Friday, April 27, 2007

Another dream where Frank wasn’t dead. A big warehouse building that had been converted into apartments. Wide empty hardwood floors, 15 foot ceilings showing beams & pipes, painted white. Looking for him there, and finding him. He was secretive and sarcastic; not like Frank at all. But it was him and it wasn’t that he had been killed but had chosen to leave. Much sorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yesterday the mountains flew under me and caught in my throat and this morning rain nearly took me out of my head. The heaviness of it woke me and I grabbed the tail end of my dream in which I was scratching on a large canvas with the back end of a paint brush dipped in ink DON’T TAKE MY ART AWAY FROM ME.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Flower of Having Passed Through (a painted) Paradise in Dream

Bialy had finished his poem at last
the final lines of which
he’d been discussing with me
for years—now
published at last
by famed Italiano house—
the finest and most dedicated
to pure design
in the world—
the pristine gesture of those final line sets
showing a perfect movement that turns and is
an essence of floral growth and habit
at once of poetry, painting, music,
and the time of speech—
amazing for it to have manifested here
in the dawn-light snow-storm
of rural late-night hospital…

Bialy, who was (beyond improbability) Prince Charming
in fluent scarlet robe and crown
of golden hair—bends
slightly there to kiss his perfect
Afro-Semetic bride—
the wedding itself
to celebrate in a kiss
the completion and perfection of his poem
whose final lines read
in palindrome
as ultimate flower, utterance,
and gesture
that I can reproduce with both hands now—
the whiteness of the snow-light
and the off-white tincture of the hospital walls
and the painting by little Arden Fuller
with little houses,
doors, and windows
and the beautiful head of happy child
balanced on bodiless blue legs
among the tulips…

I was brought into the bookstore, into
an intimate “order” of these meanings
where so many excellent
editions of poems
by Pound and Zukofsky
and Italian “illuminist” poets
who had brought
to “light” the noble
colors of the time
into which they’d vanished—
scarlet, tinged with crimson, turquoise, gold
and the towns by moon or sunlight
and their mountains, lakes, and rivers all composed
by the movement of this gesture
of pen or tongue or fingers.
As one walked passed,
the images changed, so that
from whatever angle one discerned them
from that angle their beauty
most exceedingly gleamed.

Darkness and the Terrible
were themselves retained
as were dark forbodings
that movement would spoil all this beauty—

making a curve with the car
in a parking lot
or conducting with one’s hands
the sounds of the worlds
or walking even with grace
that retained but just retained
the habit of elegance
echoing a resonant hollowness
at the center of things…

The radio, as if ensconced in some
distant wall of the hospital
delivered it seemed
the most hospitable
and promising of all the sounds
in the world—

the therpeutic muscle pumping gadgets
attached to my legs
also echoing that gesture
without end.

Note: I will have just enough time to write this down before the nurses come with pills and measurement devices—and I do complete this just as a pretty Phillipino nurse named Anna walks in the room and I make my gesture caressing her face with my hands.


next day early morning

Writing. Sanskrit. Incised
in stone wall or tower or mountain
so that one can grip the wall
by gripping the words with fingers and toes
to climb it up or down—
like skills rock-climbers master—
and as I learn the abilities,
there is no fear of falling—none at all—
I cannot even reproduce the sense
of what ought to be danger for myself,
so tightly linked to the wall have I become,
and I am climbing down and down and down
cleaving inwardly to
its teachings

Later Susan Quasha among other
practitioners in the colors of an inner order
that continues the colors and textures
of the robes of Kagyus and Nyingmas but also
close to the colors of last night’s dream—

The textures of the cloths—not only the robes—
but also rugs and wall hangings and things
that cover the altars
are efficiently transmitters because of
this wedding of exact color and texture—
and there is some danger
that the texture might deviate ever-so-slightly
and thus lose the efficacy of the cloth
to open on the true meaning of the teachings,
though it turns out these deviations cause no problems—
the meanings
continue to transmit.

The texture is related
to the walls incised with writing
as if the texture of writing itself
were part of its communicative power—

My coming down the wall
did not read it word by word
though I did link on to the wall word-wise,
but rather one simple meaning was imparted
because the descent would go on forever,
though there was no actual change in place height-wise…

Before the Susan color-cloth segment
I was “off the wall”
and large chunks of “reality”—
as if large chunks of the existent world
had been sharply bitten out of the world
and the harmlessness of the acts
by which these absences were seemingly demarcated
were identical to the security
that adherence to the incised letters on the wall
afforded myself and anyone else
who was a climber (or descender)
of it.

