Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lafcadio Hearn's Akinosuke and the Fleeting Entomology of Youth

Illustration from the original edition
"Akinosuke must have been dreaming," one of them exclaimed, with a laugh. "What did you see, Akinosuke, that was strange?"

Then Akinosuke told his dream,--that dream of three-and-twenty years' sojourn in the realm of Tokoyo, in the island of Raishu;--and they were astonished, because he had really slept for no more than a few minutes."

- excerpt from The Dream of Akinosuke, as compiled in Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

In the Japanese dream narrative recorded and analyzed by Lafcadio Hearn, based in the folklore of Japan, the symbology of insects, which reflect the ephemeral substance of dream as the unconscious imagination, are here abundantly espoused as creative interpretations of archetypal imagery (Butterflies, Mosquitos, and Ants).

Wonder, the life of an insect, so short, from a human mind. Yet with the indiscernible speed of buzzing flight, an eternal instant, witnessed of countless eyes.

(Currently listening to Somei Satoh)
Backstage, a slight sepia-tone monochrome corridor splits into a labyrinth of doorways. An old acquaintance meets me behind a curtain, in the shadowy nook. “Oh! How are you?” Proudly delighted to have us meet onstage, he announces his part, “This is the play of Arthur.” With equal candor to his showy façade of shiny outlook, I greet him kindly, “That is great!” I walk past, returning to my disoriented grumbling, a burdened mug, stupefied with untenable sorrow. In an underground room, coldly lit with dusty spotlights, a group of Japanese youth greet me with strong affirmation, welcoming and comfortable in their sturdy countenance, an open sound of impromptu community breeds equal recognition for all present, dicing cards and stringing their hats to the unblinking mold of unspoken friendship. One, slightly overweight, fiddles with an obsolete USB converter. Blowing through it, he creates tones of a flute. Placing a wooden object with holes and a plate full of water, he begins to shape harmonies and effervescent rhythms with a strong windpipe coloration. His instrumental play continues to the delight of us all as he sits under a strong light, entertaining with jazz intonation amid the subdued betting ruckus of bargained camaraderie. One man at the cards table looks me straight in the eye with clear intention, a warm regard filters through the depth of his unwavering eyes as he hands me a cloudy glass of thin white water. “Would you like some rice water?” He asks quietly. “I’ve heard of rice milk!” I respond, accepting with spry respect.   
"Rice is good to see in dreams, as it foretells success and warm friendships...To eat it signifies happiness and domestic content. To see it mixed with dirt or otherwise impure, denotes sickness and separation from friends...Dreaming about rice means good luck and happy times are coming." (iDream)

"Insects in a dream always represent obstacles that you must overcome to reach your goals...Insects also represent excessive worry over certain things, meditate to find out what they might mean to you by using all the symbols in your dream for reference." (iDream) 
oh dreamer in disguise!
who wakes with a call vocalized
from towers disappearing and weary
in the first morning light,

who shocked entranced gazers
pouring pupils over their single-haired tips, fragmented,
reflecting a statue's burned relics, encased in antiquity

surviving the past with trickery in the momentary revelation
from an onlooking sage,
her brown-eyed ghost close above her shoulders,
sunken and twisting with every step
into the shrinking abyss alleyway.

a life written as graffiti
from talented, distended arms
working magic into the obsolete concrete,
courageous youth, who wars
over books and trivia for a mathematical applause
within their minds,
the build up,
cornering her feline sense

in a mundane yet sacrificial wail to another day,
a day after dead thoughts reinvigorate the mind
with careless hauntings that cry and stutter a storm,
made in blood and worn as a headdress
to the laughing and cruel butterfly Asian trust,
in a token object,
insignia drawn with fingernail accuracy

as a tattoo beneath the skin,
warning in wordless heed
to beware for the introspective desire,
most inner and yet most awake,
as host to the world's untamed fire,
a prehistoric urge,
to look above,
walking away from the estranged bellowing
hidden deep inside,
a union with touch,
spirit's shudder
listening to the walled moods that hallow

- excerpt from "misbegotten souls"


  1. That poem is most interesting. It's sobering how the wastes of the past, the mistakes that swirl around our heads, are inextricably linked with our spiritual inward path. You usually let the linkages breathe, but here the chains are crystal clear in musical insinuation, the sadness all too real.

    I also love the dream whereby the reed flute becomes a USB cable, another game of subjectively perceived time and the interpenetration of (Asian) place into all that is.

    By the way, did you write: "Wonder, the life of an insect, so short, from a human mind. Yet with the indiscernible speed of buzzing flight, an eternal instant, witnessed of countless eyes"? It's beautiful, the wisdom equivalent of slowing down a dragonfly's wings so we can see all the details.

  2. WS, I did write, "Wonder..." thanks as always for reading my blog posts so diligently and so deeply, you are a true gem. I learn the most about myself through you, an other, and in that individuated mystery, I am drawn to believe, if only in that moment of reading another perspective, that I am not, if not for you.