“Vocations” by C.K. Williams

Blocks of time fall upon me, adhere for a moment, then move astonish-

ingly away, fleeting, dissolving

but still I believe that these parcels of experience have a significance

beyond their accumulation

that though they bear no evident relation besides being occasionally ad-

jacent to each other,

they can be considered in a way that implies consequence, what i come

to call dream’s “meaning”

Although I can’t quite specify how this ostensible meaning differs from

the sum of its states,

it holds an allure, solutions are implied, so I keep winding the dream’s

filaments onto its core.

The problem is that trying to make the recalcitrant segments of the

dream cohere is distracting;

my mind is always half following what happens while it’s half involved in

this other procedure.

Also, my ideas about meaning keep sending directives into the dream’s

already crowded circuits,

and soon I’m hard put keeping the whole intractable mechanism mov-

ing along smoothly enough

to allow me to believe that at least I’m making a not overly wasteful use

of my raw materials.

Although, doesn’t the notion of “use” seem questionable, too? Use how,

and to what end?

To proliferate more complexities when I haven’t come to terms with

those I’ve already proposed?

Mightn’t all of this be only a part of the mind’s longing to be other or

more than it is?

Sometimes I think I’d be better off letting the dream make its own way

without butting in so,

but no, I understand the chaos I might wreak if I left off these indispens-

able cohesions.

How depressing dream can feel now, nothing it can move, everything

is suspended, waiting,

or, worse, not waiting, going on as it’s always gone on but with such fear-

ful, timid resolve

that I begin to wonder if all that keeps me going is my fear of random-

ness, regression, chance.

It doesn’t matter anymore: whatever dream meant once, whatever it

might come to mean,

I know the only way I’ll ever finish with this anguish is to understand

it, and to understand

was what the dream promised, and what, with all its blundering hopes, it

promises still.

From the book: “A Dream of Mind” (1992)

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