Dream Travel

When I was in Rhode Island a few months ago, I always had my camera nearby.

It gave me something creative and meditative to do. Unlike writing, which doesn’t occur until after the action, photography makes you active in the moment. Maybe interrupting the moment. Maybe staging it. And everyone went along, making space for the large man with the large camera to stop and do his thing.

The constancy sharpened my eye. When I got back, I definitely felt a change.

I did the same on this trip. Not just borrowing the boys for a moment, but parking garages, driveways, odd landscapes as the train plowed past. I made space for family and art, both, and everyone made space for me.

I’ve always been interested in dream travel.

Take that how you will: dreams as travel; travel as dreaming; particular travels across particular dreams.

So with my budding interest in images that feel innately dreamlike, it was a treat seeing so many strange shapes, paths, and almost-theres. Sometimes they came out in editing; sometimes they leapt out at the start. But they’re all more or less what was there, in front of me. They aren’t composited from multiple images.

So much of my poetry process is about drawing connections between seemingly disparate ideas, so it’s neat to see photography pushing me somewhere else. This is how these images whisper. They say, “Look, here, underneath.” The same way poems are little maps to the essence, which vibrates inside, I’m now trying more consciously to show the strangeness of the scenes in front of me. Dream travel is sometimes the only travel that matters.

Maybe because I’ve got one foot in a bookmaking place, I want to see this take shape in a project. Or maybe, like so many poems before them, these photographs are just building the soil. And what’s coming will grow in ways I can’t yet see.

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