Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Like Deer


I am jogging with George.
We are running along a country lane.
We don’t talk. He is slightly
ahead. There is a hedge

on the left. I feel like he wants
to go that way. I might want
to go that way, too. He turns
left, right into and through

the hedge, which is velvety
and dense like a dream. Maybe
it will work for me. I turn. It is
thick and sticks to me

like flesh. I emerge slowly,
can barely move, have hedge
all over me like caterpillar
fur or armor or a new layer

of me. George is moving well ahead
up a path between the lawns
of two old properties. He is
nearing the trees. With effort

I pull off a few clumps.
My stride and breathing loosen.
I catch up and we run
blithely through the woods.



Her Embrace


Went to the old apartment on Bedford.
It was gutted on the inside.
Walls torn out. New beams put in
in the basement. I used the old keys.
She comes in. I say something. She runs away.
I have to explain myself to myself

and leave. Across the street is the diner
everyone goes to. I am sure to see
the people I met earlier there. Or is it
a cemetery? I come to the town square
and start driving around it. The huge trees
on the green hang over the road.

She is on the green. I see her from
the side. She is on her way, striding even,
under the trees. This time when I go
around the square the car is out of control,
starts to slide off the road into the dark,
snow-covered arms of the trees.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I dreamt that I entered a large living room where many of my relatives were sitting.  My cousin Eve Lyman told me that her late father, Uncle Abe Chayes, was in an adjacent room, and that I should go and talk with him.  I entered the room, a very large room with a cathedral ceiling.  Uncle Abe was supposedly sitting on the couch in the middle of the room.  But it wasn’t Uncle Abe.  It was my long-dead father.  I asked Dad a question, and he said that the key to politics in this town was bowling.  If you could bowl high numbers in the bowling league (a fact that I had slightly forgotten about Dad), people would do anything for you.  Dad started to make a further point and stopped mid-sentence, like a jukebox that had run out of money.  He wasn’t allowed to continue, or wasn't able to continue.  It was very disturbing.

*

I dreamt that I had blown off my courses for most of a semester.  I was walking around the upper floors of a huge high school looking for my classes.  There was something Victorian or Gothic or both about the building.  I poked my head into a cavernous math classroom.  I couldn’t figure out where the class was in the textbook.  I couldn’t follow anything.  I continued down a hall and turned a corner, and saw another one of my classes through a glass wall.  I entered.  But they were having a little reception, drinks and pastries, and I had no real right to join them, and it wouldn’t help me catch up from being so far behind.  I went looking for another class.  It was supposed to be on the top floor as well, but you couldn’t access that area from where I was.  I took an elevator down to the first floor.  Looking for a way to get to the other part of the top floor, I wandered into two first-floor rooms, which were actually art galleries and apartments belonging to two young men.  It was surprising to find apartments in the school.  I stepped outside in front of the school, which looked like the front of my old high school, Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J.  I looked up at the roof to see if I could figure out where this other classroom was.  Indeed, there were these glassed-in sections that bloomed on parts of the roof.  Now, I had to figure out where the elevator was that would get me to the correct glassed-in section.

