Note on a Dream:
Some dreams are brought to us as a product of the food we eat, the people we are currently loving, or a temporary situation life may have found us in. Perhaps this dream then is some product of one of the three, or perhaps it is something else entirely. As I was being led through the abattoir of my dream, the account of which you’ll find below, I was aware of some kind of hidden significance. I believe in general that all dreams have meaning, perhaps some more than others, but this dream compelled me enough that even while I was having it I was aware of the need to write it down before I forgot. Not that I have or ever will forget the terrifying account I try and recount in some varying degree of accuracy below. No less significant is the fact that I was given, during the course of the dream, words of which I did not know the meaning and had not heard before. It did not take me entirely by surprise to find, when searching the definitions upon waking up, that these words were exactly as I knew them in the dream. Oddly enough these words, scattered throughout the below entry, are all similar in that they begin with the letters ‘ab’ and share a common French origin. The title of the dream too, was known to me even as I was having it. This is the first time I have ever posted a dream as a blog entry but I found the format ideal in that the purpose of a blog, at least in my mind, is not to just inform the reader but to perhaps inform the writer. I have searched my mind and my resources endlessly to try and derive some meaning from this dream but perhaps it is you; sitting down with your coffee and cookies, expecting a light read on par with whatever other misadventures I have found myself in since arriving to Ukraine; who can derive the meaning. If not, then at least I hope you find this quite unusual entry somewhat interesting and not terribly tedious. I can assure you that from my unique vantage point, it most certainly was the most vivid and real dream I have perhaps ever had. And if you do find this entry a dreadful exercise that leaves you wishing you were dreaming rather than reading about someone else’s, that is to say, tedium bordering on the torturous variety, than I assure you that I will be back by week’s end with an altogether new account of my continuing misadventures in Ukraine. Your attention and continued readership I am grateful for in a way in which my words cannot begin to express! And for my Ukrainian and other International friends, I’m sorry in advance for the complicated manner in which I write this.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
The Abdication of god
A single solitary cry is what awakens me, echoing from somewhere deep within the darkness. I try and step gingerly forward but find that I seem to lack legs- though I do not fall. I seem a floating torso or, more specifically, a spirit, hovering in the darkness with only the shrill pained voice in the distance to remind me that I’m not dead. I float forward, towards the wretched and seemingly inhumane cries that, had I legs, would doubtlessly be propelling me backyards. Yet forward I go, guided by same unearthly force that I, through some divined knowledge, know better than to try and resist. It is with trepidation then that I am carried through this haunted corridor toward what increasingly sounds to be agonizing animal retching. I curse my hearing, wishing to be both deaf and blind, though the darkness has already gifted me the latter. This is like no other sound that I have ever heard before- a ceaseless cry that penetrates the soul and renders it terribly, immortally changed. Though startlingly inhuman this cry is nevertheless unmistakably that of a man, for it encapsulates in its endless depths all of humanity’s trials and tribulations, its losses and heartbreak. The pain reflected in his pitch is all consuming; there is no escaping it, certainly not now as I enter into it. It burns my spirit and scatters my mind until, certain I will die from the mere sound of it, it ceases- swallowed up in these dripping walls only to be replaced with a single shaft of light that pierces through this dark labyrinth as a knife through virgin flesh, the taste unmistakably bitter and cold. My eyesight having been found, I rush towards it, the light at the end of my tunnel.
I enter into a crowded room, my eyes interpreting the dull orange glow of death settled here as surely as if it were my second tongue. Silent no more, the room is flooded with whimpering. I turn slowly, taking in the large metal cages that are pressed against each other. Horizontal boxes of derision, each holds within its rusted teeth forms of what must have once been humans, though how I come to this realization I know not; for the shapes within are foreign and unrecognizable to my eyes. Lacking any discernable features they could hardly be mistaken for life forms of any sort were it not for the presence of two eyes spaced apart in just such a way, the connection never again to be made. Once bright though now muted, these eyes search independently through the darkness for something they sense must be there. The search returns nothing, these eyes are never to be opened again. A blessing in disguise this has turned out to be, for one look at their own mutated forms and the reaction would most certainly be fatal. Absent limbs, toothless mouths and charred skin cause me to rethink my prognosis. No blessing, hidden or otherwise, is present here. These poor souls barely hold even to that anymore, and death must seem the kind of friend they wish had been embraced when they’d had the chance.
