The Friday Morning Listen: Björk – Drawing Restraint 9 (2005)

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by Mark Saleski

The most frightening nightmare I have had involved none of the usual suspects. There were no scary monsters. Nothing came at me from underneath the bed or from the dark recess of my closet. Nobody was chasing me. I was not falling. I was not drowning (That was from MostFrighteningNightmare™ #2. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.)

No, the dream was completely absent the usual clichés. Instead, it was my eyes that played the central character.

It was at an art gallery. I was looking at a wall of gorgeous images when somebody said something. I turned to the left to reply and had a hard time focusing on the intended source of the query. After a minute or so, I figured out the source of my troubles: even though I was facing 90 degrees to the left, I was still seeing the wall that was now to my right. Somehow, I managed to take a few steps forward, ending up in the next room…except that now I was seeing an image of the previous room, my “view” being replaced by what I saw as I looked over my shoulder after passing through the doorway.

This might be the kind of thing that happens to people when they drop acid. Having no experience with hallucinogens on that level, I began to freak out, planning for my future, one full of this bizarre form of blindness. I woke up with a racing heart, my t-shirt soaked with sweat. Where the heck did that come from?!

Recently, I’ve been having thought-based versions of that nightmare. These are not dreams. They’re my thoughts deciding that they’re not going to get out of my way. So I’ll be sitting there at work, trying to come up with a solution to a problem. Though the right idea can strike me immediately, the usual pattern is for the target idea to fire off a chain of thoughts both related and not. A kind of mental lightning. Ah, what I need to do is preserve this value and then didn’t they have an above ground pool?…That was a pretty underpowered snowmobile…Her breath smelled like corn. I never thought they’d break up. Did we remember to put that candle out? Gees, that was loud. I’m really sorry they’re going through that. The weather had better be nice for Saturday. Oh my gawd, they’re going to fire me. Bright red is the dumb car color for an adult it should all work out.

And on it goes.

Is this was a nervous breakdown feels like? Is it just stress? I’m guessing the latter, though obviously I’m no expert. Heck, I sometimes get overwhelmed just being the “expert of me”. In any event, I won’t miss it when it’s gone. Let me tell you, it’s some tiring stuff, this storm of ideas.

What’s that? You want to hear about MostFrighteningNightmare™ #2? I’m scuba diving, me and another person. Somehow, because it’s dream, we can communicate without the aid of any electronics. We’re down fairly deep when another diver swims by. He looks at us and then proceeds to slowly swim behind a huge boulder. The person diving with me says “Some people just want to be alone at the end.”

Seriously, I have no idea where that came from.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at
Mark Saleski
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