvelous for my limited mobility. I spent years, and the time flew by. I aged slowly, though still faster than most of my friends, and knew nothing of the passage of time in the waking world.

One day, I found a glass door in a tree. It was not so much strange that it was a door in a tree, nor that it was locked to me, but what I saw on the other side of it: a boy or a man, not far from my age when I had set off on my own, sitting staring out the door. He looked unhealthy, though dressed comfortably, seated is a room larger than the tree (in itself, also not unusual) that was padded, walls and floor, and electrically lit.
I tried the handle, not surprised to find it locked, and then banged on the glass. He started, surprised, stepped forward and placed his hand on his side of the glass. I tried shouting to hm, but he shook his head, unable to hear me.

I tried gesturing, and he understood. For once I was grateful to my parents for my name, and I imagined he felt the same. Beijing. Cairo. Two cities with landmarks that had not changed radically in the time I was gone could be easily exchanged. I told him some of myself, mouthing slowly when my gestures lost him, and gesturing when he had difficult reading my lips.
I told him I couldn't come home.

Cairo reminded me of a passage that he'd read in a book by Charles deLint, one he had expounded upon and found new meaning in, but only brought him a glimpse of the world I had succeeded in reaching and a one-way ticket to the room in which he sat.


I could hardly keep myself from trying it. I held my fingers out in front of me, index to index, thumb to thumb, and tried to see the world that I had left behind. I sat beside his tree, leaning against it for metal support, and watching the world that I lived in as he saw it: though just the small window.

At first, I saw nothing, but slowly I began to see shapes moving and shifting in my peripheral vision, growing clearer with every passing day, until I was confident I could step through. I thought for a day where I should do it, whether I should try to walk back to where I had passed through myself, but there would be no telling what I might find on the other side. Here, if I succeeded, I could show Cairo that it wasn't just a dream he had, or a disorder of the mind.

So I stepped through. I was beside the tree, out of sight if Cairo. Maybe I should have stood against the door itself, but it's too late now.


I came out in an observation room looking into Cairo's cell. I tired to yell out to him, but he couldn't hear me, couldn't see me. I didn't see the doctors until it was almost too late. I banged on the window with a final act of desperation, kicking at it until they hauled me away, the same pattern I had pounded onto the glass door the day we met.


They won't let me see him. I don't know if he got my last message. The doctors are worried that my delusion will only make his worse, regardless of how many times I tell them that it's real. I'm not sure precisely where I am, but I think our rooms our geographically close. Learning how to feel how far you've gone in any direction is really important on the other side, something that could kill you if you estimated wrong.

I tried to step back again, and almost made it now that I know how the trick works, but they put me in a straight jacket when they saw what I was doing. It's hard without the visual aid of your hands being there, but if it's possible, I'm sure I'll get it eventually.

In other news, my dreams are coming back, but very slowly. They're about as vivid as the waking world was when I was getting close to crossing over, but they're helping me hold on and keep trying.

I hope Cairo's holding out alright. I hope we can get back to the dream world someday. I really want to hear his voice.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I opened my eyes.

The window was still there, as unlikely as it was, beside the one-way, glassed observation room. If it had been a normal window, it would have looked into the observation room, the attached electronics closet, or the hallway beyond both, but it wasn't and as such, it didn't.

I always insisted on a tour around my room before I would settle down in new quarters, and the doctors gave in, believing it affected my neurosis. They kept moving me, hoping that something would be different enough that my behavior would change, but it never did. The simple fact of the matter was that they couldn't see the window; however, that didn't make me think it was any less real.

I knew my imagination was top notch, but there are some things that even the mind can not be tricked into, even within the realm of a full-fledged dream. I could make myself taste and smell food, rich and delicious, and other things, notably less so; I could make myself feel textures rubbing against me; I could make myself hear sounds that were never there; I could even make my internal gyroscopes fluctuated from imagined gravity shifts. However, I could never imagine into reality the feeling and warmth of sunlight on my skin, or the chill and wildness of moonlight. When I sat in front of that window, I could feel them both as the days wheeled by, at an altogether different rate than that of our own.

This window looked out onto a world that was as real as our own, if not more so.


The walls of my cell were padded enough to sleep on, springy enough to keep me from injuring myself if I chose to, warm enough to keep me from growing cold. I slept in there, took my meals in there, and even my doctor visited me there for my examinations. I was considered a danger to myself and others, but for different reasons.

