I have recurring nightmares. In the dreams, I am always angry at myself: why the hell have I returned to the L.A. house I shared with a violent boyfriend? I rush to gather my things, and think only to get away before his return. This dream has frequently inserted itself into my sleeping hours in the length and breadth of twenty-two years.
My father has been having nightmares. I pat his mottled hands and wake him to save him from the dogs that bite. I rescue him from walking devastated territory, towns made empty by the Communist's abduction of able bodied men, women and children. Father is whimpering, his fists clench and unclench like a tomcat's paws and his feet shoot out from beneath his comforter.
How many nightmares do all of humanity, the nearly 7 billion people on Earth, experience in a given 24-hour period? How many dream of starvation, bombs shattering limbs in market place or at wedding? How many dream of the tsunamis, earthquakes, fire? How many migrants are taken by nightmares of being beaten by unwelcoming natives How many dream of festering wounds received for voting against a dictator? How many dream of dead children, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers? What would our collective nightmares look like as film montage?
I've often wished to be freed of my nightmares, but I've come to realize my nightmares represent my history. They are the texture of who I am. If I can never be liberated from my nightmares, then I will try to use them as gifts for my creative life. The nightmares can become poetry.
I am not a poet, but everything comes down to a deep desire for poetry in my painting and writing life--tropes and metaphors. The nonfiction books I've written were largely to tell a story none has ever heard, but the joy of the writing was to throw out one imagery enjambed one after another. The children's book I write aims for poetry, as do the graphic novels. The latter is closest to metaphors of life in its concentration of vision, words, sharp and concise.
The novels on my shelf have slowly begun to migrate into the storage shelves in the garage, as collected poems, anthologies of poetry, Shakespeare begin to takeover my studio/study shelf. They clamor to be within easy reach of my life. These will be the essential friends I live with to the end of my days.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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