The spirit guides me further, down another long hall into a larger room- one I’m not sure exists even as I move within it. Against the walls stand more cages and like the ones before them these are also without bars. The featureless entities inside lie prostrate, as if sleeping, though subconsciously I know this not to be the case. Then, further inside the room, a row of chairs lined six across. In each is seated a gray figure, somewhere between life and death, and towering over each stands another figure. These greater figures hold in their hands drills, abraders, and other various devices which they apply to the flesh of their seated counterparts. This ablation results in the removal of limbs and organs, accessible via large open cavities in the victims’ flesh. The movements of the standing figures are precise and calculated yet timed perfectly in unison with one another. Once the surgeon’s ablate their patients they abacinate them, holding before their eyes a red-hot metal plate, blinding them. Once this has been done, the eyes nothing more than lifeless orbs still squirming in their skulls, the abrader is used. Any distinguishing features or characteristics are removed with this most cruel instrument. Noses are polished off, pointed chins smoothed, moles and blemishes blended into smooth flesh. To my amazement, these poor, unrestrained fools make no effort to escape or move whatsoever. They sit quietly and obediently tilt their heads to the left or right to allow the crude artisan room to do his cruel work, as if it was requested. Only later in the further room do they realize their situation and begin to cry out. Now they sit and allow themselves to be carved up and molded with more restraint than is afforded a dentist during a routine check up. One by one they stand and are replaced by a waiting man or woman as the former, in turn, then clamor into steel bar-less cages stacked neatly along the walls. It’s a human assembly line, the devil’s artisans bending over each new patient with zest and glee, though I am left to imagine this merely from the dedication each applies to their work as their faces are hidden behind crude iron masks. My heart beats like the organs pulled from the victims’ flesh and tossed into metal bins, and it is clear that love has never seen this place. As I proceed further I stare with horror at the length of these lines and at the seeming naivety of those queuing there, as if for some new Disneyland ride that they’ve traveled days for. The lines run back as far as can be seen, but mercifully I’m not taken into the room from which they begin, and from which the brainwashing must take place, but instead am directed to follow one of the devil’s artisans, out a side door and down another darkened hall. Another side door opens and reveals, to my surprise, what appears to be a greenhouse. I drift imperceptibly inside and the artisan shuts the door behind me until I can make out fully the room we’re in. A sink sits here, at the entrance, and beyond an assortment of various plants and flowers. Their smell replaces the scent of death that had consumed me from the previous room and the artisan too basks in it, tilting back his neck and exhaling long and hard. Turning to the sink he removes his gloves and washes his hands in the sitting water, an ablution that leaves the water as red as his blood splattered apron. He then removes his helmet, revealing beneath the face of an older, attractive man. He turns and walks into the greenery, stooping before a rose in full bloom. He whispers something to it, tenderly stroking its petals. It is treatment that contrasts harshly with that he had just bestowed upon the patient in his chair moments ago. That man is buried somewhere deep within now in a bar-less cage, while this one is left humming a lullaby to a flower, willing it to bloom as he waters it from a tin can dangling from a well-manicured hand.
The signs of life are visible throughout this space. The sound of birds singing emanates throughout and butterflies drift carelessly from flower to flower. I watch a while longer until the man, glimpsing at his watch, stands and once again dons the unearthly mask and gloves, pulling the heavy door open and disappearing around the corner. The spirit leads me to follow but for the first time, I resist, pulling against the force until I am raised up, above this place. From the air I see the whole of this place, the foundations of this abattoir that houses within its cruel walls the mutilated bodies of those lacking souls. Next to the otherwise inconspicuous building lies another, seemingly ordinary warehouse, and another established construction of some sort. Over there is a school and finally, across the riverbank that splits this sad city stands a McDonalds, much like any other. Towering over this symbol of commercialism, as if to emphasize some hidden message, is an American flag. Its strips and stars are dark against a rainy, overcast sky and, in much the same way as a placard is flashed during a point in a silent film to inform the audience of some inherent action about to take place or provide information on a scene’s whereabouts, here we have one. It takes the form of a concrete slab, jutting up from the banks of the river with the words emblazoned clearly on it. Paris. France.
