DREAM TICKET VITAMIN ZZZ
VITAMIN ZZZ: Summer 2019 DREAM TICKET Produced by SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com; edited by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH. All rights reserved. Images included in this digital publication are permitted for use as described in credit captions, or are public domain, or are credited below: Cover image: "Carnival," courtesy Pixabay Page header image: "Deep Dream of Electric Sheep," 2015, courtesy Calhoun Press (CC BY-SA 4.0) No part of this digital compilation may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. For information permissions for reprints or excerpts, contact Tamara Sellman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com, please visit the website at www.sleepyheadcentral.com. The content of this publication is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. While the editor and publisher is a board-registered polysomnographic technologist and certified clinical sleep health educator, she is not a doctor and it is beyond her scope of practice to issue diagnoses or prescribe therapies. However, general content found at SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com may be useful if you are in need of general sleep health information.
A digital literary quarterly devoted to sleep
DREAM TICKET Edited by Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH
A PUBLICATION OF SLEEPYHEADCENTRAL.COM
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About Vitamin Zzz 6 DREAM TICKET: An Introduction 7 DREAM VISION Gale Acuff 8 THE INTERPRETATION OF A DREAM J.J. Steinfeld 10 THE QUESTIONER, SEDUCTIVELY DRESSED J.J. Steinfeld 11 TEACHING DREAM #43 Chella Courington 13 DREAMS F.I. Goldhaber 14 FLYING Edward Ahern 15 FIRST NIGHTMARE Rosemary Royston 16 INSOMNIA IMMEDIATELY POST-PARTUM Marion Cohen 17 IN MY DREAM, HER JOURNEY CJ Muchhala 18
THRENODY CJ Muchhala 19 MONÓLOGO DE SEGISMUNDO from LA VIDA ES SUEÑO by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (17th c.), a Song CJ Muchhala 20 PLANE DREAMS Janet McCann 22 REDEMPTION Janet McCann 24 A MATTER OF NIGHTMARES Carol Smallwood 25 ALTERNATE REALITIES Deonte Osayande 26 BREATHING THE DARK K.B. Ballentine 28 SLEEP ON THE LAM Ginger Dehlinger 29 YOUR REPOSE Melinda Coppola 30
SLEEP: DORIS AT 16 YEARS, 1941 Margaret Stawowy 33 3 Colleen June Glatzel 35
ONE LONG NIGHT Duane L. Herrmann 36
PRAIRIE SLEEP Duane L. Herrmann 36
Editor, Production & Design
NIGHTLY REFUGE Duane L. Herrmann 37 Acknowledgments 38 Call for submissions 39 About SHC 40 (back cover)
Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH Contact Information SleepyHeadCENTRAL ATTN: Tamara Sellman 321 High School Road NE PMB 204, Ste. D-3 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 Comments, questions & feedback: 206.289.0671 Business inquiries only: 206.618.7348 email@example.com
ABOUT VITAMIN ZZZ
Vitamin ZZZ is a digital literary quarterly dedicated to all things related to the biological process of sleep. It is intended to be read for enjoyment, but it can be seen as an instrument for sleep health advocacy, public health awareness, and patient education.
Editor Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH is no stranger to the world of literary publishing. A freelance writer with a degree in Journalism (specialty: magazine editing and publishing) from Columbia College Chicago ('90), she is a seasoned publishing professional with over 30 years of expertise.
First-hand experiences in publishing since 2000 include work as publisher and editor of Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism (2000 to 2007) and its zine edition, Periphery (2003 to 2006); publisher of the limited edition Southern Revival chapbook, which raised enough funds to replace lost books in an entire small town library following Hurricane Katrina (2006); founder of Writer's Rainbow Literary Services (2009 to 2012), where she served as creativity coach, developmental editor, online workshop teacher, blogger, and literary community leader; and project manager for Penumbra: Speculative Fiction from the Pacific Northwest (2011), among other projects. She is a widely published, award-winning poet, essayist, journalist, and fiction writer with two Pushcart Prize nominations and other accolades (see www.RhymesWithCamera.com). Her journalism credits date to the mid-1980s.
