Monday, July 17, 2006

Fever Dream


I once saw the Virgin Mary being attacked by a hooded man. The image on the candle flickered in and out of my vision where I lay on a mattress, strung out with a fever of a hundred and two. I had a book review to write for Third Coast (Q Road by Bonnie Jo Campbell) and the words kept blurring on the page and my attention kept drifting back to the Virgin and the candle shadows on the wall. I lived in the Misery (see post before this one) and thought about how awful it was, how awful I felt, and how strange it was that the novena candle had turned from soothing to nighmarish in such a short time. I'd spent much of my life making the best of a bad situation and telling myself I could make it work through sheer force of will. Lying on the mattress without a frame in a room without much of a window, much less a view, I realized I'd been bullshitting myself.

After the fever broke, I wrote the review, and I tried to shake off the two days I was forced to keep myself company. I burned the novena candle for a little while, but I couldn't shake the vision I'd had. I had to throw it away and start over.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"We are everyone in our dreams." The Book of Dreams

Fever Dream

1 shot of tequila (silver)
1 shot of lime juice
garnish with celery salt and olive

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in Long Shot:

Can You See It?

“They’re everywhere,” my friend’s grandmother says,
standing on her tiptoes in the gleaming kitchen. “Rats.
Your mother doesn’t believe me.” She hugs her bony
arms to her chest, rocking back and forth. My friend
tells her she’s fine, but her grandmother looks up
and says, “You’re not. You’re really fat.” She looks
over at me and gives me the once over. “And you’re
too skinny. Are you sick or something?” I am,
but not in the way she thinks. She snaps back
into her world, where the rats are running all
over the floor. “Can you see it,” she says. “There’s
a big one behind the refrigerator.” For a moment,
I know what it’s like to be her, emaciated and crazy,
seen by everyone with pity and disbelief.

18 comments:

Chief Scientist said...

I once had a fever dream and I was a young man and a woman came to bring me an orange smoothie and then she took off her clothes and we had sex and she was Giselle Bundchen.

Aren't fevers great???

Anonymous said...

Today's triple-header "Quote of the Day":#1: My interest in story is as something lived in and lived through, a way in which the soul finds itself in life.--James Hillman;#2: So night followed night, filled with lovemaking and storytelling.--from A Thousand and One Nights;#3: "Mr. Natural, what is the meaning of life?" "Don't mean shit."--R. Crumb.

Anonymous said...

Re "Can you see it?" Michelle, without Jerry Springer your poems would be unpopulated, and probably a lot better.

Bonnie said...

Honey,
Cute picture, reminds me of Simone. She knew as much about emergency exits only and "No Exit" as anyone. I'm glad you bounced back. Kiss kiss
Bonnie

Anonymous said...

m--Trapped like a rat? Ask your bwana friend for help. He's good at lab experiments.

Anonymous said...

A lot better than Simone de Beauvoir

Anonymous said...

You did novenas in your pre-Catholic days? How strange. But you are a super freak.

Anonymous said...

To all your MOT's out there, stay tuned for tomorrow's great rabbi "Quote of the Day."

R's Musings said...

AP,
You're repeating yourself; you're repeating yourself. Go have another cup of coffee and contemplate the shadows...maybe you'll remember who you are.

Great post, Michelle. Maybe The Misery was just announcing itself full force. Great quote, too; maybe we're still dreaming. --R

Anonymous said...

To sleep, perchance to dream. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. The rest is silence. How frosty.

UPI said...

AP, what's your wire, over?

Anonymous said...

Johnny Fever or Orange Julius, whichever one slept with the moderator.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry too much about that hooded guy and the Virgin, Michelle. It was probably just the H.G. dropping in for a quickie.

Anonymous said...

With your ability, Michelle, you could easily make "Fever Dream" into a book, something, I'm sure, surpassing E.M. Forester in its symbolic significance. You could call this masterpiece "A Room Without a View." Magnificent.

Anonymous said...

Are you gonna have any time to dialogue with me after the semester's over, Michelle, or are you gonna take your act on the road?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the moderator brought in that picture of Sean Penn and his father. Makes us think about art.

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard a really good expository malediction from you, Michelle, since you let loose on the size of UP's girl friend's tush. What's holding you back?

JR's Thumbprints said...

"Q Road" was a disappointment. Bonnie Jo's short stories though, especially "Candy," blew me away.
--Jim