The Film Between

It's not so different from screaming underwater, muffled and blunted by the film between sleep and waking. Screaming in a dream is like screaming in a phone booth made of warped plexi. The sound expels in visible waves, thuds clumsily in slow motion as it meets the walls, does an inelegant pirouette and rattles back again.

The release starts deep within my belly, deeper than I know how to give air. It charges up through my diaphragm, growls into my chest, then my neck, finally to sputter up through my face, and I feel myself flush as the blood builds with sound. 

The heat fills my cheeks and then, all at once, the gravel in my throat fires like gunpowder. The release is bliss, but the time my mind has grasped that it’s happened, it’s already gone again. The body can only overtake the mind in bursts and gulps.

In a dream, the scream is never finished. The waking mind has mapped out its proxy from waking life to reuse for sleep, but it's a poorly rehearsed act with a toy gun. The sound is not real, only it's intention. Its ghost ricochets and vibrates evermore, but there is no resolve.

This, of course, is deeply frustrating, deeply unfulfilling, arriving all the way to the edge but never leaping. The rage is reabsorbed, trapped in the dream shell, which is also my body. But in a way I am grateful for the rage, if only to remind me what it is to feel. The rage has no sophistication, no discretion, but at least it is not resignation. 

The moment I wake, the dream is already miles behind me and the narrative has fled my mind. The rage is gone, replaced in an instant with relief. 

But there is a new feeling too that trails behind as a slinking ellipsis—some feral hunger for that kind of self-made fire. If not rage, give me any other flavor.

Give me love or lust, a Picasso, a da Vinci, drums that match the frequency of my heartbeat and make me topple like a high-rise in an earthquake. Give me the mountains, the sea, the full moon, the fuck. But if those are all out, I’d take the rage again too. 

But here, alone in my bed, how is that I feel so deep in a canyon, no shelter or food, but no will to get home?