The Sky is a Painting in Black and Red (12 Dreams)
(This dream series by Nick Piombino originally appeared in Ocho 20, published by Didi Menendez & issue edited by Kemel Zaldivar.
"I found the girl of my dreams and now all I do is sleep"
1. I'm at an event and it's over. I go to the front to get some flyers for upcoming programs. Jay [Sanders] is there and I take a couple. I see an announcement for an event after New Year's. (I've been dumping coffee beans into a coffee can in some part of the dream). Charles [Bernstein] shakes my hand and I say, "Are you going somewhere?" thinking we would be riding uptown together. Somebody laughs (sarcastically, I think) but Jay [Sanders] or Drew [Gardner] say to me, "I like the things you said." I am feeling embarrassed like I had said something too serious. The bag on the floor isn't mine. It's wrinkled and flat.
2. I'm shopping in a bookstore. The owner tells me that my collecting is "too indirect." I should "carve out a path." After a long wait I leave with the two catalogues. He runs after me and asks for his twenty dollars. I tell him—laughing—that if he had these every time I visit he could make $20 a week. I'm walking down the street and I realize the two magazines are gone. A guy sitting there says he saw some guys in a car come along and take them.
3. I'm giving a reading using first lines of Ashbery. Somebody throws a U shaped pot at me. I'm looking to throw something back. I don't see anybody trying to help me.
4. I am at a dinner I haven't been invited to. I feel awkward and embarrassed. I walk through a long hall. There are many guests and I don't recognize anybody. I'm looking for the television room or somewhere to be alone. As I am trying to leave someone asks me what I am doing there. Then I leave with a group of surly looking people who don't look like they are having a good time. I go out and start wandering around.
5. I'm in a fancy place with lots of rooms. There is an event going on. A man asks me if I still have my badge (I am a detective). I tell him I've been in the bureaucracy so long I don't need a badge because I know who I am and there's an air of authority about me. I go into another room. Gary [Sullivan] is there. A lot of nice women's clothes. I'm thinking— where's Toni [Simon]—she should try on some of these clothes.
6. I'm giving a reading but all my papers are disorganized. I keep running around trying to find the poems I am going to read. I go up to the front but I can't do it. Someone turns the lights on and off.
7. All my stuff is on a blanket on the ground. Two people are standing nearby—a man and a woman. She laughs at me. I say, I hope you enjoy this because it's the only fun you're going to have today. She is speaking in French on the phone.
8. I'm elsewhere on the way to see Gary [Sullivan] and Nada [Gordon]. I am having trouble leaving. I am outside and the sky is a beautiful oil painting—I can't stop looking at it—in black and red shapes.
9. Toni [Simon] and I are at an event and James [Sherry] is saying that when Jackson [Mac Low] and Ann [Tardos] dance the reason that they shake their butts so much is that they have long legs. I disagree with this—and an argument ensues. At some point Toni tells me I should apologize. Somehow I'm at the door and I'm coming in again. I have a lot of stuff on the floor to put back in boxes. There's a music box and a couple of clocks. I'm on the floor looking at the number on the cover. I don't see a 13.
10. I'm supposed to be at work but I go to a special celebration for Charles [Bernstein] instead. There are people on the stairway lining up to go. They are holding wooden briefcases that have been given out. I go outside and see Charles who walks over to a stand to get me one. At first I don't like it because some of the wood pieces are sticking up. Then I look at it again and I see that the pieces are situated on the back part and look roughly like two arms of an armchair so I decide to take it. I go upstairs to have my lunch but when I leave I forget to bring my wooden briefcase. I run back upstairs but now the waitress is gone and the place is closed. It's too late to go back to work. It's 9:15 pm. Earlier I had seen a highly polished dark wooden briefcase at the stand. But that was not one celebrating Charles.
11. Toni and I are hanging out with an Indian man. They are flirting. He says to Toni—"You don't make me feel like I will be a great writer." Then I say to him, with a laugh: "She makes me know I will be a very great writer."
12. Toni and I are going to the university cafeteria. We have to walk through some buildings in the basement to get there. When we do get there you have to go through the kitchen, but the kitchen is covered with several inches of water. Obviously we can't walk through this. We ask them how to do it, but they are ignoring us. I say, "I am going to call the university president." They say: "So call him." We are walking away and go into another entrance. I see an artwork of zigzagging lights—a picture of two workers—blue and white lights. I tell Toni I am calling the manager.