Issue #2, 1999

Price: $4.50

stringtown2

Table of Contents

Katharine Thayer, Five Misconceptions about Water Striders and Surface Tension
Gregory Hischak, Walking Dream (excerpt)
James Nolan, Horizon
Michael Magee, Elegy for Ariel
Madelle Quiring, Clown of Life
Abbe Lange, Expiation
Susumu Kamijo, Coca-Cola
Steve Babcock, About Last Night
Cathy Belben, Throw Dummy
Noel Franklin, theo
James Nolan, Hunt and Peck
Allison Anthony, How to Drink a Pint of Whiskey in an Hour or Less
Sarah Jack, Pink
Steve Babcock, Childproofing
Abbe Lange, Halloween, Three AM
Jaimie Berg, Watching the Cry
John Plott, The Beginning of Night
Ron Starr, The Furniture Never Moves
Julianne Adams, In Your Own Dream

Amy Bonomi, The Day after a Death
Anna Balint, Night Story
Nancy Bixler, After the Bullet Missed
Susan Hahn, Warning Arrow, 945 B.C.
Jim Dott, New Year's Eve Morning, 2 A.M.
Anna Mockler, Pledge Week
Ken Waldman, Owl Bank
David Thornbrugh, In the Supermarket
Nancy Dahlberg, The Mind of a Life
Emily Pitkin, Talking across the Lake
Sean Mac Falls, I Hear Echoes That Have No Voice
Julianne Adams, The Weight of Wanting
James Nolan, Monsoon
Polly Buckingham, Fish Pile
Joe LaBreck, Lantern Dig
David Thornbrugh, Tangible Evidence
James Nolan, The Virtue of Not Staying
John McFarland, A Girl and Her Dog
Michael Kroetch, The String People

Excerpt

Gregory Hischak

Walking Dream

I dreamed I was a bird. I dreamed I was a bird having a walking dream. The best kind of dream a bird can have—a walking dream. The solidity of the ground felt beneath frail hollow legs, feathered applause to every head-bobbing footfall across terra firma—that is the best dream. When a bird wakes from a walking dream it is just before dawn and he begins to sing—this twittering—I can't do it. I think you have to be a bird to truly do it right.

Like flying, walking is a controlled fall forward—each advancing limb a narrow averting of disaster. This is how you walk, this negotiation of gravity, velocity and weight. The slow rise of a hill felt deep in the chest, its descent felt in calves and knees. The earth, it feels good. Kick it like a pair of tires. Strong. Assuring. Well made.

This is what the dreams of birds are made of: The precariousness of flight traded in for a world of substance and weight. Where actions have reactions, where words spoken are heard. Where a stone kicked down a hillside reverberates in a clattering answer of stones, setting into motion still other stones—and I used to think that you had to be a bird to truly appreciate it.

I awoke from my dream of birds dreaming. In the still dark I observed the sheet clinging to your sleeping body in soft white folds of basin and range. Your body—a slowly heaving Terra Nova that begged exploration.

Fresh from my dream, I was Magellan, I was Vasco da Gama, I was crow strolling this new landscape. My head sideways, curious and bobbing to every step along the shoulders of an interstate. This strange bew world traversed as a bird strolls through a walking dream—a controlled fall forward. Sublime—I could become lost here. Tactile—I could perish here.

You murmured something quietly in your sleep and turned over, transforming the sheets into yet another strange new beckoning landform. Outside the window, birds fresh from their walking dreams commenced to chatter before light not yet broken.

This tweetering that says: We are all fresh from dreams here.

We are all awakened from the best dreams one could have: That what we walk on is firm and solid beneath us, that its vastness extends without end; that what we build upon is fact, enduring. Those are the best dreams, and I used to think that you had to be a bird to truly appreciate it.