Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So I’m discussing changes to the description of a class, simplifying it, not demanding so much of the students. The registrar agrees and is saving me a space for the new description and title. There must be some field or something that I have to get across. There always is. Then there’s the question of who needs to be on the beach—I or my mother. That’s part of it—the mother has to sit on the beach and wait. It gives her an excuse to be there. I think it’s me, waiting for my daughter.

Then I am trying to restore the back of a building. It seems to need painting. Is what I have painted good or not? Who is in charge? There are words on the walls, but the question is not what they say, but how do they look. Inside the rooms are full of things I don’t care about, and I’m trying to get the kids to understand that can’t let just anyone in, into the bathroom. Everywhere I turn there are flounces and trim, things I don’t like or need.


I am busy trying to get rid of someone who is being kicked out, kicked off the team. The color green is a marker, trying to keep it in mind. Tension remains in my upper arms and neck. I am getting help to get rid of someone, thinking I am someone else. How do I know? Living under the roof like a refugee, they will clear out Costa’s stuff. I read “inlaid” when the word was undone. I broke the sentence off, knowing how it might continue.


There was a large map on a table. We were adding water to it with a kind of spongy roller device. Someone showed us a specific area to make sopping wet. Then someone whose origin was that area came by and we showed her that her area was really wet. At first she didn’t get it, but we knew eventually she’d be upset. There was a wild man with little black legs and a handlebar moustache who showed up like a crazy revolutionary. It was if his legs were singed. I forgot to call Paul on the Epiphany. Then someone in my dream complains.


Later in a new dream there is a storage unit that has a way to remove something from it because there is a blue light inside it. The blue light is key. I am not worried that my dreams slip away, I no longer feel worried and I sense that I am no longer searching and anxious about it. The search is mild. The blue light keeps shining.

Monday, December 28, 2009

She was tall and elegant; the woman who came to stay, but there was something wrong. I sensed it. The back details of this dream have faded but I remember the woman offering to show us. She closed the door of my bedroom and began to peel off her clothes layer by layer. There were several layers: a long sleeved dress, followed by another, then an underskirt and two t shirts, an under blouse; so many layers of clothes and as she took one layer off after another I guessed out loud,

‘It’s because you’re thin’.

I was right, I could see already her pencil thin arms, but hers was not an ordinary thinness and when she finally peeled off the final layer of her underwear and stood before us naked I could see that it was a problem not only of thinness but also of digestion or some such ailment. It had so impacted on the texture and thickness of her skin that every item of her internal organs and structure was visible beneath the thin layer of her skin. Like a translucent membrane, it held the parts in place.

I could see the shape of her heart beating, the layered lines of her rib cage. Her intestines coiled like a thick string of beads and the little sack of her stomach bulged to one side in the middle near a smaller sack, her bladder.

I write this to describe the image of a woman who carried her insides on the outside, like a heart on her sleeve and this to the extreme. She reminded me of those illustrations you see in doctor’s surgeries, the ones designed to demonstrate the location of the various parts of the human body, the parts we cannot see.

In my dream the woman became my child and I knew that I should feed her. I sat her in front of a bowl of chicken pieces and began to entice her with other foods, left over Japanese food, sushi and sashimi. Elsewhere I took some noodles from the plate of another child who was eating nearby and encouraged my thin girl to eat up more and more. I knew that if I could feed her well enough over time her skin would grow thick and she would no longer need to hide herself behind these multiple layers of clothes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I and three other people (an old man and two women) were trying to invade Cuba on makeshift rafts. One raft to a person. They were just boards nailed together, tho each of us had a mound, a couple of feet high, of cooked rice for provisions. The old man was lost at sea, but the rest of us were picked up immediately as we went ashore. Our plan had been to attend a dance there, to let the Cubans know that we were not a danger, and to leave wallets behind that had lots of cash in Cuban bills for people to live a little more easily.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The head nun, who was a cross between the head mistress from my schooldays in the late sixties, Sister M, and the principle of my daughters’ school now, handed me a slip of paper. It included a description of the role I was to perform in the school play.

I looked at it briefly and felt disappointed. I was standing in the middle of the schoolyard down near the quadrangle when the head mistress, whom I shall from now on call Sister M, came over to ask whether I was happy with my part.

‘I’m not really,’ I dared to say. I dared only tell her because somewhere earlier in my dream I had read through the school manual and in it I had seen written that there was a place to complain about parts allocated in the school play if you were not satisfied.

Even as I told Sr M that I was unhappy with my part I thought I should keep it to myself. I should have swallowed my pride, but it was too late, it was out.

‘It’s a small part, I know Sister M said but we need to give the main parts to those who are best able to take on particular roles, even so this one gives you a chance to demonstrate your skills.’

One of my sisters stood nearby. She came over to see what all the fuss was about. Sister M left and my sister read through the description of my role.

‘It’s not so bad,’ she said. ‘You’re part of the roaring forties, a small part maybe, but you’ll be on stage most of the time.’

I knew then that I should not have complained but the idea of being on stage as part of the chorus in the background, nodding and smiling, gesticulating or whatever else was required, did not pleased me. Against my wishes, I began to cry. By the time Sister M arrived back with two other possible roles in the play that I might prefer I was sobbing.

I did not want these parts. It was okay. I felt apologetic and embarrassed, but as I write down my memory of the dream now, my sorrow was tinged with anger. I knew it would not do to cry, but I could not stop. Then whether I decided it was strategic for me to suggest that I was worried about other things, like how I might do in my final year at school, I do not know. But I took this line.

It was around March during my matriculation, the title of my final year at school. It seemed a more legitimate thing to be upset about than the role I would have in the play. Besides as I sobbed, I realised it was true. I was worried about my schoolwork.

I had slipped behind. I had been sick, in the same way as my oldest daughter, who in the dream became my daughter who had been sick with glandular fever the year before and virtually lost the best part of her year ten year. I was now worried that I would slip further behind, too.

I had always imagined that when you work hard then you will be rewarded with good results, but this was not happening for me now. The role I had been allocated in the school play, a small bit part on the sidelines was proof of this.

The head mistress held me in her arms to comfort me but I felt on display, the entire school of girls were watching. I did not trust the head mistresses concern. In between turns of talking to me, and holding me between the folds of her billowing black habit, she was dealing with the usual school business. She was introducing herself to would be parents of other schoolgirls and dealing with other teachers’ concerns.

Every time she turned away, I looked around me through blurry eyes at the schoolyard and wondered what I was dong there. The whole place seemed to have changed. I could no longer feel connected and I was convinced I would now fail my final school year because things no longer made sense to me as they once did.

There was an entire subject, a foreign language, something like Polish that I was meant to have studied that year but I knew not one single word of it. I wanted to tell Sister M about this but she was busy talking to yet another set of parents and by the time she came back to me the rest of the school were seated at tables for lunch. I was now back in boarding school.

Sister M looked around for a space at a table for me. The girls were all familiar to me but I could not feel a connection with any of them. I sat down at the far end near a group of girls mid conversation. They looked at me but did not engage. They did not ask questions nor did they seem interested in why I was upset. They were not judgemental about it. They were simply indifferent. I could have been invisible for all they cared.

Scatty dreams, of schoolgirls gathering in our lounge room as if they are camping. I’m looking after a small child/baby who can only now just walk and talk. I see that someone has painted over the check tiles in the bathroom in deep red paint. It could have looked good to begin with but the paint was not right for the surface and it is peeling in places, cracked in others and flaking off in large hunks at the points of greatest activity.

A lizard appears from under the skirting board, long and black with a face like Batman, or Zorro, a face whose patterning gives the appearance of a mask and the lizard darts into the room where the schoolgirls congregate. They seem unbothered but my baby boy follows and wants to engage with the lizard.

