I dreamed we were all hypnotized by words.
That we could only see as far as our words would let us see.
That we could only hear things our words would allow us to hear.
That we could only think thoughts that our words wanted us to think.
Whole ways of life would grow and die as the words grew large,
then aged and died off.
Entire cities, continents of people would thrive and decline
in lock step with their words.
A few eccentric people,
deciding they’d had enough of this, would retreat into silence.
But even then, they’d still be surrounded by the words.
Through disciplined years of practice and concentration,
certain gifted ones found they could indeed,
for shorter or longer periods of time
achieve enlightened states of blissful silence.
But the moment they let down their guard
and pulled their hands away from their ears
the words would still be there, waiting for them.
There was no escape.
Certain other people became so fond of this way of life,
they’d do almost anything for the right words
Words began distracting people.
People would argue for days just over what the words meant
thinking they were arguing about something substantial.
People started spending long hours
thinking, talking, writing, speaking to each other.
No work was getting done.
As is usually the case,
the authorities got wind of all this and decided to make certain words illegal.
But that only served to increase their value.
People would drive to dangerous neighborhoods in the middle of the night
turn out their lights and roll up to some sleezy guy on a corner
who, for the right price, would edge up to the window and
utter the proscribed words.
I dreamed we were all hypnotized by our words.
I dreamed a world, alive, hearing the words and responding to the words.
Reshaping itself automatically to fit the words.
Bringing into immediate existence everything things the words invoked.
Angry words creating all sorts of excellent reasons to be angry.
Words of imagination bringing into being things no one had seen before.
Words of love creating love where no love had been.
Words of fear conjuring up horrible torments.
I woke up
in a sweat.