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CLOSE / Parnassiad

Peace and Other Stories

Fragments of a Formerly Active Sex Life

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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