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Tower of the Martian Dead

Dreamed 1983/7/7 by Wayan; poem & tinted pencil drawing 2016

I'm biking up a Himalayan horn
on a Mars reborn.
Above me on the trail, two gracile frail
teenage Martian girls. If they can,

I must! Gear down--at last I hop
off, push the bike up, up
to seeming summit. Two crags
or towers? Fog-veil. I hope to scale,

attain clear view. Leave bike. Into
dark arch. Stone helix up. I'm light
on Mars. I bound. Emerge
on a terrace. The button sun is thin.

Fog's upper verge--through ghost-curls
rust mesas peer. Where are those girls?
I suspect a final floor above, and find
a rock-coil up, corner-hid. And climb.

Dining in Martian Valhalla. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Apex! Yes! Past fog, a vast red view.
Home of the Martian Dead. And Terrans too,
if brave, if famed. But changed. For when
I tread the threshold, my metabolic hum

shifts gear. Way down. O strange new
cryophilia! Our fluids suit the chill
outerworlds: ammonia, brine, methane
fill our varied vein. Some of us re-form:

Moth, lobster, centaur, centipede. Although
that girl I know--owl featherhorns, but her.
What gods run this Valhalla Mars, unclear.
But we're... welcome. Meant. We sit and dine

at endless tables talking of our climb. Have time
in the Tower of the Martian Dead. We spoon
house special: methane soup. The subtle flavor
of assent. A scent. Ascent forever.

NOTES 33 YEARS LATER

I wasn't sure how I'd earned a seat at that strange table. Not for any waking heroism. But I'd been fighting parental & cultural brainwashing in dreams like Mom Pops for seven hard years; at last was climbing out of mere psychological dreams up to a new plane--shamanic dreams full of spirit journeys and explicit advice, warnings and predictions. Raised scientific, I doubted all this; so this dream may just confirm I really had climbed out of a Freudian fog of family neuroses, up to a place where I could look beyond the personal.

In the drawing, the two humanoids are me (left, red shirt) and one of the Martian girls (center, sitting in for Jesus in Leonardo's Last Supper); her friend's the golden-eyed owl (just left of center). I didn't recall enough details about the other nonhuman diners, so I sketched in beings I'd met in other dreams that month: a sentient lily named Lily, a dinosaurian person, a Plutonian otter/ermine, three different alien species, owl, crow, badger and bear people, and a gang of giant bees.

That sudden flood of creatures wasn't chance. For millennia shamans have had to deal with nonhuman beings who must be taken seriously--not as symbols, nor as parts of the dreamer, but as peers. With their own seats at the table.

Alien diners in a Martian Valhalla. Dream sketch by Wayan.


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