There are so many ghosts here. Behind closed eyes they are brought from elsewhere. They sink their claws into the web, sending out images and stories where the fancy will take them. Such a ghost is “the boy next door”. From the hood of children in the far provinces, he blooms like a dusty river. His source, the street without trees; cold and shingled with litter of dead weeds along the sides. Unlike the other ghosts his smile never runs dry. Nor does his burden of embraces and their stories. My current encounter begins here outside the house with a white picket fence.
It all depends on the way he smiles. Often, dreamers walk up to him and sit and watch and wait by the side of the road for whatever his smile may bring: that night it brought me.
His voice beckoned, like a distant hiss composed like a hymn. It was more than just a call; it unwinded roads before me. And in the morning at five o’clock when I got up the memory was already waiting for me; humming faintly at the back of my head. Sanity had dropped its guard, and rivers, wild and barefoot, slipped unseen between the cracks, across the heart. I listened for his smile as the dust rose with the sun. But the roads were silent, only lies rattled through the undergrowth. If they were true, he would have hunted them down and set fire to the wind to make them come running out of the burning air. But the promises are long gone, stretched and gutted and pierced on sticks as a reminder and a warning to folk on their way out of the dark.
That is the only song the dreamers hear: lullabies from golden smiles bringing home what was sent away. But sacrifices must be made. And those sacrifices will be cared for very well. He will see to it. His claws invisibly sunk into hearts of gold swelling painfully into river rafts woven by a smile that never runs dry.
I wake in the morning with a plentiful catch of lies cleverly woven into memories still waiting, after all this time. In the mirror I don’t see the claws scarping along the delicate skin under my morning gloried eyes. I only see a smile that never runs dry.
*This short story/narrative poem is inspired by a dream I had.
I have a dream of a world without boundaries, without money, without leaders… I have a dream of a world where we are all allowed to pursue our talents, our passions, cultivate what we are truly good at and where every talent receives its due respect. Where someone who is good at building houses is treated with reverence because without them we would have no roof over our heads, where someone who is good at making clothes is held in highest regard because without them we would all freeze to death, where someone who is empathic and insightful is treated with admiration because without them we would have no one to help us solve crisis and sort out problems, where someone who farms the land is considered to be the most important person of all because they feed us.
I have a dream of a world where you grow, not where you are planted, but where you choose to grow based on your own needs. Where you can settle down, build a home where you know you will truly bloom. Where a farmer is understood to have a bigger piece of land to farm our food, where a doctor is welcomed to a plot in the town because we all know they need to be close to their patients, where an artist is encouraged to build a house on a cliff overlooking the sea to soak up the inspiration pouring in from the ocean. Where we take no more than we need. And happily let other people do the same.
I have a dream of a world where pursuing your talent is considered to be a gift and practicing it a chance to hone in on your skill and evolve your craft, where making a garment, treating a patient, building a house for someone, giving someone council, telling a story, playing music, fixing a tool, planting a tree, is a way to do what you love the most, a gift to yourself, not something you do to make money and accumulate wealth and building status.
I have a dream of a world where kindness, empathy, creativity, exploration, generosity and spirit are the only leaders we need to guide us, and finding a way to discover this leadership within ourselves the only road to morality we need to walk.
Am I dreamer? Yes. Do people laugh and me and call me naïve when I talk like this. Yes. Do I believe it is one day possible? Absolutely! And today, tomorrow and the day after that I am going to do my best to live as though this dream was already reality. Believing in it bravely and audaciously.