Sellman established her credential as a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) in 2013 and was one of the first in the world to become board certified in clinical sleep health education (CCSH) in 2014. She currently produces SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com, Vitamin ZZZ, a weekly column ("While You Were Sleeping: This Week in Sleep Medicine") for the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST), sleep technology training modules also for the AAST, and contract work for sleep clinics, online patient advocacy publications, and nonprofits.
I love a dream narrative. I make it a point to remember my own dreams. Despite advice given to writers to avoid safaris into the dreamscape habitat, I encourage others to share these narratives.
Even in the sleep lab, one of the first questions I would ask my patients once awakened was whether they remembered having any dreams. Of course, I could tell them, based on the tracings I'd gathered in the sleep lab, whether they'd had dreams. One of the tasks of an RPSGT is to track rapid eye movement [REM] sleep, as it possesses unique markers which can reveal disordered sleep. REM sleep marks the time of the night when you experience most of your dream behaviors.
It is also, typically, the very last sleep stage people will enjoy before awakening in the morning. As a rule, we are not allowed, as sleep technologists, to interrupt this final stage of REM in our patients. While we may wish to conclude our tests at 530am, if the patient is still in REM at that time, we'll stand by and watch the REM tracings until they transition to another sleep stage.
This protocol is not frivolous. From a safety standpoint, this avoids the unnecessary stress of a rude awakening which, for patients with cardiac problems, might lead to disastrous outcomes. But I'm happy to know that, by default, it also allows patients the chance to follow these last magical vestiges to their strange ends. There are few things less satisfying to me than unfinished dreams.
Sadly, some don't remember dreams even when they have them. What's worse? Those who don't experience any clinical REM sleep. A lack of REM is symptomatic of serious sleep or medical issues which, if not addressed, can create the proper conditions for developing chronic illness. Try to remember that the next time you have a bad dream because, let's face it, at least you had a dream. ~ Tamara Sellman, editor
I go to bed early. I want more time
My father died ten years ago but he
to dream. Even if the dream is bad I know
lives on, in a way I can't quite dig up.
what Heaven's like: anything can happen
And, one day, I'll find him. Then, I'll open
and it's both real and not and the bad things
my eyes and there will he be. Hello, Son,
rarely last. I watch my dog take a nap:
he'll say. Welcome back—I'd thought I'd lost you.
Where am I? I'll ask. You're right here,
he lies on one side. His legs and mouth twitch.
he'll say. Where's here? I'll ask. Where isn't here,
His tail moves—in dreams that means wagging.
he'll say. Dreaming? I'll ask. Waking, he'll say.
He's after a rabbit, I think. When he wakes, he yawns and looks around. He sees me
and I ask him, Did you get him, boy? Did you get Bugs? He answers by yawning again, rising, and coming over. If he could talk, he could tell me something. We might compare dreams, analyze each other's. As it is he tries to signal, in Dog, what he's seen. I guess that's visionary. Last night I dreamed that Ringo Starr declared he had written all of John and Paul's songs. I woke knowing that what isn't tue is the truth, too, even if it isn't.
DREAM TICKET THE BLIND MAN DREAMS
"Dream Dog Photomontage." Image courtesy Pixabay. GALE ACUFF lives in Palestine. "Sometimes I wonder about the sleeping Gale, whether he's the Gale usually awake or, through sleep― through dreaming, I guess―he's been created somehow. I suppose that science has explained the sleep phenomenon, but would the explanation satisfy me? Not that it should."
