Friday, August 31, 2007

Stumble through the hall of morning's first moments. Familiar rumble outside from the construction across the street. Into and out of the bathroom. Into and out of the dream. Into and out of the thoughts that aren't there. There might have been a dream, sitting in a cell block, looking at a clock through iron bars. Some chubby guard with a dumb grin, fuzzy eyebrows, and big blue clothes. Big ol' Hollywood keychain hooked to his big black belt. Pacing the hall in his big black boots. Down into the morning, Vaughn at her desk in the kitchen, cranking out the multi-colored Play-Doh. Dash tottering between Vaughn and his mom as he learns how to walk. Magnets across the floor—an orange g, a green o—and tupperware and toy silverware, and toy-sized tins that either are or aren't toys I have no idea. Sometimes my guts want to give up and seep back into the earth. The little noises too much. The excesses, the effusions, the never enoughs. Vague and dizzy feelings cradling objects. "The sky / is a black / sudden cloud, / a sun. / Speak / to me, say / what things / were forgotten." (Creeley, from "The Shame")

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm at the farm where I pick up organic vegetables every week. It's winter (odd), and the veggie room is lit with electric lights (odd), and an acquaintance who is a homeless-looking meadmaker is waiting around (for what?). Before I choose which vegetables I'll bring home, I look through every bin to see what's available. I'm stunned to find that the last bin is packed tightly with small pastel tote containers of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins (how do they grow these?). I'm ecstatic to slowly realize that Gertrude Stein was wrong: sugar IS a vegetable. At last... I wake up content.