*

I dreamt that we were leaving a vacation spot in Maine where we had shared a house with another family.  Their baby was sleeping in the big back room.  Someone had awakened it.  Maybe me.  And the mother had puts notes all over the place, warning people not to wake the baby.  What should we do today with the little time we had left?  Where hadn’t we gone?  Schoodic Point.  The rocky coast right nearby.  We decided on the rocky coast.  Before that, we stopped at an ancient church.  As we left, someone wondered if the church’s ancient objects would be distributed to the other German churches in town, where they had been originally located.  I said this church had a special status and could keep all the objects. A local sitting near the exit agreed.  We both agreed it was nice the church was so ancient, though I added it would be better if it were even more ancient, truly ancient, say, built in 600 A.D.  I crowded into the other family’s car, which was parked very near a red car.  As our friend gunned out of the parking lot, he scraped the red car.  He wasn’t aware of it, but I could see the people in that car were.  The car followed us, making a big turn on someone’s lawn.  The car turned into a frightening power-company or phone-company vehicle.  It could do a lot of damage to us.  But it headed down a street with low overhanging wires, which it could never get through.  We ultimately parked somewhere and I cleaned all of our stuff out of the back of their car.  They were heading back to Cambridge, even though it had snowed a lot there.  Before they left, I ran back to the car and shook the guy’s hand and said, “Great spending time with you, let’s do it again.”  I was glad I hadn’t forgotten to do that.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I dreamt I was walking on a residential city street late at night, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette.  A police car suddenly pulled up next to me.  Even though it wasn’t pot, I chucked the cig, so there wouldn’t be an appearance of impropriety.  The policeman emerged covered from head to toe in high-tech armor, especially his head.  He looked like a gigantic insect or alien.  I gasped in fear.  He reached for his gun and said, “What?”  “You frightened me,” I said.  He took me to a mobile outdoor police station, basically a vehicle with an open trunk.  Several other perps waited there to pay fines and fill out paperwork.  I only had to fill out paperwork.  There was no fine for me, which was slightly surprising, but seemed right, since I hadn’t done anything wrong.  As I was leaving, the cops asked if I had seen much tennis lately, which was also slightly surprising.  I told them very cheerfully that I had played a lot of tennis and hoped to play more.  Then I walked away into the late, late night.
  
*

I dreamt I was sitting next to an Italian guy on a bench in Venice.  We started talking to each other in Italian about Italian poetry, going through all the great names.  I mentioned Giovanni Pascoli, to his delight, then Guido Gozzano.  Then, we turned to Eugenio Montale.  He said that late in life Montale had frequented places like this.  He pointed to a twisting covered passageway with an outdoor restaurant by the entrance.  “Montale would eat a hamburger at a place like that.”  I decided to eat there.  A waitress came up to me.  We spoke Italian.  I struggled to communicate with her in exactly the same way that I would struggle to communicate with someone in Italian if I were awake, making the same language decisions, the same compromises to communicate something.  I ordered a hamburger, but then was surprised when a waiter brought a bowl of soup, which didn’t have much soup in it, but was “all crackers.”  I hoped it didn’t cost much.