THE INTERPRETATION OF A DREAM
You dream of winning a lottery
J. J. STEINFELD lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. "As a writer of fiction, poetry, and drama, I find sleep/dreams/dreaming significant aspects of and contributors to the creative process, whether as literary devices, metaphorically, or as important ingredients to the stimulation of imagination and creativity."
a large lottery beautiful in its contours
you make love with a woman who would have laughed at your being a second before the big win Â you fall off the bed a bed taller than a house and are saved by the piles of money on either side something like a bed of roses only less imaginative
the dream was going fairly well until the fall broken, fortunately, by bills of small denominations you always prefer smaller bills less conspicuous, more modest as befits your philosophy of love and life.
THE QUESTIONER, SEDUCTIVELY DRESSED
During a dream that began with seduction
Make up your mind what are you—
and ended with a harsh questioning
tired or exhausted or weary?
I searched for a modicum of meaning
the questioner, seductively dressed
in my last nearly poetic answer:
like an alluring-eyed vamp from a silent film Theda Bara or Clara Bow, I think,
I’m tired like an overworked magician
but I’m momentarily tongue-tied
who has made a million rabbits disappear
even in my own dream.
the audience still not pleased or satisfied I’m asleep, I finally answer, I’m exhausted like a frightened animal
uncertain of voice and text in dreams
running from a humourless predator
and kiss the questioner
through the darkness of night unceasingly
the seduction complete.
I’m weary like leaves that decide to fall
earlier than season or wind decide unembraced unnoticed unacknowledged.
"Vintage Graffiti Letters." Image courtesy Pixabay.
TEACHING DREAM #43
Adele was explaining point-of-view in a banquet hall packed with older students, her parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; age, eight per round table, who spoke loudly while she differentiated between first- and thirdperson past tense. Two women to the right kept talking, slate letters rising out of their mouths, colliding and shattering, as more women stood in clusters spitting vowels and consonants into the air. Their voices drowned out Adele's voice. Shards of the alphabet flew shoulder high, ballistic, moved under their own momentum when the force of gravity reversed their trajectory and pulled them down toward Adele. Her jeans no armor against the attack of thousands of flint splinters converging on her, almost penetrating her denim when she closed her eyes then opened them on a shore of smooth rocks. She searched for a flat one the size of a half-dollar to skip across the water the way her dad taught her. Holding the slick stone between her right thumb and forefinger, swinging her arm back and horizontal to her thigh. The angle of toss was important since the trailing rock would breach the water first, jump upward and leap across the surface. Slowing down with each bounce until the rejected stone was embraced.
CHELLA COURINGTON lives in Santa Barbara, CA. "I love to sleep and dream though both aren't always accessible. By habit I'm a night owl. And morning demands interrupt my circadian rhythm. My bed is the nocturnal home to two cats and my partner where our dreams run together."
Flashes of film flit through my head. Snippets of dream spin my brain from one bizarre image to another. My thoughts race about; bounce off each other; careen through the miasma of my mind 'til I wake. I lie in bed, exhausted from the night's exertions.
F.I. GOLDHABER (www.goldhaber.net) lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares their bed and their dreams with three mostly black cats, pinned under the blankets in service to feline comfort. Their sleep is regularly interrupted by howls of a crinkle-ball hunting kitten, the frequent sudden and immediate need for scritches, and freight-train level purring.
My dreams for decades
Seeming not long ago
Have not let me fly,
My dreams flew.
And I am not unhappy, roped to earth.
Coursing without resisting wind
But only hope
Along shore cliffs and over chasms.
That my decline will free me
Brushing tree tops and skyscraper flags.
With an infant's first steps
Gently indifferent to the surface crawl.
To play again in the sky.
Â But with hair and deeper voice
Came weight and fear of falling. And timid man-high risings That let others pull me down. Until I could not soar at all. Â
EDWARD AHERN lives in Fairfield, CT. "I haven't had a proper nightmare in decades. Instead, when my subconscious is annoyed, it traps me in dreams of endless minor frustrations that prevent me from accomplishing something ordinary. In the last one I wanted to go fly fishing in a Canadian river and couldn't get there because of delayed arrival, lost and stolen tackle, an absent guide, foul weather, and so on. At some point I realize I'm being jerked around and rouse myself. I miss the nightmares, and wonder if with age I haven't become the bogey man, who must have dreams like mine."
