Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Beginning at the corner of Liberty and Court Streets in Salem, Oregon, in front of the old Reed Opera House, I run west down Court Street alongside a powerful white bull with long, wickedly curved horns. There are no people and no cars. The further we run, the more hostile the bull becomes; each time he tries to gore me, I ward him off by pushing my right hand against his neck. Soon, without stopping at a red light, we follow the left turn lane onto Commercial Street. About halfway to State Street, the bull suddenly breaks ahead, stops, and turns around to face me. He lowers his head and is ready to charge, but before he does I push with all of my strength against the space between his horns. He pushes back, but soon gives up and walks away. I run the rest of the way around the block alone. Then I look up at the third-story windows of the Reed Opera House and the bricks in between, and am amazed that they are exactly like the real thing.
In my dream I am aware that the real estate market has problems, but I can’t discern who is worse off, buyers or sellers. We are in the market for a house and so we are walking a neighborhood looking for the perfect backyard. We need someplace that is flat because it will be our retirement home. Our search moves back and forth between walking and studying an aerial view. Since the aerial view is in black and white and on paper, I use pinpricks to designate the property boundary lines. I also distinguish some lots by making pinprick textures and patterns, inserting the pin from the back of the paper. Each lot gets a different pattern that shows up in tiny white dots. Finally we see a house that has almost no front yard because the driveway slants off to the right between two houses.

After that I’m in a dentist’s office to get a tooth pulled. The office is furnished like a bedroom and the dentist, an Asian man, will operate on me while I’m in bed. He prepares himself by kneeling on the bed. He holds a pair of pliers in one hand and a syringe in the other. He is wearing a grey suit. The nurse is concerned that the instruments are not sterile, so she keeps splashing liquid on them. The nurse and dentist talk about needing to go down an inch to and inch and a half to extract the molar.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Briefly interacting with Elvin Jones in my dream last night, he had the exact same demeanor -- intense and gracious -- as when I briefly met him for real in the late 80s at a Jazz Machine gig at the Blue Note.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Remembered #5

Mostly in water. Motorboating.

The purpose was transport. A plexiglas boat filled with snack-sized candy.

Then a group of pirate/smugglers attack my boat. They use a large
vacuum arm to steal all my candy. I abandon ship & swim towards
a cave.

In the cave on hovering foam boards are images of pirates & smugglers WANTED.
There are a dozen or so of these levitating cautionary boards. I try
to break a board with the face of the pirate who stole my candy. I

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Remembered #4

Europe, after the last great war. Specifically England as I could
understand language, though there were no natural citizens of place
here. & no speaking.

It was empty.

Empty streets. Empty buildings. Empty bars.

Except for music playing. Muffled, scratchy, & phonographic. In the
distance somewhere, unfound.

Then, in a building & looking up I find hundreds of silver light
fixtures. In black marker written on the side these lights were

"The Yankee Kiss"

I find people on the street; the cast of Mad Men, specifically Don
Draper (Jon Hamm), Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), & Ken Cosgrove (Aaron
Staton). They are wearing grey wool overcoats.
I was standing in the street in front of my brother's house. In my brother's garage, Albert Goldbarth was pushing buttons and pulling levers on some machine. It looked like a printing press. I walked over and stuck my head in the open window and said, "What are you doing?" He said, "I've built a machine which produces poems, just cranks them out." I said, "That sounds great, but I've got to go to work." I'm such an

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I had this funny dream that Joshua Clover had produced and released the 5th Big Star album. It was a beautifully designed consumer product, in a shiny paper case that folded out several times, with lots of beautiful bright stars, suns and moons inside it. I was very excited to listen to the album, but woke before I could do so.
I was in a post-nuclear future. It wasn't that bad.

I sat by a murky pool and watched a spaniel swim. I sat next to the child who had some relationship to the spaniel. The spaniel was supposed to fetch a thing lost in the water, but lost its strength. Later I learned that the lost thing was another spaniel.

A book, not a spaniel, surfaced in the pool. I fished it out.

It was a book by Georges Perec. Or rather, it was a scrapbook by Georges Perec, made with scissors and glue sticks. It had many small works about pandas and employed, as puns, roman numerals.

One couple (vacant & professional) had recently come up from a basement in which they had spent ten years. They had had four children. One boy survived. "I could not find a place for him to die like the others," the mother said. "The others I grew tired of, but this one I could not bear to let go."
I usually wake up 2 or 3 times each night.
One of the dreams I had last night
is rather simple but is unusual in that I had it twice.

Apparently I had a kind of coupon for a large knot pretzel,
but since I cannot eat such food
I was trying to pass this coupon on to someone else.
(Some of my dreams are lucid dreams.)
Don't know if I ever succeeded because each time
that was when I woke up.
I think I know specifically why I had this dream
but I'd rather not say.
However, I can say the crux of it
matches the crux of the majority of my dreams:

Monday, December 15, 2008

the weird off-brand auto called

Imperial, its base model the “Marvin,”

the seaplane coming in for a landing

over the streets of Flushing, tiny diner

with a long line for the men’s room,

and the dark car parked by City Hall

with C---- H------- in it and a monk

friend of mine, both strangely com-

panioned by unscheduled women, both

men a little shy, I told a man

beside me just to have something

to say how I would love a seaplane

to have one to roar down on Long

Island Sound for a landing by night.

He said nothing. All the new

Marvins in the dealer’s lot were

shiny two-tone green and white.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We have to go to see the Botanical Gardens. I have no idea who "we" are or what exactly the Botanical Gardens are, but it makes perfect sense. The trip occurs in a big red Hummer. I insist on riding on the roof on my stomach. I grip the edge of the roof with my legs and hands. My head is up. We're driving fast, and I have to hold on tight. It's like flying if I ever had a flying dream before. The Hummer rips down twisty, windy roads on the way to the Botanical Gardens. Everywhere, the jacaranda is blooming that pale violet grey color and the flowers are falling.

It's extremely pleasurable.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I wake up from a dream with a memory of hearing a voice saying these words: What is a human? It is a boisterous lamp that goes everywhere.


