Dreaming is soul sleep
but even more it’s traveling.
You may fly across the water
in your body of wind
following the drumming of the waves
to spend the night with your dream lover.
Even goddesses do this.
Pele left her lava bed for three days
to make love with her dream prince.
Being a goddess, she could bring him home.
It’s harder for humans. Spend too long
with your dream spouse
without bringing him home
and you sicken like rotting silver.
You need to check who you’re sleeping with
because spirits take many forms.
If your prince is a water imp in disguise
you’ll go fish belly white and moist
on the side that rests next to him.
You must learn the vocabulary of dreams.
Never confuse a wild goatfish dream
that begins and ends in your belly
with a dream that comes true
because it’s the memory of a trip to the future.
Don’t mix up a wishing dream with revelation.
Be alert to the visions that open and shut
like lobster pots, quick and true,
on the edges of sleep and waking.
Use the dreams that are given to heal a family
and dreams that show you how to heal yourself.
In beauty and terror, as redbirds or lovely sharks,
as windflowers or razorbacks or honeycreepers,
gods and ancestors are talking, talking.
They show us life’s hidden springs.
They compose songs in us. They give
night names for babies that are coming.
They save our skins when they are worth saving.
Learn to discern when you can sweeten a dream
and soften the sharp future it portends
and when you have to swallow it straight up.
For a second opinion, listen to the birds
or to a bird-man who talks to the wind
or might sail a blossom canoe for you
over submarine tattoos in a gourd filled with water.
In the islands, everything has a body of wind.
In the morning garden, you notice the pandanus
has walked to the far side of the pond
where the fish dream open-eyed;
a palm swapped places with an avenging angel.
Even the land snail goes flying at night
and is the preferred scout of the fiercest goddess.
To become a native of these islands
you must grow double vision, reading signs
in the world and the world-behind-the-world
without going crazy. Persevere
and all your dramas will lead
to the Place of Leaping
where fresh water meets salt water
and you’ll drop your old body
and travel on, as bird or fish or zephyr
to the land tourists never see on the horizon.
Here, everything is dreaming.
On a white beach in the early light
a shark came out of the waters
and became a graceful silver woman
who claimed me as her mate,
there on the embracing sand.
She was so lovely I was not put off
by her hammerhead eyes.
I wonder what unexplainable love child
is swimming out there, in the deep.
Hawaii is a waking dream. I swam under the blue-white ghost of a rainbow there, in the midst of a pod of sea turtles. The tides of my blood move with the ocean, my breath flows with the wind, my body thrills to the sense of islands being born, in every moment, from fire beneath the water, and dying back. Early in March, on Pele's island, I will lead an adventure into deep dreaming and poetic consciousness, at play with the elemental powers. Still time to join if you feel the call; details here.