avi sato . be thought . live dreams

i

Snow Dreams (in progress)

Snow Dreams – Verses huddled beneath a blanket of white is a series of work based on the idea of snow and winter, a reflection on my childhood and adolescence in Canada through snowy winters and bitterly cold springs. What you see here is the first section of this work, the section that has now been completed in its preparation for publication. There are several other sections that will become available in the months to come as publication of the entire work, with its linking components and prose, nears completion and the release date is announced. Each section is split into a series of untitled poems, each one being a separate dream with its identifying features being membership in a thematic section and a number denoting its order in the collection. That first section is entitled First Storm. Its introduction is as follows.

The first storm of the winter is an event without remorse in its ferocity, yet the wind that drives its very existence tears away the possibility of a deep and comforting snowfall. Not for beauty, this storm, but to clear the ground for those to come, banishing leaves from branches stripped mostly bare, sounding warning clarion for a winter only just arrived. No hint of the laughter of morning after treks through white, glittering banks, tumbling headfirst into powder, sliding to the bottom on book bags turned makeshift sleds.

Dream 1

eastern edges brush against backdrops of startled waves, tops coated with a mist of flakes disintegrating into the moisture the touch but of which they are formed, a rumbling seen but silent in its presence, shaking the foundations of rocks who seem not to mind, notice, keeping calm but being carried on wind as jagged fragments soon to become beach pebbles, carried away by enterprising fingers to be painted with words of love and names of beloved

a vision of impossibility streams across a land of cliffs and beaches devoid of sand, seemingly indomitable yet consumed by an unending blanket of weightless luminosity, that which humans dreamed of conquering without effect dwarfed by an overwhelming sense of calm in the face of a storm, the sheer downward force of those droplets with their hidden water silencing all but the wind that carries them to join the ocean

lifeless feathers hang in an air saturated with anticipation, architects of towering mountains, white valleys in shadow from color-matched peaks reaching up to caress tree branches, envelop them in ice, save them from wind’s spirals, a pattern emerges without design, intricate in its crystalline structures, a history in shape of the pathways of wind, the weight of flakes, standing on each other’s shoulders, becoming one in the same, a mountain of water, absent one moment, a blink and it begins, another, taller still

moonrise steals focus from falling stars inches away, the storm fading as suddenly as it began, leaving no sign in the air of its presence but stillness, blankets of calm over realities of a day’s now inconsequential worries, fears, silence descended on bleak rocks, robing them in robes of white, delicate, new mountains sleep as eyes open to their sudden presence, reflections of lunar mirrors flash back through the steam of cocoa

Dream 2

escape is impossible in the face of a wall of wind, no clouds to be seen, unbroken bricks flooding my vision, yet is there any desire to leave, fractured sunlight streams between the flakes making the solid appear full of air yet no less complete, feet fade in and out of view yet mesmerized, don’t want to turn and walk inside, a beauty impossible within the conventions of safe warmth and electricity, seen from behind glass, impossible to understand with touch, gentle without any sense of contact

barely aware of the smell, snowflakes seem too unsubstantial to carry scent yet liberated bitterness of woodsmoke drifts through their liquid interior landing on my nose with the presence of substance, not lingering in the air to drift away with the next breath of wind, mingling with the far off sweetness of baking ginger and cinnamon, houses and men and women from dough in a distant oven vented to the disappearing sun as a day hesitates before returning to the cradle of darkness for another cycle

inside i feel distant from the sensations, gentle impacts, curious odors, only a couple of yards away yet glass and wood barricade themselves between us whether for my sake or the safety of nature’s wishes i know not, no longer alone yet detached from the grip of the expressions of white from beyond the panes, perhaps i shall add more ginger and cinnamon to the air

Dream 3

dawn breaks yet is smothered, overwhelmed by the density of an unexpected snowfall, november winds turned frosty in the small hours of sunday, a secret presence of snowflakes in the air six hours before dawn, what’s left of green suddenly buried not under the lightness of icing sugar, perhaps to be expected, anticipated yet somehow feared by those whose childhood retreats into the distance, stretched out for by sled-demons and puck-wranglers, but inches turning to feet, forts not footprints, while dreams float silently, awakened to this

Dream 4

somehow she was startled from visions hazy yet slow to recede most mornings, dances on wood, touching the bar lightly, pointed toes diving from one board to another, instantly upright to stare through curtains forgotten in the consuming darkness whose moon had been stolen by newness, brilliant in reflected white, dazzling eyes moments earlier fluttering, visions internal projected on their lids from within, lashes providing no protection from piercing light

how fifteen centimeters seems so small on a ruler yet spread on the lawn dominates as telephone poles in all their meters could never hope to do for any but the crows seeking a better vantage point to stare at the climbing limited puppies chasing orange spheres and tales alike on a canvas blank but for paws and feet below

waking into an idea that shivering should be present yet warmth pervades the sheets after a night of floating feet in stillness, flying arms pressed beneath the pillow, how crisp even the air inside becomes with the morning having brought the first snow, one last breath before blankets thrown back in a mad dash for fleece and slippers turns to the shock of ground beans exerting influence over nose and water, raspberry seeds pressed to steaming toast while footsteps accumulate as centimeters to precede them, not yet time to add to the fray of morning tracks, five more minutes to drink white calmness tasting of caffeine through window and mug

