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.