This artist and I shared the same images after Ronald Lockett’s,“Holocaust”
years apart. Memory? Collective unconscious? A palimpsest of sorts,
Here it is at the High:
a canvas over-written again and again
my first nightmare, captured in paint.
Skeletons, multiple ones in the dark. Rosemary Royston
In my dream it was a cave, in Lockett’s it’s a boxcar.
ROSEMARY ROYSTON is from Blairsville, Georgia. "For me, sleep is a spiritual process. It allows for creativity, reflection, and rejuvenation. Without good sleep, I am not my best self."
He was inspired by Escape from Sobibor, I had just seen the TV version of The Diary of Anne Frank. Tucking me in mother told me it was real, not make-believe. I felt the breath go out of me, the nausea rise. Then the nightmare of the fleshless bodies in the cave.
How can I possibly when each time I do I dream the nurse brings in the baby? Or my other children? Or my husband? How can I possibly when each time I do life-sized cardboard pictures of yellow Wildthings torment me? and every object I grasp shrinks? and a jack-in-the-box, again and again each time doubling in size? How can I possibly when each time I do somebody yells, Wake up ? Marion Cohen
IMAGE CREDIT: "Woman in Clouds" Image courtesy Pixabay.
MARION COHEN lives in Philadelphia PA. "The last family bed night was the night of 9-11-01; Devin, then aged 15, and I sat on his bed, his very own in his very own room, and watched the news coverage on TV. After we'd had enough of that news, Devin said 'Mom, can you stay here with me for the night?' ...we just fell asleep right then and there, doing the necessary nesting." 17
IN MY DREAM, HER JOURNEY
three crows rise
a shadow creases
through layers of creosote sky
the burying snow
winter drifts over shuttered leaves
and i alone can hear
crusts the path my mother walks
the crows their wings
dressed in a nightgown thin
as a river's skin of ice and white
in the falling light
in a darkened room
her face is a candle flaring in the cold as she turns in the circle of my father's arms the circle of his arms
C.J. MUCHHALA lives in metro Milwaukee, WI. "I have always had vivid dreams—some of which confused me on waking as in: Where am I? Who am I?; dreams recurring like old friends going back years; colorful dreams—never black & white, never a dull gray; dreams that mimic my past—travels on forgotten roads, walks through endless city streets I once walked... Although I’ve occasionally had bouts of insomnia, mostly I look forward to sleep and the adventures it brings."
Moonlight quivers on wall and bed, my hand. Clamorous images choke off sleep. My dream becomes the life I live, my life, the dream:
Someone dear is about to die. (No one more dear to me than I) CJ Muchhala
Windows snare sun, lay it on linoleum in flat, misshapen squares. Myself under the kitchen table, Grandma at the wood stove, Frisky warm in my arms, his heart’s rapid beat against my chest. Does dream become memory? Or memory, dream? In those dark hours, when others sleep, ghosts shadow my thoughts, guide me down trails I’d left long ago: Four of us, two cousins, Sister, and me. The big, claw-footed tub. Knees, toes, elbows, every which way submerged, and Grandma, aproned, conducting our suite. O let me be pure light. Aunt, Mother, me standing near the railroad tracks, my hand held tight in another larger hand. The man in the caboose blurs, shrinks, is gone. Light ricochets off metal. I wave into sound.
MONÓLOGO DE SEGISMUNDO
LA VIDA ES SUEÑO
by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (17th c.), a Song
in which violin strings and mezzo soprano exquisitely articulate a theme to which responses are evoked in the listeners, silently, separately, so that one is different from another, though the printed program gives a single translation of the Spanish: . . .throughout the earth, all men dream, whate’re their birth, and yet no one understands. ... What is life? Tis but a madness. What is life? A thing that seems, a mirage that falsely gleams; Phantom joy, delusive rest, since life is a dream at best, and even dreams themselves are dreams or lives? She once led two:
the waking life where snow falling or tears slipping, where sun blinding and cold or wind hot and dry became the measure of her stultifying days, and the sharp tang of dream that spiraled by convoluted detours to a place more corporeal, more palpable than anywhere in her wakened world of solid objects and flesh. The violin speaks. The voice responds:
The king dreams he is king . . .
