Sam's Dream

By Jorie GrahamMay 30, 2018

Sam's Dream
This piece appears in the LARB Print Quarterly Journal: No. 18,  Genius

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Sam's Dream

One day there is no day because there is no day
before, no yesterday, then a now, & time, & a cell
divides and you, you are in time, time is in you, as
multiplying now u slip into our stream, or is it u grow
a piece of stream in us, is it flesh or time you grow,
how, is it an American you grow, week 28, when we
are told dreaming begins. Welcome. Truest stranger.
Perhaps one of the last conceived & carried in womb.
Father and mother singular and known. Born of
human body. Not among the perfected ones yet. No. A

mere human, all firsthand knowledge, flying in as if
kindling—natural. The last breath before the first
breath is mystery. Then u burn into gaze, thought,
knowledge of oblivion. Rock yourself. Kick so I can
feel you out here. Push your hands against the
chamber. The world is exhausted. I moisten my lips
and try to remember a song. I have to have a song to
sing you from out here.They say you now hear vividly.
This could have been a paradise my song begins. No,
this is, was, is, never will be again, will be, we hope

desperately wasn’t a dream, maybe in your dream
now there is a clue, can you dream the clue, you who
are dreaming what having had no life to dream of,
dream from—what populates you—bloodflow and
lightswirl, stammering of ventricles, attempts at
motion, absorbings, incompletions, fluidities—do you
have temptation yet, or even the meanwhile—such a
mature duration this meanwhile, how it intensifies
this present—or nevertheless—no beyond of course
in your dream what could be beyond—no

defeat as so far no defeat—cells hum—no partiality
as all grows in your first dream which is the dream of
what you are—is that right—no attempt as there is
no attempting yet—no privacy—I laugh to myself
writing the word—oh look at that word—no
either/or—but yes light filtering-in, root-darknesses,
motion—and the laughter, do you hear it from us out
here, us, can you hear that strain of what we call
sincerity—Oh. Remain unknown. Know no daybreak
ever. Dream of no running from fire, no being shoved

into mass grave others falling over you, dream of no
bot, no capture filter store—no algorithmic memory,
no hope, realism, knowing, no quest-for, selling-of,
accosting violently to have, no lemon-color of the end
of day, no sudden happiness, no suddenly. It is much
bigger, faster—try to hear out—this place you’re
being fired into—other in it—judgment of other
logic, representation, nightmare—how to prepare
you—what do you dream—what must I sing—it says
you cry in there & laugh—out here a late October

rain has started down, soon you shall put your small
hand out & one of us will say slowly and outloud rain
and you will say rain—but what is that on your hand
which falling has come round again in the forever of
again to reach your waiting upturned hand. I look up
now. Clouds drift. Evaporation is a thing. That our only
system is awry a thing. That u will see rains such as I
have never seen a thing. Plain sadness, this hand-knit
sweater, old things, maybe u shall have some of—in
this my song—in my long song not telling u about the 

paradise, abandoning my song of what’s no longer
possible, that song, it is a thing. Oh normalcy, what a
song I would sing you. Child u shall god willing come
out into the being known. First thing will be the
. That’s the first step of our dream, the dream of
. You will see motes in light. And lights inside the
light which can go out. A different dark. And spirits,
wind exhaustion a heavy thing attached to you—your
entity—as u enter history and it—so bright, correct,
awake, speaking and crying-out—begins. And all the 

rest begins. Amazing, you were not everything after
all. Out you come into legibility. Difference. Why
shouldn’t all be the same thing?
It’s a thing, says the
stranger nearby, it’s a new thing, this stance this skin
like spandex closing over you, it’s you. A name is
given you. Take it. Can you take it? All seems to be so
overfull at once. Now here it is proffered again, this
sound which is you, do u feel the laving of it down all
over you, coating you, so transparent you could
swear it is you, really you, this Sam, this crumb of life

which suddenly lengthens the minute as it cleans off
something else, something you didn’t know was
there before, and which, in disappearing now, is felt.
The before u. The before. That dream. What was that
dream. There, as if a burning-off of mist, gone where—
not back, where would back be—dried away—a
sweetness going with it—no?—feel it?—I do—I
almost smell it as it is dissolved into the prior by
succession, by events, not raging, not burning, but
going—nothing like the loud blood-rush in the

invisible u & u in with its elasticities, paddlings, nets,
swirls. In this disunion now stretch. Take up space.
You are that place u displace. That falling all round u
is gazing, thinking, attempted love, exhausted love,
everything, or it is everyone, always going and coming
back from some place. They do not stay. They do not
. And then out here circumference. One day you
glimpse it, the horizon line. You are so…surprised.
How could that be. What are we in or on that it stops
there but does not ever stop. They tell u try to feel it 

turn. The sun they will explain to you. The moon.

How far away it all becomes the more you enter. How

thin you are. How much u have to disappear in order

to become. In order to become human. Become Sam.




Jorie Graham is the author, most recently, of Fast and From The New World (Poems 1976–2014). She lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard.

LARB Contributor

Jorie Graham is the author, most recently, of Fast and From The New World (Poems 1976–2014). She lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard.


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