My dreams have all been sinister and strange
since my better half has left me.
Years have piled on and still
I sleep the slumber of the restless,
dream like one in the throes of torment.
In these dreams, I am searching for a Roman,
a commander of a great legion
with golden, shining armor.
He is tall with elegant Roman features,
a hard, glittering smile and stone eyes.
I search for him for a reason unknown
but the urgency makes my heart beat faster
and anxiety hold me close.
All I know is that something important
hinges on my ability to find him.
And I'm wandering through a city
with jeweled towers and silver-paved streets.
It is a Utopia of immeasurable riches
yet there is a foul stench in the air and
there is poison in the eyes of its people.
The people are clothed in fine fabrics
that cover the emptiness of their hearts.
They are devoid of humanity, of kindness
and when I beg them for help as they stroll leisurely by me,
they can only cast me contemptuous glances and
hurl insults at me over their shoulders.
Time, poverty and death are absent here
but so is compassion and dignity.
I soon realize that I am walking the streets of
the City of Dis, in the lower levels of Hell,
where love is not love and
peace is only a pause in the fighting.
Dante envisioned retribution for the sinners,
a pit of fire and shit and mud,
but it seems as if the punishments are reserved for the innocent.
They walk, the flatters, the murderers, the pimps,
the barraters, the soothsayers, the hypocrites and thieves
and they are forever locked, playing out their ugly schemes.
Their plots never fail them and they take all they can carry.
They continue on as if they never died,
foresaken to never be redeemed and never be denied.
I am captured in this gilded place by rogues and princes,
all wearing opulent crowns and mud-stained hands.
They throw me into a yawning pit,
into the darkest, coldest abyss -
a concentration camp for souls.
Here, I fall in love with a boy who has wavering-iris eyes,
pale blue eyes with irises that have no definition
and undulate when he fixes his gaze.
He sleeps next to me in this concentration camp
and although sometimes his Surrealist eyes make me seasick
and his body is as cold as death itself,
I love him
because he held me when I was frightened
and spoke to me when I was lonely.
But suddenly, he is taken away and
I fight like one possessed to save him.
My jailers have the strength of evil and madness
and throw me back with a careless whimsy,
as if to mock my strongest efforts.
I am left alone to ponder if this will be
my second death.
It dawns on me that I have yet to find
the Roman in Dis and
somehow I know that this failure
will elicit some cruel, never-ending torture.
But rather than suffer damnation
at the hands of my cruel captors,
I melt into the ground somehow
to find myself deposited onto a lily pad
in the creek by the house I used to live in
and I'm no longer frightened but I'm numb,
as if I might have left my soul behind in Dis,
waiting for a second death next to
the boy with the wavering-iris eyes.
I awaken with a start,
seeing the unfamiliar in my familiar surroundings -
I am home.
I try to catch my breath,
shaking and trembling through and through
and wonder if I've been asleep all my life
because nothing has felt as palpable
as this dream for many, many years.
Was it real or just a dream?
For a moment, wavering there between
darkness and the waking world, I am unsure
because I swear that I can still see
the glare of light glinting off of the towers of Dis,
still feel the cold embrace of my lover with wavering-iris eyes.
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