By Simon Heywood
This poem, when it was first created, was all sorts of misdirection. The title and the cover art was a complete parallel to my very first poem ever “Triggered: Skip it or Pull it”. And I was going to make an interesting part two to that poem. However, the word “trigger” gained a whole new meaning when I typed it out in my phone notes. As I was tossing around what the meaning behind this poem should be (and therefore what the words would be), I found myself remembering a nightmare I had a couple nights before this poem was created.
Before I go forward with detailing this nightmare, this is a disclaimer that it is about to get graphic, so if you want to skim down, feel free, but if you want to read this through to get the full context of this poem, you have been warned.
I’m in a car with my mother. We’re driving on the freeway and into a tunnel. Suddenly, this black van is steadily speeding into sight. Four people in all black and sunglasses get out of the back of the van and start nonchalantly walking to nearby cars and pointing guns into the cars, slaughtering everyone inside. As I notice the horror, I shout at my mother to floor it, “Drive faster, drive faster!” But the car won’t go past 70 miles per hour, and even that wasn’t fast enough. One of these killers are effortlessly approaching the car, and before I know it, they caught up and aimed the gun at mother and shot her in the head. The bullet went through and through and blood got everywhere. And the killer just looked at me, smirked, and went to find their next victim. I was terrified, and even though I knew for sure she was dead, I tried waking her over and over. And like one of those spasms that happen, dead bodies jerking a bit, my mother’s head jerked up, her eyes opened staring straight at me, and then her head collapses away from my direction again.
I don’t remember much of the nightmare after that, except I woke up and was unable to function. My real body could still feel the warmth of the blood from the dream, and it was like I was Lady Macbeth from Macbeth trying to wash the blood off my hands. For days I could still see and feel the blood splatters. It was like it was real and it was haunting me. But my mother is still very much alive, and despite everything, despite the unstable relationship I share with her, I would not want what happened in that nightmare to happen to her in real life.
That’s what this poem is about. I wrote this poem to release the emotions I developed with this traumatic nightmare. I don’t know if it’s possible to have trauma and/or a diagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from a dream, but I can still remember that nightmare crystal clear to this day. And every time I think about the nightmare, I can feel my cells tremor.
No matter what happened in my past and no matter what still goes on now that may cause a painful strain in my relationship with my mother or with anyone else in my life, biological family or friends, even ex-friends, I wouldn’t wish what I witnessed in my nightmare onto anyone else. I cannot imagine actually witnessing someone being murdered before your eyes. After all, what I experienced was just a “dream” (nightmare).