The Neurotic Dreams September in April


The Neurotic Dreams September in April

Already I have become the beginning of a partial ghost, sleeping the summer
sleep in winter, choosing night over breakfast and the ritual of dousing lights.
This much I know: the moon returns each month, and tonight you lie awake
in a bed across the river, in a house with sixteen windows and a cold oven,
where your true name hides under the floorboard behind the pantry door.


Differences season our days — from flowers to snow, root to nectar — take
one and the other lessens in its own sight. One day I’ll overcome this longing
for things and will be complete in what I own, living my life beyond the page,
past the white space and dead letters. When I mention hearts, I mean that
muscle lodged in my chest. Genetics, not romance. Tissue. Arteries, veins.


Dark cars on the street. Cattle grazing in the damp pasture. The liquor store
sign glaring “CLOSED.” Separate yet included, we observed these scenes but
assigned them to the periphery, grounded in our own closed frames. In a
different time I would transcend my nature and strive to withstand yours.
Look. That star, the fog silhouetting the tombstones. A bobbing light.


Love is a gray morning, a steel-toed shoe or coating of black ice; nothing you
do will repeal its treachery. There, on my stone porch, I will inhale the smoke
of a thousand burned photographs. The sun will descend but you won’t share
it, and I’ll no longer hum your tune. When I rise no one sees. Or everyone
stares. Imagine that great cow of a moon lowing through the night.


“The Neurotic Dreams September in April” was published in deLuge in December 2016, and was written during the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge. Many thanks to artist extraordinaire Ron Throop for sponsoring and providing the title.

25 thoughts on “The Neurotic Dreams September in April

  1. There are seasons in a life when it’s a very good thing if the liquor store is closed. LOL. The great seed here, the understanding that comes, somewhere in the rag and bone heap of all that processing, is, as you powerfully evoke, of just how closed off all of this was, from the beginning to past “the end.” Powerful depiction of that here, Robert. That last line, brilliant. Extraordinary. Recalls to my mind BOTH Caligula’s horrific iron cow in which people were burned to death for the amusement their bellowing brought his guests AND Hathor, goddess of the moon and of mothers. Carol Burnett once said of giving birth that it’s like pulling your lip over your head.

    Interesting to see the prose poem form from you–a departure from your usual exquisite netsuke. Also good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “good.” sorry about the lame adjective. Not worthy of this piece. “If I could like it twice, I would” yes (even though this whole “liking” phenomenon has me a bit concerned, and for reasons in addition to it’s being, of course, a tool for marketing via progressive narrowing down of the definition of the characteristics of the marketee)

      Liked by 1 person

          • No choice. When people are working at their best, they are like the freaking Ancient Mariner–entranced, enthralled. The story has to be told here, now, to that poor wedding guest. LOL. Since loooooong before writing, this was so. Poetry as diary and confessional of course often different, but even there, at its heights . . . . Well, telling you what you know, clearly. To wear the Red Cloak you have to do your apprenticeship–all that work!–then forget it in the doing

            Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so so good. This was incredible and I feel like I want to read it to everyone. Is there a recording of this? I checked again in the ending text just in case and can’t see anything. I’m not sure how to search on my phone. It makes WordPress play up! 🌹

    Liked by 2 people

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