*

I dreamt I was visiting my mother, who died four months ago.  She was dying in a big bedroom upstairs in a suburban house.  I was very upset, thinking she was about to die, but then she seemed a little better.  I went from there to a Camp Kennebec reunion at a party place.  Not connecting with the people well, I wandered into another room, downstairs, that I thought was part of the same party.  But the kids were really young, the boys short.  It must have been a bar mitzvah party.  I walked out of the catering place.  On the way down the long driveway, I encountered my friend Peter Saenger.  I walked with him back into the catering place.  Inside, I noticed a program for a classical-music concert that would be taking place shortly.  It was an amazing program, with many pieces.  Sadly, for me, it was sold out.  Peter Saenger had a ticket and went inside.  I picked up the program, thinking that if I saved it, I would remember to go to the concert next year.  I wandered into a gift shop.  It occurred to me that I would wind up putting the program somewhere and forgetting it by the time the concert came around next year.  Maybe I should just throw the program away.  As I walked out of the gift shop without buying anything, I worried they would think the program in my hand was something that I hadn't paid for, but no one bothered me.
Long conversation with Peter Culley two nights ago in a dream. Going over the 1970s, sharing his secrets. As always, with Peter, a deep feeling of ease and affect. He was, since the first moment, "uno di famiglia," a member of the family. There is a spot in the front yard where we all stood during his last visit to Bangor -- it feels occupied as if something had been planted and is just about to burst from the ground. Any moment now. Always now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dreamt that they bombed Upaya North. Not sure who they is/was. But in the dream, Upaya was this cool looking library / classroom w/ media. I was teaching my final class of a workshop for the term. And we had to move to the Ginsberg Library due to the destruction. GL was this amazing space w/ a spiral staircase that went to a basement and the decor was 1970s chic. And the walls were red. A plush fabric. With funky bean bag chairs. And beads at doorways or on the wall. With green accents. And the students performed a somatic symphony. On a stage. In the library. I can still hear the cello.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nightmare I was writing a research paper on midcentury modern furniture and I had four sources: a chair, another chair, a chair, and an iPhone upholstered to look like a midcentury modern couch.
Last night I dreamed friends were coming for Thanksgiving dinner. I was in a penthouse where I had never lived before, and I wasn't sure how many people I'd invited or when I'd told them to come. Things had been complicated because I'd just been involved in a train accident (not my fault) although I was able to recover my computer, but not my guitar, which was both unfortunate and fortunate, because I was due to give a concert with the poet Elaine Equi (which is why I was on the train) and I hadn't rehearsed at all. Were Jewish friends coming for dinner, could I somehow get a kosher turkey in time? Here it was already noon, and I hadn't even done the shopping. How was I even going to get a turkey, much less a kosher one, at this late hour? Harry Kresky, a friend I like but never see texted me with the question: "Is it at 1?" My God, how many friends had I invited? What was I going to do? Akram and I went quickly to shop. We were going to have to buy a lot of wine too to keep guests busy doing something—my plan was to get them all drunk—till all the food was done. Maybe they'd let us borrow a shopping cart at the supermarket to get everything back to the penthouse. Turkey, yams, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes—Yikes! Outside was like a suburb of Shanghai near the water or maybe more like a favela in Rio. Either way, where was a supermarket? And could I speak the language? The alarm clock rang. Have I ever been so happy to wake up? Well, I have. Usually I am trying to catch a plane for Paris with endless complications getting to and being at the airport (usually there is marijuana in my luggage when I am going through customs and how am I going to get rid of that?—Quick, to the bathroom!), or I am about to teach a class I haven't prepared for and have to ad lib the whole darned curriculum. Thanksgiving dinner is a new one. Must be the season. I am going to the gym to do the bike, lift some weights, have a nice sauna and sweat whatever the heck this anxiety is out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dreamt I was the principal dancer in a ballet version of Waiting for Godot.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I dreamt that a British couple was walking through the newsroom.  They were looking at our nameplates.  “Who are these people?” one of them said, as if we weren’t there.  I had a feeling the woman wanted one of our jobs.  I started talking to the woman, who also turned out to be a poet.  I sensed that I seemed shameless to my fellow workers.  The woman and I went for a walk outside.  I asked her about her poetry.  While I couldn’t understand her accent perfectly, I gathered that her tastes were Victorian.  I said we seemed to be on the opposite ends of poetry.  During the walk, the woman became worried she would miss her subway, a G train, which ran above ground like a suburban train line.  I said we would be able to see it coming over the landscape.  We avoided a wet area, then bent low to walk underneath a weeping willow.  I asked if she knew my old friend Roland Vernon, a British novelist.  She didn’t.  At a house we entered, the phone was ringing and water was boiling on the stove, but no one was home, which was very disturbing.

*


I dreamt that the poet Peter Gizzi came to see me at my childhood home in South Orange, N.J.  I pulled up some chairs near where the outdoor playhouse used to be.  I had a messy bag of rolling tobacco, from which we harvested cigarettes.  He asked me if switching from working part-time to full-time had made me more bourgeois.  I said I didn’t think so, but that something else had.  I told him that when I was working part-time in South Brunswick, N.J., I sat next to a guy named Bob Cwiklik.  My mentioning Bob conjured him up, and he joined us on the chairs under the giant white pine.  One day, I said, Bob and I were walking to get coffee, and he said to me, “I don’t know if you realize this, but your assets are losing value every day.  Have you been to Europe lately?  The dollar doesn’t buy anything.”  The implication was that the eroding value of my assets—and the need to do something about it—was what had made me bourgeois, which was totally untrue.  At that point, we went into the house, which was different from our Montrose Ave. house, more a warren of rooms.  I lost track of Peter, then I gathered that he had encountered my wife, Louisa, and she didn’t recognize him, which upset me.  I shot into the dining room to prevent another faux pas.  Soon, Peter had to leave.  He was going to walk back to the train station in South Orange Village.  It wasn’t the same walk that it used to be, but flatter and shadier.  As we stood near my back door, it started to drizzle.  It looked like it was going to rain hard.  I offered Peter an umbrella, insisted that he take it, but he was sure that he didn’t need one.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Paris Air Show of 1922



