Amy Souza and Erika Cleveland

Erika Cleveland
Inspiration piece

Like That
By Amy Souza

There’s this thing that keeps coming to me in dreams. A yellow mangled baby head with a crooked smile, like it’s got a secret that you’ll never figure out. Like it’ll pull one over on you. It’s got your number.

Some nights I wake up just as the head is beginning to form itself in my dream mind. The neighbor pulls in drunk or his teenage daughter sets off her car alarm. Sometimes it’s nothing I can notice. Maybe a dog barked down the street. When I finally drift back to sleep, the thing is waiting.

Remember those dolls with squished crabapple faces? Like that. I don’t think it’s a real baby. Maybe just an idea, sliced into bits and pieces, wanting to come together, make a whole. Trying to send me a message, and it must be important since it waits beyond sleep night after night.

I’ve read that dreams are your subconscious coming through, but I don’t get what a yellow mangled baby head is meant to represent. What is it trying to tell me? Why such a strange creature, and why the frequency? How can I not understand my own mind?

It’s got me thinking about the other side, you know, another dimension. Things/creatures/people/gods living parallel to us, though we can’t see them. Could be why we dream. To connect with them. To share.

In our dimension, I am alone with my thoughts nearly all the time. It’s just the life I’ve made. Solitary and, yes, lonely. So you’d think I’d welcome the yellow mangled baby head’s familiar face. But what if its presence marks a warning? Portent to the end of days, or end of my days. Or just a witness. Here to say, I see you and your aloneness and it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ll keep you company for a while.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s a scene painted by neurons trying to amuse themselves while I rest and they like the color yellow and they want to see me squirm.


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  1. Posted June 3, 2016 at 5:12 pm | #

    AMY! What an incredible response to an unusual piece. Thought-through, brilliant interpretation.

    I can’t read the small type on the photo: is this boiled wool? Whatever material has been worked here – paper, fiber, even thickly painted – it’s a material that I am sure I would normally think was not easily employed to express one’s emotion, turmoil. But this is remarkably conceived and executed.

    Thank you both. This is very unexpected, exciting work.

  2. Posted June 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm | #

    Thanks, Jay. It’s felted wool, the bottom layer is wet felted and the details are needle felted. The title is “Souls Newly Hatched.”