I want to share my coffee with a woman who is sitting with me so I go to the counter and ask for a cup. The waitress reluctantly gives me one but I have to scrape out some vegetable scraps from the inside of the plastic glass. At that moment I see two bluebirds. They are fluttering their wings rapidly but staying in place in the air in front of me. Although something is partially blocking my view, I can see them and now I can feel their feet and the beating of their wings as they stand on my fingers. I want to show them to Toni.

I wake up and tell her the dream (in reality) and a couple of hours later we are sitting near a window at Ozzie’s, a coffee shop we like to go to in Park Slope. We are drinking tea and coffee and when I look up, I see a large yellow school bus parked in front of the window. To my amazement on the license plate are the words “Blue Bird.”

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Last night I dreamt that I had been sentenced to death for an undisclosed minor offense, and that I was to be given a lethal injection at midnight. As the time approached, a crowd began to assemble in the auditorium, and when I peeked into the room I heard a reporter say, "And there he is." So I walked in and said, "Yes, here I am, that horrible evil-doer," and I started dancing like Groucho Marx. The people laughed and clapped. I walked back into the corridor. To a woman from Spain, I said, "Do you know what bothers me most about this? What bothers me is that I won't be able to write about it." And I started to sob. But the woman had no sympathy. She told me I was using death as an excuse.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Broad daylight. I hear a noise in my mother's room. I open the door, find my father asleep in bed beside her, his head propped up against a thick pillow. He looks younger than he did when he died thirteen years ago. My mother looks even older than she does now. I close the door. I know he will have questions for me later on after he's rested. I'm not sure how I will answer them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

...last night dreamed of a young lady vampire who didn't remember that she was a vampire and was surprised when her hand lit on fire when sunlight touched it.
Two women were members of a special-forces unit that was being disbanded. The men in the unit were being disbanded openly, but the women were being kept under cover. The office manager from the unit was ordered to take the women by motorcycle to another location. Evidently it was feared that the women would break down if they were captured and interrogated.

On the way to the new location the three on the motorcycle stopped at an open-air market to admire a large finely carved church screen made of wood and cloth. They thought that it would make a good room divider for a very large house. They folded the accordion style screen in order to put it in a container for shipment to the country where the house was located. While they were working on the screen, an old time steam locomotive pulled up and rumbled on past down the tracks located just next to the open-air market. Everyone heard the noise of the engine as it passed.

After collecting and packing up the screen they were ready to continue their journey by motorcycle. In order to hold on tight to the department assistant, the woman behind him had an extra arm. The third arm was short and the woman’s fingers had no feeling. The woman made sure that everyone understood that her fingers had no feeling.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I am walking through a mall; I see a store that sell CDs, maybe books and other stuff, too. I want to look through the CDs, to try to find the albums of an absolutely remarkable rock band. I can't even remember the name of the band; but I will walk around the CDs, hoping that as I look at different band names, the name of this absolutely exceptional ensemble will jump out at me. This motif has appeared several times in my dreams; it has always been accompanied by a feeling of extreme urgency, as if I were searching for the "lost chord".

I enter the squat building that houses the CD store, but instead of being in any sort of store, I find myself in a room in which people are sitting at computers. It seems less like a computer cafe than a dingy room in a college campus building. After I sit down at one of the computers toward the front, I experience frustration accessing the pages that I want. One thing that bothers me in particular is that at a moment when I expect certain information to appear in print on my screen, I instead hear a voice intone the information chirpily. Somehow that is unsettling.

I use the computer to access a help desk. I end up having a dialogue with a take-charge confident woman helper. (I'm not sure if the dialogue is all through email, or if there is some sort of phone-like communication with the woman). There is eventually disagreement in our communication, and the problem is not solved. After the conversation is over, a tall man, a supervisor, at the front of the room tells me I had behaved in an improper way in the exchange, but I maintain that I had been respectful and reasonable.

The woman I had been communicating with via computer enters the room to speak with me in person. We proceed to have this face-to-face dialogue, but it isn't clear what is said, whether anything is now solved, or what emotional texture this conversation has. The woman walks out of the room. I turn to a short bearded man at the back of the room who had been standing near to where the woman and I had been speaking, and I triumphantly ask whether there is anything for which I could be criticized in that exchange.

He surprises me by telling me that in fact there is in fact much for which my conversational approach could be criticized.

This man goes on to tell me about weddings in which a man has settled for a woman who is very much unlike his highest ideal. He recommends such a wedding for me, and talks about the ceremony of one such marriage, as if there were a special ritual for "settling". I think to myself that this is like the marriage at the end of the Israeli movie "Late Marriage" wherein the male lead finally settles for one of the "acceptable" women his Soviet Georgian descended family and their matchmakers are always pressing upon him. I am told by the short bearded man that one moment of the wedding ritual involves the flight of wild geese.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I am back in eternal Gloucester where an ageless Linda dwells among her seaweeds herbs and objects and she says—“Three times we have been together, and I ask you, shall there be a fourth?”

I had been expecting—not so direct an invitation. It is quite impossible.

She spins into a tirade condemning me to a life “utterly without Earth.”

A student of mine hears all this. The car that brought us to Gloucester—but it isn’t Gloucester now. In fact we have to get back to Gloucester, which now is New Paltz, more truly. The car is missing from the motor-garage-lot-space, even though it wasn’t my car—someone else had brought us there. I wasn’t so much worried about the lostness of the vehicle, but just how would we get back to—

that other town –Cambridge possibly.

I had a ring of innumerable car keys with license number tags for each, and I think I know which key belongs to the missing car. I am not actually sure now that the car is missing, but only that I can’t tell which of the vehicles in the lot the one I’m supposed to be driving actually is—none of the license numbers on the autos fit the keys.

Eventually an attendant volunteers to drive me.

Simultaneously I am running along a road along the ocean at sundown back to town. There are leaning, broken trees against the roseate and orange luminosity of the sand and behind that, down a sand slope, the radiant water. I pick up one after another large sawed-off narrow trunk sticks as walking sticks or running sticks, but each is unsatisfactory and I toss a sort of squat one into the sea.

People are beached doing a Hindu ceremony, Vedic possibly.

Now I’m in a shop or museum scene at which the exhibits are backed up by people---vendors of the views each exhibit proffers. I approach one and knock over something—a vase—and it shatters on the tiles. I offer to pay, but the vendor seems interested more in the substance that spills from the vase than in exacting recompense.

