Dream that the World Was Ending

We knew a little in advance -- a comet was going to slam into the earth, or come so close it would suck the atmosphere away. C. & I decided to spend our remaining time with a friend & begin walking to her house. During our walk -- through a neighborhood that, in retrospect, reminds me of Seattle's Capitol Hill, a freezing chemical rain began to fall, coating everything with rime. We kept walking but thought this might be the end of things, but the rain slows & then stops & we keep walking. I see a child, almost an infant, standing alone on a street corner. There was a moment of looking around and wondering what we should do, but then I went over and picked the baby up and began carrying him with us to our friend's house. "At least he won't die alone," C. said. We shared (silently) a sense of doing the right thing even when it made no difference. When we arrived at our friend's house she was pregnant and bleeding from the nose. Her abusive boyfriend had hit her in the face, but he was still outside. The chemical rain began to fall again & we discovered that the infant we had rescued was dead. We sat in our friend's living room, on the floor, a candle in front of us, waiting.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Dream that the World Was Ending”

  1. …and while waiting you and carol could be putting together a poem collage.

    james broughton in 1977 had SEEING THE LIGHT published by city lights. he wrote that oz is a different order of nonsense from zen. (p.5) that zen is the moment of awareness. tao is letting the moment go. zen sees everything that is. tao moves with everything as it flows. (p.72)
    james wrote that when the zen master pointed at the moon he siad, “why are you looking at my finger” and that zen as an art of seeing does not follow a script. (p.43) he also wrote “like my poet friends who are also devotees of oz (dundan, mcclure, brakhage, jonathan williams) i make my own oz just as i make my own zen.” (p.52)

    your dream sounds realistically dreary and i wonder if you might consider joining OZZENTAO.

    though the world will still end. but how we approach the end when it reaches us we don’t know. but how fine to have a dear companion. so that is hopeful. it is love in an unknowing.

    joseph, you have the the most thoughtful posts.

    edward mycue

  2. Just A Question Valentine

    O my dear I don’t know
    if I should turn the page
    and take off for a new life
    revised expanded version
    or have another go
    at cleaning up the bay
    I mean the backyard
    how could we not create
    a picture of our interior
    world a world we’ve
    soiled like dogs
    who can hardly be
    expected to clean
    it up these last sad
    days of the seas?

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