of course I woke up screaming

 I must have been only seven

or maybe eight years old

when I had my worst ever nightmare.

The dream begins at some big family gathering,

everyone was eating

some brand new kind of tinned salmon.

I remember looking at the

bright pink and orange flesh

sitting in the can.

The colours reminded me of a tropical sunset.

It was pretty, but for some reason

I alone refused to eat.

In my child’s brain

some deep suspicion lurked.


As it turned out I was right,

for the fish was contaminated

with some unknown toxin.

Who knows what or why,

perhaps it came from some

radioactive atoll in the South Pacific,

or maybe it was Magic.

At anyrate, it caused everyone who ate it

to undergo a bizarre mutation.

Not at first, but later,

all those who ate that tainted fish

were transformed into Dogs and Apes.


Next in my dream I’ve gone to school,

and I’m sitting in my class

when people who have et the fish

started changing all around me,

classmates, teachers,

a horrifying transformation!

The dream becomes a montage then

of terror and confusion/ simians screaming, snarls

and yelps/ jaws snapping & slavering/ scram-

bling to escape,

from fur bristling alsations and savage apes

all around me


all of them hate me

because I haven’t changed.


I barricade myself in a classroom,

piling suitcases and chairs against the door

outside howling dogs throw their hysterical bodies

against my desperate defences,

and inside me the hideous Fear grows,

as I frantically stacked the wooden chairs;

That I alone in all of the world

hadn’t eaten the flesh of that fish.


I woke up screaming of course,

to be comforted by my parents

and the Dawn came soon enough,

but the dream had left me

haunted by a sense of dread.

For the next three or four days

I stayed close to my mother.

I was afraid to be alone,

I’d look down the empty street

and the Fear would grip me

that an Ape was about to appear.


Got over it in time of course,

had other dreams and nightmares,

but I’ve never forgotten it.

Indeed, it’s left me with a deep unease

that, sometimes surfacing, still finds me

anxiously watching my companion’s faces

and wondering,

whether the long delayed transformation

is about to begin at last. 

{Authors note. An interesting point about this dream, which I had nearly fifty years ago, is how exactly it tells the Archtypal “Last Human left alive surrounded by Hostile Inhuman Hordes” Myth that is subsequently found in so many movies (Omega Man is the classic example but endless zombie movies explore this Mythic landscape, as do the Terminator & Matrix films in a variant fashion.) But not only had I not seen any such movies at that tender age, they had yet to be made! Clearly my young brain was already in tune with the Zeitgeist of the Times.

There is also the question of the exact nature of the Metaphor of the Transformation itself to consider. I’ll leave that to others more qualified than I.}




The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe. Through some oversight he is also somehow the Committee Secretary for the Kurilpa Poets.

The ability to walk and chew gum at the same time is but the least of his accomplishments.


~ by reverendhellfire on November 4, 2012.


  1. As a rule of the Prolific Blogger Award, http://mentalnotes1.wordpress.com/ wanted me to write a poem which incorporated all the blogs she nominated. You were in that list. I finally wrote the poem and on Thursday, November 8th, at 4pm EST, the poem entitled “The Bloggers” will be posted on my blog. The name and link to your blog are within the context of the poem. Let me know if this is ok to post. If I don’t hear back, I’ll take that as permission. I think you’ll like it though, so when it’s posted you should check it out! http://sagedoyle.wordpress.com

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