Home > Debugging > Nightmare-ish


(dverse poetry prompt)

I only wish I were chased by gorgons, or succubi.
Instead, it’s Bob from accounting, and he’s fully clothed,
asking me to use algebra to figure out what account to put a sale in.

This is my recurring dream, which I have no more often than I sleep
as far as I know, which is not much – the nature of these dreams is I forget
or have no words to relate them – my waking descriptions are at best analogies.

Many do involve math, but as often it’s shapes that can’t be made to fit,
not finding an address for some mundane errand,
some black and white catastrophe of suburban branch-office blandness.

I wake up tired from these, sometimes with an urge to urinate
which I think might be related but none of these involve fluids,
or tides, or waterfalls, or bathrooms, but more reasonably:
I remember because I am waking, not waking because I’m remembering.

They relate to my workload in some non-linear way, which, were I dreaming,
I would try to solve for the area under the curve by asking everyone in a focus group
and taking the square root of the average. I don’t code, but my job often involves
focusing on things that, strictly speaking, aren’t there, or can’t be fished out
with the tools at hand.

They seem to have evolved from an older dream – one where I see something,
hope to come back for it later, and fail.

As I’ve aged I think I’ve seen everything once,
and come back to it so many times I’ve forgotten what I’m looking for.

Meditation helps – it’s a relief sometimes to be awake enough to know
you are considering a koan – the sound of one hand clapping,
perhaps, or more prosaically,
no work, no food.

  1. April 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Well that’s a nightmare of the more corporate sort – a unique conception!

  2. April 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Oh my, this snatched me up with its talk of ‘suburban branch-office blandness’ and reminded of the living nightmare of the corporate human resources file room nestled in the innards of the 21st floor of a bank building. It’s space long dead to me but occasionally reappearing in the undead horrors of my subconscious. The algebra potentially being your body’s code for ‘I have to pee’ was hysterical. Thoroughly enjoyed this poem, thank you!

  3. April 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    oy…this took me back a bit to my days in the corporate office…had a few of these then as well…but none as vivid as just trying to exist in that environment..also being a fixer, i def get the fixing of problems…i like the progression of this…def like the link in of the urinating, it grounded it well and not without a little humor…

  4. April 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    It’s nice to be appreciated for what may be more of a self-therapy experiment than a poem, but it did seem (even to me) to be more than the sum of its parts. I didn’t realize myself it was so much about my job until I read some of your comments. I *thought* I picked that koan out at random “no work no food,” but in retrospect – I didn’t.

  5. April 2, 2012 at 5:18 am

    I loved this. Your nightmare is a real one. No work no food. Most enjoyable.

  6. April 2, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Being chased by Bob from accounting – you had me hooked right there. An awful lot of people have fears like this.

  7. April 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    lots of nightmarish images

    semantic feeling

  8. April 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Understand this. Funny how slippery everyday things become in our dreams. I posted for this late but it’s kinda funny for me. It’s down one from the one you read today. Called Film Noir. If you like you can read down the way. I’m trying to do this everyday write so I’ll see you on the trail as Brian and Claudia say. Enjoyed this. Kind of real, and more surreal. Thanks.

  9. April 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Gary this is hilarious and yet deep–genius! I loved it, glad to have met you over at my blog. One of the best poems I’ve read in awhile.

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