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RATTLER BANQUET

Dreamed 1993/1/29 by Chris Wayan

Such a banquet! True, it's indigestible--
But my parents mean well. And they pay.
A rattlesnake snores beneath our table.
My feminist mother kicks it away.
Not the place for a poison penis!
And besides, "He can't appreciate
This food: snakes have no taste."
The snake wakes, insulted,
Coils to a churning pool of scales,
And snarls "Back off!" and I do, I do.
"All it wants is space," I say,
"And how do you know it's not a she?"
I don't point out a rattler-tongue's
a forked gourmet who merely disagrees
That screaming squirming mouse can't please
Like rotten Brie.

The coil and I back off a bit, and calm,
But Mom enjoys a domestic storm.
"You must face your fear!" she says.
"You must face your anger!" she says.
"You must kill this public danger!" she says.
"I'll help," she hollers, and herds
That rattler at me!
It flees her clomping cattle-feet,
Curls round my frozen right leg,
Buzzes and glares, a psychotic bangle
Strangling my sanctuary ankle.
The fury spirals up my shin, as I cold-sweat.
Rage-helix rising, inside my jeans.
She says "As it comes out your collar,
I'll crush its head."
At last I see my mother
Wants me dead.

Angry thrashing at my knee.
Tight jeans. Stuck snake!
"Your genes are to blame!" Mom chides,
But I'm as deaf to her now as the snake,
Staring as my lumpy leg writhes,
My calf gone steroid, rippling
like a muscleman gone mad--
I wait for the fatal little stab.
And so I wake.

I wake in a cold reptilian fear--and here I swear
Never to face a goddamn thing.
Let sleeping rattlers be.
So Mom hates my Y-gene, the male forked tongue?
Then I feel the twinge in my knee.
Peel up the covers to see...
Two red punctures in the bony joint's side.
A vampire's been in bed with me!
Though I kept her from my neck
where she planned the fatal bite...
Mom got under my skin last night.

So when "Face your blah blah" invades YOUR head,
Remember that my mom
Wanted me
Dead.

Digital sketch of a snake up my leg.

AFTERNOTE

True story! They took me out to dinner. No snake. I went to bed, dreamed the dinner again. Snake! And woke with twin fang marks on my knee.

I didn't swell up and die. But still, pretty physical for a dream-snake...



LISTS AND LINKS: nightmares - dream humor - snakes - vampires - dreams leaving physical traces - my mom - nagging - family values - Red Diaper Babies: radical guilt - dream poetry - Nancy Price dreams she's snakebit too in: Let There Be Light -

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