Pieces bitten out of the substance of the world—
their absence—
were substance, path, and fruit…

When Susan appeared she was skin-headed
and she introduced the “next instruction”
or imparted the next chunk of information
by a direct act of pointing with
the pinky side of her right hand
and it was only by this gesture
that was different from the one in last night’s dream
because of its straightness
and that it cut through a vertical plane
shooting straight out from the center of one’s body
that I knew she was Susan
and that we shared a certain sense of trust
in the simple meaning
of these matters…

(These dreams occurred at Columbia Memorial Hospital while I was recuperating from hip replacement surgery.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I am walking with my mom and sister on a sidewalk in California not wearing shoes. A homeless man is not wearing shoes. My mom says, "I can't believe you're not wearing shoes." I am looking at him. He has very large toes.

Suddenly police run up to us and put potato sacks over the head of the homeless man and over the head of my mother, tie a rope around the sacs, and throw them on the ground against a chain-link fence. My sister and I cry that our mother is not guilty. The police men run up to us, tearing off their badges and frantically pointing to their names, saying, "Please write us! Please write us up! Please say what we did! Here are our names! Here are our numbers!"

Later their faces, and their whole bodies, are concealed in plastic black armor. Their arms are crossed. They are standing below a yellow slide, watching little kids slide down. What are they patrolling? My sister and I pick up Bobby's friend Jake. Then Bobby is driving me somewhere in my car. He nervously talks about flying to Portland later if he can make the flight.

We are in Los Angeles. We come to an intersection. Or it could be Oxnard because of the intersection. I say, "Take the 1. We can drive up the coast. It will be nicer that way." I am excited about this, but he barely responds. He must be thinking about Portland.

We stop at California Pizza Kitchen. We are suddenly the watchers of a table lead by a brunette with black bug-eyed sunglasses, a little boy, and her husband who sits meekly to her right. She says, "Well I'm going to order a sundae first." I don't know if it is for her or her son. This would change how I interpreted the way she ordered it, either belittling her baby or feeling guilty herself. A clown is taking their order. Gumballs are his beard or his face or his hair. He leans over and I am the camera intercepting a vision of him which is a rainbow of gumballs attached somewhere on him. The husband says, "You ordered the wrong ice cream." She says to the waiter, "Oohhh, vanilla please, not chocolate." Bobby seriously wants one of the gumballs. I say, "You probably have to go inside to the machine." He says, "but I can't get a white one from the machine."

He walks over and there is a close-up of the gumballs stuck inside at the edge of the opening and little kids' hands trying to reach for the white ones which for some reason cannot exit the machine.

Bobby remembers Portland, that we are in a hurry. "I've got to get out of here," he says "Let's go," or he shows me we have to go by turning his shoulder away from the place and walking away.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I walk into a beautiful building where everything seems, or is, gift-wrapped. The walls are pink and luscious moldings arch from the walls into the ceiling. They become the ceiling. The floor is extra shiny, a wood you would expect people to dance on. There is a woman behind a desk. I walked in here, knowing I was going to be taken care of. She asks me, in that tone of voice, "Is there anything I can help you with? you...anything...we understand...yes..." Aside from hearing her, I don't even acknowledge her. I barely think about acknowledging her, but she doesn't run after me like I'm....

I went away, and when I went away I went to a place called L & J farms. The letter might not have been J, definitely L though. I was dropping off a friend's wife, but she looked very different. I realized I would do things for her, but she never paid me. Was she supposed to pay me and forgot? Why would she pay me to do these things? Why did I do these things for her? I picked her up and dropped her off at this beautiful stretch of wooden apartments. She called it a personage. I kept on saying, "This is a beautiful chain of apartments," and she interrupted me, correcting me, "a personage. It's a personage."

They were low, almost that purple colored wood. Ivy was draped over all of them. They were in the forest with a big circular driveway in front. You could see slices of living rooms lit. She said something assuredly like, "It should be good." but her assurance was the theater of a deep fear pushing her lips to say things to coax herself to feel, or seem okay, things such as "It should be good." She was clearly not happy and felt rushed as she stepped out of the car. And she was splitting up, or I wondered, or wondering was knowing, she was splitting up with her husband.

I leave, and as I drive away, I looked at a giant white sign, hanging off a very tall wooden beam. The sign for what this place was was hanging on the beam. As I drive away from it, the sign waps against the wind. I look back trying to see what the sign says but it is blinded by sun now in the angle it is swinging. Or I see it, and I love what it says, but I instantly forget what it says. It says L & R Ranch, "And the son he gives his seeds," It was a quote from Jesus.

