|A Dream About Tom Waits|
by Marc Sobel  /  poetry  /  30 Jul 2007
In the grip of a mighty fever,
Wrapped in a shroud of blankets and sweat,
I had a dream about Tom Waits.
He was calling my name from atop
A large, brass tower
Shaped like a stack of giant tires,
And he was leaning out a window,
Holding a huge black flag
With the infinity sign
Scrawled in broad streaks of red oil paint
Across its frayed and tattered cloth.
The sky burned the golden-orange of cooling lava,
And he was waving the flag at me,
Desperately trying to capture my attention,
But I was frozen,
Standing in an ice field
Of giant iron popsicle sticks.
There were people, much taller than me
Holding a sťance, near the edge of a cliff,
Weaving me in a tapestry of their cross-stitched shadows,
And I could sense water rushing all around me
Like an approaching waterfall, growing louder.
When I looked up again, Tom Waits was gone,
And the brass monolith had been engulfed by clouds.
I felt air start to rush through me like a sieve
Or a crumbling plaster wall, peppered with nail holes,
And, without looking back,
I walked toward the cliff,
Listening to the murmurings of old spirits
Complaining in the voices of young children,
And as I approached the edge,
Breathless, and dizzy with spinning euphoria,
I thought I imagined dormant wing buds
Trying to break free from deep in my shoulder blades,
But gravity seized me at the very first step
Freeing me from all tension,
Caressing my soul as I plummeted
And whispering to me,
In great rushing bursts,
In that gruff, whiskey-soaked, familiar voice,
How beautiful and fleeting
This journey is.
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