That year she trudged through weeks of days as if in a dream, waiting for night and the dream vivid persuasive as if it were her life. . . . in fine, throughout the earth, all men dream, whate’re their birth, and yet no one understands.
too many plane dreams:
or else I look out the window
late for the flight, running down aisles
thinking we’re much too low
with suitcases, despairing,
and the terrain doesn’t look like any
sometimes my father with me,
land I ever knew. now and then
says I don’t need to hurry
I am in my own yard and planes
the plane will wait.
fall all around me, black fuselages small
my bags pop open and strew
as grackles. or I’m lost
corridors with underwear and flowers.
in the airport, none of the agents
I leave them where they fall, keep running
have heard of my airline. what
and then I’m aboard at last,
flight was just announced? what counter
flight is almost empty and the
must I queue at? maybe this one
pilot says he is confused
here in the darkest part of the airport
but will try to get us there. sometimes
under the big sign
I’m in the cockpit with him,
that says, last call.
trying to figure out the dials
JANET MCCANN lives in College Station, TX. She is an insomniac who tries everything.
DREAM TICKET THE BLIND MAN DREAMS
"Whale Hover." Image courtesy Needpix.
I don't remember dreams, but I did this one.
She says there’s a party out back and I
I arrive at my old house with the slanted drive
absolutely must come. Don't be concerned
and I leave my truck without setting the brake
about the cars, we'll sort that, just come in.
thinking I'll just be a minute, but
Confused, I follow her through the gate.
as I step off the drive it starts up,
into a yard much bigger than I’d thought.
zips backward down the drive
It's an English garden—odd for central Texas—
and crashes into the car across the street.
full of everyone I've ever known, wearing
A metal bang like a great bomb going off
everything from workout clothes to bikinis
and I see the two cars tangled together
and they seem glad to have me join them.
in a clump of twisted metal. I want to run
Distant piano music drifts toward me
but set my shoulders, walk across the street,
and the drinks are silvery, vague and satisfying.
the wreck growing bigger, more complex
I worry about the wreck but its image fades
as I pass it. Now it looks like two
as we walk along the paths among the flowers.
airplanes jammed together, maybe three.
I don't remember dreams, so why, then, this one?
I knock tentatively, then louder, wondering why no one has come to the door because I hear faint music and soft voices. But then a woman comes through the side gate in a silk dress. I point to the wreck, hand her my insurance, but she laughs, looks at the huge ruin, says not to worry.
A MATTER OF NIGHTMARES
Aunt Heidi said, “Bob hasn’t been sleeping well and his nightmares of Hiroshima are terrible.” She straightened her pile of crossword puzzles and said, “I worry about him.” Lily could smell the insect repellent he had to spray before going to sleep.
CAROL SMALLWOOD is from Mt. Pleasant, MI. "I’ve never been a subject of sleep studies but it would be quite an experience; new breakthroughs in science surely coming will rank with those happening regarding out space. One third of our time involves sleeping and we know so little about it."
To delay going home, Lily told Aunt Heidi about Alison’s brother who’d returned from Nam: unexpected sounds sent him diving under any cover; certain smells made him shake, his arms were infected trying to get rid of “crawly leeches.”
When Lily heard such things she felt so fortunate she hadn’t been a soldier, not realizing she had post-traumatic stress disorder first called shell shock: that what went on behind white picket fences was war.