Back in town, getting out of the pickup truck that took me and my student to wherever—I want to talk to the student about what he heard of my conversation with Linda, but this in recollection turns out to have been a lecture or a talk or even a poem by someone who might as well have been Charles (Olson) and though I had worked my way through the lecture without too much disturbance, my student IS disturbed, and wants to go to Robert (Kelly) –he’s Robert’s student also—for some kind of clarification or further work on it.

The lecture was about Amira Baraka, whose name I mispronounced, and now we’re somewhere that had been before the election Obama’s headquarters there, and there’s a part of my flesh that has an Obama button incised under the surface of it with the pin sticking out. I quietly work at the flesh until I am able to remove it without serious tearing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I was showering in a bathtub with no curtain. The tub was in a large room that was still under construction — the lumber and wiring were visible. Because of a slow drain, the tub was almost completely full of water, some of which had sloshed over the side and onto the floor. Not wanting it to overflow, I turned off the water — but then I remembered that my hair was still full of shampoo, so I turned the water back on to rinse it out, except that now the nozzle was on the other end of the tub, and I could see kids playing outside through a hole in the wall where a window would eventually be. As soon as the shampoo was gone I turned off the water, only to find that my hair was already combed and dry. I stepped out of the tub fully clothed: I had on new dark-gray corduroy pants and a colorful sweater vest I thought I had worn many years earlier. I walked with confidence, minding my much-improved posture, into a corridor that led to a large conference room that had been divided with temporary carpeted partitions and makeshift doors into small galleries. One gallery had a display of small carvings that looked like little beehives with faces on them. The next gallery was called the Glass Room. In it were several small round dining tables set for dinner, complemented by heavy, ornate glasses rimmed with glitter. The glasses were wide, without stems. Across from the Glass Room there was a snack bar, but no one was on duty. I walked past the snack bar into another room that turned out to be a dirt lane into what I thought must be the eighteenth or nineteenth century. There was straw scattered along the side, and the walls were lined with enormous old books. I saw a gigantic set of encyclopedias; each volume was about a foot thick and four or five feet tall. I walked further, then entered a wealthy old library: another wall, at least twenty feet high and forty feet long, lined with beautiful books of various sizes and bindings, covered with dust. I wanted to look at them, and wished there was a ladder. I turned away and went into another room. My brother and his wife were there. I told them I couldn't sleep — that I hadn't slept for years, because the bed was so hard, no matter how well it was made. My brother nodded, then said he had the same problem with that bed, that he rarely slept more than five hours a night, unless he was "working on Saroyan" — referring not to our cousin, Aram, but to his father, Willie — in which case he didn't sleep at all.
During an early morning thunderstorm, I had the following dream:

My mother (who suffers from dementia) and I were having a long, involved but coherent conversation. As a thunderstorm started, she got scared, broke off in mid-sentence, turned to me and said, "You need to call your family." She wouldn't tell me why, but insisted upon it. She even started dialing for me but didn't know the number. For some reason, I told her to dial615/859 (the first few digits of my father-in-law’s number in Tennessee), and that was enough to get through. My sister-in-law answered the phone but didn't say hello; it was just her voice listing all the people who were there, including my other in-laws. I could hear them all talking to each other over the phone, but no one seemed to know I was on the other end. I kept trying to tell her why I was calling, but she didn't act like she could hear me.

Eventually, one of my sisters-in-law came into the room with Mom and me, and greeted us. She asked how Jerry was, and since I assumed she meant Jerry Jennings, the mayor of Albany, I said something like, "Same as always. Thinks he runs the world." At this point, I remembered my mother’s directive to call my family, jumped up in my dream and actually woke up. It was 4:44, and the storm was fading in the distance.


Some of my family and friends were throwing me a party. When my husband and I arrived at the party, it soon became clear that it was a baby shower for me. I was surprised I was pregnant, but not really, and the one problem was that I had been drinking wine during the days before the party (since I hadn’t realized I was pregnant). I apologized to my husband for jeopardizing our baby’s heath, and he assured me the baby would be fine. My dead mother-in-law began handing me gifts, and after I received many things for the baby, she gave me two presents I recognized somehow, gifts from my husband. One was a strange watch somehow made of denim, and the other was something made of glass, like a small balloon. At some point during the shower, two smallish men came in to talk to us (we all were apparently going to a concert after the shower), and they were very nice and kind. I remember looking directly at their faces and realizing that they were deformed. But I kept looking and smiling at them as they smiled back. Then we piled into my mother-in-law's car and drove to the concert.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dreamovie 68

I return to the American School of Tangier, though it looks nothing like the school itself. I am on the bottom floor of the dormitory, and it is quite empty, and the person I have just been talking to decided he didn't want to talk to me and has left me alone. I try to get the attention of others, whom I cannot see, so I take a potted flower and put it in a lounge area. I leave the room and hide, and the flowerpot explodes. The bomb isn't powerful, though, so it doesn't damage anything, but it leaves gooey gobs of a gelatinous green substance on the walls, which sticks to the walls in well formed clumps.

The building remains empty, and no-one comes to investigate the explosion, so I leave and I discover that Karen is with me. As we cross a side street in the city of Tangier (which is not Tangier at all), a car pulls ups at a corner and the mad who would not talk to me is driving the car and he rolls down the window. He wants to talk to me now, so he does, answering my now forgotten question. He also has a question for me.

He drives off and Karen and I continue walking, finding ourselves in a residential neighborhood that is obviously American. As we walk along, more people join us, people we apparently know. We are trying to travel along a certain defined course through the neighborhood. The goal of this enterprise is to expend as much energy as possible doing so.

I decide to ride a bike over the trail. People say that that will make my trek too easy for me, but I say I'll set the gears to make it as difficult for me as possible. I do that, and still I move much more quickly than everyone else--yet I do use much more energy as well, since I set the gears in a way that makes even going downhill a difficult proposition.

Dreamovie 69

I am at work, though not a workplace I'm familiar with in my regular life. The space I am in is much like a kitchen, and I am pulling out drawers and sliding shelves in cabinets looking for something. All I find are piles of butter knives, which I run my fingers through as I look for something else.

