How to Dream

The #6 bus makes its paces through the town:
up Baxter Street, past Millege, up Sanford, past
the Library, past the transit center, and then looping around
to Hancock Street. Everything is slick from the

rain, which the bus’ tires play like an instrument
in legato hissing as they bisect puddles on
the pavement: on cobblestone streets, the hissing
is punctuated by the short thuds of its tires

hitting each crack in the stones in countermelody. And now,
here begins the first layer of a dream: a tree
has thrown itself up in sacrifice, its living reflection in the bus window
mutating with every moment as if to signal you;

but it is only vibrating at it bends to the will of the
rain-dotted December wind. In the second layer of the dream,
an old stone building crouches, a shy and errant child,
behind the tree flashing a single orange light;

but it is empty, for its children have gone home.
Beneath these two window layers lies another:
a view of downtown, blurred, hurried, and smeared with rain
and busy shoppers. Try to pick out one lonely man or

a heavy-minded woman wielding a squirming child, and
you will miss your stop, but the brownstones will stay
and welcome you. Tell now, what is
You try to reach out to the images through

the Street View, but the window’s faces keep
changing. Is Weird Al peeking out through
the mutating tree branches? This ain’t his town. Did
Abbie imprint himself onto the glass to joint Stipe

and company in this town’s activism and care? You shrug and
keep looking through the window until this shifting screen
slides to reveal another view, and you get off the bus in front
of City Hall to begin your walk to the record store. Its

spartan and dirty vanilla face worn with age stands
window wide-eyed, poster-torn, its third eye neon sign glowing
igneous red-hot instead of a serene indigo or a placid white
heavy with wisdom. You reach out again, and try to push

your fingertips through the digital to feel a cold and solid
glass door welcome: but you remain on this side of the looking glass,
unable to penetrate the Windows. Somewhere, you imagine
Bill Gates smirking at your predicament: between you

and the Universe lies a window, upon which your mind
weaves another layered dream. But how do you visit
a town you have never seen? You read once about a man
in the Bible, Jabez, who prayed for blessing, and God enlarged him

beyond his hands and heart: but how do you enlarge your coast,
expand beyond this window? In the city on the river there is a
girl without a dream:
but you are not content to be empty. You,
the dreamer in in ink, reach back into the well to try

again. You have always been constructing your world
out of old dusty pages, pictures, glue, and closed eyes
beneath a starry ceiling, but now, it is digital ink,
virtual pages, and electron-constructed photographs. Nothing
has changed: you are thirty-five years old, and still dreaming.

Written 12/19/11
© 2011 Nicole Nicholson except for materials in italics, which are copy; 1983 and 1984 R.E.M. Athens, LLC. All Rights Reserved on material by N. Nicholson
This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #85 — Rinse, repeat, windows revisited and One Single Impression Prompt #199: Inkpot. For the WWP Prompt, we were asked to mentally erase our last impression of the window image, and write another poem fresh and anew. I tied this poem in with the OSI prompt (which I have not written for in a VERY long time) and threw in an old, long-standing wish to visit Athens, Georgia…which right now I can only construct through a tour of Google Maps, all of the research about R.E.M. I have done (this was one of my major special interests in college and still is), as well as my memories of the music.

I tried for a bit of a departure from last week’s poem, and I hope I succeeded.


Stumble It!
Stumble It!

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About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
This entry was posted in Ekphrastic, Music, Photography, Poems, Prompt Poems, WWP Prompt Poem and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to How to Dream

  1. zongrik says:

    “you are the dreamer in ink” very beautiful

  2. Morning says:

    wise words, well penned.

  3. Definitely different. The first one had a lot of reverence, and this one has an intensity, a scrutiny to it. You did an excellent job of weaving in the personal and the (pop) cultural into a tale here… I like them both, though I think the ecstasy of the first poem you did for the prompt was more in keeping with my kind of work. 🙂

  4. Nicole, this is completely different than last week’s poem. I love both responses. I love the expressed change in technology in the last stanza.

    Happy Holidays!


  5. vivinfrance says:

    There is a nightmareish quality to this poem with its switches of circumstance and mood. Excellent observation and portrayal of the quirky movement of a disturbed dream. Absolutely brilliant, Nicole.

  6. margo roby says:

    As they say above, very different, Nicole. The poignancy of the last stanza holds a bit of a punch, doesn’t it? May we all dream, and see some of what we dream.


  7. markwindham says:

    Excellent. Just the level of descriptive detail of the bus had me: “the bus’ tires play like an instrument”. Loved the last stanza as well.

  8. Irene says:

    between you

    and the Universe lies a window, upon which your mind
    weaves another layered dream.

    I really like how you took the image and mold it into thinking about dreaming. You made it wonderful, Nicole.

  9. nan says:

    I loved all the music and rhythm in the first part of the poem, and as I continued on the bus ride, I began to space out and get mesmerized by the narrators dreaming. Really neat poem.

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