“I’m a sucker for dream poems,” Marc Neys told me when he sent along his latest video adaptation of a haibun from Failed State. The mix of imagery here, all of it drawn from the online cache of anonymous home movies known as The International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Distribution of Other People’s Memories, is especially dreamlike, I think. And as an poet, there are few reactions to one’s work that are more gratifying than a brand-new creation from a brilliant artist.
Marc opted for text-on-screen rather than voiceover for the entirety of the text, and wisely left out the footnote that I included in the printed version. Let me paste in the complete text below:
Killing is My Business
I dreamed I drove a sprayer truck along the berm of a road in prayerful silence. The staghorn sumac leaves in their autumnal red turned brown behind me and my rubber gloves shone like the udders of a cow, all for the sake of the crown vetch and its hateful pink.* I dreamed of skinning feral cats and selling their meat at auction: Fresh mutton, I hollered. They were slick with the fat of tanagers.
you can tell I’m asleep
when I start to twitch
*Originally a foreign infestor from Europe, now a cultivar developed at my alma mater Penn State as a gift to the interstate highway system. Its wire-tough tangles smother all competition and hide the scars of erosion, which it does nothing to prevent. It swallows our litter better than the sea.