Again through no will of my own I am cast through the air like a harried messenger until I am hovering over a small ethnic community. My eyes take in what I assume to be Abayas, the traditional black robes worn from head to toe by Muslim women, as they watch a fight that has broken out among the men in the community. These men tussle back and forth, fighting over something which is not clear to me. One man, standing away from the dispute, looks up and spots me. In that moment in which his eyes meet mine I understand that by the end of the day, his sad fate will see him in the artisan’s chair; his eyes no longer seeing and his soul devoid of passion and will. He recognizes it too, and sees in me a savior, for he scrambles to a nearby tree and ascends the branches effortlessly. The desperation in his eyes moves me deeply and he reaches out a hand for me to take him. I lower to his position, offering an outstretched hand of my own from which he may leave this cruel fate and follow me far away from this place. The moment our fingers touch though, I understand it is not to be. I begin to sink and he, like a drowning man, grasps at me with such desperation he will surely overcome me. I can feel our fates intertwining, not now in a joyous escape into the clouds but instead joined together on the hopeless journey to the abattoir, and chairs situated one alongside the other. I shake his frantic grasp and allow him to fall back to earth, his eyes flashing for the last time as I ascend forever away from this place.
Whatever the proper name for the evil place I first flew from, and he will end in, I know that those who go inside are there changed only physically, an outward change which reflects the inward change that has taken place before their entrance. Where this change happens I know not. All I know is that god, if he goes any longer by that name, has long since abdicated from those duties a caring deity may once have been thought to have. In his ablution he has left these cursed people to the abattoir and the artisans inside who await them whilst, in the meantime, tending to their flowers.
Interesting dream, Brendan. It sounds like 3 dreams in one, a conglomeration of three journeys you have made. Yes one phrase struck me in my thoughts as I ponder the existence of some people in this land as being truly soulless. I see them here without thought or care for a being outside of themselves, seeking only to gratify their taste for pleasure in whatever form they seek without care or concern for any other person, I oft wonder if they even consider the existence of anyone outside of themselves. I often view these “people” if you can call them that, as drones. Background, extras in this cast of a planet as modern days have seen the lack of want need or value of honor, respect, and decency.
Perhaps as the Earth is being overpopulated the cosmos has run out of souls or perhaps all that is good in the heavens chooses not to be placed on the earth anymore. Thus victory for the righteous in the Heavens as empty bodies are thrown into this life to be possessed by any wavering or drifting spirit to inhabit by those not written in the Book of Life. As is done in Heaven, so shall it must be done on Earth. Powerful scripture from Romans and a Poe-esque write. Very interesting indeed…
Interesting thoughts… thanks for your input!
Hello, my friend Helen K sent me over to your blog because of your musings on the Ukraine, which I have been wanting to visit. (We are working at the same school in southeastern Poland.) An enjoyable read all around.
Your dream puts me in mind of a remark made by William S. Burroughs in his short, comic piece My Advice To Young People. “Stay away from fuckups. That shit rubs off quick.” What I love about dreams is the way they recast what we know in an unfamiliar light. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, with hallucinatory intensity. People are, in fact, voluntarily lining up all the time to have their personalities shaved down to indistinct nubs… watching television, going to church, chiming in with their in-groups on message boards, etc. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can tell them.
Anyway, thanks for the fine writing. Cheers.
That’s a brilliant interpretation that really I hadn’t thought of yet. Quite illuminating indeed and yes, I believe you are one hundred percent right on these “drones.” Terrifying really, the way in which people voluntarily submit themselves to be castrated, isn’t it? Many thanks for your reply. Excellent input!