Monday, August 27, 2007

We are in England and we come across three people -- two men and one woman, all very young -- who are producing a TV series on the Civil War, based on a poem by the famous poet Cecil Blakeley. They're making everything by hand -- not just the sets and costumes, but the cameras and technical equipment too. I tell them they should use the Civil War poem by Robert Kelly instead, but as I'm saying it I realize Robert has never written an epic poem on the Civil War. They shoot at night and make things during the day. They tell me they only have a certain number of hours in which to finish the epic. "American hours are shorter than English hours," I say. One of the men is distantly related to the woman -- they come from the same small island off the northern English coast -- the name sounds like Farquelay. When we see them it's 12:50 AM and the actors are starting to appear on the set, including one man with long hair dressed as a medieval knight, carrying a small digital camera.
A dream of dust. It lies along the edges of all the bookshelves, on the tabletops in the study, the sitting room, the kitchen, it congeals on the ledges of the skirting boards and on the wainscotting, on the pelmets, everywhere. The glass-topped dresser. The windowsills. I run my forefinger along the flat wooden surfaces, pushing up cloudy skirls of grey and brown and letting them fall onto the dun-coloured carpet which, later, I think (in the dream) I will vacuum. The windows themselves are golden with grime that filters the late afternoon sun to revelations of dust and one day I will hang out of those that open and clean them too. Or inscribe them with sigla encoded perhaps with the secrets of time. The dream has a soundtrack, it is Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval's melancholy voice drifting in and out of the debris: I could possibly be fading / Or have something more to gain / I could feel myself growing colder / I could feel myself under your fate / Under your fate. Never knew until this actual moment that that was what she was singing. This moment of awakening, slipping across the purple sheets, rolling out from under the blue duvet, looking for those dust devils. And they're gone. Or rather, not here. It's just the ordinary familiar chaos of things. Feathers, stickers peeled off apples, sequins fallen from the kaleidescope, crumbs. Where has the dream dust gone? What is dust anyway? Planetary dust. Dust of light, dust of skin, dust of books. Curators are advised no longer to wear white gloves, the abrasion of cotton causes as much damage to paper surfaces as the oils in the whorls of fingertips. Dust of tears, what's left after the liquid evaporates and only the salt remains. The heart's dust. Or the galaxy's. It was you breathless and tall / I could feel my eyes turning into dust / And two strangers turning into dust / Turning into dust ...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sometimes I have dreams where I find/remember a room or series of rooms in my home that I haven't been using. In last night's instance I found a guest room with a spare bath, walk-in-closet and a great loft office above it. TB was all "You have this and haven't been using it?" and I was like "I hadn't considered it before."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I wanted to get into an exclusive party but the restaurant maître d' insisted I needed an invitation. I wasn't dressed for the thing, but managed to convince him I belonged there. All I wanted was to get inside to see if I knew anyone. I looked around and was reminded of many a bad wedding reception, with tens of strangers huddled together at small tables, smiling politely, desperately wanting to leave. I recognized no one, but noticed everyone had dark hair. I left and went outside where it was now dark and snowing. I hurried in the cold (for which I was not properly dressed) to the parking lot to get my car, but it was locked behind two separate fences. I jumped both fences, found my car, and put my key in the lock. This simultaneously started the ignition, which alerted the two parking lot guards who immediately came running over and "arrested" me for leaving a baby in the car. I didn't remember doing this, didn't recognize the baby at all, but still felt horribly guilty for doing such a terrible and thoughtless thing. The baby seemed all right. The guards calmly spoke to each other about me as if I weren't there. They took notes on all my crimes, and confiscated all my belongings including a pillow I've had since childhood, and a copy of Lee Ann Brown's Polyverse. Something about their calm demeanor made me feel I was in the worst trouble I've ever been in my whole life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Soon we are tossing and turning ourselves to sleep on the lumpy air mattress. I wake up frequently with dreams I think I'll recall in the morning but of course I won't. I remember only the one bit of a dream where I was with my family in some kind of lodge with a deck out back and a sliding glass door, and pacing out there was Jordan Davis, someone I've never met and know nothing about except for visiting his blog a few times and I think he co-edited The Hat, and anyway he's out there, looking like D.H. Lawrence, wanting to kill me, but only in a nonchalant "maybe I will, maybe I wont" kind of way.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Last night I had a dream, a big sloppy thing that went on for hours and involved lots of people which my dreams usually don't but it started in Alec Neal's garden, Alec Neal who has a small homestead right outside of town with a stand where he lines up jars of syrup and braided garlic heads and sets them there to stand next to a can and asks via a printed price list for maple syrup and garlic braids and trusts that you will pay him fairly and squarely and I've been eyeing his corn growing strong and tall all early summer long, knee high by the fourth of July and still going strong, full green, light green corn, sweet corn, not sprayed or nothin he says and I see the rows of marigolds growing there in between and overhead is a large plastic owl of a pole, sortofa scarecrow, first year we've done this, he says, does it work? I guess, he says, the corn looks pretty good, don't it? he says from the center of the patch where I can't see him but hear him plucking off the ears, ripping them off the stalks with the sound corn music makes in the middle of the summer being taken from the land, from the grand stand it is on and then he comes out grinning with the 8 in his arms while I give thanks, I have not made such a fair purchase in many a year, 2 dollars for 8 fresh ears and here he is coming at me with them in his arms, light green huskers, no bag or anything just outstretched arms I open up to accept, to make a small contribution, to switch the bucks for ears, and what am I giving him? two dollars, which I can only do by filling the left arm first with the first four and then offering him the 2 bucks with my right hand until he takes it, until he can free me to take the other four and here he is hesitating, he is hesitating isn't he, not taking the money or handing over his ears because these are his babies, baby silver queens, baqbies he's been babying all season and at first he gives me four and holds on to the rest as I am standing there with the four in my left arm and the two dollars still outstretched as he is standing there waiting now, waiting for something to happen with the other 4 ears still left in both his hands, hard working hands, not going for the money but just standing there holding on to them, outside the corn patch, which isn't sprayed or nothin' and is real green and smells of corn that smells real clean and sweet in mid summer, fresh and alive, fresh and green, not wanting the money, not wanting to give up the corn he has babied along all season and yet there is a sign right there along the road that reads "sweet corn" and if that is not a sales pitch what am I doing here offering these 2 measly dollars that he does not want to put back into the corn, back into the patch and leaves it at that and then we are in an elevator in NYC, going up, I and two others in this cranky old elevator that is tiny, one that barely holds two and we are three as the iron gate closes and rises within the shaft holding us tight, we are going up and almost too tight to breathe so I hop atop of my basket full of groceries so that I can fit with these other two who barely know me and when the elevator stops and opens up I have to pop down and out and haul around my basket so the other fellow can get out, I remember him now, he was a good friend to my but he is dead now and then we are all out in some sort of station or wharehouse in NYC with barnlike qualities and further on we are many, a whole lot of us, in some place that is unfamiliar but not alien, a place we are all moving through in the same direction, moving rather calmly for a crowd as if we are all going to a fair or something fun at the other end and there is just the movement of us then, of the tide in us, of moving forward then.
Ed Sanders had built a rollercoaster/bobsled-on-wood type of thing that traveled from town hall to town hall; but it was in a city. There was some significant political PR event that was going on or about to go on at all of these places, and it was his idea to disrupt it. So my husband, my kids & I started riding around with him and maybe five other people; the only one I recognized was Ron Silliman. We rode from town hall to town hall and at each one Ed had made up a skit or theatrical production or song, different for each stop, that would end up with a big surprise insult to the officials, which was somehow hopefully going to disrupt this bad, corrupt event that was about to happen. Exactly what the skits or songs were, as I woke, became very vague; as was the nature of the corruption we were attempting to disrupt. At the end of the dream I realized that my son Jake had gotten off the ride a stop or two back, and I was desperately, frantically trying to find him in this city that I did not know very well.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I sit down next to Sartre at an outdoor table at a café in India. I'm not sure where exactly -- it looks a little like New Delhi. Definitely a large city. Sartre, apparently, has not died but has moved to India because he prefers the warmer climate. He looks quite young. He points to the newspaper open on the table in front of him (The Times of India) and says how glad he is that they've finally found a cure for tuberculosis.
Running through a field of tall grasses. Running from something, but not from something too terrifying. More like running from the cops from a keg party in the woods when we were kids. Though I don't notice it at the time the horizon is startling for its lack of trees or houses or buildings of any kind. It's an incredibly long field that touches the clear blue sky at the horizon. The quickly repeating shushing sound of every step—shhh, shhh, shhh through the tall grass. Soon the sound grows unnaturally loud, so loud it makes me dizzy and knocks me to the ground. Faceful of grass. I turn around under the immense sky, just enough time to recognize the sound of galloping before a red-brown horse races past, hooves no more than a foot away from pummeling my skull. I gather myself, stand, and turn to look at the horse racing away. My little girl crouched on its back, gripping the reigns, leaning forward, head beside the horse's, as if to whisper, "Faster."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dreamt a doctor took care of us last night

