Dreaming of Cairo, so I thought, and I was on some concrete balcony at the edge of the desert, with the city in the distance, illuminated by explosions – and the death-rattle of guns and screaming missiles echoed across the void between me and… them.
I peered harder and saw that the explosions were fireworks, lighting up the sky with their crackle and kaleidoscope wonder. And the city was maybe Romford, somewhere not quite London.
I woke up. It was still night. Deeply so. A blackbird was singing. It sounded so frail and confused, so beautiful, and so full of dread.
You remember when it was New Year’s Eve and we all stood in the park and it started to snow and all across the grass people were lighting those paper lanterns that we watched float off into the deep clear night and the brand-new year? And we wondered where they’d travel, these flickering starry specks of warm orange, growing distant by the second, out across the city towers and the cranes illuminated with fairy lights. And the lanterns were lifted with sleepy-eyed dreams as we clasped each other against the cold.
We don’t see lanterns anymore, though dreams float on.
The bear had arrived in the story again, big and brown and powerful. It followed us to the dilapidated house that was meant to be a home and tore apart some rabbits in the pasture out front where it was always spring. It pawed open the front door and licked at the living room as we sneaked up stairs and exited by the rusting fire escape, fleeing up the hill to avoid the bear’s attack. We had heard no real news for days. The world had disappeared. I thought the bear signified the past; she thought it represented the future.
It came to me in a dream – woke me from my sleep – a unifying image, an idea that could take the insurgencies and economics, deaths and party politics, hopes for the future and legacies of the past, the festivals and hangovers, culture high and low, the academics and judges, phone hackers and strikers, pensioners and medics, the bankers and IT gurus, the heat of North Africa, heat of the Middle East, the singular sweltering heat of one day in a British summer, and wrap it up in a word, a phrase, a vision. It was a vision of a deluge.
What dreams they are I do not care. I supply only the seeds of dreams, carefully cultivated. The seeds that make you close your eyes. The seeds that put you to sleep. Deep, endless sleep. I send the seeds, registered, to Arizona: to doctors who are experts in that field, to patients who are ready, who have earned those dreams, who are chained to them. I do not see dreams flourish; am not of their world. But I till those felons’ earths with a sickle and a scythe, a farmer who does not look to see what lives, what dies.