I see two deer on the left side of the road. I stop my car on the right side. They are in a world of dandelion light, very soft and sincere. I see the two deer are hunched over listening intently to a small brown bunny who is telling them something very important, maybe sad because the bunny's eyes are watering and the faces of the deer are mutely mirroring this. Their faces are not made for the sadness the bunny's face is made for. The faces of deer--the faces they make are ones upon hearing something you say or a sudden sound, look at you, but they are looking far away from you. The frozen face. When you know they are not there and they think what just happened is being solved other than there.

I want to take the bunny home with me, but I knew it wouldn't be good. I asked myself, "Could I cuddle with a bunny? Do they smell good? Do they smell bad? Do they not scratch? Do they scratch? The deer turned into other animals in front of the bunny. And suddenly I was with two little girls. The youngest one was the most aggressive, the most outwardly active, "the leader" but there were three sisters. The middle one kept on encouraging the youngest one to continue her efforts. They had English accents. We were in a building that was some kind of birth center, but it was so industrial. and we were trying to find a person closest to her moment of birth. So we were trying to find the sign, or figure, which one of the vague names we looked at overhead, was the ward closest to the moment where one was just being born, not where one had sat around for a while.

The youngest one, the agressor, was scrolling through a catalogue, and she kept on not finding the name. Did she know what the name was of this child whom she had to see closest to her birth, or was she scrolling through all of the names to help her brain remember her name? She kept on giving up on her search and the middle child kept on saying, in her English accent, "No. You're doing it. You are great. Keep on going."

I was driving them now. I was looking at them buckled in their seatbelts in the back of the car. The little agressor was looking down, or looking out the window and looking angry, and the middle child was kind of biting her lip, twirling her hair, looking up. A woman was saying how the middle child encourages the little one, how she worships the little one, and why did the little one need her encouragement. Why does she give up on herself? Then a woman walks, and she looks like the other woman, who just spoke, who I think is the mother but I can't see the mother, maybe I am the mother.
The woman is beautiful with long black hair in braids, and green eyes. I think she is Australian.

She is walking in a field of strong wind. The sun is setting, or it is a grey morning. She is giving a speech of why she is at the point she now is, it had to do with being a single woman, the importance, a need, that only could be fuflfilled by saying that she was single. My dad was watching her through the television, but then he was just staring at a wall, then he was standing behind me, and he grunted, "mmm," in affirmation of her words. He asked me, "Are you going to be that way, like her?" And I said, "I don't know," and I looked up and I lifted up my arms, but I didn't lift them, I only thought of lifting them and I felt a newspaper on a wet sidewalk on a sunny morning lifted up by a wind and I was outside of the earth watching that newspaper fly out of it "Like her, or with a lover?" It was a giant question that sloped down from two lines and came to a point.

Then I went back to the original building I could now see was called, "The Isin-Fromin Foundation." I went there because I was with two other girls, and they kept on missing the place I had to drop them off at. "but you're not giving me the information," I said, slowly, as if I didn't care that we continued to miss the place by the simple fact that I was never told where to go. They were really spaced-out. Then, I go to Isin-Fromin. The woman behind the desk performs the same hello. The giant foyer is more crowded now. I see two little girls whispering to each other. The room has more of the spirit of being of a school.

I walk into a giant bathroom and an old, tan, wrinkled, dry grey haired homeless woman talks at me. She wont let me get away from her, but she talks at me, not looking me in the eye. She needs me to hear her, but she talks like I'm not there. Then another man jumps up from his toilet, holding a newspaper, and says, "Oh, Bard! You went to Bard? Give me a hug."

I don't respond to him, and each of them do not respond to my not responding, which is eerily empty. What are we to each other then but lent presences for either you or I to hear ourselves better through the resonance of the close and similar acoustic human body?

I am trying to go to the bathroom, but see that I can't because of the talking of these people that won't let me go, so I leave. I ask, "Why am I surrounded by these retarded people?" "Am I retarded?" "Could I be retarded if I could ask this question?" The thought dissolves into itself. Is that it's only life, acting as if it refers to a world other than itself, but referring to nothing outside of itself, meaning the moment I interpret what is behind the thought and the interpreting make me able to hear it before it dissolves. It feels dreary. How did I find this place? Do they know I am not retarded? Do they think I am? Again, am I?

