This is one of my favorites
December 6, 2017
Last night I dreamed of Prince again. It was an overcast day. I was milling about in a crowd at a craft fair, looking at items on a folding table. I heard a noise and turned just as Prince appeared in the crowd. This was young Prince with the bouncy, feathered hair. He was wearing a too-tight gold spandex shirt and a pair of green shorts. He walked up to a middle-aged white woman and held out a set of old iron keys on a heavy cast-iron key ring. He was looking at me with a big cheesy grin and he handed them over. The woman was surprised and rather uncomfortable by the gesture and didn’t know what to do with the keys. She blushed and shared an embarrassing look with her friend.
But I was livid. How he gon show up in my dream to give something to somebody else!? I started to object, but I woke up before I could open my mouth.
February 6, 2017
Last night I dreamed of Prince again. It wasn’t an elaborate dream like the spaceship, just Prince hanging out with me. We were lying on the couch listening to music. It was soft jazz music, I think. I was lying almost on top of Prince and he had his arm was wrapped around my shoulder. My heart was aching. I was lonely and I felt worthless. My head was resting on his chest just under his chin. He was so warm. I told him I missed and he held me tighter.
I was crying but tried to catch my tears before they fell on his white suit. It was an immaculately cut suit, made from a wool that was simultaneously warm and cool. His hair was relaxed and cut in a shoulder-length bob with face-framing bangs. He was wearing a handmade white beret in a snowflake pattern. It was made with silk/wool lace-weight thread using a “00” crochet hook. The work was so fine that it draped like woven cloth; only a true master could achieve this effect. I want to say beret glowed, but that would be hyperbole. It was radiant that’s for sure.
“I feel like a failure,” I said.
Prince squeezed my shoulder again and said: “You’ll feel better if you do something to your hair.”
Next, the dream flashed to a kitchen with dark wood cabinets and mustard yellow floors.
I don’t know whose house we were in–it wasn’t mine. Prince was standing next to the open refrigerator holding a highball glass of dark red liquid. He was about to drink it and I tell him to stop because it’s toxic.
He says “then why are you putting it in your hair.”
And somehow (you know how dreams work) I could see myself standing at the sink with a blue towel draped around my neck and a burgundy afro on my head. It looked ridiculous! Prince laughed and I woke up.
©2018 Joy of Eryka
January 2, 2017
Before I went to sleep last night, I prayed, well I asked Prince, Octavia, God, Yemoja anyone to help me with my writing—to help me see a story through to completion.
Well! Last night I had another Prince dream. He was wearing all white suit with a white cashmere trench coat and I was in red robe and pajamas. Prince was bearing gifts: a big handful of them. We were in a 1980’s ranch-style house with lots of dark wood and tiles and a sunken living room. It wasn’t a house I’d ever lived in, but in the dream, it was my home.
He was sitting on the sofa and I was on the floor surrounded by gifts. They were wrapped in beautiful paper with elaborate bows and what not. I didn’t open them all, but I do remember one was a box of chocolate. We chatted for a few minutes eating candy, then Prince got up to leave.
As he was adjusting the collar of his coat, he said: “You know this means I’m done with you, right?” I protested of course.
“When people ask me for gifts, I give it to them; then I’m done with them because they just want something from me.” He said walking toward the door.
I tried to give the gifts back but he wouldn’t take them. I ran outside after him, begging him to come back and visit again, be he just popped his collar and got back into his RV.
It was also white and kinda rusty, which is surprising for an immaculate brotha like Prince. I banged on the door, wailing for him to come back inside for just a few more minutes. Finally, he let me into the RV.
It was an absolute mess! He said I could clean up for him—which I did, gladly.
We started down the road. Prince was driving and singing, I don’t remember the song, I just remember being amused at seeing him handling the large steering wheel. The collar of his white coat still popped to perfection. I was washing dishes.
Then I heard a toilet flush. This middle-aged white man came out of the bathroom. He was balding with that ring hair around his head. He had watery blue eyes and a weather-worn face. His name was Earl I think. He was wearing a red and black checked shirt and jeans. He looked like a farmer. Earl looked at me and said. “He let you on too?” He had a befuddled smile on his face. I was going to ask him where were we going, but I woke up.
©2018 Joy of Eryka
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Last night I dreamed I was a terrestrial time-traveler. Well, not really time travel, it was like we could move from place-to-place by going to sleep in what appeared to be a motel room. Different rooms, of course. I say “we,” but I don’t remember who the others were.
The last time we tried to move there was a five-year-old little girl with us. She was wearing pink footie-pajamas and had a melodious laugh. She reminded me of every little girl in my family–including me.
We were staying at a bed-and-breakfast run by this older couple somewhere in the county. It was quite lovely with vintage handmade furniture and objets d’art past from mother to daughter and then again. We tried to move that night, but it didn’t work. I woke up early and discovered people were out of their beds. You see, we had to be in bed for the move to work.
I found the little girl lying happily under the bed singing songs and eating candy. She had an amazing story of her own to tell. She said someone came to her in the night and took her up on a big ship and had her sit in a little chair. The beings were really big, too big to sit in chairs. She described them, but I forgot what she said. They asked her a lot of questions, gave her candy when they finished. They tried to put her back on the bed but missed a bit. She thought under-the-bed was interesting so she stayed there checking it out.
We tried to move again the second night. I kept the little girl with me in my bed to make sure she went to sleep. I checked on the guys before going to bed. They were there as well, not sitting out watching the stars like the previous evening.