Dream 5

if only there were someone up there, some greater being to whom i could address the entreaty, reach down with your white-feathered touch and caress me from tip of nose to fingers, filling even my soul with the frost of ice not yet formed and the sparkle of glistening sun rays diverging across your prisms in air, plunging my mind far deeper than my boots sink in the crisply fallen banks to be enthralled as once i was by ever-growing round balls rolled across the garden to be stacked one upon another and penetrated with carrot and stones, arms of sticks and lips, black strands of licorice to stand at the roadside, sentinel to the smiles of passers by, human and canine.

how i wish i could ask this of the spirits, descend upon me with the winter’s desires, prepare in me a home for the delights of cocoa and gingerbread before a fire sparkling with the delights of the moment

yet in truth it strikes me without request, without entreaty, nature’s palms filled with powder sprinkling ever more densely from above, no less beautiful in its gravity than in the artifice of deliverance, opening in me a desire for the pleasures of the land, beauties of a rediscovered childhood, putting away the shovel of adulthood for the sled of abandon, in the moment to feel the rush of air, spirits’ preparations unnecessary, to stick out my tongue and catch the flakes, wiping away the residue of the everyday and allowing myself to take this moment for a peace that could not come from outside myself

Dream 6

what is it about new beginnings, you ask, as if you have never experienced one, many, endless new beginnings, often every day, yet this one feels different, as all new beginnings surely should, yet do not, this, the first snow, not the first of life but the first of winter, not the blinding gusts of february’s daily barrage of frozen deposits from the heavens, wind-whipped walls of unfriendly opposites of fire, light sprinkling, barely distinguishable from frost yet hanging in the air moments of visible stars in sunlight

why can you not suspend the reality of simple description in your mind for a moment and look with eyes not jaded to the lenses not within but pausing long enough to be looked through, a shimmering distance long enough for it to shatter the frameworks of reality a second, two, then return them to their awkward place, no, not a mystery, easily understood yet picasso’s blue is not a secretive color, van gogh’s yellow, degas’ red, present there as they would on signs and mailboxes, yet in that instant when the eye is drawn to canvas, suddenly alive in the presence of a master of depiction, you smile, laugh, take away the sensation of a new awakening within, hours later, yet you close your mind to the mastery that nature possesses in white, a spectacle duplicated in the arts of paint and screen but an original

i beg of you, allow eyes pleasure of the natural canvas stretched before you before turning away to the distractions, moments of childhood wonder at a world transposed to white mark today with a happiness so easily denied in haste, perhaps remembered in a simple moment

Dream 7

i try to imagine myself as a snowflake, such as i hear every day to be my lot in life, a human fragment of delicate frozen water that can do nothing but fall and disappear in a state of perpetual disconnectedness within webs of ubiquitous social obsession, yet this image before me of the object to which my generation derisively equates in the minds of those whose age predisposes misunderstanding of the possibilities of connected separation and introspection through performing myself presents nothing of the fragility, failure it so embodies in a collective consciousness

i see its potential to disappear from view but it does nothing of the sort, melting to turn to water, the bringer not of jollity or war but life, a far cry from futile enjoyment or desire for cattle, farther from existence cut short, transparent yet necessary, only one flake’s worth but this is its strength, cannot be nothing and continues to exist regardless of the heat, the contact, the pressure it experiences

at first touch with the ground, the snow may no longer be itself but it does not end its life there. it may be transformed, adapted to a new way of living, or still be itself if the ground has been prepared and become sufficiently cold to allow its presence unmolested, where it builds thinly at first but in concert adheres to those of like mind and purpose not to move mountains but to become them, blanketing the existing order of things so it may still exist beneath but is overwhelmed, covered, shielded from view and no longer necessary for anything but its most abstruse shapes and gradually worn down from pressure, disappearing under the weight of a new force bringing both life and destruction

how can it be that those among us who are not already would not give everything to be seen embodied in the awesome subtle power of a snowflake

