Opium Dream


“…I came suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys, such enigmatical entries, and such sphynx’s riddles of streets without thoroughfares, as must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters and confound the intellects of hackney-coachmen.”

—Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

The fog of alleyways, the plaza’s blur, the sputter of motors, the propeller’s whirr, the radio’s ballad fastening like a burr or chip implanted by some saboteur deep in the brain cells’ weave—all these concur with each bribed captain, cabman, and chauffeur: the paths of the labyrinth lead back to Her.

Signs in the lobby, verses of Les Fleurs du mal (in all translations), the snarling of a cur on a Vienna rooftop and the housecat’s purr conspiring with the syntax of the chat-show chatterer— all these confirm, as if you still weren’t sure: the world’s covert communiqués refer to one gigantic in-joke with the punchline Her.

Drown it in music, drown it in liqueur or coffee, smoke whichever herbs deter or grains diffuse the bad moon; let the dream recur— bid shadows fall and walls begin to slur and the strum strum strum of a compulsive dulcimer pollute your ear canals till that last pure, nontoxic, tonic chord rings out: brings ………………………………………………HER.