I move by touring bus to another location, another archives. It is raining on the highway as we travel, and we stop at one point and stand on the side of the highway watching vehicles drive by. Ray is one of us on the trip. I don't remember anything he is doing, but I recall he is talking. I remember hearing his voice.

The place we end up at is an archives in an old house, something of a mansion. Kathleen used to work here and she is looking for someone she knows. We are milling around on the corner as we waiting, talking. Eventually, the woman Kathleen is looking for comes out. She has long dark hair and seems much younger, early 30s, than how old she should be. Her name is Iorria. She walks out to the corner, talks to us for a little bit, then continues around the corner with one of the men in our group. As she leaves, I realize that I know her, and I tell our group.

Our group follows in Iorria's path, entering the building. We find ourselves in a large room with a cramped felling because it is overfilled with books. This does not seem like an archives at all to me. It seems to be nothing but a library. In one corner of the room, just under a bank of windows, I find a large illustrated book resting on a dictionary stand. It is focused on a particular branch of science, one I have never heard of before. I open the book, pretending to pretend to be interested in it. I recite the title of the book aloud, stumbling over the pronunciation.

Kathleen comes into the room, excited about the place, but I do not know why.

I am on a highway going somewhere, though I don't know where.

I discover that I am living in a city, specifically in an apartment with a strange mass of people, mostly children and an old man who is our leader. I understand this fact before some of us leave from there to go to an event in another location. A bus takes us there, and I know that the event is somehow related to my work.

When we arrive, we exit the bus and walk to a large nondescript building in a parklike setting. The building is white with a large concrete overhang that protects a deep porch before the entrance to the building. We enter the building and wander through a reception.

In the basement, some meeting relating to work is going on. Two staff from my work are giving a presentation, and they begin complaining about some hypothetical situation. I complain back to them, and Gail (who is one of the presenters) asked why I am disputing what they are saying. I say it is because they do not have enough information to make a decision. She is skeptical of my answer. The room we are in is something like a kitchenette in an office and it has the same drawers and sliding shelves as the earlier kitchen did.

Nancy and I have to leave quickly for another event, and we leave with a group of others who were on our bus. I now have a bicycle, so I use it to jump over the steps leading down from the building. These steps are arranged in three sets of steps, so I make three jumps. Apparently, the bicycle is supposed to speed up my travels, but I end up behind a group of people walking a pathway through the park to the bus. And I don't think to ride the bike around them and on the grass. Nancy says that we're five minutes late already and it's my birthday in time: 5:25. We are going to the installation of an eagle scout, and Nancy has to give a speech there. We hurry to the bus.

As the bus returns us to the city, we see a few things. First, there are four wild turkeys perched on a third-floor windowledge of an office building, then we see five of these birds resting on a concrete platform by a building, each a flattened oblong of bird. An old woman is sitting by them, trying not to disturb them. We wonder about capturing the birds to use them as food, but we realize that will make the turkeys more skittish and we won't be able to enjoy their docile presence any longer. We also see a large brown building that serves as a home for boys. It looks like a pleasant sturdy building, but as the bus passes it we see it is surrounded by a fence and is no longer open.

At the bus station, we try to figure out what to do next. We are inside the station and an official there is asking for receipts for whatever we have bought that day. We don't know why or what he's going to do with them. One woman extracts her day's receipt from her purse for him. But I decide to leave, trying to find my apartment in the city.

The apartment requires me to walk up four floors and the stairs are huge taking up most of the available space on each floor. Our apartment turns out to be just the wide landing on the fifth floor. There is no other room there. The apartment includes an armoire at one end of it, which is filled with our stuff, and a large bed covered with papers, CDs, and toys. Some of my apartment mates are there, including a young black boy who is very personable and who is looking through the items of the bed for a CD of his. He can find two others, but not this particular one.

Without leaving the room, I am in China on a trip and walking around the same city I have just returned to. I am quite disappointed by the experience, noting upon my return that I have not even had any Chinese food while I was away. Back at the apartment, AM talks to me about China and about this one woman who was hired as an actress to work in a restaurant. She is not considered a good actress but is the best they could hire, and they do what they can with her. As she tells me this story I agree with the conclusion as I look out the window at a tall pine tree ending with an almost bare point that rises feet above the rest of the tree.

I then find myself in the presence of the actress AM has been talking about. She is blonde and American, which surprises me. I cannot tell what kind of actress she is because she is not acting, but she is ebullient. She has the outgoing character of many actors.

A black man with short salt-and-pepper hair shows up at our apartment, and he is a bishop, dressed in a bishop's less formal attire. He is there to talk to us. As he does, a man arrives looking for his son, and we realize that the bishop is simply the boy with the missing CD, who has somehow grown and aged over the course of a few minutes.

Dreamovie 70

I am running in a train station, not fast, but steadily. I'm not trying to catch a train but catch up with someone. When I do catch up, I talk to the person.

From the train station, I somehow make it to a fire station, which is crowded with people. I am on the second floor when an alarm comes in. Instead of sliding down a pole to the waiting trucks, we move towards the open second-floor window. As we stand at the window, the wall opens up and we see a helicopter floating just feet above the window. The helicopter sends out a rope and we attach our harnesses via clip-on hooks to that line.

This line helps the five of us slide into the helicopter most efficiently and safely. But we don't slide up into the helicopter. Instead, we slide down into the shell of another helicopter, our fire department helicopter, which is now suspended in the air outside the firehouse, but higher into the sky. The line that we used to slide into the helicopter is now a fuel line being used to fill our helicopter's gas tank, but it's also keeping us aloft.

I'm the pilot, and I can feel the helicopter plummeting to the earth, though the passengers appear not to feel it. The tension in the line holds us aloft just long enough to allow me to gain control, but the helicopter swoops down and then over, in a dramatic half-loop, as I begin to maneuver it. By this point, the helicopter is not low near the ground but high up over an old city that includes a number of burning buildings.

I fly the helicopter low over one large building, and we dump water so close to the fire and with such volume that the fire is instantly extinguished. We continue putting out fires across this dark grey city.

