Issue 20: Lee Ann Brown

Dream condensation before evaporation

Met the older French literature guy of poetry

and we snuggled up and divinely kissed

at the edge of the performance piece where

everyone was hanging out with animals

in a stable after my art show in which

I gave away my painted pillows at the end

of the day to the people who all worked

together to clean up — my audience

participation begins with passing out

bottles of milk and sometimes pouring them

for people at long tables of imagination —

sheep in the other room and I am reminded

of the memo to sing sparrow song — two

phrases syllabic with a cheeeee trill at the end 

People in the dream also included Charles

Bernstein, Katy Bohinc in the next palette

over, Marlene, Juliana in absentia (she had

to go back home after 2 weeks away said

her father) and by the way she's already

seen this show at Bard, way ahead of me,

also Lisa Eutsey runs past the window

trying to get to Jon's dinner with their pet

chicken with its healed head cut off who is

not supposed to be in the light so I catch it

— luckily it's all healed up, just ineffectually

pecks my hand with its neck    what the heck

I fell asleep again and woke with only those who can do /

those who can’t teach all other dream imagery out of reach 

Automatic Timeout of the Dream

I am with a group of self-selected

People who are together to go to

Their graves — I am holding Tracy

Bonham in my arms and realize

I still have songs to sing and I will not

Die today!  The others are astonished

At my decision — maybe I will influence

A few including my husband  — I want

to make an album — and Tracy says

she’ll help for free   there is a dying city

around me  crowded — flying, stinging

insects in the houses and a man throws

a stick at me when I call him out — the

stick is root-like, shaped like an Arabic letter

In memory of all the dreams I’ve slept

Through, gone back to sleep on and hence

Erased by layering — all of that unspun

Information which I value for so many

Reasons not the least of which is that

The dreaming cleanses my brain of all

the strain of Living — but better yet they

hold the Day in such amazing ways — the

strange Sieves and filters of the dreaming

substrate Collects itself to bare the weirdness

of the Family within me and around

me arraying Out — the elaborate architectures

of unknown Cities where I dwell in relation

 to so many others known and unknown

Poured into very strong stories each

part of which can be unfurled word-wise

and image-flow into rivered reels of

the underground story of my life

barely separated from the waking

the veil is thin this time of day — early

in the morning or late at night sometimes

paralyzed with the import and hyper-realness

of the dream to even write it down — I

do it since someday I will dream no more

and I feel like Yeats they are my visions

I can mine for images or messages or characters

Who are part of me — collaboratively

Not bearing the thought of losing anything

Of them when I was young and a dream

slipped by   I three-quarters convinced myself

that surely if heaven was real all of my dreams

would be viewable again — I pictured a room

in the checkout library of my mind — full film reels

dated and timed of each day’s dreaming

labeled for me to screen — sometimes several

from one night — including ones I had forgotten

I had ever had — Now I realize I thought dreaming

might stop once I got there (to heaven) and that

I would grow bored with only one life’s supply

of dreams no matter how amazing — and

wondered what would happen then — would I start

again?  In some other way  / in some other frame?

That, I guess, is how religions are born

but I tend to keep mine personal — the

word spirit reserved for what I sense

in other people I encounter especially

ones who can walk down the empty windblown

street and see the specifics of the world in

what could be said is a kind of heightened

filtering — an extra-awareness of earth’s

texture and vibration, the way light hits

the leaf or coat of another and the way it

all comes together when a phrase or word

blown by in new context or surprising

conveyor belt of song runs its

particular tune to be perhaps poured

into a compact film song like some wing

— All it takes is the will to attention to go

— Deeper into the meadow — take yesterday

for example — as we prepared to go out

into the day — a kind of pilgrimage in a way

— We listened to this song by a band once

called the Tea Cups or the Tea Set but

there was already a band named that so

Syd called it Pink Floyd — (I still don’t

know what that is) then Grandchester Meadows

on a path near our temporary home furled

out like a ribbon to the west and I cribbed

some of the lines to kickstart my non-rhyming

scheme to caesura up the spine of the page

During Lo how a rose 

With all we have and all we are 

We remember the dream of a peaceful world 

I float in water with corpses but do not die 

We light this candle with you all

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning 

A shoot of Jesse for the make of the earth 

As the waters cover the sea an ensemble 

Invites and rewards singing in parts 

Together in a wave of sound swelling 

As a decree goes out and it comes time 

To stand and deliver a heavy load 

Then take it up again in a new way 

Growth of the night plants in the hexenwald 

Abstract colored curving grids play songs


What are you trying to tell me after

I experience your birth death in a room

With pink spongy fleshlike material all

Around  — I walk out and wash it away

To see you there — you embrace me silently

I kiss you in the mouth but only in dream

So this is exile    Maybe do a

Free style translation of the Psalms

You may publish to the world they may ignore us

You call it meaning   I call it noise

Laurel  silence 

A line drawn down a country at random

Unknown to birds

Working w/ people who seriously know abt science   And imagination

Lee Ann Brown was born in Japan and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended Brown University, where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is the author of Other Archer, which also appears in French translation by Stephane Bouquet as Autre Archere (Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, 2015),  In the Laurels, Caught (Fence Books, 2013), which won the 2012 Fence Modern Poets Series Award, as well as Crowns of Charlotte (Carolina Wren Press, 2013), The Sleep That Changed Everything (Wesleyan, 2003), and Polyverse (Sun & Moon Press, 1999), which won the 1996 New American Poetry Competition, selected by Charles Bernstein. In 1989, she founded Tender Buttons Press, which is dedicated to publishing experimental women’s poetry. She has taught at Brown University, Naropa University, Bard College, The New School, and St. John’s University, among others. She has held fellowships with Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Yaddo, Djerassi, the MacDowell Colony, the International Center for Poetry in Marseille, France, the Howard Foundation and is the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at Cambridge University.