My intent here was to make a dream-like poem by adapting lines from Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est”, echoing many sounds, words and ideas in an effort to hypnotize the reader and elucidate the concept that dreams are an echo of reality. I have taken Owen’s original subject and made him a literal drowning victim, so that the echoes might also recall how sounds travel in and over water.

 

in every dive I’ve seen his sinking face, in every dive

I’ve Lied to him, told him “you’ll survive”

my closed eyes watched him die,

eyes sinking in his face

 

I too felt near dead, dead, dead

though most alive

 

the rest of us are helpless, less and less air left for breath

we choke, even as he’s *cough, cough*—

coughing like a hag

 

again, again we fear his love, even as he drinks his death

we see him blind, we’re all weak

with fatigue

 

we see him under green sea, under green sea 

see him drowning, our ears dea— TWEEE!

to the searing screams above

 

he plunges at us, guttural guttering, choking, drowning, drowning

he sinks in the green as he swims, swims, swims up

to our love

 

“Clear!” if you could hear— “ALL CLEAR!”. At every jolt, the gore

 and spit, as it spurts forth from frothy lungs

if you too had to kiss, kiss, kiss 

your lying lips 

 

if your lips had to kiss the dying ones

your summer ocean dreams

dream

dream

dream

(just a dream)

 

your summer ocean dreams

would lose the warmth of sun.