I
warn him off. He’s too young. I tell him when he is older and taller, then he can talk to the lizard, but not now.

For now I hope the lizard will disappear but I see that the lizard is also interested in my child. Perhaps because they are of similar height, at least they would be were the lizard to stand on its hind legs and reach for the ceiling. The lizard and the small boy eye one another off until I scoop the boy into my arms, and the lizard streaks away
.

I turn to the gathering of schoolgirls with the odd boy in between.


‘Could you guys please tidy this place up before the end of the day?'

One
person only responds with assurances that they will. The rest are silent. I comment on this to my oldest daughter who has walked into the room. I do not want to embarrass her. This is easy to do at this time of the day, but I want help with the mess.
I had a valuable vintage guitar--like the psychedelically painted Les Paul that Jimmy Page played with Led Zeppelin. On a guitar stand it rolled down a long, straight road, across the Canadian border, and into the garage of a house like Chester Brown's drawings of his boyhood home in Montreal. From a distance I watched a man pick up my guitar, look it over, and stow it in the back of a truck parked in the garage. Guitars filled and surrounded the truck: apparently the garage was a guitar warehouse.

Later I walked down the road to retrieve my property. After I crossed the Canadian border the houses grew charmingly antiquated and decrepit, the pavement rain-dark and grass-cracked. Everything exuded a barely perceptible aura of Europeanness.

At the garage a young man with pink spiked hair greeted me. He wore a long, olive-drab military coat with cryptic patches and black leather punk boots. He looked like a young Gary Oldman. At first he feigned ignorance of my guitar and invited me to search the truck, but when I persisted he led me to a corner of the garage and showed me my guitar. It was badly damaged. The young man admitted that he had played it and "pushed it to the limit." To quell my rage he swore up and down that he would repair it. I said I'd come back later, but I knew that my guitar was permanently ruined.
Lost in San Francisco, I met a preacher who couldn’t speak, a tall man concerned with giants, a homeless man who wanted what I didn’t have, a trio of young thugs who threatened to beat me but didn’t follow through, a little boy searching for his mom — I followed him down a side street and saw him safely home, then crossed beneath a dripping stairwell where a young man was playing a marble game and betting against himself ... reaching in my pocket I found what I thought might be a phone, part TV remote, part bright-red plastic toy, and was about to call my son when I came to a flight of metal stairs leading down, turned at the landing, took a narrow ladder the rest of the way, and there I met another boy who said “Don’t renounce me” three times as if I already had, and I fished in my pocket and found a sodden book of matches, only one of which seemed sound, and I tried to strike it to shed some light upon our shoes, to prove to him that mine were not mine, and his were his.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I was using a pair of hand shears to clip the grass growing along the edge of a sidewalk when I was joined by a man who was curious about what I was doing. His hair was white and very short. His head was narrow. He was wearing glasses. He asked if he could see the shears. I stood up and handed them to him. As I did, they became an ax in his hand. His first swing was aimed at the grass. The blow landed perfectly just where I had stopped cutting. He took a breath and adjusted his grip. My body tensed with fear. His second swing was aimed at my neck. I yelled myself awake.

Friday, December 18, 2009

In actual life, I own this 19th century, linen nightgown with the original owner's name penned on it in brown ink. In my dream, I'm wearing this nightgown, and I wander outside onto our front porch. It's both summer and winter out. The moon is bright and the light is blue. I notice/remember that we cut a hole in the roof over the porch to make a little mini-Moonhenge: the moon's perfect alignment over the hole in the porch roof at a certain time of year would allow a column of light to pour onto the porch floor. I decide to lie down on the floor under the column of moonlight for magical purposes.

Then I realize that if our houseguests find me out there, I'd have a hard time explaining it, so I go back inside.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My dream comes back to me. I was at a conference, or maybe it was more like a holiday at a camping ground, where people were staying in small huts or in tents attached to their cars.

It was morning and there were people everywhere. It was difficult to find a free toilet or bathroom and I noticed that the system of each waiting in turn to occupy a bathroom one after the other seemed hopeless. People were skipping the queue, which was not visible, so I took it upon myself to organise the use of showers.

Whenever someone new arrived on the scene I told them where they stood in the invisible queue. ‘You’re sixth in line,’ I said to two men who had come upon two vacant cubicles and were about to go in. There are others ahead of you. They resented it, I could see, and one woman who was about to take her turn stood back and let one of the men jump the queue because she could not bear his anger. I wondered at my presumptuousness, that I should orchestrate this affair. But no one complained, at least not openly.

I stood looking at a billboard on wheels, advertising events. There was a photo on one side of last year’s conference and as I looked I saw that it came alive. The photo turned into a video. It was a re-run of last year’s conference, which I had for some reason enjoyed so much more than this one. Then some of the characters from the video, some of the women from last year’s conference, materialised into people at this year’s conference. They came to say hello. They were pleased to see me.

Another woman came over and complained because she had heard through the grapevine that I had described her as lonely.

‘I am not lonely,’ she said. I felt defensive. I could not remember saying this about her and even if I had, what did it matter. And what about the things she and others had said about me? That I was … And then I told her of my decision to withdraw from the life of the organization that had so haunted me over these last several months.

We stood outside in the morning sunlight in a wide grassy field. I could smell freshly mown hay. I had entered a different world from the one I usually occupied and I could never go back, except perhaps in my memory. All this I considered as I stood talking to this woman from the past, and who could not understand where and why I had gone.

I’m standing at a dirty sink in an old warehouse. Blood is running down my face. There’s a curved gash under the left cheekbone. I thought it was healed. I thought it was a scar. Now it’s open again. My eye, a separate entity watching in horror, also begins to bleed. I turn the faucet, but there’s no water. I set off through the warehouse. There are dusty shafts of light coming through holes in the roof. They strike the floor at odd angles, like searchlights. I see a man, a cousin who died in his seventies almost thirty years ago. He’s wearing a tie and a crumpled brown suit. I say hello. He looks at me but doesn’t answer. I wonder if he can see the blood. I leave him behind. I hear what sounds like water running in a bathtub. I step outside. My wife is there. I say, “I thought you were going to tell me.” She replies gently, “I did tell you. Don’t you remember?” She hands me a cool wet cloth. I press it against the wound. “Almost,” I say, but the image of it is quickly gone.

In my dream this morning I was back at my old school Vaucluse convent about to sit my final year English exam. In some ways I felt prepared. I had studied hard but for some reason it also felt like I was ill prepared as though the exam date had snuck up on me. I had earlier been shopping for clothes. I chose to visit Gidget in my search for a new jumper. I wanted something hip and colourful, something in an unusual style, something that might stand out from the conventional jumpers we wore every day. The shop was crowded and rather than queue for the dressing rooms I took a couple of jumpers I had already selected outside to my car and tried them on out there in the street. This did not seem such a remarkable thing to do until I considered the fact that it could look like shoplifting. How had I managed to walk so blithely out of the shop with two security-coded jumpers under my arm and not so much as one person batted an eyelid.


Now it was time to go for the exam. The entire year twelve class was lined up at the door ready to walk through the school gardens and into the assembly hall where we would sit our exam. Once Sister Marie, our English teacher had issued the order, we moved out carelessly in raggle-taggle groups of threes and fours all talking noisily. She did not object. It was fine for us to wander at our leisure to the tense destination that awaited us or so I thought. I was conscious of feeling that I would have liked more focus. Then I realised I had forgotten a cardigan or jumper. I would need one during the exam. It could get very cold in the assembly hall especially having to sit for hours.

‘I need to get my jumper’ I said to Sister Marie as I ran back to the class room.

