Thursday, May 25, 2023


            Years ago, I was in a writing group with Peter Becker, a professor at the University of Michigan who specialized, as I recall, in the language of Burma (as Myanmar was then called). I don’t remember much about what Peter said about the language, except that they did not have pronouns, and I thought it must be interesting and different to experience life through that filter.


            I also remember that he said that a breakfast tradition in the country was to tell what you dreamed about the night before. That sounded great to me – a great way to connect with family, to know one another deeply despite the fact that the language lacked an “I,” a “me” and a “you.”


            Then it occurred to me, what if I came to breakfast having had no dreams – or, at least, none that I could remember? Would there be pressure to come up with something? Probably – as I imagine the scene. Could I invent a plausible dream? What would that sound like? What are the rules for dream narratives? Is “No Rules” the one rule? I suppose I could do some research, read some dream-transcriptions, etc., but it’s more fun to speculate. What do dreams feel like? Here’s one response that I wrote a few years ago:


The Flying Dream


At breakfast you tell me your dream:

You are swimming in the ocean.

It is warm and calm. You move

effortlessly, like a ray.


the way I fly in my dreams


Soft water glides along

your skin in a caress.

You shimmer. Kelp touches

you like a lover’s fingers.


it’s becoming my dream


You have no need to breathe.

Amazing fish, coral, sponges,

anemone all welcome you.

The undersea joins you in dance.


like the music in my dreams


But when you surface you see

only water and sky. No waves

point the way to an invisible

shore. Nobody comes to


where am I?


your rescue. Nobody hears

the calls you don’t make. In

the giant ocean you find yourself

lost, alone, complete, serene.


I’m not sure how much of this is Kim’s dream, and how much is my writing.