About narcolepsy, you're always dreaming even when you're not,
and I can remember her hands. So soft in my palms as I held them together, it brought me back to a time when I thought love could heal me of my narcolepsy
living out alternate realities all the time, when sleeping and awake tend to blend
the thing about narcolepsy, you're always dreaming even when you're not and hold on
together. I dreamed once, I was holding hands with your mother and we were so happy about your coming
did I already say that, already talk about dreaming about us one time, about our kids, and did I mention I rarely dream except when I'm in love. I woke up this morning and you were on my mind so I sent you texts about our date later on tonight because
arrival. Dreamed of holding hands, with you and your mother, waking in the hospital, after a tragic heartbreak. I don't even know what's real anymore, sometimes I repeat phrases to make sure I'm living in the now, but even that
the space where I sleep is only shared with those who are special to me, can help me, snap out of it, and it's been occupied by this cat too long. Essentially what I'm saying is
about narcolepsy, always dreaming when not, living out alternate realities.
the thing about narcolepsy you're always dreaming, even when you're not, living
I think I'm awake because I';ve got a hot date with a woman, whose kiss reminds me of little chocolates and my grandmother
out alternate realities and something seems oddly familiar about you. I think I dreamed up this moment of us meeting one time before, or many times before
when we were just young and hopeful. I guess what I'm saying is I can see into thousands of tomorrows and I don't see
DEONTE OSAYANDE lives in Detroit, MI. "I tend to listen to my favorite YouTube pages and let them lull me to sleep."
one I want to spend without your love so I hope everything goes well with us tonight because I don't want to wake up in some strange ass hospital again heart broken because the thing about narcolepsy is you're always dreaming, even when Deonte Osayande
BREATHING THE DARK
Last night I was a child again gripped by fear of a wolf on my chest, eyes gleaming into mine as I woke in the dream. Headlights through my window, twin beams that flared my room, urged me to struggle from my sheets, stumble the hall, dim and small, into their room. Warm darkness, their breathing
a comfort. I
tripped my way to the bed, climbed in and slid between them. Whatever waited, whatever followed, here I was safe.
K.B. BALLENTINE writes: "As a child, I had recurring nightmares about wolves, even though I lived in Florida. Now I live in Tennessee and usually have zero trouble going to sleep and staying asleep; my husband drops off pretty quickly just sitting down anywhere but has the unfortunate (for me) habit of waking up at about 3am. If he's good, he doesn't wake me; other times... Let's just say I've spent time on the screened porch listening to the night life and waiting for morning."
SLEEP ON THE LAM
Abandoned by Morpheus
Their partners in this cold-blooded crime
I dread the dead of night:
conspire to seal my fate:
the tangled bedclothes,
the hoot of a night owl,
pillow I fight,
shrieking of brakes,
clock on my nightstand, stabbing the dark
hoodlum next door who murders my snore
with merciless digits of light.
with that wake-the-dead music he plays.
Marauding words and worries
I long for the balm of the body bag
spend the night inside my head:
and promise not to tell
an unfinished poem,
if you hurl me into the whirlpool
or down a lovely well.
ear worm chanting a hellish refrain;
Just poison me with the Nightshade tea
I’m a hostage in my own bed.
that will let me sleep a spell.
My roommates are accomplices to this robbery taking place: a man with a chain saw, cat burgling space, brute in the ceiling that bucks and roars while waving its arms in my face.
Insomniac GINGER DEHLINGER lives in Bend, OR. She craves dreams, even nightmares because they mean she has slept. She has tried reading, melatonin, ZZquil, meditation, white noise, lavender oil, deep breathing, wearing socks, making to-do lists before bedtime but avoiding the computer, drinking milk, and when these socalled remedies failed she wrote this poem.
The dream stage, when the eyes dance
You who counts duplicates;
beneath closed lids,
numbers on license plates,
that which we know as REM,
yellow cars in a lot,
is also named paradoxical sleep,
who checks and rechecks
because the body rests while the mind
the solid fences of her world:
is quite awake.