‘Don’t bother,’ she said. But I had already gone and was back at the classroom, which was now sealed off at the downstairs entry way and I had to find some other means of getting to my school bag. I did eventually somehow in that magical way you do in dreams when doors disappear and flights of stairs can be mounted in a breath. I found one of the new jumpers, which I had eventually decided to buy and rushed back to the exam.

R
eading time was already over and I looked at the questions. The exam paper was full of illustrations that seemed to come alive and to speak to me in much the way paintings come to life in the Harry Potter films. In the first question we needed to fill in the missing word, ‘mellow rhymes with…?’ I knew the answer as ‘yellow’ and was furious when I over heard one girl sitting nearby whispering the answer to another.

'They’re cheating,’ I wanted to call out. In my dream I am now ashamed to say, I dobbed, but Sister Marie did not seem to care. She was not nearly so fussed about the conduct of my fellow exam participants as I.

O
n one side I noticed a young woman sitting for the exam with her baby in tow. That will make things difficult I thought but the bab at that stage seemed contented and I thought to myself depending how well I go in finishing this exam, I’ll offer to help out with the baby to give the other woman a chance to finish her paper. On the other side of me my youngest daughter was picking through the paper. It was hard for her. She was only of primary school age, about six or seven.

Th
ere was a commotion outside in the quadrangle and the two cheaters got up and went outside to look. ‘More fools they,’ I thought, but then my youngest daughter wanted to join them. I tried to stop here.

‘Let her be, ‘ Sister Marie said. ‘It’s only a trial run for her.’

I knew my need to have things in order as I wanted them was over the top and tried to get back into the exam. The questions fascinated me. They seemed to be relaying a narrative in their own right. The story of someone who had lost her baby. Something akin to the details that exist in Helen Garner’s book, The First Stone – a complex plot I needed to untangle and analyse. The woman who had lost her baby refused to speak up about it and everyone else remained silent.

Amber Tamblyn, at Poetry Foundation's blog, Harriet

Friday, December 11, 2009

[a continuation of the recent previous dream]

I was dead. And here in my dream I was driving my own hearse. Somehow I was to leave by the route I had driven there and I had to return something to some point off of La Brea down an alley. Under my breath i was singing repeatedly with a certain triumph how few get to drive their own hearse. I could begin to smell my own body but it was not a bad smell yet, being fresh. This somehow pleased me for the moment. From my pockets I removed a giant ring of too many keys. Here was a burden I still carried. I was awoken to a quick rasp on my screen door. No one was there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

[Possible dream response to 'The Red Book']

I am on a high rock face leaning against the wall. Unseen passer-bys comment how what a good monument to Christ this could be made into and they place all types of “stations" around me. I agree to stand there and remain with my arms outstretched from time to time. It is decided though that this center figure who is no longer myself should be painted to remain the central focus of the monument. All around is painted one of the most beautiful Burnt Sienna I have ever seen. His body is painted this color too and his cloth a muted red that is quite harmonious to the background color. Voice says here is the painted Christ. The paint though is poisonous as it would be for this person and he becomes sick and is taken down ill before he dies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I remember dreaming that I was Rod Serling. I mean, I was watching Rod Serling, but at the same time I was Rod Serling. And I was thinking, "I need to find some teleplay-writers; trouble is, no one does that anymore except Jodie Foster." Then I walked into a sort of Quonset hut where shadowy people wound among antique cheval mirrors, tapestries, mahogany furniture--expensive stuff. A woman who resembled my Aunt Cathy--similar dark, shoulder-length hair--sat at a table near the entrance. "Do you have any teleplay-writers?" I asked her. "Hmm," she said. "We've got Jodie Foster in a booth at the back, but that's about it."

I
remember a nightmare I had when I was 14, shortly after my sojourn at a church camp. I dreamed that I was sitting in the back seat of a car parked in front of the camp's general store. The engine began to skreek and skritter like the cassette-player I used at the time. Suddenly a gargantuan panther burst out from under the hood--rather like the baby monster c-sectioning himself in Alien. His murderous eyes flashed; his muscles rippled horrifyingly under his sleek black fur. He galloped toward the car, leapt, and rammed the windshield with his head. The resultant crack-web seemed to enmesh me as the slightly dazed panther trotted away from the car, preparing to hurl himself at the windshield again... I awoke with a start.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My friend and I were in an elevator and when the door opened we stepped out into his village in Greece. The ground was lush with soft green grass. There was dew on the grass, and a drowsy blue dragonfly on his coat. There was a small gathering of people. They were his friends and relatives, but there were also some strangers present. In halting English, a man greeted me and asked my name. He was in his sixties. His face was broad and weathered by the elements. His hair, what was left of it, was gray. I told him my name. He said, “William. What does that mean. William.” Before I could answer, he started speaking in Greek. Then he wandered off. I was alone. It occurred to me then that I would have to learn Greek. I told myself that it would be easy, if I let it be easy. I said a few words, and when I couldn’t understand them, I smiled, because they seemed to fit in with the conversation I’d heard so far. There was a wall beside me now. A wall without a ceiling. I could hear Greek voices coming from the other side of the wall. My friend was beside me now. His eyes were bright with happiness. He needed a shave. It reminded me of my childhood, and touching the stubble on my father’s face. I looked at my palm. I wondered if I should. I did. He closed his eyes. “Brothers,” I said. We were now at the edge of a granite cliff. Dark clouds, patches of blue sky. A man’s shadow on the opposite wall of the canyon. Far below, a river from my youth, an old road beside it, small enough to be a worm in my hand.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I dreamt I visited Beckett—he was living in a church on an island in Paris. I rented a rowboat from some boat people to get there, and as I went into the church I could see Beckett writing—he was sitting in the front of the church near the altar, writing on a large sheet of rice paper, but he wasn’t writing in the usual way: there was a penciled outline of a giant rose window on the rice paper, and he wrote each line within a spoke of the wheel. I couldn’t see the words as he wrote them, but the spoke lit up from within as he finished, each spoke a different color. The shape of the rose window was a little like this one in England:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rose_window_Richmond.jpg

The only line I remember him writing was “I want all my lances lined up in a row.”
My husband was driving the car, the children in the back, I in the passenger seat. The baby was asleep in its bassinette in the back section of the station wagon, the same one my father drove when I was a child.

The baby woke up and started to cry.

‘Can we stop the car?’ I asked. It took what seemed like forever before my husband could pull over into a clearing on the side of the road. The longer it took the more hysterical the baby became. But just as we pulled over the baby settled again.


I picked it up, a strange looking baby, with the body of an older child and the face of a bat. I knew I must take responsibility for this baby, even as I needed to get to the airport to collect an old friend, from Tasmania.

At the airport I walked through a restaurant on my way to the collections area. I carried the bat baby now asleep in my arms and hoped that no one would notice it was not an ordinary baby. I feared if they caught sight if its face they might worry this baby was contagious of some exotic disease. As long as the baby slept in my arms I’d be fine.

I wandered around the terminal in search of my friend and came upon her just as she was about to hand over the sixty dollar entrance tax. We opened our purses simultaneously and I handed over forty of the sixty. She found the balance and then went to visit the toilet. She said she’d be ready in a minute.

I took the bat baby for a walk down steps and out to a green grassy oval whereupon several stall holders were selling second hand stuff, like single earrings. I worried the baby would wake. By now I knew it was a boy.

I went to find my friend who was herself by now looking after someone else’s baby. This baby was in a bassinet next door to the toilet. It was screaming. I rocked the cradle till the baby settled back to sleep.

Its mother returned. The bat baby woke up and I worried that the real mother would wonder about the strangeness of my baby.

The alarm went off.

