The Other Half of the Dream
by Cecil Helman

ISBN: 0-9744503-1-6
Perfect Bound, $12.00
Publication Date: December 2004.
5 x 7 inches, 94 pages

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The Other Half of the Dream is a collection of prose poems — and of prose written as poetry — that carry the reader into a parallel world of dreamlike possibilities. It’s a surreal world of humour and wonder, but also at times one of absurdity and paranoia. The images of this doppelganger universe are drawn not only from the visions and dreams of the subconscious, but also from a sense of the mysteries that lie hidden at the very periphery of the dream itself.

“Outlandishly imaginative yet relentlessly logical, readers will find Cecil Helman’s prose poems a pleasure and an astonishment. Helman is a master of le mot juste. His work reflects the fact that if words are well chosen, prose poems — like verse — can have a lyricism that reaches convincing heights.”
—Michael Benedikt

“Cecil Helman has been writing magical, darkly comic prose poems before the new generation of prose poets were out of middle school, and his experience shows in The Other Half of the Dream. Just when we feel secure in the presence of narrative, he sends us reeling down a dark alley of startling images or plot twists. In "Mysteries of the Veldt,"one of the first poems of the book, the narrator says that everywhere there are signs, clues, and mysteries about the Veldt, yet we somehow know he is talking about something else. And where are the answers to the mysteries, where are the wise men to decipher these clues, these signs? Appropriately absent. Or maybe were the wise men, or maybe, as Helman suggests in the last sentence of the book, the only thing that really matters is that "A new story is about to be born. . .”
—Peter Johnson

“Subtle, funny, smart—these brief proses by Cecil Helman are just slightly off-kilter, giving us a world a lot like our own, but importantly different. It’s full of voices that blister the skin, orchestras that keep playing right on through the shipwreck, a guru worshiped with heaps of glass eyes. These are differences that, uncannily, help us see our own world more clearly, and help us love it more, for these are pieces that understand something fundamental about the human condition, and that regard it with compassion and warmth.”
—Cole Swensen

From The Other Half of the Dream...

That Girl on the Aeroplane

That girl who sat next to me on the aeroplane. That blonde with the aquamarine eyes, and the big box of black-and-white photographs, and the pet armadillo — whose name I’ve forgotten — who had half-eaten the minister’s son in her home town, just before her transplant operation. That one with the gold lamé dress worn, she said, over a fluffy pink nightie. Who wore high black platform heels, or were they blue? That one with the elliptical bruise under her left eyebrow, which she blamed on a binocular. And the intricate tracery of needlemarks on her cheek, the notation of a dance she had done, she said, by the personal tattooist of the Sultan of Zanzibar, or was it of Dubai? That girl who sat next to me on the aeroplane, fastening her seat-belt, and observing the No Smoking sign. That one with the diplomatic passport from Columbia, but who knew no Spanish because — as she said — she dreamt in ancient Greek. That girl whose cabin baggage above our heads was labeled in spindly hieroglyphs, right-to-left and upside-down. Who asked the stewardess for a drink in — in Zulu, I think. And for a brace of salmon sandwiches, straight from the Captain’s table. Who wore strapped to her wrist, a miniature modem and a fax machine — but neither one of them, she said emphatically, made in Japan. The one who walked up and down the aisle, interviewing every second balding man for Radio Zagreb, or was it Zaire? That girl who snored in a guttural southern dialect throughout the flight, but who still had icicles in her hair when she awoke. That girl who sat next to me on the aeroplane. That girl. That one with the black eyes and the long, curly, auburn hair. That girl with the tattoos on neither cheek. The one who had once half-eaten an ancient Greek armadillo with a transplanted heart, somewhere in Colombia? That girl. I wonder who she was?

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