The Dream Sequence


The Dream Sequence was written in 1979 for radio. Each of the four works were recorded and set to sound and music. They were aired on National Public Radio's "Voices in the Wind" on June 24, 1979. About these works, Keith Talbot, Program Director and Producer at Large for National Public Radio, said "Miss Thorington's work is, to my knowledge, unique. I know of no one working as she does, combining original stories and original music. I cannot overstate the importance of such new and exciting performances to Public Radio."

Selections from The Dream Sequence were chosen by Black Box, the cassette magazine, to be a part of a 1980 NEA funded series of 26 poetry radio programs. The Dream Sequence was also selected by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters as one of the top ten radio programs of 1979.




I fall asleep. When I wake I'm walking in a pine woods. The day is hot and the air heavy and oppressive. Suddenly I'm flying. My feet only inches above the earth I follow the wind and am delivered without asking into the cooler shadows of a woods clearing. There is a shack in the clearing. I enter and sit fanning myself by the window, dressed in my old rust and blue snow-suit.

There is a rustling in the air. The door blows open and a hundred
milkweed pods explode into the room.


I fall asleep. When I wake it's raining. A small trickle of water
oozes in under the door. It becomes a tide and floods the room, driving small boats with broken masts against the monumental solidity of my boots. An old cow floating belly up in the brown current winks at me.


I go to sleep and when I wake the air is cold and dark clouds are
skimming the empty clearing. I go out and play at the wood's edge. I hide myself in the shadows of the tall trees. Dust devils seek me out. They lift and twirl me in the sunless air, then drop me
down again in a brilliant patch of light.

A crow calls to me from the woods. I break away and leaping from
branch to branch follow it to its nest in a tall pine.

That night I laugh myself to sleep.


Leaves drop down through the wet branches.I sleep and in a dream I see them pale. While they are still pink and damp I take a deep breath and dive headlong into their midst. I sink until I am covered with mud and mulch.

In the evening I return to the shack. I am caked with mud and flop clumsily about my empty room. I sleep and wake and sleep again.

For nights I drift on warm river currents. Sometimes, sensing the
presence of an enemy I settle on the river bottom and close my eyes. I do not want to be seen.

Dreams of death come. They gnaw holes in my darkness and I wake. It is winter and the window by my side is broken; snow is blowing in. (TOP)



I fall asleep and dream that I am confined in a very small room. There is the hiss like the hiss of escaping gas in the room. As the sound intensifies, the walls and floor begin to vibrate. I wake with the bed shaking underneath me.


I fall asleep and in my sleep I am a tiny white balloon bobbing on the end of a hospital bed. Slowly I work my string free and carried on a leisurely current drift upward toward the ceiling. There is a window in the far upper corner of the room. I lie in bed and watch myself bounce across the ceiling and out the window.


I am missing. An investigation by the police and hospital staff
proves fruitless. No one has seen me. An indifferent investigator
tells me that hundreds of such disappearances occur every year and that few of the missing are ever found. I am frightened. I wake
and find myself in a very small room.


I fall asleep and in my sleep I enter a world of twisting gray shadows and dark stationery things that shoot beams of black light out across the morning sky.

Sitting cross-legged on an old woolen blanket I study the light. With my pocket computer I count the beams; with my Mickey watch I time the intervals between. I write my findings on the back of a Wheeties box top. 36-24-36, I write.

I hear a whistle, the distant beat of a drum, the thunder of horses' hooves. Looking up I see a hundred mounted men bearing down on me. Each man is armed with a baseball bat and ball.

I lift my crayon. A great wind comes out of it. It lifts and transports me upward in a puff of sand and dust.


I'm floating in an enormous white pot. Above me a striped balloon billows in the near cloudless sky. Below I can see the green earth spinning, and with my binoculars, a tiny army of men gathered on its western side. The men are stuffing the barrels of an anti-aircraft gun with baseballs.


I'm hit! I hear the explosion and in the same instant see my shadow double up and fall away, plunging downward toward the earth.

I follow quickly, guiding my clumsy craft down over the mountain peaks and into a country field.

My shadow is waiting. As I step from my pot, it trips me and runs off laughing.


I run in pursuit. I chase it over hills and through fields. I sing and do tiny dances at the river's edge to attract it to me. But it does not come.


The seasons change. It rains. I am cold and drenched and unhappy. By night I build my campfire well within the shelter of the woods and huddle close for its warmth. But I am growing smaller, I can feel it. By morning I am several inches shorter than I was...

Cold mists rise from the river and sweep up over the brown fields.
A wintry chill settles in. I take refuge from its bitterness in a long abandoned house. I have been there before. I recognize the crowded rooms, the old furniture. But I can no longer remember anything about them. In the attic I find a child's toys: a dozen tin soldiers, an old drum, a baseball and broken bat…

That night my shadow comes to me, and we lie together in the same bed.


I'm hiding in the shrubbery on a side street in an unknown town. A fleet of police children on bicycles are looking for me. They want to question me about Annie's disappearance. I hug the branches of a mulberry bush. It is a cold and frosty morning.

Snow begins to fall. I hurry down the unfamiliar street. Senja is lying on the sidewalk at the end of the street. She is wearing a black mask and a raccoon coat. "You'll never believe it today," she whispers as I pass, "but spring will soon be here."

I hurry on. At the first traffic light I stop. I don't know which way to go. Looking down I see one leg turn right and hurry away while the other hops off in the opposite direction.


I enter a theatre in the downtown area. A troop of howler monkeys
is on stage. They're throwing peanuts at the audience.

"Where's Annie?" someone asks.
The monkeys clap in rhythm.
Where is Annie?

The spotlight fixes on me. 1 lean quickly over the podium and whisper at the audience. "She's relieving herself," I hear myself say.


I'm running. I have Senja by the hand; we're both running. We run up one street and down another. We hide in doorways. We backtrack. We write phony directions on the pavement.

The police children follow us. They pursue us on bicycles. Their eyes flash with an eerie red light. Howler monkeys sit on their handlebars. "Where is Annie?" they shriek. "Where is Annie?"

At the city limits Senja and I turn and face our pursuers. What happens astonishes me.

The police children pale. They become faint colorless lines and float away.


The scene changes. Senja and I are on a country road. A soft drizzle hangs in the air. In the distance we can see Annie. She is squatting in a wet field. Around her the birds are singing.



© Helen Thorington, 2004