No, not that one!
When I was a child I dreamt I ate a marshmallow and awoke to find my pillow missing. Gone!
I vowed to never trust another pillow so completely as I did then, when I was but a foolish ten.
I grew up so unruly, knowing I should never really rest my head upon my pillow. How could I truly, after such a deep betrayal? To this day, without fail, I keep my head. I never let it fall into my pillow nor give my truest self to the comfort of my sleep. That dreaded flashback haunts me. My pillow failed me, that ungrateful host bailed on me when I needed it the most.
Even now, as I write here, a lightyear later, laying on my back in bed, my head floats, suspended, almost imperceptibly above my pillow. I cannot let go, no matter how I lay here trying, self-denying. It makes me feel like crying, sometimes dying.
To look at me you’d never know I was enraged. Yet even still, I strain my neck, buffeting my head against my treacherous pillow, driving me insane. Did I mention all the pain?
I’ve tried thick and thin, hard and soft pillows, foam and goose down cushions, posturepedic pads and comformatic headrests. They all have failed my simple test. I even tried an Alfalfa hay bale, all to no avail.
So, whatever happened to that errant pillow, the one when I was ten? Where’d it really go? Where’s it been? Will I ever know?
Perhaps it was taken by my mother. And that is why I cannot fall in love. And why I never try.
Perhaps it was stolen by a dark-skinned foreigner. And that is why I’m scared, deep down, of others, no matter how hypnotic or exotic. I’m always unprepared, like Charlottetown.
Perhaps my political foes took it, which is why I want to tell them, “look it,” and the rest. But thinking what is best, I simply self-divest.
Perhaps it was stolen by the restless night itself, lost to that nether world beneath my bed, which may explain my constant fear of being dead.
Perhaps God just made it vanish, which may explain my antipathy to churches. All my existential searches end in fear. For if God so loved me, why’d he let my pillow disappear?
Will we ever really know the reason why we dare not trust? Fear, suspicion, hate barbaric, all irrational and insidious creatures, lusting up inside us, our most fastidious teachers.
I don’t believe we’re “carefully taught to hate and fear,” like the song says. No, I think it’s far more primal. In fact, when all is final, it’s pretty clear we must be carefully taught NOT to hate and fear, “from year to year.” Why do we let good ROT, from ear to ear?
It’s difficult to know exactly where these urges first arose in us, or why. It must be buried in our DNA. Or somewhere even deeper dare I say.
Shall I scream my angry tears into my unresponsive pillow? Billow out my curses in endless rhyming verses?
No. Let’s just blame it on the evil marshmallow, from which no good has ever come – except for S’mores. Those are really great, because they really help me to conciliate.
From my next book of poems in images, coming soon.