Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Native Land

by Frederick Pollack


The dream was exceptionally bad, exerting

an undertow, so that I couldn’t

leave it as quickly as usual, but kept

looking back, to check if those cluttered, airless,

disintegrating rooms were not, in fact,

real. (What was that stripe of color

in a crumpled quilt, those other touches

of long-defeated liveliness or taste?)

When I couldn’t find Phylis, I started

to cry out, and felt and heard

from the other side, that of the real,

how weak those shouts were. (She wasn’t


the diminutive wrapped figure

that turned away, in the same place

and at the same time, but in a different sort

of time.) And the detached, ironic

consciousness, my modern, my me, that

homunculus who seems increasingly

thin and beleaguered these days peered through

to the day-world, anticipating

relief, which perhaps

was why I felt less relieved

than usual. She kicked me, said “Shush,”


still asleep. And my detached,

ironic etc. immediately began

seeking causes: Doctorow’s latest novel,

about two recluse, pack-rat brothers;

Mary Mattingly’s shrouded, post-Catastrophic

people; Disch’s apartment as

I saw it before his suicide – It tried,

homunculus did, to prove they were really

sources for where I had been, that they hadn’t

come out of it; I didn’t


believe it a second.