I have to climb down the ruined building - descend easily sliding down on one of the bright blue cushions - swim fully clothed across the blue green calm water - This is a place I know, no it's not - I'm not wearing trousers now - no worries, there's a clothes shop just over the road, but there isn't

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My brother has been working much too hard. As he speaks, he sways from side to side, like an elephant or a bridge. All at once, his face turns gray. But his eyes are as bright as ever. My mother, young again, brings supper to the table. We sit down. The gray departs from my brother’s face. I can see dry hills through our old kitchen window.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm walking along the edge of the old Polish cemetery that borders a golf course near the house where I grew up. I hung out here a lot when I was younger. The world is sort of blueish and wintery, cool weather that's excellent for walking. On my walk, I'm accompanied by a rabbit companion who hops along with me. I'm in paradise - perfect weather, good rabbit-y company, in an old and familiar place I love.

I get "home" (wherever THAT is) and I meet my sister-in-law L. who is upset that I'm walking. She thinks it's pathetic that I'm on foot. She tells me that she just got me a "Prius Stellata - you have no idea how rare these are and how lucky we are to find you one. It's parked on the road for you." It's not a gift exactly, and suddenly I'm saddled by a car payment. My idea of paradise is her idea of hell and needs corrrecting. I get in the car and instead of a steeringwheel, it's got a long sundial-y needle and I've got to figure out how to drive this thing. I look around for the rabbit and it's gone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last night I dreamed I was living in an upstairs apartment, and my ex-husband came over to put in a carpet for me. He did a good job, except he made a record (vinyl) sleeve-sized hole in the floor. I could look down the hole and see a gaggle of Catholic school girls in their uniforms in the apartment below me. I didn't want to see them, so I made a box 2 inches high, stuck it in the hole, filled it with dirt, and planted seeds in it. The seeds sprang to life immediately, and the box was filled with green thick grass.
This morning on Remembrance Day I dreamed that I could hide it no longer.

I went to the dentist and told her that I had a hole in my top right incisor, a huge hole, nearly half the tooth.

The dentist had previously attended to the bottom row of my teeth, but for some reason she never looked to the top.

She started to scrape away at the cavity without comment. This surprised me. I had expected much sighing, ooh-ing and aa-hing, at the sight of the hole. But she merely set about the task of cleaning out and then refilling it.

‘I can’t quite get the colour match right,’ she said at one point and showed me a small ball of putty, the stuff she was using to fill my tooth. It looked almost brown and when I saw my newly filled tooth in the mirror, the difference between the old and the new was obvious.


‘I’ll have to leave it as it is till next time you come,’ the dentist said.

I left the surgery, wondering whether I had the courage to alert her to a second large hole further along the row of my front teeth near my right molars.

How would she react to that? I wondered.
Uuuuuugh. A tall ocean resort building with the guard rail missing at the very end of the top floors row of rooms. I'm in the distance,trudging down a path,a corridor excavated thru a graveyard. I see in the distance a guy my age obliviously riding his bike -hes high up and moving fast,headed towards the end of the unprotected balcony. I see he will plummet 17 floors to the parking lot below.my trudging attempts to hurry in what is now mud. My stomach hurts with a burning nausea. From the soft earthy walls around me a shifting takes place and mud falls away, revealing the lolling vomiting head of a corpse.

I run to a clearing where I catch up with a band of hero friends.mutants or d n d characters. One is short and smal with ropes and leather pouches.another appears to be bigfoot. (Not chewbacca-Bigfoot) the leader is the dr.jones type mixed with a Stryder type. I am a basic brawny warrior generic holds his own guy.
Below us electric blue water refracts in sequenced sharp triangles-like the blue in the jungle boy listerine commercial from the 80's. We are in a jungle. A small island with agile monkey siren-esque females prance and let their long mocha brown body hair flow in strong winds. They are human in an appealing way and they call to us. The water around them jumps with zebra striped pirahna.

The leader of our group uses a rope from nowhere to show it will be our way to swing across the gorge.
I know without knowing that the rope is a test of will (spiritual shit) not a physical challenge. The bigfoot makes the swing across,with monkey women sirens and evil teethed zebra fish taunting from below. I'm reminded of atreyu and the sphinx with the lazer eyes.
The leader swings across with ease then throws me the rope.
He yells.
"Remember the number..."

And then he yelled a number I can't recall.

It was then that I woke up.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This woman is explaining how it works to me. She hits some preset button and the walls are showing us that time when she lived at the beach. I can smell fried chicken. The furniture in the room is now seemingly the furniture at that beach-house she told me about. I spot some artificial chicken on an artificial grill. Then I see the woman as a hologram now, running, laughing from the sea toward the house. ( . . . ) The woman is explaining to me how to use the machine. I must know the date and location. I wrack my brains. I am very bad at remembering dates. ______ was always good at that and she made me a file once with all the important dates in our relationship. But I take a guess and try to find the trip to asheville n.c. (when she first said she loved me). I put a date in and I see many small screens inside this phonebooth-like machine. None of them shows me anything I recognize. But then I look out at the walls in the larger room and I see something I know. This is a civil war diorama or something and I remember being there with ______ and then the room is changing to match the projections on the walls and I am looking around everywhere for ______. Then I see her and myself as well and we are walking side by side and I am talking to her, telling a story it looks like, and she is smiling at me and so beautiful and I have not seen her in so very long, the 'me' watching this in the dream falls to his knees and weeps and the woman in the dream rushes to turn off the machine and "I" want to yell to her not to, to *please* let it play on...
[I wake, sobbing, in my bed]
On my way home. On foot. On the wrong road. A sudden steep climb. Hands and knees. The road ends at the mouth of a cave. Inside the cave, a colorful framed painting on the wall. A button to press — an old brown coat button. The painting slides up. Behind it, a young man leaning over a narrow table. Test tubes. Board games. Dice. He looks up, says, “I will call him.” He goes. Returns, followed by another young man. Both are grinning. I think, “Oh, no, they want to sell me something.” Quickly, I press the button. The painting slides back into place just as they start their song and dance. Literally.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In the public library, the woman whose catalogue raisonnée of Kurt Schwitters had gone largely ignored generously agreed to my request for one of the large fabric banners upon which Tony Dohr's words of praise for the project were emblazoned. She regarded me patiently as I failed to fold it neatly, and accepted my offer of help carrying a carton of books to her car with an air just faintly scented by flirtation, understood by both of us to be retractable at any moment. Her next project, she thought she'd surprise me by saying, would be on Jack Spicer.
It's the nineteenth century, and I've been cast in a play representing the workings of nature. There are hundreds of other actresses in the play, but we haven't been given our parts yet. The director sends us into a room with rows of soft, colorful nightgowns and tells us to change, leaving our corsets behind. Many of the women are nervous and uncomfortable with this costuming, but I'm looking forward to wearing something less restrictive. I choose a long blue nightgown and put it on behind a curtain. I'm thinking I'm going to be cast as Neptune, because of the color of my costume, but the director sees me and says "Dawn. Definitely Dawn," and sends me off to rehearse.

I go into a darkened room where all I can make out is a cloth draped over something vaguely human-shaped. I crawl underneath and find another woman in a blue gown, who tells me we're to represent Dawn together. She hands me a flashlight-shaped thing, which I turn on. Beautiful colored lights come from it, and my partner tells me that when our cue comes we're to turn these on and sing a song. I say I haven't learned the song, and she tells me it goes "ooooo, DAWN!" I try to sing that but she keeps correcting me--I can't get it right. She says not to worry, all we really have to do is sing along with a recording--she shows me a device that apparently has the song on it. I ask if I can listen to it, in order to learn the song, but she says we're not to turn it on until our cue, because it's very loud. I ask what IS our cue, and she doesn't answer.

