Have you ever focused on the clouds
Wondering if they are soft as cotton
Or if they are the fluffiest pillows
Perfect for an eternal nap
Or are they more like a meadow
Perfect for a barefoot dance with a lover
Or are they a smoke screen
Perfect for a disappearing act
Have you ever focused on the clouds
Wondering if they hold the answers
By Robert Stanhope
While chasing my dreams
I sometimes get lost,
I sometimes get confused
Between fiction and fairyland
Some days I’m drowning,
Some days I swim,
And, last night I tripped on a cloud
When I tried to fly
I have real dreams
Of creating these worlds
That I can visit on vacation
To take a break from a break
Sometimes my dedication
Is simple procrastination
Or a fear of rejection
When my words become publication
In my dreams there’s no rejection
Not even the giggling fairies
Pass judgment on the guy
That still doesn’t believe he can fly.
I closed my eyes and opened my mind.
I tried to access the neurological freeway.
The ramp was closed to traffic.
I followed the orange detour signs.
A left turn and then another
Into a dimly lit valley of my cerebrum.
A storm was brewing in the distance.
Flashes of light lit my unknown route.
The road suddenly came to an end.
The only exit from the valley
A ladder to the left, a door to the right.
Or, I could have turned back.
The top of the ladder wasn’t visible.
The door was chain locked.
The return route had turned pitch black.
I chose to climb the ladder.
Each step to the next rung was stable,
The flashes above brighter.
My legs began to burn as I climbed,
My hands remained firmly gripped to the rails.
Blue, orange, and white flashes,
An eerie shadow and an ominous growl
A pit of fear formed in my stomach.
A pair of eyes appeared with a bright flash.
I had climbed too long to turn back.
I had to face the unknown shadow.
The growl became a constant.
Everything was suddenly pitch black.
The darkness drew silent.
The shadow grabbed my arm and threw me.
I was tossed deep into the darkness,
Helpless, screaming, and fearing where I might land.
I began to feel weightless, as if in space.
Motionless as I came to a sudden stop.
The bright flashes no more,
Just pitch black, the night starless.
As my heart raced, I tried to calm down,
Talking to myself and counting through deep breaths.
My chest throbbed as the void began to close.
The pitch black world turned to anxiety.
I screamed to break the silence.
Not a sound, not even my voice.
I felt as if I were being buried alive.
A great weight crushed my body.
Then a light appeared beneath me.
An opening to what appeared to be a large tube.
I began to fall with great speed into the tunnel.
Brighter and brighter, the light glowed.
A blinding white flash in a freefall,
Nothing to grab to slow my rapid decent.
I could hear myself screaming,
A heat mounted as I went deeper,
I was burning up in the core of my brain.
I awoke buried in sand up to my neck.
At first, I noticed a few mischievous children,
Forming a circle around me with an evil grin
On their faces, all with the same maniacal laugh.
Their numbers grew and grew
Casting a shadow over my face.
Darkness returned to my world.
The children were still laughing.
I could no longer see their faces.
Sweat formed a puddle around my neck
Rising to touch my bottom lip
I couldn’t move an inch as I tasted
A salty liquid coating my tongue.
I began to drown, surrounded by children
Laughing as I gasped for fresh air.
The liquid engulfed my mouth,
The children’s laughter ceased.
I was dying in a pitch black world.
I jolted from my bed, gasping for oxygen.
I turned and saw the time on the clock.
It was 5:22 in the morning.
I reached for my cell phone.
I had my oneirologist on speed dial.
A groggy voice came from the speaker.
He questioned, “Pitch black again?”
Then a child began to laugh.
Writer and photographer.