I will have a treat, You’re a girl,
I wonder if your soul
You will have girl hair when we leave,
checks herself in mirrors
Two sides, cheek bink,
as you slumber, scrolls
Mommy can you fix it.
Facebook, idly clicking Likes with her ethereal fingers,
I want to think you are free in sleep,
as if this tiny dreamland act,
the flick of a mouse,
that anxiety and compulsion,
could change a lifetime’s course.
autism and obsessions can’t follow you
You, who walk the waking world
when you fly to that misty realm.
following all the rules you know, making up some you don’t, doing everything in order, trying to make sense of the chaos.
I want to think you can have this respite every night, relief from all the voices, and fears, the tensions, demands, that there is no standard of normal in dreamland, or, if there is, you define it, you abide quite comfortably there.
MELINDA COPPOLA lives in a smallish town in Massachusetts. She'd tell you sleep is her lifelong respite: a perpetual longing and welcome necessity, at times elusive. Dreams are the ultimate mystery; sometimes pathless forest, others a grand stage upon which pieces of her psyche try on roles, act out possibilities and give voice to her waking Muse.
"Skylights." Image courtesy pxHere.
SLEEP: DORIS AT SIXTEEN YEARS, 1941
"Everything becomes nothing as I slip into the dark abyss."―Fernando Pessoa In the wilderness of sleep let the animals come and nuzzle the borders. Behind my eyelids, a field of poppies. I fly above hill and sky, each of my sixteen years a green ribbon, unfurled against a vermillion landscape. And when I wake, my body is rubber, my mouth a sour apple, my eyes clouded by sleep’s scrim. A scurry of recollection retreats on satin paws behind the drapery. I open the curtains only to find the stage empty, the show over. Wakefulness is limited, two dimensional, a bit off, like the stench of lilac perfume. I keep looking for the loose corner of noontime, the trapdoor under 3 pm, but daytime is seamless, solid as a lead pipe, unbending through the hours. What each day leaves unsaid drains into my darkest river, surfaces in sleep’s coded murmurs, cryptic dialects. Maybe the catfish who lives deep in my mattress knows where to find the secret dictionary written in the coiled springs and batting.
One day, I’ll know why my home feels borrowed; my folks, on loan; me, behind on the mortgage.
Once, a few years back, my father said, “Remember, you are mine.” That’s when I began to feel I wasn’t his at all. At least, I think that’s what he told me. Sometimes, I believe I dreamed it.
MARGARET STAWOWY lives in Novato, CA. "The young adult in this poem is my mother. Throughout her life, sleep was her escape. I tried to imagine how she first chose sleep as her drug of choice."
There is much to see in the curves of the number 3. Sideways hillscape. Sideways McDonald’s logo. Sideways mustache. Sideways butt doodle. Sideways boobies. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3 and asleep. I have never been to the sea, but I visit that place in my dreams. I peer into the eyes of a giant shark and climb in its mouth to escape
COLLEEN JUNE GLATZEL is based in Waukesha, WI. “Being a Bipolar individual, understanding sleep is key. If I stop paying attention to my sleep cycles, I will likely be hospitalized. Although I deal with insomnia and extreme fatigue, it’s not all negative. My disorder has brought me wild dreams that I can write poetry about.”
the numbered days. I try to count its teeth but am swallowed before I get further than 3. 1, 2, 3 and awake. There is a glowing 3 above my bed. It’s blue. The air says, “I’m nothing to fear.” I float on. I ride the curves of my day like a sideways hillscape. Colleen June Glatzel
ONE LONG NIGHT
“NO! NO! NO!”
The man woke up
I was confused
from being a boy,
on a blanket
of 9 or so,
in the prairie
from being pursued
on top of a rise:
by his mother
to catch him
were all the buffalo
and control him again,
standing in a circle
chasing through the streets
of a charming village.
What had I done
He had escaped the truck
in my sleep
she erratically drove
to interest them?
bouncing over things
I’ll never know.
I waved them away.
