Dreamed 1997/2/27 by Chris Wayan
The night I finished writing BIRTH DREAMS, an illustrated chapbook of weird dreams about birth, menstruation, and related taboo topics, I had one final dream:
A throw-away girl, wary from early betrayal. She crashes with a friend who's near the edge herself: worry-lines in her forehead already. Poverty eats you face-first.
She finds a cast-off baby. Since breastfeeding is best, she lets the baby nurse, and plays with her nipples all day to start milk flowing. She wasn't pregnant so it'll take time, but the milk will come. Getting a bit already. Her friend tries too, just as a backup. No formula babies for them--they know it's not as healthy, and they couldn't afford it anyway. No, they'll have to find the milk inside them.
At a loft party, she heads for the kitchen sink, leans over and bares both breasts, squeezes a tiny squirt of milk from each one before putting the baby to her nipple. Why'd she waste it? OK, you let the faucet run a bit to clear the water standing in the pipes, in case of lead. But what's wrong with the first thin drops of breast milk? It's called colostrum and it's healthy: strengthens a baby's immune system.
Her friend pulls down her dress and plays with her nipples while leaning over the sink, though she has no milk at all yet. All of us watch her, women too. Is she doing it partly for the attention? Does she want a lover? Had so little fun or love or play in her life, maybe she only CAN do this under cover of helping her friend! Work's all she knows...
LILY'S DREAMBreast, sink, clear drops... so while I was analyzing it all symbolically, it was happening downstairs--for real.
"My breast was being scorched--the skin was red and crisped. Then I woke up to find it was partly true! I'd fallen asleep with my heating pad left on. Its cloth cover slipped off, and the hot plastic beneath was burning my breast... My skin wasn't really scorched, just red and sore, but I had to get up and lean over the sink and pour cool water on it."
But is the dream ONLY literal, a psychic spill-over? Given how it shifted the focus to babies and lactation, it obviously wanted to be included last-minute in the BIRTH DREAMS booklet. But I think it's more than a final chapter. It's a dreams'-eye review of the book itself, and of the dream-process used to create it. It's saying:
"This collection of taboo dreams is colostrum, not breast-milk--a first tentative (if exhibitionistic) milking of quietly censored topics. Not the real thing yet, but sexy to watch, and healthily stimulating. Not so worthless you should pour it down your sink, at least."
Damned by faint praise. But my dreams are a reviewer who at least knows the subject. Hard not to--being it.
The dream was right. Today it's clear to me that "Birth Dreams" was one of the first spurts, the colostrum, of what became the World Dream Bank.
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