We sit in silence for a while. I'm dying to hear the song. Trying to make it look like an accident, I turn on the device. "Ooooo, DAWN!" goes the device, and it is, indeed, very loud. My partner is panicking, and we try to muffle the sound with pillows, but it's too late--the director is upon us. He knows I was the one who turned on the song, and he asks me to go with him into another room. "Do you see why I asked that you not turn that on until your cue?" he asks. I say I do, and apologize. All along he's been very gruff and intimidating, but now he takes me in his arms and kisses the top of my head. I'm overcome by a feeling of complete peace.

He walks me back to my place, which is now on a hill under the stars. No sooner am I there than my partner and I hear our cue, and we turn on the device and our flashlights and begin singing. It's joyful! Together we walk down the hill. We see the actresses playing animals and planets and Greek deities, all beautifully costumed and dancing, and I'm singing at the top of my lungs "ooooo, DAWN," and that is when I wake up laughing.
I have been away in the country for a few days and I’m driving my husband’s car, mindful the whole time that I must take good care of it. I park it by the side of the road near the hotel in which I’m staying.

It is nearly time to go home. I am now inside the hotel packing to leave. I am having trouble fitting all my belongings into my suitcase. Somehow I have been left with other people’s stuff, bulky jumpers and scarves that one of my companions, a woman has decided not to pack into her own suitcase. In the bathroom I find signs of my husband’s left over toiletries. I wonder whether I should pack these, too, but I can barely find room in my own case for all my stuff.

Instinctively I know there is something amiss with my husband’s car. I go outside to see it careering down the road driverless. I have been aware of this, that in certain unpredictable circumstances the car can take off by itself. Still, I wonder whether one of my daughters has played with the ignition and accidentally started it. I chase after the car hoping to reach it somehow and then stop it, even though I know this impossible. The car turns a corner and is out of sight. I call out to some men in a field nearby and ask for their help. We race across the field in the hope that we might cut the car off, assuming it continues to follow the road.

Under a row of eucalypts on the other side of the field we watch as cars rush past. I cannot see my husband’s car and wonder whether it has already crashed.

And there it is, worse for wear, the whole side panel bashed in, the front crumpled. It looks as though it is running out of puff now. It leaves the road and rides up into an embankment where it collides with a row of small bushes. I imagine that we might be able to fix it but I will need to tell my husband first.

Then I am at an exhibition of racing cars. A small child, perhaps one of my daughters, sits inside the cockpit of one of these cars. It is a toy car with metal pedals inside, the sort that existed when I was a child. The little girl is trying to work out how to get the car going. People mill about to watch. All seems calm and yet I sense at any moment this car too might suddenly spring to life of its own accord and take the girl with it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last night I dreamed I was at the grocery store and Paris, a very skinny and active cat, was in the basket. His legs kept going through the holes in the basket. I was trying to find food that wouldn't make me ill and trying to keep Paris in the basket at the same time. I found some bananas and wheeled the basket outside where Paris leapt free and was immediately cornered by a huge hairy beast of an animal. The animal was the size of an adult raccoon but covered in matted fur and spikes and had the long sharply curved teeth of a rat. It was wearing a pink studded collar and had a pet tag around its neck. Paris was ready to tangle but I managed to grab him and hold him tightly and the beast lumbered off.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In the dream someone smoking or eating [?] Moncatels. Your search - moncatels -
did not match any documents.

Philip Dadson back from New York brought with him a new improved amazing
way of printing out from computers, a long white rectangular stick that he pressed
onto paper briefly. How did that work?
I dreamed this morning that I had decided to sell up in the city and move to the country. I planned to sell my half of the house here in Hawthorn and buy a property in Maldon. I would share this new property with D, an old acquaintance, but D is someone about whom I have mixed feelings. In some ways I’d go so far as to say I hate her. Certainly my decision to sell up my shared house with my husband seemed to be fuelled by my anger towards him and I was aware in the dream of wanting to live two lives, one here, one there.

I went to look at a house that was up for sale in country Maldon. An elderly couple currently occupied it. They agreed to let me look through – large rooms, high ceilings and the smell of new mown hay. The rooms in this house seemed to run on forever, huge rooms with wood panelling half way up the walls and pressed steel in places down the hall way. It had been cobbled together from a variety of different styles. None of the furniture was consistent, a bit like the house of one of my daughter’s boyfriends, which I had visited yesterday. This boy’s parents own a huge retro and antique furniture business to which their house is testimony. Their house, too, like the house in my dream, like the house in which I live now is cluttered, and full of stuff.

There were so many signs of life here in this house in Maldon and so little room for putting things away. I loved this house, which I toyed with buying but in my dream it became evident that I had a debt I would not be able to honour. The debt was a hidden debt of $300,00.00 and unbeknown to me it would sit hidden for three years and eventually the bank would call it in.

The daughter of a friend came into my dream then. She seemed distressed. She was followed shortly after by two of the staff from Bunnings, a hardware store chain. They complained that they had found in her car goods that she had taken from one of their stores without paying.

‘Give them the $13.00,’ I said. ‘Just pay them.’

She fumbled in her purse and as she did so I took the money from mine and paid these two men, who took then took the money and walked out without so much as a glance back.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I went to a reunion of ‘old girls’ at Vaucluse, my senior school. I travelled through the grounds with one of my younger sisters who had also attended the school, one year below me. At one point we decided to travel down a long chute. It would be steep, I thought, like going down a slide in the park; only this one was long. I could almost feel my body torn apart in anticipation of the speed, but once inside the chute we slid down gracefully, not too fast as I had feared, but comfortably as if there were some traction between our bums and the surface of the tunnel. It was made of blue plastic.

After we landed at the bottom we stood inside a small room at whose centre stood a table covered in a fancy silk cloth. Another girl, who also once went to our school, a girl who had boarded with me, whose name was the same as that of my sister, soon followed us. But this girl was big, whereas my sister now and in the dream is and was pretzel thin.

There was a note pad on the table that included names and addresses. I flicked through it hoping to find a sign of my favourite nun from school days. But her name was not there.

Then I was inside a church with a gathering of ‘old girls’ from my class. A few recognised me but no one seemed interested in taking time to talk to me beyond an initial hello. I looked at the faces of these ‘old girls’. I peered through the present into the past, past layers of wrinkles and grey hair, to find the girls I might remember.

I was desperate to find someone who had been meaningful to me when I was at school, but before I knew it I was preparing for the train trip home. The train took ages to arrive. After I had stepped inside, it took even more time to assemble itself for the trip. Seats folded and unfolded, panels snapped open and shut, as of they were orchestrated by some invisible machine.

Once it took off the train travelled fast, so fast that some people, including me were thrown out of their seats. My body bashed up against a partition midway through the carriage and I held onto a couple of small children who had also been flung from their seats. When the train reached its destination I realised we were back where we had started.

The weather had turned foul by now, with sleet and rain bordering on snow. It was dark and freezing cold. I tried to walk across the mud to the next train. Three other trains arrived at the same time. I had no idea which one to take.

I could not get traction in the mud and seemed to be walking without getting anywhere. Someone hoisted me up onto the train, but I realised almost immediately that I was on the wrong train yet again. I woke up breathless.

