Jean-Michel Basquiat, Trumpet. 1984.
Your Nightmares Are Real
You live in a world filled with sunshine and joy.
You think that you’re safe from your fears that annoy.
You brush aside dreams so you’ll sleep. No big deal!
Now I’ve come to tell you YOUR NIGHTMARES ARE REAL.
You tell Mom and Dad you’re not safe in your room.
They smile, pat your head, and leave you to your doom.
The fears come at night when you’re tucked in your bed.
They growl in your ears and they wait in your head.
They hide exactly like you think that they will,
Within every doorstep, behind every hill.
Are you scared of spiders? Their eight nasty legs?
They’ll suck up your blood. They’ll finish the dregs!
Are you scared of creatures that transport disease?
Some rats carry sickness that kills you with ease.
Some people hate snakes and the way that they slither,
‘Cause poisonous bites can cause you to wither.
Your body succumbs to the fire in your blood
When snake bites leave you writhing, dead in the mud.
And there’s more than just creatures to make you feel scared.
You’ve dreamed some before but there’s more than you’ve dared.
The monsters with claws and sharp fangs and bright eyes—
Your dreams with these beasties aren’t foolish, but wise.
One hides in your closet all day and all night.
It waits for the lights to go out for its bite.
Don’t leave the door open: it sees when you sleep!
And don’t leave it closed: it can still hear you weep!
Your terror is food for those under your bed,
But it’s not enough; they want you when you’re dead.
Their long purple tongues lick their bloody black lips
As they dig for your entrails until the flesh rips.
Those nightmares are still only partially true.
The nightmares that hurt most are very real, too.
They don’t hurt your body; they leave you alive,
But they cut through your heart like a thousand hot knives.
These fears you’ll remember the longest and best.
You’ll never escape them, not North, East, or West.
These dreams aren’t extraordinary, they’re just bad.
They make you feel gloomy or lonely or sad.
People laugh in these dreams, but not ’cause they’re funny.
They’re laughing at you ’cause you’re dressed like a bunny.
Or maybe they laugh ’cause you’re doing a dance,
Or because you forgot all your clothes but your pants.
You know you can’t face all your friends the next day.
If it wasn’t a dream, then they’ll make you pay.
And what about when Mom and Dad disappear?
Alone in the world, you have real things to fear.
And what if they don’t come back? What if they can’t?
You’re stuck in a dumpster with hobos who rant.
You’re left all alone without family or friends.
You can’t escape loneliness: it never ends.
So whether you dream about monsters or snakes
Or losing your parents or drowning in lakes,
Your mind knows reality better than you
And it creates dreams meant to tell you what’s true.
When lying adults tell you not to be scared,
Ignore them and face the world, claws and fangs bared.
You’re up against monsters. It’s time that you knew:
I’m telling you kid, ALL YOUR NIGHTMARES ARE TRUE!