DREAM VENDING MACHINE
I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,
the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrapped
dream dropping into the tray. It dispenses
all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,
short nightmares to stave off worse ones,
recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.
Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,
a bag of orange dreams with Spanish subtitles.
One neon sachet promises conversational
Cantonese while you sleep. Another is a dream
of the inside of a river, slips down like sardines in oil,
pulls my body long and sleek to chatter about currents
to any otter that would listen. My favorite dream
is always out of stock: effortless Parisian verlan.
In that one I’m nibbling tiny cakes. I’m making
small talk about eye creams in a French pharmacy.
I’m pressing my hand to the buzzer of a top-floor flat
in which there is a fantastic party that’s expecting me.
Zero-sugar dreams never last long. There’s one
pale pink dream I avoid: it fizzes like Pepto-Bismol
flavored Pixy Stix. It’s processed in a factory
that also handles hope, shame, and other allergens.
That dream is like accidentally stepping on a cat,
sudden and awful, heart-wrenching for everyone.
In it, my father says I’m sorry I never call, I never know
what to say, and I finally have the words to reply dont
worry and I know and hey, were goodWere good now.
Were all good.
Cynthia Miller is a Malaysian-American poet, poetry festival producer, and innovation consultant. Her first collection, Honorifics, was published by Nine Arches Press in June 2021.
In underpants and undershirt, pink lambs printed on the weave, with me
stirring oatmeal at the sink is what I dream. What it means, the website reads,
is symbiosis: intimacy that never leads to sex. I’m safest in quiet one-way
meetings, sitting like a spider at the center of a web, watching it tremble. To rest in the papasan chair and
have the world widen to dream is to be blurred
as a baby watching her mother clink in the kitchen, background whispers of
belonging soothing a system. Unreal, it seems now,
the flock of sheep in the train window, first glimpse of Pennsylvania after breaking down in New York.
Five field-seconds perfected by fog, duffel snuggled against me
like a child, the wash of creamy daubs against green,
then gone. I’ve not moved for hours. Each opened tab lowers the temp.
I’ve traveled on this rail of fiber optics to quell the panic. Click, click, the fields
go faster, accumulation of wool in the background, no shutdown, no forward.
Paula Bohince, the author of three poetry collections, has published in TheNew Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The TLSThePoetry ReviewPoetry, and elsewhere. She was recently the John Montague International Poetry Fellow at University College Cork.
By the end of April I was trying my
best not to spill any more electricity
over my cortex. Pacing the old Roman
road stockpiling litter trapped inside
synapses. Begging my brutal to go easy
on me. The circle I want to be loved by
looks like it’s hemorrhaging cortisol.
Wetlands of blood sugar.
Inside the fire what you get is the fire
which is to say my left amygdala is too
small. My mother’s survival was too
small. If experiences shape the brain’s
circuitry then I learned to fear the father
before the arachnid. I’m hauling my
official deficit up to the summit of the
I’ll fantasize about setting colonial summer
houses alight using dendrites & neurons.
I want so much gone I’m terrified
of moving up. All around the
therapist’s chair I’m
By: Cynthia Miller, Paula Bohince, Anthony Anaxagorou, Tishani Doshi, Zeina Hashem Beck
Title: Five poems about the mind
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/08/25/1032100/poetry-mind/
Published Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 11:00:00 +0000
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