In a dream, I am in an old mansion basement, feverishly scrounging through boxes of old pamphlets, on a table, as other collectors and dealers are doing likewise at my side, when I happen upon an old booklet, bound in limp green leatherette, showing a picture of a bi-plane tilted up in flight. The pilot, his head encased in a form-fitting leather cap, and large goggles, is seen waving from the cockpit towards the viewer. Across the top of the cover, it reads, in darker green, “S O U V E N I R – Paris Air Show 1922.” In the dream, I wake up and go downstairs to the computer to see if there really was a Paris Air Show in 1922, and to my surprise, there was! Later, I “really” wake up and come downstairs to see if there really was a Paris Air Show in 1922, thinking if there really was one, that would be some kind of wonderful coincidence, since air show pamphlets, and aviation generally, aren’t subjects that I've ever dealt in as a book trader.

I discover that the Paris Air Show (or “Salon”), the world’s oldest and largest, originally was begun in 1909. There was a Paris Air Show in 1921, but I can’t find a record of one in 1922. In the seventh (1921) show, a prototype of the so-called French Breguet 19, based on a World War I light bomber, powered by a Bugatti engine, was first shown. A new design of the same craft flew in March 1922, but it doesn’t say where. It was the model for the French Army’s Aéronautique Militaire from September 1923 on. It was used in the Greco-Italian War, in World War II, primarily as a reconnaissance aircraft. It was used by a number of European countries, as well as some in the Western Hemisphere.
 
Breguet 19     
 

Did I once see such a booklet, or did I conjure one up in my dream? The obsessive book scout in me is perfectly capable of inventing such an object. I go back to bed, hoping to return to the scene I have created in my imagination. Perhaps I am fantasizing that I can bring the imaginary pamphlet back from the dreamworld into the real one. Or perhaps I am simply enjoying the experience of having made something up that has a probable counterpart in the real world. Thus, my writing this account--a prosepoem of the dream--is a partial realization of that desire.  

My unconscious is sending me a message, whose secret meaning I may never be able to decode. This vicarious desire—expressed as a vague longing in the murky semi-consciousness between sleeping and waking--that my experience in the imagination might actually have happened--is like a dream come true.

Friday, October 2, 2015

In my dream a record was playing. It was the youthful, ebullient Billie Holiday of the 1930s singing an unfamiliar song. She sang the lyrics: "Although you left me behind / You're still one of a kind."

Thursday, October 1, 2015


I dreamt that I was taking a train with my dead father and my younger sister, Liz.  We sat in the front car, where we could see very well out the bus-like windshield.  Dad started to have a heart attack.  His face—it wasn’t really his, but that of a thinner guy—turned very red.  We tried to get the train to stop, so we could take him to the hospital, but the train was an express and wouldn’t stop for a half-hour.  I argued with the conductor.  We sped through local stations.  It was ridiculous.  Dad was lying on the floor.  His face was very red.  Then he died.  As soon as he did, his body vanished in the blink of an eye, like magic.

*

I dreamt that a brilliant orange and white bird was flying around above a suburban street.  It perched on top of a streetlight.  I had the feeling it would fly into my arms.  I opened my arms, and sure enough, it flew to me.  In my arms, it wasn’t orange and white, but furry brown like a bunny.  There was another bird, too, that flew to me.  I took the second bird back to the place where I was staying, a big suburban house that reminded me of one on Irving Ave. in South Orange, N.J., a few blocks away from my childhood home.  The bird lived there for a while, flying around the downstairs rooms, but then decided it was time to leave, so we let it out the door.

