And so I guess you can’t keep a good dog down.  Like a dream.  A dream you find hard to forget.   Even though if you try, if you try to put it in words it’s like a cat’s got your tongue.  Maybe it’s a shame.  It’s a shame a dream can tell a story better than you can.  And what David dreamed, in his prime, what Bridgette dreamed before Frenchie’s dog woke her with his howls, maybe it was better than any story they could come up with awake.  For the story here is of Benjamin Threnody’s birth, an ending composed in it.  And maybe the best stories have their endings in beginnings, their beginnings in endings—how dreams are when we try to remember them.  It’s just when we wake up time takes over again.  With all its reasons to our poor minds.  To why dogs are dogs and cats are cats.  To why we need translations, interpreters to translate our language in the dance and prayer for rain, our fasts, in the drought of our dreams mornings after.

This story is simple enough.  David Threnody returned to New Orleans to sell his copyright.  So that people could keep listening.  So they could hear those first recordings.  What he sold allowing me to hear it nearly sixty years later at a crossroads in that American Bottom.  The mystery of dreams, their interpretation, attempted in David’s meeting with the Indian Franklin Meeks there, in Bethany tossing chicken bones with Marie Toussaint and her toothless incantations—what reason and time can’t decipher—a puzzle, the pieces of it lost in waking.  What maybe connected it all the crossing of a river—the Sabine—and a date, a date on a calendar.  David dreamed and awoke to the word that Bethany was in labor.  His thirtieth birthday ending at midnight, and just about three hours later Marie Toussaint cutting the cord Ben Threnody held around his brother’s neck.  This on an extra day that only happened every four years, for it was a leap year.  It’s a story of the death of David and Bethany’s firstborn—a prophecy.  A story of a first love dying.  The other piece of the story the elders, Papa Frenchie and Bridgette, an old love being renewed—she being awoken from dreams as well by that old hound, receiving word that her first husband was in jail.  All this jumbled together, but in a waking mind determined by time, each fact allotted its place.  So that a picture of the puzzle formulates which we can communicate in a language we all understand—what happened at the same time not seen, not heard, at the same time, yet somehow grasped in dream time—what’s real about time in dreams.  Just as we add a day to the calendar to make sense of it all.  Our universal movements.  Our definitions of life relative to these motions.  This the one dream.  The dream where you’re in mine and I’m in yours.  Our time, our movements—at play with each other.

So maybe the truth is in what we reject.  In what our waking minds can’t fathom.  And out of this so many stories are created.  Stories only mothers can tell.  A father mourning.  The stories of children.  The contradictions revealed in two families, two people, coming together and split into symmetrical sides, different colors, frequencies of sound, refracted light.  Our history told every time someone wakes up and tries to tell what they saw, what they heard.  This maybe what I have done.  Making a story of a story.  A story of David.  What his voice made me feel.  The richness of the patterns—the range of it.  Those coincidences that aren’t coincidences when you reflect on them later—the words of his songs.  And I don’t know what else to call it but God.  What the heart hears when it’s broken.…

 

 … and David pleaded with God for the child.  He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.  The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

 On the seventh day the child died.  David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him.  How can we now tell him the child is dead?  He may do something desperate.”

David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.

“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

 Then David got up from the ground.  After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.  I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting?  Can I bring him back again?  I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Then David comforted his wife, and he went to her and made love to her…

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