II. Mephistopheles’ Complaint (78)

Peter J. Grieco

Dreaming has been compared with the random

cacophony resulting from “the ten

fingers of a man who knows nothing about

music, as they wander over the keys

of a pianoforte.” However,


Roberts theorized a somatic function:

dreams as excretions of thoughts that have been

stifled at birth, such that, “A man deprived

of dreams would become mentally deranged

by the great mass of unworked-out thoughts that


would accumulate in the brain to smother

the assimilation of integral

memory.” As “safety valves” for the over-

burdened brain, they “possess a power

to heal & relieve.” Yes! But who among us—


having meandered the river of sleep

with its colors, landscapes, & caresses,

where old friends meet & old homes revisit

us, & recalling upon waking such

intricate transits of architecture—


who would call this shit, but hear instead

in their scattered notes the stuff of beauty? 


Peter J. Grieco is a native of Buffalo, NY and teaches writing at the University of Buffalo where he wrote his dissertation on working-class poetry. He is a prolific song writer and poet. His work has appeared recently in Bond Street Review, Tiger’s Eye, Right Hand Pointing, Poehemians, Paper Nautilus, Constellation, Sand, and Chiron Review.