Lucid Dreaming; a poem from Never Completely Awake

LUCID DREAMING by Martina Newberry

for Kate

Sometimes my dream life
is a euphoric slumgullion
of rock and roll and Milky Way
candy bars and 5-dollar-99-cent champagne.
I can’t find a place to recover
or the right role to play.

You’re so cool
and I have so many questions to ask you,
starting with
“How did you get so cool?
I’m wrapped up in countless failures.
I’ve got Spanglish in my ears
and Ebonics in my nostrils—

shouldn’t something brilliant
and memorable come from that?
I’ve fallen in and out of love
with myself a trillion times,
bought the vitamins,
played the jukeboxes,
lost my keys, dumped my quarters

at the Laundromat and still…and still…
I have eaten scrambled eggs
and cotton candy
and desktop computers
and felt-tipped pens
and straw hats
and bath towels.

I know some lyrics to some songs,
a line or two from some movies, still…
In the old days, I dreamed myself new
every month or so. Oblivion was far off
and I could show substance and testament
so earnest, it would make your teeth ache.
I dreamed myself with wings and webs of silver,

dreamed myself diaphanous, icy.


From Never Completely Awake, Deerbrook Editions, 2017

View a video poem by the author from this book

Dowsing for a poet

Peter Harris has managed to suggest the principles of Buddhism without renouncing the world around him, mixing the pleasures and misfortunes of life, and retaining a humorous, whimsical yet contemplative balance in his poems.

A Zen student since 1993, he became a priest in the Soto lineage in 2008, practicing at Treetop Zen Center in Oakland, Maine.  He has taught “Zen and the art of composition” as well as several versions of “Buddhism and American Poetry,” both of which include a modicum of daily in-class meditation.  He begins all his classes with meditation.

Peter Harris, Zacamy Professor in English, is a poet and professor of American literature. Since 1974 he has taught in Colby’s English department.  He graduated from Middlebury College, earned a Ph.D. in American literature from Indiana University and, later, received his MFA from Warren Wilson College in poetry writing.

His chapbook, Blue Hallelujahs, won the Maine chapbook competition in 1996.  His work has appeared in, among other places, The Atlantic Monthly,  Prairie Schooner, and Green Mountains Review.

If you are interested in reading his book it is available from Deerbrook Editions and shipping is included in the price; also from the distributor where either individuals, stores, or libraries may order.

Freeing The Hook by Peter Harris

Cover features a painting: White Waves on Sand, Maine by John Marin