"This is not a dream."

i remember
standing in a clearing
outlined in gold
looming trees of vivid green
curling into the blue sky

and i stand there, 
deeply sunken into my nightmares,
looking at the man who is not my father
but plays his role in this rude approximation of a dream

i ask, frantic, scared, shaking, 
if this is real.

he says yes.
"This is not a dream."
is his only answer

crude words, 
terror personified, 
trapped in curt syllables

"This is not a dream."
"This is not a dream."
"This is not a dream."

i hear them drawing closer,
advancing like honed predators

but i am a prey that cannot run,
i am a sitting meal
but i cannot process the words 
that crush my hope
and incite despair

this is my world,
my nightmares,
the way it is built for me,
and fallen into when i sleep

i wonder
who gave this man,
this father-that-is-not-my-father
the right to tell me 
what bends the rules of reality

for he is no more qualified
than a radio host
or a bull

fine porcelain dolls 
in my clumsy hands,
they shatter in my child-like

listen to the sound of a new idea,
i'm getting more and more 
caught up in my generation's
hive-mind rights and regulations

yet when i fall asleep,
lay my head down to rest,
i am still plagued
by the notions of mortality

and i cannot help but picture my death,
among twisted metal ruins
or merely the local coffeeshop
looking down and judging
my final staging

i resist the urge to run -
if i do, the nightmare just lasts longer

they tear into the man 
impersonating a father-figure,
and then they go for me

and blinding pain is literal
as i jerk to an awake state
and re-orient myself 
in the air of my bedroom

this is my legacy,
my secret,
the thing that follows me around

as surely as i slip out of a window
and creep out to the local park,
swing on metal structures
and pretend i don't need to return to my bed

sometimes i just sit on the back porch,
perching for a glimpse of night oxygen
fresh and clear and cold 
like the cleansing of fear in the early hours of the morning

i smell like terror and sleep,
a combination that twines and winds 
itself into my ears, around my stomach

jerks itself tight
with wire-thin bonds
that draw blood
in beaded lines across my flesh

if skin is a sin, 
then i am to go to hell,
for i wander in dreams

to places where my skin is 
made beautiful once again
by tattoos
inked into my flesh

never valuable on its own
but it can have worth
if given the chance

i remember the words of my nightmare
repeat them to myself
when the sun is rising
and i have spent the hours between 11 and 7
imprinting the ceiling on the back of my eyelids

and i go back to the fear
each night like an addict,
one trying to run away from the very thing
holding my back and twisting my leash tight

i hold in my grip 
the word insomnia 
but every time i try to hold it,

somehow it slips out and creeps into my lungs,
stuttering in staccato beats
out the rhythm of my heart

"This is not a dream."

maybe not, 
but it's as scary as one. 

The End

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