Saturday, January 21, 2012


      I had a poem in my head last night, flashing as only those unformed midnight poems can.  It was all made up of unexpected burning words.  I knew even in my half-sleep that it was nonsense, meaningless, but that forcing and hammering would clear its shape and form.  Now not a word of it remains, not even a hint of its direction.  What a pity one cannot sleepwrite on the ceiling with one’s finger or lifted toe.

Denton Welch, Journals, 
23 March, Saturday, 2:15 pm


  1. The sensation is terribly familiar, Curtis. All my own greatest works have evaporated in the uncontrolled drift of half-aware night vapors. It's like trying to catch ghosts, or smoke, in one's hand.

    After New Years I picked up a severe case of flu, which developed into a recurrence of chronic bronchial pneumonia. I've now had three bouts of this over past dozen or so years, and every time it brings high fevers, and along with these, strange, intensely vivid dreams, which take some time to dispel upon awaking.

    In fact this happened again, just last night.

    All the details stay with me, but the meaningfulness etched into the scenes, by the distortion of the feverish dreaming, never really lingers in the form of language.

    They remain in this sense strangely inchoate, less like memories, really, than like scars, or perhaps invisible tattoos.

    Consciousness is such a weird animal, really.

  2. Such, such a weird animal. I had a similar episode two nights ago and my sleep (if was that) consisted of a futile attempt to hang on to what I was thinking about because I insisted to myself that I really needed to write it down (probably to post here). When I awoke, the thoughts/words/images had completely disappeared. Fortunately, it didn't discomfit me too much because I realized that I had already prepared something. I hope you're feeling better now. Bad flus are horrible. My dog Andy, who is still recovering from his back surgery, contracted serious canine influenza (there's an east coast epidemic) and it was terrible to see how it laid him low. He was so different for a few days, I wonder what he was thinking? The difference between his flu and non-flu state was night-and-day. It's extremely embarrassing to admit this, but the other night's lost thoughts centered on Newt Gingrich. I can't remember what they were, but they seemed urgent at the time. Like you say, weird. Curtis

  3. Yes, I think we all sleep write. Sometimes I even recite a poem, thinking I will remember it, knowing the chances are next to nil, so I recite it again to improve my chances.
    The funny thing is that I always remember the thought that I will remember and the method I used to remember and even the associations I used to be sure to remember and the number of recitations,
    but I can never remember what it was I meant to remember . . .

  4. I know. This really seems to be a "universal." So, for me, are these images, which I had originally intended for other purposes (also tied to a dream I had). As you probably know, Keith Richards dreamed up the "Satisfaction" riff in his motel room sleep and woke up and sang it into an early cassette recorder. I wonder whether he was a Boy Scout, i.e., "be prepared"? Curtis