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  • C.E. Medford

The Barrel Factory


My nightmares are often based on recurrent urban themes. One is that I arrive in Brooklyn Heights where I lived for four years, to find someone else living in the home I think is still my own. I wander the streets, lost; the stores have all changed, no one will look at me. I am a stranger without a neighborhood. In another, I'm being chased by dogs. They never catch me. But I can't stop. Ever. Still another finds me in an industrial site at night, some towering endless place of metal and warning lights and concrete. It is surrounded by water. For one reason or another I have to cross the water. It is dark and thick and secretive as oil. In the dream, none of these places or events are strange to me. Awake, I know these archetypes must have lodged in my consciousness while my childhood mind tried to cope with the insurmountable. There was everywhere the grand terror of the manmade. The underside of the Whitestone Bridge stretched over our playground like a cathedral ceiling. The roar of tires rushed through the ravine of the BQE past rooftop tinmen and the broken glass eyes of warehouses without end. At bedtime, a sky full of airplanes stitching the city to itself, preventing, I was sure, the multiple vibrations of millions from shattering us into the sound. There was fear in all things, and majesty in the strangest places. There was so often, this unexpected awe.


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