*

I dreamt that my former brother-in-law, Larry Travis, was getting married in a reception hall in Iraq.  Larry made a little speech in which he alluded to something that happened to Jack Kennedy and Jackie.  As I stood outside, smoking, it suddenly occurred to me, “This is Iraq, it might not be so safe.”  I looked around.  From where I stood, I could look down several outer-borough-type streets with relatively low buildings.  I didn’t see anything special.  A few ordinary people.  But when I focused intently, on one thing after another, the scene felt menacing.  I realized that problems could suddenly emerge from a number of directions.  Back inside, a young woman called a group of us together in a small room behind the reception hall.  She asked us, “Do any of you want to get out of Iraq?”  I think several of us indicated we did, including me.  Then she asked, “Are any of you Jewish?”  This was a confounding question, partly because several of us obviously were, and she seemed Jewish.  I wasn’t sure how to answer.  This might be a trick question, designed to identify with certainty a Jew, who would then be killed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Last night: Dreamt a downtown Manhattan that I'm not sure ever existed. In colors that I AM sure never existed. Anywhere. In any Universe.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A bear playing a harp in a field of lava rocks (my dream last night) -- in Grindavik.

Friday, July 31, 2015

After insomnia: strange dreams. I worked in an institution that was a maze with cafes and shops. To enter, one had to strip in a DRs office, wear a hospital gown, and then was given a box lunch of paraphernalia. Apparently, I was leaving said institution because I hugged everyone I passed in the hall and said: if I don't see you, goodbye. Heather Sweeney was married to a cartoon dictator. Amy Arenson made jewelry with beach glass. A table was littered with flower buds. Someone remarked: everyone's poetry here is too much in the head.

Friday, July 17, 2015

It started like a typical teaching anxiety dream--I had an hour to prep for the first day of a class I forgot I was teaching--but then a glowing woman sat down beside me and started buying me lovely coffee drinks, and every drink also gave me several extra hours. It only took us a few minutes to determine that my whole class would be based on using cooty-catchers to organize your writing and get rid of writer's block. The rest of the time we just flirted and talked about the really interesting book she was writing.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

woke up with a poem about Hannah Wilke in my mind. I wrote it down. Don't know if it works. Strange, only met her twice--but her art, of those last years as cancer leached her beauty--is very difficult to see. Very difficult. Maybe it's all the bird song. I remember she had birds in her loft.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Last night I had a dream about Yoko Ono and Gertrude Stein. A woman invited me and a male companion into her hotel apartment, which was a spaceship. She showed us swaths of cut-up fruit. I said, it reminds me of Gertrude Stein. But I couldn't remember all of the sections in Tender Buttons. I only remembered Rooms and Objects. Not Food.