That night, the room started to shake and furnishings were lifted into the air. The heavy bed slid across the floor, mirrors crashed to the ground or was it the wife’s great grandmother’s Havilland china? The men came to our room to make sure we were ok, especially the little girl. We continued our ascent into the air as a group.
Then out of nowhere, Prince showed up. Yes, the Prince. He was young with feathered hair like the cover photo of his second album, Prince. I don’t remember if he was wearing a shirt or not. He asked if we had anything better to drink that whiskey. I gave him an apple; he seemed to be happy with that. He asked how we were doing. Then said everything would be fine once we got into some better clothes.
Chatting with him made us forget the fearfulness of our current situation. In fact, we were now looking out the window at the people below. It appeared we were on a ship—a spaceship to be exact. It was one of the big round ships with steam-spitting values and rust spots, but it got the job done. I looked back at Prince to tell him what I was seeing but he was sitting in another row far behind me, headed in a different direction. I signed that I loved him. He signed back that he loved me too and then he signed that he loved the world. Then his ship or his part of the ship, went way. He went away.
This dream was quite comforting. I was glad that to see Prince again. I was surprised to see him, exceeding grateful for his presence.
©2018 Joy of Eryka
I met Eso Tolson and Siphne Aaye last summer. Artistik Approach performed at Spillit the same night I told my Prince story. After the show, we were hanging out and I noticed his shirt said, “Embrace Your Inner Memphis.” He told me it was his own design and told me the story behind it.
I was still adjusting to living in Memphis and I couldn’t fathom embracing it. So when he suggested I buy one of his shirts my response was a crisp, “Hell No.” I’m sure folks could see snowflakes. Eso laughed it off and then we all went to dinner.
I went to the Choo Restaurant to check out Siphne’s latest mural, Connected. It is a series of train and travel-related vignettes on the side of the restaurant facing the tracks. I can’t wait for the unveiling! Eso was there, along with Darius B. Williams and Averelle Mondie–the very same people I met that summer night.
While I was hugging Eso’s neck, I asked: “Do your shirts come in a ladies’ cut? Unisex shirts make me look like a linebacker.” I am quite sure I heard the Universe giggle.
Eso suggested I stop by his table the Connect901 Holiday Pop-up shop and try a shirt on
before I asked him to special order one for me. I did and I loved it! I bought a large shirt, then graphic designer Ryan Stewart cut the shirt on me. I call it the “Chopped and Screwed” version. It was such an amazing experience! I felt so beautiful. Then Darius B. Williams went and snapped the fly ass picture of me and it was over! You couldn’t tell nothin’ me anything for the rest of the night.
I suppose I have embraced my Inner Memphis. My family is originally from Memphis. My first memories of life are in this city.
My storytelling roots were established in a wild strawberry patch thriving on the rhymic hum of my granddaddy’s air conditioning at the house on Brantley Road. It was one of the first places I visited when I returned to Memphis in 2015. FYI, you do not want to show up *unannounced* at a house in South Memphis waxing nostalgic about how your grandfather poured the driveway and raised three generations of your family in that house. Just don’t. I’m sure I didn’t get my ass kicked because I had my very pregnant cousin and her baby in the car.
I rediscovered my strength and my voice here. Memphis demands your best if you want to thrive on her shores. I’m up for the challenge, are you?
I spent Thanksgiving with my uncle’s family this year and we had such a great time. It was good to see my cousins again. My aunt Diane is the best cook on the planet!
I ate so much food, I nearly fell asleep at the table! Then I took home two plates of food, so I have been in a food coma for the past few days. So it’s back to green smoothies, kombucha and baked chicken for me! I was so focused on eating I forgot to take pictures! But here is a picture of my smoothie.
About a month ago, I scribbled some numbers on a piece of paper while I was asleep. I thought it was a dream–the urgent search for a pen write down an important number someone had rattled off to me. I’d forgotten about it until I was on the phone with a colleague this morning and they said the could never find a pen when they need one.
I checked my room when I got off the phone. Sure enough, I had scribbled the number 1185275 on an article about the sleeping habits of jellyfish.
Now, I’ve heard of automatic writing, but sleep writing?
Last night on Cambly, I met a poet, a real one. He was born in Saudi Arabia with passion and agony etched on his tongue and a hole in his heart. We spoke for an hour through the veil of a black video screen–as many people from the Kingdom do to preserve modesty in the nakedness of the Western World.
He shared his poetry with me English, then in Arabic. His work is patient and melancholy like a desert wind. It aches of life observed but not lived. It bleeds beauty. He prefers classical Arabic words to modern ones. Says the modern words don’t have the same feel. He is right.
Unfortunately, I am one of a handful of people have ever heard his verses. As a child in he frolicked in literature, dreaming only of poetry. When he turned 16, his parents told him he was to be a surgeon. Poet is not a profession, they said. So he went to medical school. He would scribble verses in his journal or on his phone. He would discard most, other he’d forget…he was a surgeon after all.
But his body began to crack under the weight of his drowning spirit. He is still in the medical field, but no longer a surgeon. He sounds happy about that. He is writing more poetry now; he shared those sparse verses with me with the intention of deleting them as well.
I begged him to save them, perhaps publish them in English under a pseudonym, so his family wouldn’t freak out. He agreed to keep them, but that was all. He sent me a link to the song, the Coffee Cup Reader, which an essential song in Arabic culture. This is the short version, the full version is about more than two hours long.
Needless to say, I am quite interested in learning more about Arabic poetry and perhaps learning Arabic as well. I think it will make me a better writer.