I believe that dreams are my mind’s way of writing poetry while I sleep. Saturated images, rich emotions, and strong symbolism traipse through my visionas I sleep. I rarely have standard dreams—I’m never in a classroom having forgotten to get dressed, never losing teeth, and I never just go about my usual day. Instead, my dreams consist of rainbows made from tiny crystals that sing as they reflect the sun’s rays; I have dreamt of huge winged creatures who teach me the primal knowledge of flying. Even my nightmares are fascinatingly dark, more film noir than slasher flick. I am honestly very lucky; my dreams are spectacular. They are perfectly suited to the rhythm and language of poetry. Provided, of course, that I can remember them after I wake up.
Typically when I awaken, the memory of those dreams linger like a hazy mist, easily dispersed by a bright ray of sunlight. Ethereal, cobwebby thoughts can easily spin away from me and be forgotten the moment I look over to the alarm clock. I try to stay in that moment as long as I can, rewinding the film so that I can decipher and preserve all that has transpired in my mind. I am not always successful. It is difficult to lose such an incredible inspiration in that way. It leaves me feeling cranky and despondent. Similar to how you feel when you realize that you have made a mistake that no amount of apologizing is going to make better. A logical conclusion was to find a way to preserve these irreplaceable visions. With that in mind, I went to the store and purchased a beautiful leather bound notebook about six months ago. I keep it within reach on my nightstand. Every morning, I try to write down any details I remember: how I felt, what I saw, the conversations I had and who I had them with, any lasting impressions the dream left me with. If I can’t find the words—while I understand that I am a poet and have a decent command of words, it can be incredibly early in the morning when I am trying to record every piece of information I can remember—I will often just try to draw a picture. Anything that can get the job done and trigger a memory when I look back at it does just fine.
It helps me to have this beautiful reference available. When I am feeling down or as if I have nothing original to say, I can pick up this dream log and read through it. There is creativity, wonder, and passion in there. And it is all documented, right there next to where I sleep. I have lost track of how many of these entries have become favorite poems of mine. They also tend to be very well received when I read in public.
How about you? What inspires you? Have you ever written a poem that stemmed from a dream that you had?