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Dreamed 1989/1/30 by Wayan

Dedicated to Samuel Coleridge for his confession, "I shot the albatross,"
and to Peter Beagle, for his immortal phrase "the ones with the... legs, I guess."

Sweat from my nightmare
Reeks and chills.
"HUNGRY!" howls my gut.
Still I lie still,
Dreamhaunted, shivering:
Can't break the spell.
I'll tell. Perhaps I'm meant to tell.

I loved a tourist from a star.
She saw all Earth new:
Black webs of power up creosote poles.
Car-beasts, proud and howling jewels.
The cubic monomania of human nests,
And splendors of our waste--
Red hordes of suicidal leaves;
Black rookeries of tires.

To walk among us local apes
She chose a primate shape;
Lightly, with a laugh,
She caught the Archetype!
A laugh we one-forms couldn't share
Who can't live long and look that pure.
A meteor, I fell for her
Unworldly eyes' green flare.

Star-girl and earth-guide,
We roamed the green East.
Summer lovers, all that year.
Temp angel--and permanent beast.

On a solitudinous shore
She caught a fever.
She said to leave her;
I'm only human, and humans scare.
I stayed, for I cared, and she needed care.
Fool, deaf--there it tore.

In a cabin under grass-dialed dunes.
A slow black noise, beyond eyes, but near:
Atlantic breakers mumbling the shore.
Slow light, a wooden room. Look at the bed...
Fever-dreams usurp her shifter's power,
Melting her playful face and blueblack hair.
She's gone; a THING's crept in our bed:
Spines, pus, and veiny hide, wet
Newt-skin and pebbled scales, on tangled... legs, I guess.

I, I'm ugly, the monster one.
I can't bear to even touch what she's become.
Slowly, her three eyes sicken--as she sees!
Holes gasp; she heaves her sack of pain
Into a bearish lump--the best she can.
I can soothe her then; at last the fever breaks.
I lull my shock as I smooth her fur;
But we both know: I loved her form, not her.

My alien lover in her human form: a quiet blackhaired woman.
Earth in a polar view.
I try to care for my sick alien lover, who's lost shape-control.


I'd been overworking for days and felt sick drained and ugly when I dreamed this. My shapeshifting lover is my own body. The dream warns me that I only love my body conditionally; when I feel good! When I get sick, I feel disgust and shame... and abandon my body, just when I need care the most.

And if I treated a lover so, she'd leave me. For that's not love.

LISTS AND LINKS: aliens - shapeshifters - love - weird diseases - nightmares - fever & heat - body image - Coleridge's own famous dream-poem: Kubla Khan - more dream poems - a second dreampoem of a truth overload causing a breakup: Things Wash Off

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