Several of my friends, who are suddenly much older, have been summoned to “the war.” It breaks my heart to see them as they arrive one by one, uprooted from their families, lives, and cares, to receive their orders and gear. One with whom I’m very close stops at a little wooden booth called the “supply depot,” but the only supplies left are pencils. He takes an unsharpened one from the counter, then turns and looks my way. His questioning expression reminds me that I’m supposed to accompany him to the train, which I haven’t seen, but imagine as a human cattle car like those Solzhenitsyn described in The Gulag Archipelago. But instead of showing him the way, I lead him out into a field of bones, thinking, “Someday, someone, somewhere, has to say no.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Home is a strange place, my father here, alive again, knee-deep in a pile of leaves. Angles and eaves and broken-down tables; shadows on paths through the trees. I want to smoke, but each match is snuffed by the breeze. The book falls apart in my hand. I notice a car in the yard. My father is behind the wheel. I slide in on the passenger side. The dash is alive, a futuristic arrangement of buttons and blinking lights. One of them is white — much to my surprise, it’s a cigarette lighter. In my father’s hand, the end of it burns like a star. I hold up a large uncured tobacco leaf. Night intervenes; with an old rag, he wipes a constellation from the windshield.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

aaargh the dreams... was about to fly off to Japan with G. for some reason the airport was on the lower east side near delancey street... I stopped in a little store to buy some olive oil... why would I need to bring olive oil? and then remembered I hadn't brought my cell phone or charger...so back to some apartment... not ours... but we'd been staying there... almost no furniture... an apparition slipped in... female, I think... maybe a homeless person using the bathroom... although too much like an apparition to actually use a bathroom... and then she slipped out again... and then I realized... Gary was nowhere to be seen... the flight was leaving in a half an hour... I still didn't have my cellphone... I thought OK I'll rent one... but where was Gary?... I noticed the olive oil was dark, like unprocessed argan oil...
I dreamed:

Barrelhouse Dave was pissed about a blog post I wrote about Barrelhouse. He told me to stop trying to be funny and stick to writing about "minor" poetry

of a woman poet who wore blue face make-up

I downloaded a bunch of scary/Halloween movies to watch with Chris, but there was only one he was willing to see

I made up with a writer with who I recently had an icky interaction
An editor from the West Wind Review accepted my poems and suggested I use the nickname "Sous Rature." Then my sister told me that's a stupid idea and I shouldn't.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In my dream, I'm playing tennis and break a string in my racquet (in my actual life, I've NEVER broken a string - not once). I go into my tennis bag and pull out my other stick, and the strings in that racquet have turned into limp spaghetti. I decide to find my old racquets and all their strings are in some state of unplayable fray. I'm supposed to play a match...

Also, as part of the "find my old tennis racquets" section of the dream, I discover that we have entirely new and enormous rooms of the house and barn I've never seen before that are filled with someone else's stuff.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I recently had a dream that was so vivid it left me seeing ghosts everywhere (in a good way). I dreamt that I took a walk along the familiar downtown streets of my hometown, Lewiston, Maine (I'd just been reading and researching historical sites, old industrial era mills, etc.) and suddenly there was a suspension of time as we know it. As I walked along a familiar sidewalk in the present, everyone who'd ever walked down that street at any given time in the past were walking their routes too, at the same time. The layers of activity created a bustling scene, yet everyone was somewhat transparent and able to walk through one another without interruption or notice. The longer ago the person walked the route, the fainter their image. I crossed paths with old relatives and loved ones departed while in their youths. I called to them without connecting, but felt the comfort of their presence, nonetheless. I specifically remember walking alongside my Uncle Larry, my father's older brother who died in 1945 in Belgium during WWII. I never met him, but have heard enough about him to realize that I'd have loved to have had my Uncle Larry to enjoy and grow up knowing. I just savored walking with him. I couldn't reach him to speak with, but his presence was a comfort. Since that dream I have a hard time looking at things as separate from the past. I also know, as a consequence that my own footprints resonate into the future and affect its outcome, even if ever so subtly. Uncle Larry, because of who he was and his interactions with his brother (my father), Claude and countless others, played a role in shaping who I am. There cannot help but be a resonating influence, even if a very subtle one. I learned that while dreaming and awaking to a new understanding. That is also what art at its best should do: awaken us to new understandings. I think a great work of art should invite the viewer to places completely unknown, yet mysteriously familiar. What comes from the subconscious, or dream state is the stuff of universal truths because it has no agenda except to become known.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In last night's dream, Alli & I were in conflict.
There was the appearance of a formula around which our argument circulated; it was this:




x [ or else = or ≠ ]



Cute cues, but it was a bad dream.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I go with my husband to visit our new flat some ten minutes away from where we live. We still possess our ordinary large house, as it is now where we live with three of our four children though one of them, the youngest instead of being fifteen years old in the dream is still a baby on the brink of walking. The flat that we will soon occupy – only my husband and I for short spells, for the occasional weekend or at nights during the week when my husband cannot stand the pressure of life at home any longer – is in a state of incompleteness. There are boxes stacked one above the other, some opened and some minus half their contents, in almost every room. It has a living-out-of-a-suitcase feel.

That’s okay I think because we will never live here. It’s just an occasional escape from the rigours of ordinary home life. Of course we must take the baby with us. We cannot leave her at home alone, even with her older sisters. The flat has two storeys and already I worry about how she will manage the stairs.

At one stage I start to walk around the flat in the company of a friend and neighbour. I offer her the grand tour. By the time we reach the upstairs bedroom I realise how unliveable this place is. We cannot sleep here. The beds are disassembled. Even the packages of tea on the kitchen sink are still sealed in hard-to-get-at boxes.

We plan to take a bus back home but we are not sure how to get there. Then we are in the car and I urge my husband to follow the blue Ventura bus. It goes to the school, and once we arrive at the school we will recognise where we are. We follow the bus past the schoolyard, which has been cleaned up and extended over the holidays. The back of the schoolyard beyond the classroom buildings extends down some way into a gully. It slopes in stages with a couple of long cliff like drops onto flat grassy plateaux.

How can they allow children to get to such steep ridges? I wonder. This schoolyard is dangerous.

I wake up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Voices wake me. I roll out of bed, slip my shoes on, follow the sound outside. A fine summer night. Stars and a bright full moon. The garage door is open. I move through the garage to the back door. The voices are coming from the other side. I open the door, step out, and the door bumps shut behind me.

Two of my neighbors—two women—are finishing a conversation. They don't greet or even look at me, but the mood isn't unfriendly. They're cheerful because of the children. Down the mountain (a strange mountain, not the one we really live on) I can see half a dozen young ones playing hide-and-seek among the trees.

One of the women says some kind of goodbye to her friend (I can't make out the words) and sets off down the steep slope. She disappears into the forest. I can hear her calling the children home. The other woman heads off the other way, up the mountain. She doesn't speak or glance my way. I don't feel slighted, just pleasantly invisible. The mountainside sloping up from where I stand looks strange: a series of circular stone terraces with stone steps spiraled around them. My neighbor must climb the steps to move from one terrace to the next. She appears and disappears as she climbs, dwindling with each higher terrace, until she's out of sight. I look back down the mountain: no one. The black pines look intensely distinct in the strong moonlight. The stars overhead seem larger than usual and oddly active—quivering or writhing. I feel completely alone and a little afraid. "Time for bed," I tell myself out loud.

The door back into the garage is locked, so I decide to go around the house and come in through the side door. But when I clear the corner of the garage I see this isn't my house. I'm on a flagstone terrace. The sliding door a few feet away is open. In a state of confusion, as if to verify that this is really not my house, I slip through the sliding door and into an unfamiliar living room or den. From a tiled entryway across the room a staircase climbs in my direction and vanishes into the ceiling. Off to the left there's a shadowy kitchen. The only light comes from a narrow trapezoid of moonlight on the carpet. I move toward the stairway, wondering if anyone's home and if they might be sleeping upstairs. I slide my left hand along the wall that encloses the space under the stairs, feeling for a light switch.

