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Discussing the Dream Songs

—William Doreski

Discussing the Dream Songs

Summer reeks of mildew and mold.

The politics of weather have failed.

Slow gestures prevail. We slump

at the kitchen table, conversing

in neutral shades of beige and gray.

We are what we speak, so thunder,

if it likes, can shout us down

with harsh and certain underline.

Today the efforts of cloud pay off.

We’ll meet winsome little people

at the market, then view the storms

from the coffee shop verandah.

We’ll discuss Berryman’s Dream Songs

with their racial and gender play,

impossible for a beard to publish

in our raw and self-righteous age.

The sullen censorship of rain

applies itself to every texture

and erodes the generous nuance

that didn’t always succeed

in the Fifties when folks liked Ike

and the schools were segregated.

How can we celebrate the verbs

when nouns and adverbs are suspect?

At the market we’ll buy frozen foods

for the cool and comfort. Pushing

the cart up and down the aisles

will unzip our native playfulness

for a few moments of pleasure.

Our friend the store manager

will chat about the endless storms,

but he hasn’t read The Dream Songs

and would distrust them if he did,

their dark undertow threatening

these far-flung suburbs with fungal

synonyms whispered aloud.


WILLIAM DORESKI lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Venus, Jupiter (2023). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

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