I was considered a danger to myself because I would stare out the window to the exclusion of everything else, including eating, until the doctors discovered that they could place food in front of me during one of my "episodes" and I would eat it. On occasion, I would throw myself at the "apparition" that I saw in the wall.

I was considered a danger to others because I spoke of freedom from prisons between my "episodes." The doctors feared I was trying to stage a riot or a coup, but I was talking about the Cavern.


They found me in my apartment. I had cleared out all my belongings, and empty bookshelves were piled dangerously in one room. My bedroom was empty except for my bed-frame, and I has tied myself down to it, binding my head in place with the window to my back. I stared at a bare wall.

I was unconscious, my body gaunt and nearly void of life--I'd been in that position for several days, unmoving.


It was easy to close out the world, sitting in a white room on a comfortable floor, watching a world through a window that only I could see.

I didn't feel like I was in a prison any more than I had before they brought me in, because I knew that our world was a prison, with bars only I could see. I wasn't seeking to overthrow the guards or the doctors, and I wasn't trying to free anyone but myself.. I knew and acknowledged the fact that if I couldn't free myself first, I would never be able to show others the way.

I recognized the risk that once I was free, I might never be able to get back, but my dreams were clear enough to give me hope.


Next time you're in the shower, soap up your body last. Go ahead and turn off the faucet, once you've got a good balance of lather and steam, to make bubbles in the ring of your hands. Slowly make them larger, until the bubble is ringed by your arms, hands, fingertips barely touching, and chest. Watch the bubble's surface, the reflection of yourself stretch and writhe.
Take a breath, lift your hands over your head, still keeping the ring and bubble intact, and dive into it. Sometimes it helps to soap up your nose too.

The first time, I closed my eyes. I still close them, the transition is rough enough without having to watch it.

The first time, I came out of the other side of the bubble under water. I still do sometimes, but my aim is getting better.

The first time, I had to lather up my whole head, slick back my hair, and dislocate my shoulders. It still hurts, but it's worth it.

The first time, I couldn't get back.

They say some people can cross just by holding their hands out in front of them, index fingers and thumbs forming a ring. Through that ring is all most people see, all they can see, all they want to see. Focus on the ring, until something steps into your peripheral vision. Step sideways and follow it, keeping your eyes on the ring of your index fingers and thumbs. Step sideways through the veil.

The first time, that's how I got back.


Time was passing meaninglessly, and I never bothered to count the days. The lights in here never dimmed at night, never were bright enough to keep me awake. My feeding cycle was regular. They left food in my cell in front of where they supposed the window was and took the remnants back after I had eaten. Sometimes, the food sat there for several hours, but never more than a day.

Even if I had had a way to tally the days, there would have been no reason to: I did little enough of that when I was out in the world, my schedule so regular that the months flew by without me noticing, sometimes startled by the coldness of the air when stepping outside after working like a zombie through the summer.

My paychecks were automatically deposited in my checking account, my rent automatically taken out. If the balance got over a certain level, the difference would automatically be transferred into my savings account, and the reverse if it went below a certain level. I paid for everything with my debit card, and carried no cash.


I usually slept in front of the window, often being comforted by the warmth of the sun shining through it onto me. I never noticed whether I tanned or not, and wouldn't have been surprised either way.

One day, I woke and someone was looking back at me. When they noticed me raising myself back into my sitting position, they started banging on the window. I slid forward and put my hand against it.

It shook.

They were clearly shouting, but I couldn't hear a word. I mimed back, and when they had calmed down enough to see, they calmed down, sat on the grass on the other side, and mimed back.


Sometimes she was there and sometimes she wasn't. Sometimes she left suddenly, or appeared suddenly, but it didn't seem to be a big deal.

Through our conversations, I learned her named was Beijing, and shared my own: Cairo.

She knew what I was trying to do, and tried to discourage me. Life on the other side was hard: dangers everywhere and places of safety few and far between. But the colors were more vivid, just as they were in my dreams, and I couldn't live forever in this place, knowing there was something more.

She had felt the same way, at first, but now she couldn't get back.

I tried teaching her the trick I had learned, after learning myself that fiction was more true than anyone knew, painted as fiction to keep us safely trapped.


