The Dream and the Dreamers: A Poem
In seedy diners on the fringe of town,
We sit in crumb-strewn booths,
Staring over stale espressos
And whispered half-truths.
We speak repeatedly
Of you and me,
But I wonder…
Is there ever to be a we?
Your honeyed words a sing-song,
But play on, Orpheus, play.
You fumble over fractured phrases.
(Is that what you meant to say?)
We stumbled on Pandora’s box,
Pried it open and set it free.
The dark longings held therein
Created a nebulous reality.
Tangled in the damp sheets
Of love and lust,
Shackled by feelings
And spurred with mistrust,
I, too, turn to lies.
The gilded dishonesty on my lips
Falls easily into morning coffee
Between hot tortured sips.
My dreams in the gutter of some foggy boulevard,
Scattered like dry leaves by the exhaust from cars,
Lurking in dark alleyways,
Sneaking in smoke-ridden bars.
We stroll, huddled by the chill
Of black velvet nights,
Beyond the glaring honesty
Of the city lights,
And I fall like a child for
Your promises of soon, soon -
Silk-tongued vows under
The cloudless star-dogged moon.
The futility of ambivalence
On your part - not mine,
Embraces in cheap hotels,
Drenched in cheaper wine.
The ringing phone I’m afraid to answer
(I told you not to call here.)
The mailbox lurking with hidden secrets?
Passion consumed by fear.
And is it worth it, after all,
When all is said and done?
Will the dream devour the dreamers,
Should the two become as one?
This poem is about a love affair between two people who are married to others. The speaker of the poem is the woman, who’s ready to end her marriage in order to be with the man. The man, however, keeps stalling. He doesn’t want to lose his mistress, but at the same time, he finds it difficult to leave his wife.
The woman is weary of waiting for him to make a decision. She’s also tired of sneaking around and lying to her husband. She feels guilty about the deceit, but her passion for the other man drives her. She wishes she’d never become involved in the affair, but now she’s so in love with the man that she can’t stop seeing him.
She also wonders if the reality would be as pleasurable as the fantasy. If the two lovers are ever free to be together openly and to marry, would it really be as wonderful as she imagines? Is the dream larger and more powerful than the two dreamers?
I was prompted to write this from a real-life experience. When I met my current husband, Johnny, we were both married to others. At the time, Johnny was in a doomed marriage, and I was married to a philanderer. I fell hopelessly in love with Johnny, but over the course of our affair, I felt many times that we’d never really be together. I feared that he’d never actually make the necessary break and take the “plunge.” It was a year of blissful misery for me. I’m elated to report, however, that it eventually worked out. Johnny and I have been happily married for twenty-three years.
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