edition September-Oktober 2023

Voyages in the Dream Body

Continued fantastical realms inspired by Carmen Maria Machado’s ‘In the Dream House’

A fruit and nothing more. Foto: Parvathi Ramanathan

Text: Parvathi Ramanathan
Dancer, Researcher and Writer with occasional morning affairs with poetry


Dream Body as Instinct Retriever

You wake up as the airplane is landing, an infant is wailing and your ears are hurting. The acute ear ache pinches into your head as you squint at the approaching land. The despairing infant sitting a few rows ahead is probably also crying for the same reason. 

This thought is somehow pleasing.

As an adult, society largely crushes your instinct to cry or shout out aloud. But at least in this way, your body is still like that of the child – both your bodies, in their primordial way, are trying to channel the air for the ears to pop. At least, in this way, instinct remains.


Dream Body as Ivy Lungs

the lungs bloom
like ivy in summer
winding, pursuing light
she soars upwards in twisted tremors,
twenty three and a half notes too less,
music, a spectrum.
the lungs unfurl
like flapping elephant ears
soft fleshy succulent and then fluttering,
fluttering lilting butterfly wings.
the ivy trellis of the lungs
floats in trills unsung.
what may be devilish here?
what may be kun, what may be om?
an ivy voice
it was here already, and also already gone.

Dream Body as Documentary

The film begins much earlier, shows much more. On this day, the dancer is rolling out and cleaning up the linoleum dance floor at the studio of a famous choreographer. It pays better than minimum wage, and well, also allows for occasionally observing a workshop. The other job of writing social media posts for a performance venue keeps them in the loop about the city’s dance scene. Not every mini job has such benefits. Not every part of the dancer’s day is watched by an audience. Not the early morning runs or extra training. No one watches the rehearsals. The folder of rejected funding applications is tucked away unseen, as are the overnight hours spent pondering on them. The eureka moments of connection when an idea strikes are also missed.

If all goes well, the audience sees only the dance. The body, on the other hand, is a full time documentary film maker.


Dream Body as Objects Before and After Existence

(Found over-ground)



Pack of condoms


A copy of Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting, and Raising Kind, Confident Kids


Receipts from prenatal yoga classes



(Found underground)



1 plastic purple button swallowed by mistake

has not decomposed for 40 years

1 Pacemaker

could be re-used

2 gold molars

worth much more now than when they were implanted

Metal knee-joint replacements

incorporated into the looping mud channels of the ant colony

Favourite earrings

missing a screw

Ballet shoes

now used in a march of the ants


Dream Body as Coincidental Universe

By the time you are in your thirties, well past your teenage years, you know that every object, plant, fruit, building, dam, landscape, tree, etc. is NOT similar to human genitalia. But by coincidence, they may appear to be so.



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