I dreamt it was very late at night, though weirdly light outside. We lived in a rambling apartment very high up in a building. My friends Jon and Mark were over. Mark was acting badly. Even though it was very late, Jon and I planned to go out. He was supposedly quitting cigarettes, and there was no way he was going to bed anytime soon. Mark walked over and lay down on the bed next to my wife Louisa. I said, “Aren’t you going, Mark?” He reviled me. I went to the kitchen to do some dishes. Mark followed and stood by me at the sink flicking water at me. “You’re just trying to provoke me to hit you, so you can hit me,” I said, then launched into a long complaint to this effect, “Mark, how can you act like this to me, after the thousands of things I’ve done for you? You shouldn’t be messing up my house, you should be helping me clean it.” He scoffed. “I’d help you clean your house,” I said, a bit of a stretch. He shrugged and finally left. Jon had already left.
I drove through some downtown city streets looking for Jon’s place. Was it that way? No, my friend Sandy’s place was over there. Jon’s place was in another direction. I started to turn around in the street, which was partly blocked off by construction. A couple of guys were standing there, leaning against a concrete divider. They came to jack the car as I was making a K turn in the confined space. A guy pushed his hand in the partly open window. I tried the power windows, the power lock, nothing worked. The car went dead, the guys got in. “Please don’t hurt me,” I said. I couldn’t read their eyes. “We’re just going to ride around and take some money out of your bank. It’s hardly a crime. It only gets you 40 hours in jail,” one of the guys said. With visions of $1,000 or more being taken out, I lunged to get out of the car. The guy grabbed me and almost did violence to me right then. I resolved to cooperate with them after that. They started leading me through some streets. It was almost fun. “Who’s the guy?” someone asked them about me. “Some tourist.” “I’m not a tourist, I live in Brooklyn,” I chimed. “Sure.” My daughter Charlotte joined up with me. I thought it would be OK for her to observe the criminal activity. They led me into what looked like an office building with, I figured, a Chase on the ground floor. I’d told them to take me to Chase, so I wouldn’t have to pay the fees. They were slightly amused. But we swung into a large room with many seedy people that reminded me of a nightclub. My abductors disappeared through a door. When I followed them, I didn’t see them anywhere, only lots of seedy corridors. I went back to the large room, where I noticed a guy with a ponytail. Was he one of them? I asked how to find them. A guy at a lectern pointed in a certain direction. Realizing I might get beat up for falling behind, I told Charlotte, “Things might get ugly, you better go back.”
I wandered into a legal office. God, I thought, I’m walking right into Kafka’s The Trial, a parallel world of enmeshment in a legal or bureaucratic nightmare that lurks in every society. It can happen anywhere at any time. But the lady at the desk was nice. I told her I’d gotten separated from a group. On her computer, she called up these maps of the vast complex, some 3-D and cross-sectional. She circled one area, off to the side. She called up a page with the names of my abductors listed. I recognized their address, which was near Jon’s. “What are you doing with these guys?” the woman asked. “Basically, they’re going to rob me,” I said. “I figured,” she said. “My daughter was with me,” I said, “but I told her to go back. She goes to Stuyvesant High.” The woman was uninterested. A guy who looked like Kevin Gilroy, a grade-school friend, came to retrieve me. He was holding a metal rod. He immediately threatened me with it, but didn’t strike me. We walked outside, along the side of the complex, as if we were going to enter another building. He said he was going to a Big 10 basketball game this weekend, mentioned how great this guy was on one Big Ten team. I mentioned Archie Griffin. “He’s only scoring five a game. But they need him to keep Knight honest. Knight’s still a bit rough.” As we talked basketball, I unfortunately awakened from this amazing dream.
I dreamt I visited the apartment of Allen Ginsberg after his death. I think I planned to steal some things, but there wasn’t much to steal, or if there was anything, it wasn’t apparent. There were just cheap cups, pictures and clothes. It turned out his place was connected to a caretaker’s apartment, which was down some inconspicuous back stairs. A woman caretaker appeared and asked me what I was doing there. I lied and told her I was a friend of Allen Ginsberg. I said I had left some papers and other things there. I wanted to pick them up now. Surprisingly, she believed me. She left and shortly afterward came back, saying there were some special Indian bowls on the outside windowsill I might be interested in. The bowls were incredibly cheap-looking.