From behind me comes a man's voice—strong but not fearless. "What are you doing in my house?" I try to turn and face him, but can't: I feel almost paralyzed. I try to say it's just me but my throat too is paralyzed. So I keep inching my way along the wall as if he might not notice. The man, voice rising in pitch with each word, calls out behind me, "I have a gun!" I keep inching forward until I reach the foot of the stairs, where I stop. Across the entryway I see the light switch glowing beside the front door.

Suddenly I feel completely empty—a profound resignation. I know I'll never be able to reach that switch.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peter Lamborn Wilson wants to visit an out-of-the-way place called Mud Bay, where there's an island inhabited by rare auks, and possibly visited by Crowley before. We can't find it on the map, but we (Robert, Peter, and I) manage to locate it on GPS and drive to a gloomy-looking bay that looks like it might be near Providence. There's a ferry once a day that goes to the island. When we get there we see nothing but wasteland, a wide lane that seems to lead nowhere, a few low buildings in the distance. The inhabitants all seem to have octopus heads covered by masks in the shape of human faces, but that doesn't alarm us much. I spend the rest of the dream trying to leave the island, trying to convince Peter that we don't really need to see the auks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last night I had two dreams. The first one I dreamed that Gideon opened a box and let out all the animal-flies. The crocodile-fly grew full size and bit my arm. Crocodiles and snakes occasionally bite me in dreams, so I'm kinda used to it. My second dream was about writing poems again. The first one was long and ended with an exclamation to Harriet! I was quite emphatic about that. Then I started my second poem, something about that story being over in my life.
In my dream last night we were traveling through strange parts of the countryside, a long way from home. Rocky gullies, deep valleys, overflowing waterfalls. At one point we met up with my oldest daughter, her partner and their two-year-old son.

We were in a bazaar buying jewelery. I pointed out to my daughter some of the extraordinary and cheap earrings that hung from a wall, when her son fell over. He fell heavily and the impact of the fall made his head fall off. I could only bear to look for an instant but I knew he had been decapitated, the blood a trickle from his headless neck. I looked away and was swallowed up with grief.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Last night I dreamed that I was getting a tattoo of a famous actor, a woman, but I was uncomfortable with it because I knew I didn’t really like her. But I was committed to the tattoo and felt I had to go forward with it. Luckily my tattoo artist refused me the tattoo and I was grateful. I can’t remember who she was.

In my second dream I was in school studying writing. Reb Livingston was my professor. She gave me a task of collating a bunch of manuscripts. Each manuscript was divided by a beautiful bookmark that Reb had made herself out of silk. Reb went home and I was there with another student. For some reason I got panicky and lost track of all the pieces of paper. Pages went missing. Bookmarks slid from one manuscript to another until they were all a mess. The other student, a blond woman, asked if I wanted to go to a party. We got in her car and she told me that she had read my diary and hated my writing. I yelled at her YOU READ MY DIARY? And she told me to get out of her car. I didn’t care that she hated my writing, but was horrified that she had invaded my privacy. I walked back to the school to fix the mess I had made of my task and there was a young man my son’s age asleep in the corner. He asked me if I wanted a glass of wine. He had the key to Reb’s desk. We opened it and found two beautiful hand blown goblets, a kind of pale rose color, and a bottle of wine. We started drinking and he told me that everyone in the class had read my diary, that it had been passed around in derision. Then he told me he was homeless so I invited him to live at my house for 3 months. I told him he was my son’s age and we didn’t have much money but we had a spare room in the basement and he would be warm and have food to eat etc. He gave me his father’s phone number so I could call and tell his father our plan but every time I dialed I got the wrong number.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In my dream I go to visit a doctor. Whatever I have gone to visit her about, she decides to use the opportunity for giving me a thorough examination. She takes my temperature, my blood pressure and examines my breasts. I am confident she will find nothing wrong but on first count she thinks she has detected ‘sclerosis’, she says, or some such thing. She pummels my left breast again and decides that no, she is wrong. It’s okay. Then she has me standing erect, naked and seems to be bouncing me up and down with her hand on my buttocks. I think she is checking for a prolapse or some such thing. She continues to examine me in the way some doctors do with no explanation as to the whys or wherefore of her approach.

I stand there meekly obedient even though I long for it all to be over. At one point I look towards the open doorway and notice my regular GP walk past. I have decided not to see this GP anymore.

For some reason whenever I go to see this particular doctor I feel guilty as if I have been bad – I have drunk too much wine, my diet is improper, I work too hard, am too irreligious – and I imagine she will scold me for it. In real life she never does this, but in my imagination she is constantly scolding me. In my dream I have taken action by deciding against seeing her anymore. My regular GP’s offsider, the one I am with now, is younger, younger even than me, but she does not leave me feeling guilty. She seems more down to earth, even as she examines me in this painstaking way. I feel less intimidated, more equal.

‘My patients are leaving me,’ I hear my regular GP say to her assistant as she walks past the open door. She looks in as she says this and looks directly at me. Our eyes lock and almost instantly I lose my balance and must spin around in order to save myself from falling.

‘I did not jerk away like that to avoid you,’ I say, as I regain my footing.

I feel a need to apologise but this is as much as I can say.

Then I am in the car park at the doctor’s surgery. I have offered to give my new doctor a lift home. She is eager to see her children. The car park is a mess of broken concrete and unmade roads. There is a traffic jam in the middle and I have trouble finding my car in the first instance and then of getting it out of the car park. Somehow I manage to do this and we are no longer in a car but on a train.

Flashback in my dream to a visit from an exchange student, a lovely girl from some place like France or Germany. She is puzzled by my family’s eccentricities, the way we lead such a chaotic life, irregular meals and odd ours. We sit in the back yard and a delivery man comes to drop off a machine my husband had ordered earlier but as he leaves he puts down a row of miniature figurines, characters from television and fairy tales – Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck. I would like to keep these characters but I know they are not free. ‘

‘They are a seduction,’ I tell the girl. ‘The deliveryman put them there to get us to buy more.’

The exchange student decides she will take the train on her next journey and that she will sit on the train on the outside ledge where other passengers sit. I warn her that it is dangerous there. I see her on the train now clutching her suitcase in front.

‘It’s fine,’ she says, cheerfully. ‘There’s plenty of room.’ She is squeezed in like a sardine alongside several other passengers all nursing their luggage.

‘It won’t be so easy once the train gets going,’ I say. ‘It will wobble and jerk you all over the place.’

As the train takes off I see her in my mind’s eye. She has become me and I am desperately trying to keep my bottom perched safely on the narrow ledge. It is only a matter of time before I will be pitched off from the speeding train.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our team of medieval warfare scholars is hiking across a European landscape. Coming over the crest of a hill, we all see the body of a 13th-century peasant woman, blond, wearing course but clean clothing and a snowy apron, her arms and legs extended cross-like, murdered, her hands and feet severed, her tongue cut out. She is young, pretty, her face calm. We all hover around the body, searching for clues, and all the other scholars, simultaneously, decide she represents a medieval murder that should be filed under "H"--I suppose that this is because of the symmetry of the butchery. I'm standing by her head, and I look out over her feet and notice, in the distance, an old tree that's been blasted by some storm, its roots torn out of the ground, hanging naked in the air. "Look over there," I say, pointing, and all the medieval scholars gasp and take off running towards this new clue, which appears to be much more "significant" than a murdered and mutilated peasant woman. The scholars enter a heated debate over what sort of tree this is, the exact trajectory of the tree trunk (north-north-west, or north-west-west?), the causative event (earthquake? storm? war? supernatural force?). "H" is left far behind; this new event merits a "V", a "W", possibly even an "X". The scholars argue passionately, pacing around the huge felled tree. I realize that this is the sort of event is what they long for, an event that is much more mysterious than the mundane ritual murder of the peasant woman. The tree has druid connotations; it's ancient. Indeed, the death of this gorgeous old tree--either through natural or human means--fills me with deep sorrow while the discovery of the peasant woman's body only made me feel a little sad.

