I have wanted to share this poem for months now. It is perhaps the best poem I have ever written. It is a real personal poem inspired by my dreams (the prompt was to write a dream poem.) I share it today because I this piece has already been rejected by two different poetry magazines (though I am not giving up!) I would love some feedback so that I can better this poem and maybe get it published– please don’t hold back! It is a prose poem. Enjoy.
Always Keep Fighting (AKF)
I Dreamed a Buring Man by J.E. Skye
It is happening again— always the same. I am speeding, no we are speeding, down a winding road of the experiences of the past blurring into nothingness as it passes me by. Something in the air is just out of reach. I see a man with jet black hair, hunched over shoulders, and the shape of his face— so familiar. I can see his blood begin to boil, anxiety rising reaching every inch of his existence. He begins to burn inside the fire reaching his skin. The burning man grasping for breath, losing the battle with oxygen, and the numbness creeping in. First in his hands— consuming then moving and ever overwhelming every inch of his reality. I exist just outside the pain looking into a fast moving… something. Is that me? Even outside his existence, I feel his agony.
The burning man speeds down the snaking winding road and grips the wheel in hopes to steady himself— to steady the past blurring past him. Exhaustion wipes over his face as looks at me, and I begin to reach out to help this man. A car starts to take focus, first with my eyes and then appearing the moment I thought it into being. Horror washes over me as something invisible keeps me trapped in place— just outside the speeding vehicle. I can reach but not touch the man. We move like a cheetah down this unfamiliar twisting road that seems so familiar. The burning man writhes in pain unable to stop, the world blurs into darkness all around us.
It takes every part of me to make the words escape my mouth. “You must stop this,” I yell at the burning man. “Breathe, you must.” He inhales air filling his lungs to capacity, releasing slowly. Everything all around slows, slowly at first. With his every breathe the blurry images passing us by beginning to take shape. They are memories of a black-haired man with a beard like steel wires trying to steady a jet-black car as he tries to control his breathing.
My eyes and face begin to take shape all around me, and a storm begins to brew on the horizon as the burning man finds himself. Control. He looks at me, and I gasp in amazement. My face. My body. My life. The man reaches out to grip my hand into his, and we become one. I see clearly. We have been here before. The memories of the past and the storm— the uncertain future. I grip the wheel, and with my right hand, I push the car into gear. Ready for the storm ahead.
Photo Credit:Antony Xia