Haunted by Toni L.A. Cross

The darkness comes
with teeth and knives
I’m hounded by a dream
Chasing, swirling, whirling night
Deeper, harder, plunging faster
Torn by rabid black
Frantic now
the walls are slick
No doors or windows here
Can’t breathe
Can’t speak
Or whisper here
No sound escapes
This place

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Flaming Sheep: A Nightmare Villanelle by Toni Cross

 

Pulsing through my mind is nothing but fear

Running from a dream that stalks the edges of my sleep

I’m screaming and screaming where no one can hear

 

From the darkness, faces are pausing to leer

I fight towards consciousness, but I’m in too deep

Pulsing through my mind is nothing but fear

 

In this careening night, there’s no one to steer

I’m slipping on a cliff that is slick and too steep

I’m screaming and screaming where no one can hear

 

Wild flame of thought burning swift to sear

No counting can be done as I stare at blazing sheep

Pulsing through my mind is nothing but fear

 

Reality is thin; like oxygen it’s sheer

Bolting my eyes tightly, I will not steal a peep

I’m screaming and screaming where no one can hear

 

Fast breath, slow breath, gasping, acrid hot and clear

Daring into nothing, I quickly, blindly leap

Pulsing through my mind is nothing but fear

I’m screaming and screaming where no one can hear

 

 

What is a villanelle?

“The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating
rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a
quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated
alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final
stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines.”

For more, go to: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5796

 

Autistic Alice: A Dream?

Last night I watched the original Disney cartoon of Alice in Wonderland and after that, spent some time reading Livvie Owen Lived Here, a book from the perspective of an autistic girl.

My allergies were bothering me, so before heading to bed, I took some Benadryl.

I fell asleep and found myself in a terrifying world where everything was upside-down. Somehow I knew that if I said the right words, everything would be okay again.

But the words were elusive. I tried and tried to say them, to capture them with my tongue. Words and sounds came out, but they were all jumbled and wrong.

I woke up in a cold sweat, mumbling nonsense phrases desperately like a mantra. Stumbling into the kitchen, I poured myself a glass of water and drank it with shaking hands. Still, over and over in my mind, phrases and words strung themselves in circles.

I grabbed a blanket and headed for the couch, not wanting to wake my husband.

I slipped back into my dream as if I’d never left.

All night I waged a war, trying to commandeer my words. They pranced and danced about me, just outside my grasp.

It suddenly struck me this morning- is that what it is like for someone who is autistic? A world upside-down? Filled with backwards things and elusive words?

Is Alice’s nightmarish Wonderland the way our world appears to an autistic child?