This morning I dreamt the secret room— in this case a forgotten one in an apartment where I lived. As is always the case for me, it was not an empty room— but, nor was it filled with covetous new treasures. This time it was filled quite literally with things I was missing.
I shaped it or probably asked for it, just recently:
like the hidden room we’ve all dreamt—
You find some overlooked part of the apartment,
filled with space
or whatever you’re missing.
In the room were two drafting tables, both covered in materials collected for specific projects. As I looked through the papers and bits of research, the projects returned to me and I wondered how I could have stopped abruptly, let alone abandon and forget them.
A wall of clothing I’d thought lost: jackets, beloved jeans and shirts— the wall resembled nothing so much as impressions of my outward self at other times.
Two fish tanks I came across on shelves, each in poor favor from neglect. Yet I recognized the fishes, and felt an overwhelm of relief they’d not perished.
I couldn’t tell how much time had passed since I’d forgotten it, but seeing what was in there, I wondered how I’d remained quite Me without all of it.
It housed much of what I had been missing, as in the poem— symbolically, aspects of myself suffering some neglect. No mistake that the sprawling, feverishly researched and planned-for projects were the first things I unearthed.
It was a morse code of distress.
I’m barely tethered to this earth without such a project to tempt and steal time from my client work, from mundane practicalities, from responsible sleep and wake times. And yet here I am without one, and feeling more tethered than ever; an uncomfortable reversal.
I’ve been feeling pressure or tension building, an inner war, and it relates to all of my work. Worse, it’s a war of attrition. Not a void, but a kind of negative space nonetheless. Too many emptinesses and ellipses, like drowning in too much air.
Some slow burn, bell curve crescendo to a great upheaval, one of my own making— or should be. (I, like those fishes, in poor favor from neglect) It’s imperative, in fact, that I helm the disaster, for fear it arrive as a drought when what’s needed is a flood.
* * *
The dream was Monday morning; I began writing but was taken from it by first the urge to record it in great detail (a poor occupation in this case) and then by other distractions. Today I felt a sudden compulsion to revisit it about halfway through this essay by Luke Carman.