After putting out all the fires, I fly the helicopter low over a building that resembles the Colisseum. One of the firefighters, a woman, is filling the center of that building with water while she stands inside the building. She is about twice as tall as it is, and the water is up almost to the edge of the surrounding walls. I tell her to stop filling up the building because she will drown the people there, but she doesn't stop. She asks why it matters.
Feeling sad, I went to a diner to meet a friend. The diner had only three walls. My friend wasn't there. A woman who looked very bored nodded in my direction from behind the counter. A family of people with very large heads, grotesque from their thoughts, got up to leave, completely ignoring their little girl who was rolling and kicking unhappily on the floor. The girl's head was also grotesque, much too large for her body. She jumped up and ran after the adults. My friend arrived just as they were leaving. "The thing about strawberries," he said to me, "is that they're wild. All you have to do is go out and pick them." In my mind I pictured long rows of commercially cultivated strawberries wet with dew, and how wet the workers' feet and pants and hands become when they pick them, especially in the morning. I knew my friend was aware of strawberry farms, and that he had, in fact, picked berries to earn money when he was in school. But I also knew he was right — strawberries really are wild, and will take over your backyard if you let them, and even take root in sidewalks, curbs, and streets. Strawberries, everywhere. Their color and scent. I thought, "Now, that's exactly what we need."

Friday, November 14, 2008

A scenic sky journey at dusk becomes a free-fall when I'm separated from my traveling companions. At first, when they're still in sight, I yell to them that it's windy, and that I won't land where they expect. They yell back and wave from their drifting balloon-less basket — they think I'm joking. Then I'm swept into darkness over the ocean. Falling through miles of dense clouds, my face wet, I wonder how far underwater my momentum will take me, if I'll be able to make it back to the surface, or be killed on impact. Should I try to land on my feet, or go in head first, arms extended? I try turning every which way, but nothing seems right. And then, from the front window of my childhood home, I see a small group of friends and relatives in the graveled driveway. I go out to greet them. They ask me about my ordeal. I laugh and tell them it was nothing. Their expressions are sympathetic; they are there for my funeral.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I was standing on the steps of the theater in Chicago where Oprah is filmed, the whole place vast and empty. I wondered whether the pinky-purple of the set contributed to how cold and drafty it was. Also odd was the pervasive feeling that I was standing at a great height, the dizzying vertigo of standing on a very tall and very narrow platform. People started to file in until the space was full and then it was a stadium into which people just kept pouring and pouring. And in this great wave of people was tangled Oprah herself. She was crying, rivers of mascara down her cheeks, a curly wig slightly askew. I approached her and said, 'Thank you for helping to elect Barack. I really mean that. Thanks.' She was very gracious, said 'Of course' and kept joyfully weeping. In the dream, she was also going to give me a job and I thought, 'Oh dear, this means moving to Chicago....' and thought of the constant chill and I believed that this was all very good but that winter would eventually break me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

There was another part to my dream last night but now unfortunately too vaguely remembered. It was something to do with Catholicism, a counterpart to the Jewish thing in the dream that followed it.

Awake in the night for at least an hour, again, until about 3.45 a.m., wishing I cd get back to sleep, then dreaming I was in my previous house at the end of a party, talking with a young blonde woman, a woman I'd not met before, downstairs, as all the guests were departing. I was standing there naked wearing nothing but a big happy smile, then went upstairs to my bed in a space on the mezzanine that, in that house, has no door. The young woman, who was not Jewish, came upstairs and standing at the other end of the space, leaning against the wall, near the bathroom, started to give me an ill-informed lecture about how Judaism was such a sensible religion and how much she respected it. I was saying it's not like that. And I just wanted to go to sleep. Children, a dog, other people kept coming to disturb my attempts to settle down to sleep and all the while I was yelling at them and pushing some of them trying to get them to go away. I wanted to go to sleep. Worse, there was even a way in up some stairs on the right that I had never noticed before and some people were coming in that way. I woke up about 4.45 a.m. hoarse from all the yelling.
I was some sort of domestic in Flaubert's household, along with one other woman, and since Flaubert spent all day writing (standing up) outside in his garden, it was up to me to make sure he wore enough sunscreen. I felt very proud I was entrusted with this task.
One part of last night’s all night dreaming involved the dismantling of the bay bridge, specifically the span between treasure island and the city, which ‘they’ just sort of unhooked from the island and let hang down into the water. ‘They’ did this over the space of a weekend, and part of the deal was that people were ‘allowed’ to swim across the bay for this one weekend only. I looked down from the bridge (the span between oakland and treasure island was still hooked up) and saw Kevin Killian and Ron Palmer swimming and playing together like dolphins. Kevin was such a fast swimmer! I had to get in the water! I swam and swam but as I approached the city I could begin to feel parts of the bridge underfoot, metal and grating, and the other swimmers started to feel it too, and then there was a kind of water riot, we were all approaching/swimming to the shore too quickly and arriving at once and the bridge underwater freaking us out simultaneously. We were scrambling and pushing to get out, the people behind us were like a wave, we had to crawl out of the water quickly, our time was over, ‘they’ were going to let loose some crickets to swim in the bay next. Crickets were the next round of swimmers. These crickets were going to collect, during their swim, information in their bodies about what is wrong with the water.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I dreamt that I was in the white house library with Michelle Obama. With beautiful stained glass windows and antique towering bookshelves all around us (more library of congressesque but somehow more intimate). We sat at a small tea table reciting poetry. I spilt my tea all over the books we were looking at. She was like, don't worry, this library is stocked with left of the center poetics!
At a strange party where I knew no one, I felt responsible for an unhappy little girl who tried to slip out the door when someone came or went. Twice I caught her just in time. I knew it was dangerous for her to go out, because there had been an unusually high tide — I had just returned from the beach myself, and it was wet all the way to the cliffs. The sand was juicy, very difficult to walk on, and strewn with sea life.

I worried about making a mess on the short blue carpet with my shoes. But when I looked down I noticed the shoes weren't mine, and weren't even wet. They were someone's old black tennis shoes, which I thought I remembered seeing somewhere — in an entryway, or airing out on someone's front step.

