DREAMCHANTS
by David Eide .

Hiking in the mountains in Alaska, thinking he is alone, the righteous one turns a corner on a precipice and suddenly rises a pure, emerging city. It is whole and steel, at least 5 square miles and configured like a medieval cathedral. It stuns him with its total dullness. But, within the structure is movement as though crawling through it are millions of worms. No! Souls; millions upon millions of souls devoured by the city and continually regenerated through venting systems and valves. He hears indistinct shouts from the center but does not cover his ears.

The city hovers for a moment as if it has been presented to the righteous one to see and report on. And then, just as quickly, it speeds up and away into the depths of space. As it sails away at the speed of light there is, no question, the unmistakable image of a cross behind which a devil creature stands. The overwhelming object is too much. He must sleep. He must lay in the snow but as soon as he feels the ice on his cheek his mind is running wildly, flying out of his body until there is nothing but pain and terror. It flies as though trying to chase the city, flying through something resembling a sky but pure and realer than a sky.

He feels great peace. He experiences a relaxing series dreams. The dreams say to him, "care for powers that are your own and beware of enemies..."


I stop a crowd of people in a large hospital. "Crowd, I am going to read you Victorian poetry." I stand erect and hold a large, red book in the palm of my right hand. "I am going to read you poems one hundred years old." The crowd is semi-curious, even bedazzled by the thought they will escape a few precious moments from work. "Poetry ends with the incomprehensible!" A few smirk but they only have a college education.

I read a poem by Tennyson. I am reading it aloud in the cavernous room of the hospital whose roof is glass and peaked at the top with rosette glass figurines. I am reading out loud, with a rhythm all my own, the time gauging the effect it is having on the people in the hospital. And in the middle of the poem I suddenly am aware that it is all a dream after all so I can do anything I want. So I begin to exhibit and perform the incomprehensible. A motion sickness flows through the sickly air of the hospital. A poem that is blazoned in white light comes out of the page; my heart is racing. The light of the poem erupts in sound and carries me out to the outer sphere of the sky, where there is no pain, where the dead go; the dead that I have known. And they are pleased with my efforts and show me the truth of things.


The mad are here, they are with us, I have been among them. The mad have surrounded me with every element of their derangement. There are people I have known and people I have never seen. Yes, legendary heroes who fly through the air, mad as the mighty east wind. It is a place where the mad co-habit in states of alternating despair and ecstasy. They are the eternal mad, forever with us, they never change places. Their terror is fixed.

Insane verbiage fills my ears, even among us, who stand outside the compound of the mad. In our latent desires we wish to fly and have heard rumors that we will learn the secret of flight and wait with alternating turns of patience and impatience.



Back to Poetry Page

© 2001 David Eide. All rights reserved.