Scintillate — A Dream


“Scintillation” — C.Birde, 3/18




Boundless field of dark – inky, plush, coal-black. Pressed against eyelids. Consuming vision.

Light pricks — winks and blinks and scintillates. Golden, glittering. A multiplicity of individual, shivering stars within and against the dark — entering breath and pores, veins and mind.

Carry it.

Upon waking, carry it from dream, out into the world. Feed it to every word, every thought and action. Let it bloom in outstretched hands, shape tongue’s speech, heart’s beat.

Then everything,


will shift…




— C.Birde, 3/18



Filling Holes — A Dream


“Graffiti” — C.Birde, 2/18


Stare out the passenger window as the landscape blurs past. Anything to distract. He drives with one hand on the convertible’s steering wheel, his left arm rests on the door’s frame. He, a mustachioed middle-aged man with a paunch. He, who wears his comb-over like a Franciscan Monk. He, who won’t stop talking.

As we speed along, the wind plucks at his words, comically tosses his fringe of hair.

Arrive at a squat, two-story octagonal building. Robust and colorful graffiti interrupts the peeling white paint of the structure’s weathered exterior. Perched on a narrow spit of land, the building broods over the gray ocean.

Exit the convertible. Follow him — and his endless monologue. Up a wooden ramp that spirals simultaneously around the building’s wind-whipped skeletal exterior and its dim, yet warmly lit interior. Pass small clutches of people hunched and huddled at the ramp’s edges.

While tramping ever upward, notice that the inclined ramp is pocked with rows of evenly spaced, one-inch diameter holes. Each hole contains a large, thick, striped- and dotted multi-colored caterpillar. In a rolling wave, dozens — hundreds — of the creatures retreat, withdraw into their respective holes to avoid being stepped on. Then, in a rolling wave, they thrust their fat heads out of the holes again once the threat has passed.


— C.Birde, 2/18


Wave — A Dream


“Steps” — C.Birde, 2/18



Wave goodbye.

As they exit the house and tumble out into the soft song of evening. As they descend the long set of rough stone steps that switch back and forth through short cut grass. As, laughing, they climb and jostle and elbow their way into the small, sleek black car parked at the curbside below.

Stand on the threshold, and wave.

And when one of them – the last to duck into the car – pauses, turns, and looks back up the rise; when that one answers my hand’s raised motion; when he grins broadly, warmly…


Wave goodbye.


— C.Birde, 2/18

Wood and Water — A Dream

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“Wood and Water” — C.Birde, 2/18


The canoe slides noiselessly through the river. Beneath lily pads and water lettuce, the water is astonishingly clear. Stare down to the river’s bed — observe the passage of soft-tumbled stones pressed into fine silt. Shift of focus — see in stead the pattern of complex reflections tremble against the water’s surface.

Trees huddle to left and right — thick, green, lush, they define what once must have been the river’s slope-shouldered banks. The river, though, has swollen to claim large portions of the wood. Even midstream, trees lift themselves skyward – roots and trunks knuckle up through shallow water; while bark, worked in layered shapes and soft colors, peels slowly away from those wooded torsos. Dip the oars and navigate the canoe around these, with care.

Reach a hand out, over the canoe’s edge. Trail fingers through the water and touch an up-thrust, thick-gnarled root. The entire tree shivers, disintegrates, crumbles away. Fibrous bits and splinters drift and spiral down through the water, sift and settle to dust the stones nested within the riverbed below.


Landlocked Lies — A Dream

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“Landlocked Lies” — C.Birde, 1/18


An antique city, all sharp curves and unexpected angles. Filigree cast-iron gaslights line the wide sidewalks. Worn stone buildings, carved in relief, march along cobblestone streets…

There, across the street, one corner building curves back sharply on itself in a flatiron shape. Narrow alleys slide past, follow its long sides out of sight. Here, the streets are thick with a clamor of people – they spill out onto the cobblestones, eddy back and forth in incessant motion. All except one woman, who holds and defines her own space within the human river. Stationed before the flatiron building, she is dressed in a formal riding habit of tailored black velvet jacket and long skirt; a high-collared white shirt with lace at neck and sleeves; a veiled, men’s style top hat; and low-heeled hook-and-button boots.

While the sea of people swells around her, she cries out suddenly, calls attention to the “Little Green Heron” she has found! Such a surprise! Such an unanticipated and marvelous happenstance! Indeed, a medium-sized semi-aquatic bird waddles near her —  it pulls occasionally at her skirts with its long, narrow, hook-ended beak. Most ignore the woman’s exclamations. But the crowd constantly reinvents itself with new folk, and gives her renewed opportunity to draw any attention she can to the “Little Green Heron”.

But it is not a Little Green Heron at all; it is clearly a double-crested cormorant. In addition, there is no reason she should be at all surprised at its proximity, for each time she crosses from one curb of the narrow corner to another, she reaches inside her riding habit and pulls out a small fringed, burgundy purse that is filled with fish. With a gloved hand, she rations morsels to the sleek-feathered black bird that shuffles its webbed feet over the cobbles and struggles to keep up.


— C.Birde, 1/18


Taken Away — A Dream


“Taken Away” — C.Birde, 1/18


“So. We’re driving away from the cabin in the woods. Away from all the trees and green and birdsong. Where I thought I’d get some writing done.”

Beside me, she lifts one shoulder and looks apologetic. She always looks apologetic. For everything. Even when it’s not her fault.

“And we’re going to a day spa. A resort.”

Another big-eyed, silent half-shrug.

“I am not dressed for a spa.”

This time, she lifts both shoulders in a full shrug — noncommittal, nonjudgmental.

“They get all the seats, and we have to sit all the way back here.”

To illustrate our shared discomfort, the station wagon hits a tooth-rattling bump – my head strikes the ceiling’s inner shell. The wagon’s available seats are occupied by white-haired women in pastel sweat suits.

“And, on top of this…”

This is the point I’ve been working toward throughout my monologue; the point I’ve been trying to wrap my head around through the act of speaking; hoping that somehow, stringing words together in sentences that describe the concrete facts surrounding me, I might be able to make sense of what she’s said, accept her statement as truth.

“On top of all this, you’re telling me that we have different fathers? The man I thought was my father all these years was not? My father died before I could remember him?”

She bites her lower lip, nods silently.

With a sudden violence, a vision plays out before my mind’s eye — a man clutching his abdomen, seeking to contain the blood that seeps through his fingers. A look of shock on his face, of surprise in his eyes behind charcoal-rimmed glasses.

The station wagon hits another bump. My vision clears; incredulity remains.

She — still beside me, rattling along in the seatless, way-back of the wagon — wears, now, a look of pity. Softly, she pats my hand.


Suspense — A Dream

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“Suspense” — C.Birde, 1/18


Hair – unruffled. Not a strand out of place.

Jeans, long-sleeved t-shirt – unbuffeted. Yet, a rush of air courses over the exposed flesh of my face, my hands, my feet like a strong current of water.

There is nothing – not a floorboard, nor weave of threadbare carpet; no slim scrap of terra firma – beneath me.

I hang in the air, motionless; arms snugged beneath my ribs…

…and the stairwell rushes past; floors and hairpin-turns of banisters whip past in a blur.

I am surrounded by heady, accelerated motion.

Do I fall?

Or does the structure rise skyward in reckless urgency?

Suspended, I blink.

The stairwell streaks by.


— C.Birde, 1/18