The girl was about four years old and had short blond hair. She never spoke. To keep her entertained, I turned myself into a rocking chair and rocked back and forth on my back while she sat on my chest. Somehow, though, the rocking motion moved us across the room, and I bumped my head against the wall — and then, suddenly, I was alone on a city sidewalk, surrounded by tall buildings, standing outside a glass door next to an alley. In simple white lettering on the glass, it said "2-H." Through the glass I could see stairs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

With a key I was surprised to find I had, I unlocked a familiar door and let myself into a stale vestibule. Directly ahead of me was another door with glass in the upper half that was too smoky to see through. I unlocked it with the same key and found myself in another vestibule, faced with another door, which I also unlocked. Another vestibule. Two more doors, two more vestibules — but these were larger, and could almost pass as rooms. Wood floors. In the last vestibule, there was a cot to one side, neatly made with an old wool blanket. The window in the next door was covered by a shade. I peeled it away, only to find another shade, which I also peeled away, only to find another. Finally, I came to the glass itself and looked through it. The door led outside. I opened it and was met by an enormous black cat that was eager to get in. But when it looked up at me, it was afraid of me and it retreated. Then I heard voices behind me. When the cat heard them, it mustered its courage, dashed through the door, and disappeared. I closed the door.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Einstein & Nietzsche

I am rambling through Auckland with a poet whose work I have read and admire but whom I have never actually met. We are companionable and a bit excited as we leave behind the great white neo-classic monstrance of the Museum on the hill and go down through the Domain towards the city. I remember the way we used to walk when I was a student here in the 1970s and so we leave the path and head down that wide green slope between the trees towards Grafton Road. It’s much more overgrown than it was then and there’s a woman or perhaps two women going the same way as us—I call out a greeting to her and she replies, reminding us of how in those days you’d see through the trees flashes of the beaut long coloured dresses hippie girls wore. My new friend the poet is taking me out to dinner, or perhaps just taking me out … we arrive at a house that is somehow set over the campus but I can’t understand how this can be. We sit on built-in window seats before a built-in table, as if on a ship, and then I feel a wave of recognition go over me. I know this place. I get up from the table and walk towards the western end of the room to look out the windows towards the city. Yes! I’m elated. I go back to rejoin the poet and say: I have sat in this seat a thousand times before! It’s either a house I used to know on Constitution Hill or else it’s 56 Grafton Road where I lived twice in the 1972, once upstairs, once downstairs, with a gap in between. Or a combination of both houses. The poet has ordered food and I know it will be delicious. While we are waiting we meet two white cats in residence here, their names are Opus One and Opus Two. Then I see a book on the floor at my feet, with a plain cover upon which is written: Einstein & Nietzsche. What a brilliant idea for a book I think. I pick it up. It is tall and narrow but, as I open it, shrinks in my hands to the dimensions of a packet of yellow Zig Zag cigarette papers, the ones with a picture of a Zouave on the front. I’m completely unphased: this is brilliant marketing as well, to imagine a book designed in this way. And after all, I think, listening to the dry susurrus of onion skin paper rustling as I leaf through the book, Einstein and Nietzsche were contemporaries weren’t they? If only briefly. I wake up wishing I had that book on my bedside table. That the poet and I really had gone out to eat. And that I had a white cat called Opus One.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I dreamed that my husband died. I felt responsible.
Wanda Coleman at Harriet

Friday, October 17, 2008

I thought it very considerate when the melancholy friend of my father's uncle arrived with a tall narrow cardboard box full of fruit — especially since he had gone to the trouble of drawing a map on the box indicating the colors and degree of ripeness of the varieties inside. The box was about three feet by five feet, and less than a foot deep. I thought it should be placed flat on its back, but our friend said politely in an Armenian accent that it must remain upright.

Only then, because I could barely hear him, did I realize we were in a noisy mall. Glancing at the box again, I saw that his nice map had been reduced to a mish-mash of curved arrows with conspicuous black points — kind of an imploding diagram.

With some effort, I finally found us an empty place to sit. But at the last second, someone stepped in and removed the chairs. And so we crouched near a brick wall. Our friend fell silent. I felt responsible. We looked at each other for a long time, then he apologized and said he thought he should go. I said, "What a shame. We hardly ever see each other." Trying to be nice, he blamed it on the noise. "You're right," I said. "We shouldn't have to shout." Immediately the place became quiet. He relaxed, and much to my relief we began to talk in earnest. I stood up and raised a baton: of its own accord, it started following the sound of his voice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

At the far end of a busy dining car, a friend I haven't seen for twenty years is holding a pint glass of beer, his arms resting atop the dark leather cushion of his seat as he takes pleasure in the activity around him. He doesn't see me. I start toward him, but am awakened by the movement of the train.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dreamovie 67

The sky is big and blue, cloudless, and we are traveling under it and on the open ocean in an Airstream trailer. And we are not in the only one. There are others of us sailing as far from land as we can. A some pre-determined point, our trailer, which propel themselves forward without towing, dive into the water and settle on the floor of the ocean, all of the trailers daisychained together so that we can move between one trailer and another. The trailers are wide and spacious, consisting primarily of one great room that includes an open kitchen and living room. These rooms sit between two walls that are nothing but windows that look over the seafloor, which is very much like a rolling valley floor and bright with filtered sunlight. The one complaint in this little world is that the heat is not on in my trailer, so I decide we should leave the compound.

We return to dry land, where I soon find myself in a meeting in a basement room at work. Suzanne is talking about the loneliness of getting a PhD. For some reason, this is an issue at work, and I explain that I understand and am trying to figure out a solution to it.

From this point, we start to discuss the streets of Chicago, which is apparently the city we are in at the moment. Someone notes that there is one major street in Chicago that is more than two miles from any other major street. As that person speaks, I can see that street before and below me, but soon I am driving a car down that very street. I am driving with my friend Dess, who lives near Chicago and used to work there. We are sitting at light and I don't know which way to go. If I go straight, I will enter a highway; if I veer to the right, I will go under an overpass. I keep asking Dees which way to go, but he doesn't answer until the light changes to green. At that point, I go straight, but suddenly going straight also sends me under that overpass and I start searching for a parking space there, though I don't know the reason I am parking. The parking lot is crowded with cars, but I finally find a spot, right next to a gap in the parking spaces, a gap at the bottom of a giant wooden staircase. As I park, some people in a car coming towards the space from the opposite direction tell me they wanted that space. I lock the car, and Dees and I walk away.