She stopped coming to see me, and I slipped back into my unenthusiastic routine.


There was a commotion outside my cell, and the observation window that I could never see through, vibrated like someone was pounding on it.

I stood carefully, my legs not used to holding my weight. I placed my hand gently on it, feeling the vibrations. I recognized the pattern.


Somebody once said that the only difference between a door and a window is that windows are harder to open, and harder still to pass through.

But not impossible.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

War Cry

You can rip a hole in me
       but you can't take away my soul.
You can dig furrows in my body
       but you can't dampen my spirit.
You can murder me from the inside
       but you can't make me beg for my life.

It's already my life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


you can kick me out of your life;
go on: just brick up those doors.
you can lock your heart away,
but can't take the memories I stored.

I'm not just a sad song with nothing to say,
I'm not sitting and waiting for your approving okay.

I still remember all the touches:
they're never going away.
everyone always forgets my
eidetic tactile memory.

I still remember all the touches,
and not just from you,
from all the others--
the surviving and otherwise too.

I'm not just a sad song with nothing to say,
I'm not sitting and waiting for your approving okay.

you can try to make me feel nothing,
but I live on in my head.
my dreams become reality;
you'll be imagined instead.

Some lines borrowed from "Disenchanted" by My Chemical Romance. I claim no ownership to these lines.

Just Like Everybody Else

you do it the same way, every time:
setting up expectations where I can't deliver.
then you wonder why I get so upset:
you're setting me up for failure!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Challenger Has Appeared

I keep trying to write one that doesn't rhyme,
but this challenge has not come in time!
It's gotten even worse:
I'm now thinking in verse,
even when I try to counter it by design.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unobtanium Brick Road

I've found all I need to find,
found my path and my route,
I'm stepping forward through the wall,
all your barriers I'll do without.

I'm making my own bricks,
and the mortar's my formula too;
the destination's for me alone,
so I won't be inviting you.

Without You, Nothing Matters

hold me til the world falls apart
and never let me go.
hold me til all the trees fall
and the wind ceases to blow;
hold me, just hold me,
and I won't have to pretend.
hold me, forever hold me,
and I won't care if the world does end.

TWIMC You Know Who You Are

To whom it may concern:

I know you seem to think that you can try to propose times to "meet up" and return our borrowed belongings that have suddenly become overdue at the termination of our relationship, but trying to insert places and times that fit your schedule do not always fit mine.

Perhaps you should, instead of creating new events and times and trying to squeeze them into my schedule, arrange meetings at places that you already know I have set time allowances for in my own schedule.

You should know my schedule by now, since the majority of it has remained the same for the past two years, which is only slightly less than the amount of time knowing each other's schedule was important.

I know that you seem to think that your schedule is more full than my own, your plans more important than my own, because they are, in fact, yours. You also seem to be under the impression, however false it may be, that your sacrifices were worth considerably more than my own, because they were, again, yours.

Remember, however, this: I am working two jobs, juggling two part-time jobs, currently trying to turn one into a full-time position. I am paying rent, insurance, gas, all expenses minus food and electricity, as well as owning my own car.

You, on the other hand, are attending school and living entirely upon the welfare of your parents.

My schedule allows for two things: work and rest from work. Your schedule is filled with school, homework, and social events, as well as rest from all of the above.

I will repeat myself: Perhaps you should, instead of creating new events and times and trying to squeeze them into my schedule, arrange meetings at places that you already know I have set time allowances for in my own schedule. Times that fall within the "rest from work" portions of my schedule.

Of course, you could always drop my things off at the house I'm currently renting space in at your convenience, for which you already have the phone number to insure someone is home, provide me with a cost estimate of the things of yours that I have not returned, and I can subtract them from the considerable amount of money that you owe me and have no timeline for paying back. I'll even print out a receipt.

Never again yours,

Penthouse Suite

when you hear me write of love,
you know not of whom I speak;
you've been telling me what to say
far too long,
now it's my turn
even if my signal's weak.

when you hear me tell a story,
you think you've inspired one of the roles;
you're a smaller player than you realize,
wearing a mask
far oversized,
but I'm directing the show.

when you hear me
you think you're alone on my floor;
but the stairs don't go up this high,
the elevator is
locked and keyed
and my bouncers will show you the door.