On the morning of my presentation at a life writing conference called The Story of the Story I had a dream that felt so real it still seems as though it actually happened. I dreamed that when it came time for me to present my paper in the Noel Stockdale room within the library at Flinders University I went ahead of the others to set up and to tweak my paper for the last time.

In my dream an old friend, who is now dead, LB was the conference convenor. LB once lectured me in psychology. He was born around the same time as my father.

People had already arrived in time for the third day of the conference to begin. They sat in rows faces turned towards the front in readiness. LB asked me to start. Some people were still rustling papers and chatting to one another, so I had to repeat my first sentence. Then I started fumbling my words. I lost my place on the page and could not find it for what seemed like ages. People shifted in their seats and began to talk among one another. I could not regain their attention. I tried from the beginning and spoke loudly but my words would not flow.

I had rehearsed and rehearsed. I had tried hard. Now here it was: my turn to present, my turn at last, last speaker of the conference, and I could not get the audience to listen.

I tried to catch LB’s eye, to plead with him to get the audience to settle, but he would not look at me. The people in the audience then seemed to lose patience altogether and before I knew it they had decided to break for morning tea.

I had lost my opportunity to present. It had passed without my saying a word of what I needed to say. I was devastated and stood at the podium in tears. There was a small group of people nearby, the ones with whom I had shared a car en route to the conference. They ignored me, too. I was furious, but flooded with tears.

In my dream LB had become a medical doctor not just a PhD. I wailed to a woman nearby about how unfair he had been in not insisting to the audience that I be allowed to have my turn. I had tried so hard to prepare and now no one wanted to hear from me.

I woke sobbing and nothing felt as if it would ever be any good again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The railway platform

His face was distorted with painful efforts to smile. ‘Don’t move’ I said to him ‘I have seen you somewhere.’

He did not speak just let out a lacerated laughter. ‘ Are you dead or alive?’ I asked and looked around in fear. The railway platform was dark and deserted, not even a single lamp was lighted. No one was around. I looked back at the form lying huddled on the rough, stained floor. ‘I am alive, but I died very long ago.’ He said in muffled tones.

The porter arrived with my bag, my red bag with blue logo. I almost grabbed the bag from his hands and tried to get up from the floor where I was sitting on my hunches, talking to the sleeping man. I could not stand up on my legs and I groped in the dark, to look for my feet. The porter shook his head in sadness and walked away. His fire engine red uniform was glowing in the dark. I saw a flash of steel badge on his sleeve. He raised his arm to stop an approaching train. The train stopped.

He turned back to beckon at me. He told me with hand and facial gestures that the train would not stop for long. I must get up and board it as fast as I can. My bag was not there. The man was still lying on the ground, and I looked around for my bag.

‘Have you seen my bag?’ I asked, as I looked around frantically. The platform was pitch dark and the train had begun to move slowly.

The porter in red uniform was running his fingers along the moving body of the train, walking leisurely, while the train chugged along. I watched him count the numbers on his other hand. One, two, three…

He was smiling.

I wanted to run and catch the train but it had left the platform. There were just long, winding lines of shining grey steel, running parallel to each other, with sharp pebbles in between. A few feet away from me, my bag was lying open on an iron bench. I saw huge bundles of paper, peeping out from the half open zip.

‘How did you open it?’ I asked the man who was still lying on the ground, his face buried in the crook of his arm. He refused to answer me and I was feeling angry with him. I wanted to shake him up but my hands and feet were just hanging by my side. The darkness grew.

‘Okay, I want to wake up now. I want to go home.’ I said to the porter in red uniform, who was silently putting all the papers back in the bag.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I had to get on a barge that was filled with people who had to euthanize their pets. We steamed out into the middle of the ocean, and each of us had to jump overboard and drown our pet. I jumped into the ocean with Shadow, and every time I tried to drown him, his head would pop out of the water, and he'd smile that dog smile of his and sort of laugh as if to tell me, "That was so much fun! Let's do that again!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's the future and I have am in some gray industrial zone where I've been recruited, inducted, assigned to a work force for a nuclear plant. My job is to climb a wooden scaffolding and then dive off a platform and descend through a transparent tube filled with steam down through a vat of water. I do this over and over. At some point I am looking at the diving platform apparatus from a distance and start to have a realization of why have I been assigned to this task? Then, these Sovietesque ladies in charge start questioning me about the temperature of the water in the vat. There is a panic that a nuclear fission has occurred. If the water is cold, then its a fusion reaction. The water was tepid and someone is saying this is relatively "good" indication as we are all running and panicking away from the site. We end up in a public space room in a Central Park like area and I realize that a small camera mounted on a pole (as there are all over NYC, of course) is a surveillance camera. Am filled with dread. With a group of strangers in the dark am wading through a ravine or extended buried pipe in the park which is clogged. Sense of continuous and detailed considerations with these people about whom to trust in this situation. Wake up wondering if the Iranians have disclosed about their nuclear explorations as a "cry for help," from a faction within the government.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This morning I dreamt I went to visit the house of some friends. It was an unusual house in that there was a long low movable wall around its perimeter. At several points in the wall there were gaps to take the place of doors. You could move this wall with a simple push and get the openings to fit to the door of each room in the house. It was like opening the lid of a pepper dispenser. You push the lid around and different size holes become available depending on whether you want a light sprinkling of pepper or a great handful.

My friend’s daughter was in her room. I call him my friend but he’s more my husband’s friend. I have an ambivalent relationship with my husband’s friend, but somehow my feelings about him did not feature in the dream nor my feelings about his daughter, who is a strange person I find in real life, though in the dream she seemed normal.

She had gone to a great deal of trouble to tidy her room and yet I noticed the drawers were bulging and stuff peeped out through the cracks of the wardrobes as if she had simply stuffed things inside willy-nilly. There was a false sense of order here.

My youngest daughter who in the dream was still a toddler joined us. A carefree, cheerful toddler. Then a little ball of fur on legs walked across the room. It looked innocent enough and I asked my friend’s daughter what it was.

‘Stay away from them,’ she said. ‘They’re trouble.’ The ball of fur suddenly let out a spray of the foulest stench imaginable into the room and we all reeled back.

‘That’s what they do,’ my friend’s daughter said. ‘And if they manage to get some of that stink on you, it sticks for ages.’

I swooped up my daughter and tried to escape the monstrous ball of fur, which I felt sure was getting ready to spray us again.

The doors slid around the room and my friend, my husband’s friend arrived, all bluster and swagger. He remonstrated with his daughter for keeping the walls fixed in one place. He had had trouble getting in.

I was aware as if in a flash that there were other dangers lurking here in this oddly designed house and I must be careful.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It is very early in the morning, in the hour or so before dawn. I hear Moonie meowing and scratching at the door, so I roll out of bed and go downstairs to let him in. The light is dim, yet through the glass door I can see that he is not alone: a handsome sliver-grey wolf stands nose-to-nose with him on the deck by the door. Although he doesn't appear threatened by the wolf's presence - indeed, they seem merely to be checking one another out - the thrill of seeing a wolf at my door is tempered with some concern for Moon. Careful not to make any sudden movements, I go quietly to the door and crack it open just enough to let him slip through. I look at the wolf for a moment, then open the door further, sit on the stoop and extend my hand. The wolf is wild, and I am not afraid. He licks my fingers delicately, then I begin to pet him. Everything in my house and outside looks exactly as it does in waking life, yet as I pet the wolf I begin to wonder if this is all happening in a dream. If so, I want it to continue. I awaken here in the pre-dawn light.