Did they come to me out of the innocuous fuselage which was the unconscious habit of my insides asking again what continued to come? How could I ask for others now, others who I didn't feel were asking to be healed. Were there others?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sleeping I dreamt I started smoking again, fell off the wagon, failed. In real life this didn't happen.
Last night I dreamed I was looking into the window of a small apartment I used to live in and the walls had been painted blue and green, and they were beautiful. Then I was at a concert and the conductor, a small blond man, stepped down from the podium and walked over to me holding a gold French horn. I stared, mesmerized, into the bell, then he leaned over and kissed me, then gave me the horn, a bouquet of flowers and a box of bright yellow carpenter pencils. I told my friend this is some great concert and she said just wait and when the conductor got back on the podium giant amorphous cloud-like creatures began forming and floating out over the audience. They were gentle and kind and bowed their heads down to certain people sitting in the audience. I think they were gods of some kind. I think they came out of the music.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A nightmare. One of those ones that seem like a long involved film with progressively worsening twists & turns but when you wake up seem fairly simple & vague.

I was traveling with a theater company on a cruise ship. I was not part of the troupe but K, an old friend of mine, was. She was telling me about a man who was romantically pursuing her, that she was afraid of him, and felt that he must be crazy.

There was a very bad person on board the cruise ship who had cut off a single hand on two different people (I found one -- a horrible amputated hand, that had been hidden somewhere. It was a man's hand, sort of small, hairy-knuckled and ugly; it didn't look like the hand of any man I know). K thought that the man pursuing her was the hand amputator. I was trying to help her escape from him, but also trying to find out if it really *was* him. And, just like a movie, the hand amputator turned out to be K herself. She tried to amputate my hand.

But I still wanted to help her and, knowing that people become bad because they've been treated badly, I wanted to help her get past whatever abuse in her past had led her to become so evil. It was all tritely psychological in that I had to bring her back, in her mind, to the situation in which she had suffered so much that she became the one that hurts others, so that she could confront her abuser & get beyond it.

The therapy was kind of odd. I was covering her forehead as best I could with my hand, trying to protect her from a woman who was attempting to pour molton metal onto her forehead. Then the woman insisted to me that she would not hurt K, that it was only a kind of baptism, that she would only drop a microscopically tiny drop of red hot liquid metal onto K's forehead. I stupidly agreed, because I felt I should trust the pourer; and again, just like in a cheesy horror movie, the woman pouring turned out to be the crazy one and started pouring the molten metal onto K's head. It was horrible. K was screaming in physical and emotional pain and I had failed to protect her and had only, out of my naivité & inability to just leave things alone, made things much worse than they had been.

Friday, April 6, 2007

"The academy of my dreams is opening its doors..."
(Ted Berrigan)

In my dream last night I was in the subway looking for Uijongbu. I try to call somebody from the dark platform but two tough guys start to approach me. When I woke up I remembered where the word was from and then I had a very strong, sad feeling of missing Ted.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Market district of a city somewhere in North Africa. The owner of a
bookshop is pointed out to me. He has another shop elsewhere which
specializes in philosophy. This one seems devoted to 'world culture,'
anthropology. I want to ask him about a book on Pythagorus, but don't.

Boyhood home in Seattle. Later in this dream, at a family event I'm
introduced to that same bookshop owner. He is a friend of my sister,
and tells me that we've woefully misread the pre-socratics, ignoring
completely their 'culture of violence.'
I dreamt I was going to do a public reading of my zombie poems and that I stuffed a jump suit with padding, taped a balloon with a marker face where a head should be, slapped a "HI I'm Dead" sticker on the breast pocket and danced with this creature the whole time I performed. Ryan's sculpture is, of course, much more sophisticated than what I dreamt of. But I think I'm smelling zeitgeist.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Last night I dreamed of a UFO. I wish I could remember the part of the dream that preceded the spaceship because it was far more portentous. In fact, when the UFO slipped into the dark sky it seemed merely a cover image, an intentional distraction that now blocks my memory of the bigger dream.

The ship was kind of gold-yellow, and it moved as though it was going to cross the arras and disappear like a meteor. Then it suddenly changed course and flew right at me. I dismissed this blitz within the dream. It was so obviously a hoax, like a disk dangled from an undetectable string.

Then my dream car began shaking as during an earthquake and I understood that, though chintzy and far too yellow, this saucer was the real thing. As it circled again and zoomed in on me, it demonstrated beyond a doubt that I was of interest to an alien intelligence and that it could search me out even within my own dream on a faraway obscure world.
I wanted to get out of its sight. I began to get scared.