after solving our little medical dilemma

let us stay the night in his odd office

you woke early in our cramped corner

and slept again more comfortably

on his examination table cushioned, blanketed

my problem was to wash or shower

but the shower was in an ordinary room

wooden floor, couldn’t grasp the concept

how wash without ruin room

washed gingerly with hand and towel

and no one woke, Dr Bident was gone

a kindly mousy little man

like Ralph Gordon fifty years ago

who taught us the scansion of English prose.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dreamed that I was going to move back into my old apartment in Annandale. To get upstairs you had to walk into the downstairs apartment. There were about four women there in the downstairs apartment, none of whom I recognized. But they were nice, though somewhat wary of my moving in above them and all seemed to be artists and I figured fairly relaxed in general. They were sitting around a big square table having a discussion that I guessed I had interrupted.

Upstairs the apartment was many more rooms, and the rooms were large and full of stuff. Two old tvs were crowded into one room and there seemed to be lots of miscellaneous childrens' toys. I thought to myself that Charlotte must have nieces and nephews that come to visit. There was a small toy train. And there was a toy...reptile or something that seemed to be moving and I was surprised that it had been left on and there were still batteries in it that worked. Later Robert was showing me how the toy could climb the legs of tables and things, and that the toy had a toy that it loved, as if the toy were a pet and the toy reptile would climb up the table legs and pick up its more toy-like toy and carry it around.

Earlier I was looking through the rooms, trying to figure out which I wanted to live in. The back rooms were large and the windows were open and I knew they would be good rooms to write in. The rooms seem to be laid out in a mirror kind of configuration, but there were extra rooms. My old friend K was going to be moving in with me again. I wondered where Charlotte had moved her office to, but figured she had moved it back into the other house. A (now realized recurrent aspect) part later where I had to walk up very rickety steps, about 3 stories, to get to R's back porch, which was teeny tiny, like a watchtower, and in which he didn't spend much time, even in the summer.

Even earlier I had explained to him that it was ridiculous that I had been repeating highschool yet again for no apparent reason (a dream I just realized is a recurrent one), especially at my age, especially when there was nothing particularly new to study, and so I was going to drop out & move back to Annandale, which in the dream was much further away than in real life. I was going to have to find a job, which I sort of looked forward to, but I felt very sad about leaving my Red Hook house when I thought about it, so in general I tried not to think about it.

It was as if my son had grown up & moved away; but I don't know where my husband was (worried now upon waking that he had died and I was a widow again in my dream).

Also earlier was trying to find a place in Annandale to buy a pack of cigarettes, which, like the endless highschool loop dream, I just discovered is a recurrent one. It seems I have convinced myself in my dreams that I can smoke only occasionally and in moderation, even after having been a heavy smoker for 22 years, but not having smoked for the past 12 years. So in my dreams I am an occasional smoker. Ha!

Friday, August 3, 2007

My wife - in this part of the dream I'm married - will not be pleased with my visitor not because he is a writer but because he is a communist. He looks like Peter Bogdanovich. There's a flea on the carpet. I catch it, but don't squash it, throw it out an upstairs window. I go out the window, thinking it will be easy to climb down to the ground that way. Part of the wooden edge of the roof comes away in my hand. Some other pieces of wood from the roof crumble, as they always do in dreams like this. I can't get back in through the window. It's a long way to fall. Conversation with a dear woman friend - I'm not married - in which I'm hamming it up pretending to be annoyed, saying I'm doing it because we never have quarrelled and I want to see how we we'd manage a serious difference. But that doesn't work, we laugh about it. Then she's standing there dressed like Audrey Hepburn in last scene of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', maybe it is Audrey Hepburn. She's saying there is a difficulty about our relationship, that I want children. I know she doesn't and I'm saying that I don't.