Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I was teaching a class on magical realism (which I will be, in the Fall, so perhaps this was de rigeur anxiety dream). I had been traveling, and my book was in the outer zip-pocket of my carry-on suitcase.  I reached for it, but at that moment, felt a wave of caution, understanding that if I opened the suitcase in its entirety, an angel I could not manage or cope with would come out.  Even in the dream, "angel" was capitalized.  Even in the dream, I knew my brain was processing the question of an entity, its arrival/containment, as a metaphor for corporeal destruction (mine), but really it was something else.  It was an angel [agent] of transformation, but still I could not do it.  I could not look.  The book was dreamtigers by Borges, a book I suspect I saw in the dream because of the man I met at the holiday barbeque last night.  My friend's stepfather, he had been to India on a Mission.  And showed me the photo-project book he had made after giving a disposable camera to the son of the man who had cut his hair in "Calcutta."  "I said," he said, "go and take pictures of your life.  We'll come back in two or three days."  Then he developed one set of photos for the book I held in my hands, and gave the other to the boy.  In Guatemala, he did the same with a girl who worked in a local factory, then described going into a Safeway in Loveland and weeping in the produce section, at the sight of people purchasing bananas, whose provenance and child labor costs he knew firsthand.  Booklet.  A jungle.  A black and white tiger against a cliff in Orissa.  I dreamed of Borges, and woke with the cat against my back knee, her claws retracting and opening against my skin.  In the dream, I also met my Project Director at Goddard, Paul Selig.  Everyone was lined up with specific questions about their health, love-life, career, etc.  I said: "What do the guides want me to know?"  Everyone watching said: "Oooh," as if I'd asked a selfless question.  But really, I knew that the Angel was nearby, having exceeded my luggage.  I knew the Angel had something to say.  At this moment in the dream, I understood I was dreaming of writing.  It was the same feeling in my body. For example, I know that if I sat down to write, even today, it would come in a terrible rush and days would pass and I would not be able to return to my life as it was.  This is why I do not write, refuse to write until the last minute, and never begin.  I wish I could invent a video game that gave a person a choice between formalizing love and never knowing the truth of their physical/family origins.  A turn to the Angel represents this first choice, and risks obliteration.  The second choice would be a genetics, a furthering, a weirdly satisfying or stabilizing knowledge, but nothing would happen: life would continue with a psychological basis, and perhaps a person could make art out of this, but it would not be the same as the book of light.  A book that had the sun and moon inside it, like forces. That split the spine.  Each time you opened it.  To read.  A sun-beam would rotate from the page into your left eye, and moonlight to the right.  Reading: an act of rewiring consciousness, perception, the pathways of the brain.  Now I want to invent an e-book that does this: that produces or emits light rays.  Color healing.  Imagine a schizophrenic reading Dostoevsky, and every time they read the word -- "the" -- they see a light pink pulse of light.  Reading integrates a subject matter with simple, ritualized touch, and in this version, there is also a secular form of energy work that makes the reader register the light at a different rate to the word.  An ordinary word, in particular, rather than a word with immense local significance.  This suddenly feels important on a day when I am finishing the last edits for Schizophrene.  How psychosis omits duration as a mental stage.  Everything that happened is still happening, deep inside the spot.  I'll stop there.  Even this narrative is a way of avoiding the Angel, who has come very near, near enough to touch, behind me, as I write these words so early in the morning; my son still asleep, a freight train cutting through on its way to Laramie, birdsong, a light breeze, chai, and now the cat slipping through the ankles, mewing for her breakfast.  (Milk.)

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