At sixty, you’d think
They were surprised
this would have stopped
that I moved
long, long ago,
and ran off
I, too, then left.
Duane L. Herrmann
Duane L. Herrmann
After day, unending working, working, working, with screamed instructions criticism and more screams, little boy collapses in bed at night his refuge, almost safe,
DUANE L. HERRMANN lives on the rolling prairie of eastern Kansas. These poems reflect his personal, yet complicated relationship, with going to bed and sleeping, or the attempts to sleep. Nightmares can still intrude. In the refuge of his childhood bed, he began his creative writing process, years before he was able to write or read. The stories kept his sanity, added balance to his daytime horror. There is no wonder why he now has domestic PTSD.
there, in dark, he creates his own worlds, his own adventures stories in his mind, his salvation to validate and compensate his experience.
Duane L. Herrmann
"Dreams" (p14) by F.I. Goldhaber was first published by Humdinger Literary E-zine in May 2006. "First Nightmare" (p16) by Rosemary Royston was first published in The Rose in the World in Spring 2017. "Flying" (p15) by Edward Ahern was first published by Angels Flight Literary West in July 2016. "In My Dream, Her Journey" (p18) originally appeared in Traveling Without a Map: Poems by CJ Muchhala (Willowood Press, 1994). "The Interpretation of a Dream" (p10) originally appeared in An Affection for Precipices (Serengeti Press, 2006) by J. J. Steinfeld. “The Questioner, Seductively Dressed” (p11) by J.J. Steinfeld was first published in Open Heart 12, Anthology of Canadian Poetry (Beret Days Press, 2018). "Your Repose" (p30) by Melinda Coppola first appeared in both Songs of Ersatz Poetry Review and Twenty Four May in 2018. All previously published materials reprinted by permission of the authors.
2019 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Vitamin ZZZ seeks creative writing on sleep health, sleep disorders, sleep deprivation, sleep habits, dreams… anything directly correlated with the human process of sleep. Our final theme for 2019 (publishing in November: SLEEPOVER. This could range from kids slumber parties to sleeping in other people's beds to sleeping while traveling or, really, any extension of the theme where one finds themselves in circumstances in which they are sleeping elsewhere or with others (perhaps unexpectedly).
All perspectives welcomed: humorous, clinical, personal, spiritual, political, fantastic, familial, experimental, confessional. The voices of healthcare workers and patients are especially desired.
Writing should explore SLEEP, i.e.: ► personal experiences with diagnosed sleep disorders (sleepwalking, sleep apnea, circadian rhythm problems, daytime sleepiness, shift work disorder, jet lag, insomnia, etc.) ► people suffering from unexplained or undiagnosed sleep problems or sleep deprivation ► caregivers concerned about the sleep health of their patients or loved ones
►HINT! We can always use more prose poems, flash fiction, personal essays, and creative nonfiction. Topics we especially like: sleep problems related to a comorbid condition (Alzheimer’s, diabetes, mental health concerns, chronic pain, obesity, etc.) or to other obligations that force one to choose between sleep and other activities (such as school, job, athletics, parenting, etc.). HOW TO SUBMIT: See complete writers guidelines at https://sleepyheadcentral.com/vitaminzzz/
THE SLEEPYHEADCENTRAL MISSION
“The SleepyHeadCENTRAL mission is to develop an accessible, accurate, and user-friendly online clearinghouse of sleep news and information. This effort is designed to help educate healthcare consumers on the vital importance of sleep in overall optimal health. My aim as Curator is to give healthcare consumers clear and empowering options to actively address their sleep problems.” —Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH
The VITAMIN ZZZ mission
While many learn best about sleep problems through their own research and frank discussion with medical professionals, others may be better served by learning about sleep problems through the creative expressions of those who live with them. Vitamin ZZZ exists to illustrate, through this literary vehicle, how sleep problems truly affect our lives.
—Tamara Sellman, Editor
TO LEARN MORE: www.sleepyheadcentral.com