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Blind Ancestors

for Serena, survivor of a truly delightful family

Dreamed 2007/8/6 by Wayan

THAT DAY

All afternoon, I sculpted Jupiter's moon Io, from fly-by photos. A beautiful, weird, fascinating place, with bubbling multicolor volcanoes... but why'd I work until my head and back hurt? Pushing again. Won't I ever learn?

That evening, I relaxed with a classic film--AFTER THE THIN MAN, from 1936. Well, not relaxed. Not that sort of movie. A comedy, but a grating one, about a rich, grotesque family. Aunts and uncles scorn their "inferiors" while they act like pigs. A no-good husband who married in for money is blackmailing his own wife. The jowly old matriarch beats reporters with her cane, and hires a shrink to dope the wife to silence her and prevent scandal. True, the girl did pick two evil guys in a row--her judgment stinks! But did her mom have to say "You sure can pick 'em"? Who taught her her standards? Them--a gargoyle zoo!

THE DREAM

Ghosts are not at night. When you bus off to jobs,
the Ancestors come to your home to smash it:
just the reverse of brownies and hobs.
But your Ancestors can't efficiently trash it:

    Zombie-clumsy, zombie-slow,
    drained of all they used to know
    they're blind, blind as logs.

But ruin's so much easier than making or repair.
So you come home daily to a mystifying mess
(entropy and carelessness, you innocently guess)
for hours you mop and sweep despair,

tossing the rubble out on the heap.
Most days we still progress, to be fair,
but zombie relatives make progress creep.
Yet Ancestor havoc gets no blame!

Acknowledging ghostly home-wrecker fists
is beneath our male economists.
Like housework, they're a private shame,
though all of us quietly weep.

    Zombie-clumsy, zombie-slow
    Stripped of all they used to know
    They drain us to the dregs.

A lawyer came home at noon to get some folders.
As she unlocked her front door, an Ancestor rose:
a foul old matriarch, all jowls and shoulders
who slashed her cane at the porch, mutilating ferns,
missed the girl's face by a hair, shattering two urns.

The girl curled under vicious blows
that missed point-blank! And now she knows,
our Ancestors are blind!
Loathing unrestrained by mind.

I shiver. Will WE come back
as muscular ghosts, to whip and crack
and shatter--yet be dead
in all the ways that matter?

    Zombie-clumsy, zombie-slow
    hating all we used to know.
    Is this how we want to go?

Of course the dream was symbolic: how
habits learned when we were small
fracture all they can reach. Kapow!
We work so hard, then wreck near-all.

Eight steps forward, seven back. But, too,
Some relatives wrecking our homes are real!
Living, hating, blind. And what to do
about THEM? You got any clue?
I think my dream was a public appeal,

posing the problem for you as a test or
riddle: What stops a mad Ancestor?

    Zombie-clumsy, zombie-slow,
    robbed of all we used to know,
    can we bear to sink this low?
    Is this how we want to go?

NOTES IN THE MORNING

This may be doggerel, but under the cartoon images it's dead serious. I guess my sane readers (all three of you) will find this dream absurd, but the rest of us whose families taught us self-destructive worldviews and habits (and may still be pressuring us and sniping at our successes) will recognize these muscular ghosts trashing our lives while we're out trying so hard to succeed... And often triumph. To come home to ruin.

Eight forward, seven back.



LISTS AND LINKS: dream poems - movies - nightmares - ghosts and revenants (loved ones returned) - blindness - families and relatives - inheritances - sabotage - criticism and nagging - guilt - negativity and pessimism - healing from abuse - A related dream-poem on family dragging you down: Mafia Dentist - A big-picture dream on why Progress is Slow

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