Bad Dream


Justin Wade Thompson

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 123 in June, 2010.

i had
    a bad dream

and woke up next
to empty
prescription bottles 
and a bag of half eaten potato chips.

some kids never grow up,
put ketchup on their steaks, but that’s 
a whole other story    isn’t it?

but bad dreams chase
like a battle-scarred cat 
in the alleys of the brain 
    sometimes falling off bridges

and other times 
just fighting
with everyone
until your eyes become like the ends of ice picks

trying to stab your father because he
killed a cockroach with his shoe.

i used to collect
my mother’s old Victoria secret catalogs
and cut out pictures of rock stars
to tape on my bedroom door

but now
i’m just living like BLACK, living like a Kara Walker,
with nothing but shadows in my heart

and maybe there’s something
to be said for it.

crochet colors should be left to flood waters
and mud castles
after a hurricane    (or the idea of a hurricane).

maybe bad dreams are just beds made of spider silk
and string
and raw horse feathers.

my river bottoms are all empty and my steaks are cold
the morning dew is
like a salty pussy smell
running up my nose hairs
to a place so dark

that no one 
      can ever see

         and no one can ever dream.