Dream 8

the branch above my head gradually bends in the wind, springing back as the breath dies between the trunks, shaking snow from its upper side, leaving it nude among its compatriots

the branch above my head gradually bends in the wind, springing back as the breath dies between the trunks, shaking snow from its upper side, leaving it nude among its compatriots

leaves still cling, seven ochre against the pale bows, momentarily covered in specks of white, then sheets, only to be freed as tiny gusts clean membranes between spiders’ outstretched webs that stretch from branch to tip

yesterday’s clouds of white have been replaced by a ceiling of falling swirls, rain ended, standing dry as a carpet of snowflakes performs the same stunt on my gloves, not blushing but ink, to stay less time with radiated warmth

as my hand presses against the trunk to take my weight as i sit beneath the tree, awaiting the arrival of that yellow conveyance whose steamy interior and moistened collective air consumes the stillness with its cloying oppression, wishing it would never arrive, i sink to the ground and take the novel from my knapsack

soon white of page and toner’s sharp characters are traced by interconnected striations of not quite moisture, making paper look nearly yellow while letters become grey

school bus of far from yellow carries its hat of snow and i have no choice but to stand, cannot run or hide, in spite of being free, an escape from the outdoors that i desire into a warren of unknowing yet i know i shall return as this is only the first snowfall and others shall save me from days without contemplation in the name of certainty

Dream 9

temperatures plummet well beyond the it feels like fall today don’t you think it might be wise to take a jacket with you, more it’s icy have you got two pairs of socks on so your toes don’t freeze, where’s your toque, if you come back with only one glove you’re going to have frostbite by the end of winter

four socks, two boots, larger than life footprints in a fresh coat, not on shoulders but pavement, mist rising from lake and between my lips as i get to the end of the street and head into the woods, the paths still not too covered to see the difference between ground and mangled roots, snow hanging in the air, trapped between the rising heat and the pull of gravity setting an assignation between ground and cloud’s offspring

not sure how long i will be gone but winter is an excuse to escape, a weekend so there’s almost no movement, too early, past dawn only half an hour, it’s not the distance, just a feeling of belonging out here until i’m too cold to stand it any longer and hide inside in front of the fire, now i’m glad i took the time to bring some wood in last month, even if it did make my hands sore for weeks when i forgot my gloves

i thought robins went away in the winter but that one must have gotten left behind, abandoned or wintering here by choice, no way to tell, but she’s singing, red feathers shivering in the swirls of snowflakes, the song i heard outside my window so many times, above my head playing in summer forests, it’s out of sync with the season but comforting, wish i could understand what she’s saying to an audience of one, all the other robins having disappeared and me being the only participant in her conversation, lema sabachthani, no answer, dear robin, i won’t forsake you, i’ll be here all winter

Dream 10

close my eyes and wait for the peace of sleep to overwhelm my thoughts but in the blackness i am stirred to the crispness, an air that has shifted, behind the drawn curtains but pressing its altered state on my body, now suddenly sitting

i part the drapes and stare into the single spot of light ringed by trees, no longer raindrops bouncing from the black surface, shimmering reflections from crystals hanging in the stillness, not a breath of wind, dangling in a hesitation that lasts seconds before dancing on the uneven ground, no more than a single centimeter of white

but a blanket has fallen over everything within the illumination of the streetlight, stretching to touch all that is even barely visible, on the edges of my conscious awareness

i cannot help myself, have no concept of the time, three, five, a nighttime stillness of predawn self-awareness, little stirs in the distance but nothing near enough to perceive, pulling hiking boots over woolen socks, woolen hat with pompom, soft gloves, marshmallow coat

echoing the new fall that has dispatched the leaves once visible on the ground, no longer able to claim the not yet present sunlight for their own, i track toward the stream, not yet frozen but muffled at the end of the street, beyond the pavement but not yet in the trees

i reach out to touch the snow, draw sweeping curves in its fresh powder, i press my fingers into it, feeling more alive in the air that suddenly has become clean

while the sun carefully begins to raise its head, i walk back, unaware of how long i have wandered along the bank of the stream drinking in the first snowfall, no need for coffee but chocolate beckons

Dream 11

sometimes i wonder if the whiteness of snow is an illusion, seeing it there on the ground. i know it’s water, crystals, but it hides things away, a sheet crying to spare the dignity of a corpse

the dead ground, branches reaching, from fall’s shallow burial through parched and frozen skin, latticed veins no longer consumed by soil in their floral non-disclosure, to wake me from my thoughts

telling a story forgotten by those above ground but thrust before our eyes, my senses, hidden without color but seen nonetheless in shapes unable to be masked in their silhouettes so far the opposite of black

they speak with wind’s voice of the absence of warmth, a shivering mass of life devoid of hope, not from the frost but from us, those who have stolen its future and our own, begging for help

unseen but no longer unfelt

Dream 12

non-event yet somehow significant in the grand scheme of today’s impact on life
unlikely to be remembered
somehow consequentially without parallel in the mind of the moment
with each contemplative instantiation of contact
moisture become solid
reasserting its liquid tendencies
with merest brushes of skin
warmth shifting states
collapsing crystals of brutal complexity
molecular reimaginings without parallel in beauty
whose simplicity’s truth scares
with proximity
demonstrating reality’s limits
comprehension disentangled from result
digital wetness
nose become frost
mind cleared