There was actually a word on craft’s outside, curving along its contour. I tried to read it, but the letters, though surprisingly my own alphabet, were upside-down. I remember catching a few of them at each pass, but never the word itself. It began “pla…,” but it wasn’t “planet” or “plane”; in fact I gradually felt that it wasn’t really “p,” but a letter that didn’t go with “l,” like “x” or “r.” It was trying to call itself “planet” so that I wouldn’t know what it really was, so that I couldn’t get back to the rest of the dream—except now I see a great boat, for a millisecond, and already it is gone, but I know that the boat is the real dream and carries the true word. The letters are alien, and their transliteration is bogus but the best that can be done.
The UFO emerged out of the extraterrestrial boat in a change of scenery to delude me with a tinny alien-ness and hide the import of the dhow, or whatever it was—forbidden tidings within a dream.

Monday, April 2, 2007

I was just falling asleep and beginning to dream. There were too many poems with houses. But I was in my poem-house and hiding behind sandbags below the window. Rebels were unloading from a jeep. They had machine guns and were firing- makes lines of bullets and I was scared in the house but also swattling the house and telling it to hang on. Then I woke up a bit and realized this was awesome and I had to write it down.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I had given a reading in the West Village, and now was walking up West Street under the highway with a few members of the audience. We stopped at an outdoor café, and had drinks and coffee. There was a tall bluff man from Copenhagen – not the first time a Dane had appeared in this connection. As we sat and talked, a yellowjacket came and stung me on the ball of my left thumb. I plucked the insect out as gently as I could and tossed it on the pale table. Someone went to crush it, but I coaxed it very gently with a spoon until it pulled itself together –the words seemed almost literal—and flew away, apparently all right. But there was a stinger still stuck in my thumb. I pulled it out, no pain yet, though I anticipated it. I licked the puncture steadily. No pain, but the skin around the wound started to granulate oddly, till a patch as big as an old 5 DM coin (that was the example that occurred to me) was lumpy with painless granulations. I kept licking, and gradually the swellings went down.

I went on walking north; now only one person was with me, a lean middle-aged pleasant philosophical type from Amsterdam. We talked about his city while we walked through mine. Presently we turned right, onto a crosstown street. We had come into a neighborhood that only I ever seem to find in New York, where the houses are separated by little gardens, vegetable plots, vacant fields. We walked east, and suddenly I saw a woman leaning against a tree, and talking on a cell phone. It was Lynn Behrendt! How strange to find her here in New York. Her face lit up with delight when she recognized me, a pleasure I shared, though mitigated by a sense of guilt that I had not let her know about the reading. But how could I have known she’d be in New York, apparently living there in a nice house not so different from her Linden Avenue house upstate?

She welcomed me, I introduced my Dutch companion, and we all went inside. Her business partner, an older, white-haired rubicund man, quiet, industrious, was arranging on various plates pastries they had made. They were running a catering business, and from the look of the many sorts of pastries, they must have been very good at it. The plates, though, seemed a little less than worthy of the petits-four and profiteroles that adorned them – one of them reminded me of a saucer I had broken just the day before.

But Lynn was still on the phone, and, it turned out, talking to someone who had been at my reading, and was telling her about it, evidently raving about it. She handed me the phone, saying it was Liz or Lisa. But the voice on the other end was clearly a man’s, and vaguely familiar. He’d been at the reading, liked it, the poems I’d read from May Day, and above all the poem called “The Lure.” There was no such poem in the book, or in all my work, as far as I could tell, but I didn’t want to say that. The voice, which I began to think might be that of Ron Silliman, went on, and we signed off after a little confusion about his exact e-mail address – now many M’s in it? I knew that Lynn would know, so I handed the phone back to her to finish her talk.

I didn’t taste any of the pastries, but examined them with interest. Though I strangely felt no urge to taste them – perhaps because I knew they were being prepared for a major event. As I was looking at them, a small plate (like the one I had broken at home the day before) seemed to fall by itself off the table and smash, with its three or four petits-four, onto the floor. My fault, I said, though clearly it wasn’t. Think nothing of it, the white-haired man said.

Originally, I had planned to stay the night in New York, at some midtown hotel I had not yet chosen. But somehow after the beesting and the nice meeting with Lynn and the odd phonecall and the broken dish, as if all that could happen had happened, I realized it would be better to drive home tonight. So I left without long farewells and walked north again, towards the midtown parking garage where the Subaru was waiting.