Monday, June 15, 2015

We stole a tugboat, not exactly a tug but a boat that was old wooden and boxy - one cabin - as in most of the boat was that one cabin. Was with myself and 2 women friends of varied identities - they were always the same 2 women tho at one point one was a boy - but that was nothing to remark on and she was a woman again. I knew we’d make it if we hurried - we had a place to go, an apartment, a hideout, on Fountain north of Hollywood Blvd. - tho no locale was specified I was seeing it as Fountain.  We were on a big blue remote lake 15 minutes from Hollywood of the 70s.  I used a color stick on my hair, threw packaging in the wastebasket, shouted Should we take out the trash - eliminated evidence of our presence there - I was always aware we had a destination, rescue, a way out and that we should get off the tug. At one point I was in the water swimming to another shore though. It was nice to be swimming but I wasn’t doing the crawl so much as some sort of active floating. Treading? The water was good. Dark blue and the right kind of cold but I was aware it was not pristine. Instantly and "off camera" fishermen brought me back to the tug (kind as the fishermen who rescued Jeremy Renner in Bourne or it might have been Matt Damon). Thing is I had elaborate knowledge and was frustrated my friends didn’t and didn’t care. I imagined the tug owner's personality and likelihood she'd detect our presence - and wanted the hell to just get off it and move on. Prior to commandeering the tug we didn't commit a crime.  So much thinking ON the water (in retrospect). Worry frustration detailed knowledge unheeded by the carefree, awareness of the adventure, the voyage, the trip, the possible hideout funky and sunny. Redux on the prior - a winding road.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Last night I dreamed I was beatboxing to an entire stadium full of people. The crowd was on their feet. They were loving it. I woke up covered in slobber, but I felt proud. I still feel proud; I'm carrying that feeling throughout the day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fell asleep last night in front of CNN: in my dream Giordano Bruno and Lenny Bruce were discussing the state of the Universe.
Fragments of three dreams from this morning: 1. Karen is pregnant, and the doctor assures me (without evidence) that I'm the father. 2. I return to my old workplace to retrieve enormous piles of my personal possessions, mostly books, all of which are stored in Denis' office (his official one, which he doesn't actually use). 3. The entire movie, It's a Wonderful Life, with Alan Alda as George Bailey, ending with a monster coming out of the woods and down to a stream during the credits—then the image freezes and the voiceover announces the remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon will come out next year.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bested by the tropics, after a harrowing no AC cab ride during which the driver pulled over no less this five times to ask for directions to a relatively near destination, I fell into a strange sleep of perhaps the most menacing dream-hallucinations I have ever had, experiencing other people's and my own most profound viciousness: there was a party, many friends were there but seemed sinister, one (a married person) pressed himself lustfully against my back body, another man not a friend flicked a cigarette into food I was eating and then freaked when I confronted him on it, accusing me in an almost hebephrenic way of "privilege", I and others flew/swooped around the room, a kind of dark loft space, and I reached into the mouth of someone who offended me and bent his front tooth completely forward. And these are only the incidents I vaguely recall. Yangon in this season is truly dizzying and the weather seems to act as hallucinogen. Much respect and compassion for the people who must withstand it daily, and cook hot food at their roadside food carts or drive boiling taxis in diesel smog, triply dazed by betel nut and centuries of oppression.

Friday, May 15, 2015

also I dreamed last night that the smithsonian had a wing for riot grrrl. but it was kind of decrepit and in need of upkeep.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

From the dream files: dreamt last night I was in Portland watching a man with walk down the street, no pants just tidy whiteys , suit jacket on top. He was wearing a baseball cap, ZZ Top beard and sunglasses on the back of his head, and had long should-length grey hair.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Last night, I dreamt that Vanessa Place was my physician, and I visited her for some now unrecallable ailment. I can't remember exactly what she said to me in the dream -- probably something like this from her @vanessaplace2 Twitter account: "Wanting to be a poet is like wanting a bad cough," or "All you are is either a symptom or material." Or this from an interview at Fanzine: "All we are are our symptoms, and we do love our symptomology…".

Sunday, April 26, 2015

bizarre dreams update: just before waking today, the last dream i had featured badgers the size of and seemingly crossed with leeches that lived under pieces of wood. i was out in a dreamtimish area working with a small group of people when i first discovered these ferocious mini beasts, and the dream ended as Rani Ji & i worked in an area away from the others, by a road where i moved a piece of wood and 2 or 3 of these beasts came after me (while Rani was laughing, i was scared).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I was scheduled to perform 3 or 4 songs with an old friend in a small NYC performance space - somewhere I've never been or seen in real life.  There were a lot of people there. I was going to be playing the guitar, and the songs were originals that I had written with my friend. As it got closer to playing time, I could not remember the songs, could not retrieve or piece together the chords, progressions -- it was just outside the grasp of my memory.  The songs could not be performed without my part, so we ended up having to cancel the performance, though I know it was a terrible disappointment to my friend. I realized that I could no longer ignore all the signs and indications that I had previously been ignoring: I definitely had Alzheimer's.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The dream encompassed many foreign locations... a bus breaking down and the driver abandoning us... Philip Larkin was somehow involved... a missed opportunity for banter on my dreaming self... and i recognized him by the back of his head and ears along? (what?) I was also riding a steel dragon...