Back at my house, my real house, I am preparing a check to mail off overseas, probably to pay for a publication of some kind, but I am not at all sure.

Out the window of my kitchen, I can see a woman who is living at the unsteady top of a tall tree. We could speak to her from the window, but we know we are supposed to climb up the tree to speak to her. A heavy man appears on a branch near her--a branch that could never hold his weight--and he walks gingerly across that branch to her. He seems to have stepped off another nearby tree onto that branch. He is trying to discover her secret. When it is clear she will not tell him, he leaps off the branch, towards a pine tree, wraps his arms around the pine tree, and begins to slide down the tree. I mention to Nancy that I would never do anything like that because he is now traveling too fast. Just before the man disappears from our view, three men dressed like Secret Service agents (wearing sunglasses and with earpieces in their ears) pursue him.

The mail arrives for the day, and there is already a response from that foreign country I had sent a note and check to only today. In the envelope is my note, my totally blank (even unsigned) check, a slip of advertising, and a thin self-addressed but unstamped airmail envelope I am supposed to use to return the completed check. I wonder how the mail can move so quickly over the surface of the earth.

One piece of mail is a large heavy package, which I open slowly, first turning up one corner of the box to see what is stored in that location. We can see the package is from someone we don't know but that it was somehow transferred through a real estate agent in Tennessee that we know my sister Kathy knows. I begin to remove the little items that are stored within the square holes the interior of the box is divided into (much like a liquor box): little white cups like sake cups, then a set of silverware with handles made out of two separate rods of metal bent into a U patter. We already have plenty of utensils and we don't need a partial set of them, so Nancy says we should donate the silverware to get it out of the house. I find within the box a poem that begins, "O, Ariadne." A Cretan in a crate?

A soldier dressed in fatigues appears in the kitchen and we know he is the sender of this package. He talks to us and then takes us out to his car which is a special tank designed for one person to live in. It includes a window to the outside, so it is not designed for combat. It is crowded with controls. As he talks to us about his home, a disembodied voice, maybe a recording, begins to explain the policies that govern what notes a soldier may retain after leaving service. We hear that they can keep most of their notes and journals, but not the journal they are required to keep, which is called My President, My Sweetie. This journal is supposed to include notes about facts about combat that could be important in developing responses to changes in a war or or about other military facts that could support improvements in national security. As I look at this notebook it seemes to be designed to hold long cigarettes in small tubular channels (designed like some pencil cases), so I wonder, just as the alarm rings, if he has to roll his notes into paper tubes and slip them into these channels.
I was sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup behind a car in someone's driveway when I heard voices singing Christmas music. Then several eager-looking high school kids, all with dark skin and wearing glasses with heavy black rims, started passing by on the sidewalk. The first few didn't notice me, but then one did, and she walked back to where I was standing and offered me a very weathered looking piece of chocolate from a small box that contained mostly empty wrappers. I thought she was trying to sell the candy. After feeling my pockets, I apologized, saying, "I'm sorry, I don't have any money. You should have asked me before Christmas." And she said, "Oh, you're right. We should have thought of that." Then she looked at me, and kept on looking at me, and her expression was one of profound sympathy. Soon I was surrounded by other members of her group, and they too were looking at me in the same way. Their gaze was so intense that I thought they must be from another world. Then, without warning, the scene suddenly shifted, and I was swimming in the air not far above a green grassy field. There were trees here and there, and a small empty ditch lined with concrete zigzagged through the landscape. I landed softly on my feet. I was met by a kid who used to live down the street from us. He said, "I used to be someone else."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dreamovie 66

I am in a building that is situated on a little island of land within the confines of a traffic circle. Andy R has a number of books out within his living space there, and I notice two copies of a book. The book is a hardback, with a deep purple dustjacket, and it is my selected poems, but I've never seen it before. It was created without my knowing it by Bob Grumman and released a few years ago. I flip through the pages and recognize some of my poems, but one set within the book consists of handwritten visual poems with dramatical flourishes coming out of the tops of each character, and I know immediately that I never created any of those. I want Andy to give me one of his copies, but he doesn't offer to, so I leave. I plan to contact Bob Grumman about this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I was reading Sebald before falling asleep so my dream was set near a train station, in an outdoor restaurant to the side and front of the station. I sat with a colleague who was pointing out the beautiful brick and ironwork on the building along the facade. Soon it was evening and all the waiters carried the tables individually over their heads down the stairs to a plaza below, where the evening meal would be served. The tables covered with white tablecloths bobbled above the heads of the waiters as they descended.

Once we sat down, my friend then pointed out to me the hillside landscape across the bay that was brown without almost any green. I repeated in response over and over that our city was supposed to be that way, brown and dry. There was no natural source of fresh water for the land. Somehow I felt vindicated in front of that view.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dreamovie 64

I am dressing for a party that is somehow connected to a conference of archivists I am attending. I attend the party but forget everything else about it.


I drive out to a less populated part of town. Once I make it there, I review a contract for some archival work. After reading the contract, I need to check the prices of particular foods I ate at a diner nearby. Tim and I return there to check the prices. Standing by the cash register, we cannot get around a knot of people to see the posted menu, so we hop on the counter and scoot to the end, where we can see the menu on the wall. The man at the cash register complains about our doing this, and we apologize to the customers, noting that we didn't realize doing this would be a problem (which we did not since this was a dream). Once we review the menu, we leave by another door, the one that doesn't take us past the cash register. Once I return to where I was, I receive a note from my client explaining that my per diem has risen—which, essentially, negated my need to check the food prices.


Tim is flying something like a kite out by the sea. He holds a wooden handle that has an elastic cord tied to the middle of it. The cord works backwards than expected. Tim stands on the ground and I pull on the cord from high above him and the cord doesn't snap back to him. Instead, it rises into the air, and once it does the rubbery fingers at the end of the cord (the equivalent of the kite in kite-flying) float away. The first time he does this somehow by himself, and the kite flies hundreds of feet up in the air. We think it will float away, but it doesn't; it floats slowly back down to him.

