Dreams are strange creatures (“creature” late 13c., “anything created”). All anyone else knows about what you dream is what you tell them. By all reports, though, it would seem that dreams are–just like dreamers–staggeringly original and predictable.
Mine tend to be cinematic. With scenes and settings. They seem to have plot woven through, but that doesn’t normally stand much waking scrutiny.
They’re sort of like small, small Coen Brothers films.
One thing: when I’ve forgotten everything but the notes I’ve made or description I tried to give someone else, the settings remain. I could open some of them right now, move around on their stages, peek into windows and drawers. Invent stories.
Now that may not be the way dreams work for you, but I’ll bet there are backgrounds from novels and movies that you could move into this very moment. They are as real to you as life is. The Hundred Acre Wood, Oz, General Hospital, Monument Valley (yes, I know it’s real, real. but it’s the world of John Ford’s westerns), places from your own stories. Intentional dreamscapes.
I want you to work some. First: get a pen and paper–no computers here. Go into your mind and find one of those good places. Don’t try to describe the place for us. Seat, set, settle yourself there. When you are comfortable, “move” around, and be curious. Find things. Make a brief note about what you find, and move on.
Use the notes–not the dreamscape/scene itself–as the base for your poem/fiction.
If your notes are good, you may have more than one poem there. You may also want to take another trip. If you want, you can tell us about it as a footnote to what you’ve written, but do remember that telling will make the place more fixed . There will be fewer surprises if you want to go back.