I was chased by Swastik gents
and big boned ladies.
The ladies wielded buckets
of rotting salmon, I remember
I hate salmon.
The gents wielded extroversion
and I couldn’t bear that either.
I don’t know why they were chasing me,
perhaps because I was being
to escape from the smell
and small talk questions
I dove off the wooden sloshy planks
right into the water
and the water was cloudy and
fertile. The fish and octopi were
reproducing in my hair
and I could feel the water swell
and I was scared.
I swam deeper.
They can’t get at me from here
not from here. I turned to look
but the water was too fertile
to see through, to even make out shapes
I wondered why they couldn’t swim
when they had so many fins and gills.
I swam deeper, distracted by my
escape, too distracted to notice
a hulking black shadow
pass over my face
shrouding the sun at the bottom
of the lake. As I swam deeper, he
opened his mouth to let me
pass, pass past hairbrush teeth
and inflamed taste buds hungry
from want of me.
His gullet was slippery and my hands
brushed against the cilia that dotted
his gushy tunnel. It was a slow going
my descent into his body, my careful
painting I knew in my bones
I was crafting a masterpiece.
I landed on a squishy pillow
at the mouth of his cave stomach
and found that I would have company
in this time of slow digestion. Next to me
in a little semi circle
all cross-legged in prayer position
mumbling mantras and growing beards
sat Barack Obama, Mustafa the lion, Peter Rabbit,
and Anne Hathaway.
I felt shy.
I took my pillow and wiped off
the bits of choral and fish guts that had
accumulated. On hands and knees
I squished my way next to Anne
trying not to upset her
trying not to break her focus. Her hands
were clasped bright red lips
stretching through consonant sounds
she didn’t seem to know I was there.
I folded my legs into cross legged position
like the rest of them
and began to meditate
on how to meditate,
and I felt nervous they would know
I didn’t know
how to meditate properly, that they would
know I almost always fall asleep while
I didn’t fall asleep this time.
Maybe I was too nervous to sleep.
While I was meditating I began to muse
on how surreal a poem this would make.
I vowed to myself
When I was able to get pen and paper I would
write down my experience
of escaping the Swastiks and fishy ladies
diving into the clouds and down the gullet
of the largest whale I could ever imagine
how I was now here next to Anne,
who might be upset that I call her
by her first name only,
and that Barack and Mustafa and Peter
are here, too. That doesn’t happen every day,
I grew excited by my new ambition, my muse,
so excited I became angry I was in this cave,
angry that I couldn’t get out. I stood up
from my pillow, and raised my foot,
kicked the pillow, kicked it
high, just booted it, as hard as I could
straight up the creature’s throat,
as far up the throat as it could possibly go.
It landed squelching against the uvula and
suctioned with a popping noise,
and the ground I was standing on
and the meditators were seated upon
began to shake. Violent shivers.
Stomach acid began to rise
and rose even higher
and began to cascade upon the lot of us.
Anne and Barack and Mustafa and Peter
wouldn’t move, they wouldn’t abandon ship
or open their eyes. I was confused but too
inspired to stay, and I hopped aboard
a stiff manta ray and rode the stomach acid
like Megan Abubo
up and past the cilia
past my painting
and past the hairbrush teeth the inflamed
taste buds I could sense their grief and I
felt sorry, but too inspired to stop. I called
back down the tunnel, wishing the rest of them good luck,
and continued upwards
out of the mouth of the creature.
I was back in the water
the cloudy fertile desperate water
trying to see the top, but the
sun at the bottom of the ocean was
casting strange shadows against my vision
and it was a struggle to even
hold my weight. I grew heavier,
suddenly so heavy I began to sink
and I couldn’t do anything
about it, I couldn’t flail my arms fast
enough I couldn’t kick my legs quickly
Then a hand shot
through the milky water
like Samwise to Frodo
and grabbed my arm. I thought,
and felt myself lurch upwards
towards the bubble surface past the murky
My eyes closed on their own accord
darkness came and it wasn’t until
I felt the breeze upon my ears and
the sound of gasping air that my eyes
popped themselves open and I saw
to my horror
Swastik smiling gents
holding sheets of paper with
typed small talk questions
crouching next to big boned ladies with
braids that looked like tails and buckets
of rotting salmon.
At that moment I awoke.
I was disappointed.
This poem would be better
if it had happened like that,
in this reality we’ve all agree upon.
I became encouraged
I remembered the words of Tupac:
Reality is wrong.
Dreams are for real.