13 Lines, Imperfectly Recalled, from a Bad Poem That You Think You Read in Last Night’s Dream

1. The cup, falling. Wine, a red halo, a dark constellation, in slo-mo free fall. Blood runs from the corner of my eye, my little eye.

2. Watching from the corner of a room drowning in light, smooth zombies sniff for incense. You stay in the doorway, eating an egg roll.

3. The man in the bobble hat offers tea, tangerines and transcendence. Crumpled suits smile wisely, floating in a ballet of underhanded dalliances.

4. The halo of wine spreads, shifts in space, becoming a hand, a hawk, a fresh idea.

5. A handshake on the other side of your eyes. Chainsaw promises. We apologise for the recent disruption.

6. In the cabinet is a map showing your birth, your heart, your desires. The red ink in which it is drawn is a blood-sample, stolen from you while you slept.

7. The Bird King, a unique monotreme, hibernates in the empty egg of his favourite son. It’s pungent and slightly sticky inside. He loves it.

8. The nine nocturnal policemen whose electrons you stole force you to eat a quark sandwich.

9. Desperate to court scandal, the indigo terrorists transmute themselves into protons and thrill along fibre optic alleyways.

10. The eyes of the moon turn enviously from the flamboyant sun. A dead stone heart plots the next brief eclipse.

11. Your grandmother gives birth to thirteen orange squids. Hands, soft and fat as tentacles, thrash behind shower curtains.

12. On Sunday mornings the cars form gangs. Lawn mowers watch them suspiciously from neat green plots.

13. The ONEIROSCOPE stops transmitting and the world is plunged into a limbo of twitching insomnia.


A note from the author on this, the Oneiropoem.

The ONEIROSCOPE is an interactive Twitter project that reflects my obsession with dreams and their disquieting poetry. Initially I invited people to request single-tweet dreams by replying to me with the word “sleep.” I tried to provide tweets that would resonate with the recipients, by reading their bios and some of their tweets first, if I didn’t already know them. I got some very favourable responses from those who had requested dreams; I was touching some sort of nerve!

After a while, as the project gained momentum and popularity, I thought the ONEIROSCOPE would be more fun (and more of a challenge for me) if people could specify up to three words to be included in a dream.

13 Lines… is an extension of the single-tweet ONEIROSCOPE principle. I tweeted that I was writing an ONEIROSCOPE poem, and that people could request lines by replying with up to three words they’d like included. Eleven people responded, so I decided to construct a 13 part piece (13 part prose poems being to me what sonnets were to Shakespeare!), using the requested words in the first eleven parts and free-styling in the remaining two.

Many thanks to Mina Polen for supporting my work so enthusiastically, and to those who requested lines; without you, the Oneiropoem would not be what it is!

Lines were requested by:
1. @DianaProbst (cup, wine, run)
2. @TheBinkyAnnexe (egg roll, incense, zombies)
3. @RenZelen (transcendence, bobble-hat, underhanded)
4. @bencooper666 (fresh, wine, hawk)
5. @kneeldowne (disruption, handshake, chainsaw)
6. @jeffnoon (cabinet, blood-sample, map)
7. @minafiction (hibernate, slightly, monotreme)
8. @CharlieAlcock (nine, eat, quark)
9. @OpinionGeeks (scandal, fibre optic, indigo)
10. @LainadAngouleme (eclipse, sun, eyes)
11. @sleeping46 (orange, birth, grandmother)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s