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)

Advertisements

My guest slot on Mina Polen’s blog

Yesterday, the wonderful Mina Polen published an old poem of mine, Brassaï in Paris on her blog. I wrote the poem a decade ago, and it’s included in my collection, The Small Hours (now only £4.49 – plug, plug!).

In previous weeks, Mina published my long poem, The Monsters, A Portrait of the Bird King and the ONEIROSCOPE poem, 13 Lines, Imperfectly Recalled, from a Poem You Think You Read in Last Night’s Dream.

Many thanks to Mina for her generosity, support and encouragement. It has been great to be see my work posted elsewhere.

As for you, dear reader, I urge you to check out Mina’s full-blooded, colourful, elegant poetry. Have a look here.

A guest slot

I’m very honoured to have a guest slot on the blog of a fellow member of @echovirus12, the very talented poet, Mina Polen.

Mina’s blog contains lots of her poetry, in English and Spanish, and is a treasure trove of images, ideas and sensations. Have a look!

So far, Mina has published two pieces from The Death of the Bird King, a long poem entitled The Monsters and part two of the collection’s title piece, A Portrait of the Bird King.

Later today, Mina’s blog will feature an exclusive, an ONEIROSCOPE poem, and next week an old poem from the vaults…

I’m very grateful to Mina for running this mini online James Knight festival!

The ONEIROSCOPE

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 mental nerve! Here are some examples of customised dreams:

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @monster_soup. You’re swimming under water. Impossible creatures surround you, sing to you. A star falls into the sea.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @DianaProbst. A renowned man of letters cycles past you, his academic gown agitating behind him like black wings.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @coffee_offline. The man of your dreams appears: mocha hair, espresso eyes, latte complexion. His mood: dark, bitter.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream for @jeffnoon. A man called Geoff Moon is masquerading as you, writing books. His silver face vanishes in daylight.

I also tweeted a lot of dreams from the imaginary (and vast) ONEIROSCOPE catalogue, addressed to no one in particular. This was quite a good way of creating interest in the ONEIROSCOPE before it caught on and I started getting inundated with dream requests. Here are a few of my favourites from the catalogue:

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 141. Days after your execution by guillotine, your head sprouts wings and flaps giddily towards the sun. Birds shriek.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 55. Total darkness. No sound. Just this: a hand, smooth, firm, caressing your cheek.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 204. You have mislaid your penis. This proves inconvenient.

ONEIROSCOPE Dream 541. You wake from a nightmare, nauseous, hot. A shoal of rotten fish swims past and you thrash, suffocating, helpless.

As you can see, the tone of the dreams varies enormously, from the playful to the perplexing, from delight to horror. Many dreams are disturbing. Indeed, for a short time the ONEIROSCOPE transmitted only nightmares:

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @minafiction. The Coral Men are scratching at your door. Small fish pour from your nose and mouth.

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @TheBinkyAnnexe. Everything is weightless. Your body floats helplessly as you struggle to grab a bannister.

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @badbadpoet. The Bird King’s coffin is merely a cocoon. He punches his way out, radiantly rotten.

ONEIROSCOPE Nightmare for @DianaProbst. You’re aboard a galleon with its beak-nosed captain. The sea is a broiling mass of blue rose petals.

You will notice from the above that even the creator of the ONEIROSCOPE is not exempt from its more unpleasant transmissions!

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. Here is an example:

20120827-223133.jpg

I have also created some ONEIROSCOPE artwork, in which I use bits of my dream tweets. I’ll say nothing about the pictures; you can see them for yourself, below.

20120827-223404.jpg

20120827-223425.jpg

20120827-223445.jpg

If you like what you see here, follow me on Twitter and ask for your own customised dream. Be warned, though: occasionally the ONEIROSCOPE transmits unsolicited dreams and, as you have seen, nightmares…

All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.