Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland
I was an hour ago. I walked upstairs to Dreamland. Took a cab and
got out and somebody else backed in. Now we weren't actually on
the Dreamland floor. That would be for later. Look, these are the
proper plans, plants. They used to have a Chautauqua here, far out
into the lake. Now it's peeled. No one actually comes here. Yet
there are people. You just hardly ever see them. No I wasn't being
modest. Some get out on the floor, several a year, whose purple
glass sheds an eldritch glow on the trottoirs, as Whitman called
them. Or spittoons. Look, we are almost a half a mile later, it must
link up. The Tennessee drifter smiled sharkly. Then it was on to
native board games.
Je bois trop.
In one of these, called "Skunk," you are a weasel chasing a leveret
back to its hole when Bop! the mother weasel, about ten stories
tall, traps you with her apron string, patterned with poppies and
rotted docks. You see, you thought every noun had to have an
adjective, even "sperm," and that's where you made your first big
mistake. Later it's raining and we have to take a car. But the game
isn't over--there are sixteen thousand marble steps coming up,
down which you glide as effortlessly as you please, as though on a
bicycle, weasel in tow. It's an exercise bike. What a time to tell me,
the solar wind has sandpapered everything as smooth as quartz.
Now it's back to the finish line with you.
You're not quite out of the woods yet. Dreamland has other
pastures, other melodies to chew on. Hummingbirds mate with
dragonflies beneath the broken dome of the air, and it's three
o'clock, the sun is raining mineral-colored candy. It'd like one of
these. It's yours. Now I'm glad we came. I hate drafts though and
the sun is slowly moving away. I'm standing on the poopdeck
wiggling colored pennants at the coal-colored iceberg that seeems
to be curious about us, is sliding this way and that, then turns
abruptly back into the moors with their correct hills in the
distance. If it was me I'd take a trip like this every day of my life.
by John Ashbery