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Crossing The Waters Of Sleep
(Anger Brought Me Into This World, But What
Will Get Me Out?)

Christina Zawadiwsky

January 27, 2001

The boy stands in the doorway that turns into a flame
that turns into a tulip that turns into the rain.  It
is always raining in his dreams, rain over his head,
rain over the stars pasted on the ceiling, rain over
the brass horses on the mantle who screamed while
they were running away, rain in the corridors of dream
where angels and artists and thieves drift together
arm-in-arm, rain that would love to be steam or a
whirlwind of flowers.  The boy dreams of a girl sheathed
in silk and satin who has the miracles of the universe
engraved in her locket but she doesn't understand the
code; she has a map of the structure of the universe
so that she'll never get lost but she hasn't yet learned
cartography.  The boy sleeps in rose-and-khaki tents
where VIOLENCE is a word he's heard many times but he's
carrying a secret that shines within him:  he cannot be
touched, he cannot be heard, he cannot be silenced, and
he can never be moved.  A clock as large as a tower tells
the boy to Arise and assures him that he'll be safe from
harm as his hands turn into smoke that spirals beneath
him where the torture begins again and again although it's
always changing in color and direction and hiding and
colliding with a multitude of faceless denizens who've
seen heaven behind heavy soiled curtains embroidered with
charmed and distressing symbols.  Where is it written
that our substance is eternal or that we'd sleep and stand
and dream day after day, unrequited?  From the corner of
the sky a large finger points down at the boy tenderly
as he roams among the statues whose desires turn the
world cold and tear our hopes asunder under the
bright leaves of the bitter and ravaged trees.  The boy
stands in a lotus in the hand of a giant who grins as he
throws petals onto the water and the boy suddenly remembers
a day under a weeping willow, burning a small green-and-
yellow-striped bird that had red feathers on its head
spelling out the word CATASTROPHE, burning the bird whose
soft feathers had protected it wrongly until its body
smoldered.  Crossing the Waters Of Sleep, pressing a
minute feather against his cheek, the boy sees a lion
at rest in the garden and on its head is a garland of
laurel and holly but the paws of a billion cats scurry
silently and swiftly in circles behind it and sometimes
they try to jump towards the moon.  The boy cannot recall
his first memory through oceans of anticipation burning
with poetry, a dreaming blind boy trying to hold onto
the calendar, the compass, the key while doctors come and
go without a word, no word shall be spoken or heard or
discounted.  The boy has claws and a violin and a
triumphant demeanor that will let him in anywhere and
a banner across his chest that's stifled the word COURAGE.
He has only two voices and one is his fists and he doesn't
like to think about audibility or about the other so
instead he's been thinking, he's become ill with thinking,
thinking about coupling and re-coupling, thinking about
sinking, sinking slowly, thinking about ships that carry
dreams and dead seagulls from one port to another, thinking
about lighthouses being set aflame.  In his dreams sometimes
the boy is a man and sometimes a woman and sometimes a
hooded figure crying tears large as gravestones under the
shadows and hooves of white Arabian horses trotting happily
to nowhere.  His anger is red and his anger is stolen and
the anger in his being makes the bones of all the others
around him quiver until he stands behind a car and sees
it slowly departing and he holds up his palm and on it is
written: YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND YOU WILL LIVE AND LIVE
FOREVER.  The boy stands in a doorway around which snow
flows from the hand of God without mercy, each flake
twirling in a dance whose pattern can only be seen in
dreams.  The boy stands and stands and stands - he stands
still, and his spirit begins crossing the waters without
him.