Tim is still learning to drive and he is practicing by driving Nancy and me around, and he drives us into a city and even parallel parks the car. We then walk across a small park looking for a restaurant. The first one we find is in a public building. The restaurant's doors are open, but it is definitely closed. No-one is in the restaurant and there is no equipment in it at all: no tables or chairs, no ovens or stoves, no utensils, just the shell of a restaurant. We leave the building and notice that the entry we are leaving through is overgrown with weeds and otherwise in decrepit shape. I notice, however, that the structure of the entrance to this building is much like buildings at Boston University (though this is not literally true), and I tell this to Nancy and Tim.

On the way back to the car, we pass a building that looks something like a boathouse, though it is in the middle of the quad in this university. We enter the large double doors and see that there is an oarless and tholeless rowboat resting in the water. We realize that this boat is designed to take people on a short ride over an underground river, so we board the boat. Instantly, the boat begins to move slowly down the river, but suddenly a wall appears, with water flowing over it as in a waterfall. The boat somehow lurches up that wall of water, until it is standing at a 90-degree angle. We stabilize ourselves in the boat as it then tilts starboard and falls back into the underground river. Each of us is fine, since we held on tightly and the boat neither capsized nor took on much water.

Once the boat's rocking subsides, we debark and leave the boathouse. Immediately, I begin to write down what has happened to us, so I won't forget this. In my dream, I see only that particular experience as the dream, and that dream is the one I am trying not to forget. I remember nothing else that happens later in my dream.

Dreamovie 65

I enter a facility where the people inside cannot be trusted and are working against the goals of my compatriots. Inside, it is white, the color of evil in a futuristic movie, the color of unnaturally complete hygiene. Two friends and I move through the building, among the people, unimpeded. No-one seems to see us as outsiders. We assume we are safe. A companion and I have to climb into a small pod about five feet off the floor. This pod will transport us to our next destination. There is nothing to fear. We enter the while pod and latch the hatch behind us. We don't buckle ourselves in, and there appears to be no way to do that. We are not concerned. The pod begins to move, to shake, and it fills with a fine fog. We are jostled about, but not hurt. We are not worried, though we are a little concerned. As we travel, I realize that my friend is disappearing. I have left one friend behind and this one is now gone, disappeared into the mist. The pod stops moving.


I have received a piece of mailart from an artist I know, but he had delivered it to me by using a key I have given him to let himself into my house. Nancy is worried about this and talks to me about the problem with giving someone a key to our house. I talk to her with a device in my right ear as I'm climbing down the well to retrieve another copy of the key. The well is inside our house and quite wide, and I am climbing down carefully, holding onto rocks as I go. I am not worried about the key because the man gave it back, but I realize he could have made a copy of it. The well is so large and famous that it has a name. It is known as Proctor's well.

I do not know if I have retrieved the key, but I am now reviewing the piece of mailart the artist had left for me in my home. Part of the piece of art includes a little booklet that once included peel-away postage stamps. I carefully tear the covers off the booklet, so I can use them as postcards. The pages left within the booklet are thin and include little slices within them that allow people to peel the stamps off. I fold one of these pages into thirds and wonder if the page is too delicate to reuse as a postcard and mail.


A woman I know named M is visiting Nancy's and my house, which is a compound with multiple buildings and quite a bit of land. M is quite open with us about the fact that she is in the middle of an affair and waiting for her lover to meet her at our compound. We do not know why she has come her to meet this man, but (for some unknown reason) we try to help her. First, I open the door to our giant wooden gates so that the man will be able to see her, but I realize that this will hardly allow him much opportunity to see her. Next, I open our double gates, which are about twenty feet tall and forty feet across and made out of redwood.

As I begin to open these huge gates, I worry that our dachshunds might get loose. I go in search of them, so I can put them inside the house. I find them, but they run away into the fields. I get in a car and drive away to find the dogs. I find a dog with most of its body inside the earth, fighting to pull something out. For a second, I think it is a dachshund, but I see the dog is too large to be one.

I get out of the car to see what the dog is doing, and it has stuck its head not down a hold it dug into the earth but in a manhole. I cannot see what it is pulling. It suddenly jumps into the drainage system. I look down in the hole and I see nothing. Then the dog appears for a second with a tin can in its mouth. In another second, it disappears.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

After watching Time Bandits last night I dreamt 80 year old Katherine Helmond had an affair with my boyfriend, and I wasn't mad because she was so beautiful and weird.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I was alone in the country, waiting for a ride in the dirt and weeds beside a narrow road under a cloudy sky, when I was approached by two very intelligent looking boys in their early teens. Their hair was dark, and the eyes of the boy closest to me were unusually bright and large. After we had exchanged greetings, they told me how much they hated school. I asked them if they would be interested in reading books together instead of going to school. They both loved the idea. I said the books could be on any subject, and that we could talk about them or not talk about them — whatever they liked, whatever they felt like doing. And then, suddenly, music began to play — something wild and raucous, with shouted lyrics that I immediately recognized. It was Auden: From bad lands, where eggs are small and dear, / Climbing to worse by a stonier / Track, when all are spent, we hear it — the right song / For the wrong time of year. And although I knew it was Auden, I told the boys it was T.S. Eliot. They had both heard of Eliot, and were quite pleased. But I was not pleased, because I had given them the wrong name. And I thought, I wonder if they will want to read poetry?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last night I dreamed that I was an undercover police officer (secret authority?) sitting very closely to Obama while we read from the same magazine. It was an open display of nuzzling in front of John McCain who was also in the room.

In September I dreamed that Chris and I were the running mates of McCain and Sarah Palin and on our way to Pittsburgh to campaign. Palin called my cell phone. I told her that we arrived and told voters that if we don't win, we're moving to Canada. Palin was silent and annoyed, she didn't get the joke. Then there's was a celebration. John Kerry selected a woman running mate and now he finally had a chance to win the election.

A couple days after that I dreamed I was in the car with John McCain and a bunch of other government types on our way to Iraq. We got into a car accident and the women changed into men and everyone argued needlessly, telling each other how important they were and oh were they gonna be sorry. All while I sat in the back seat and sulked.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

There are bodies lying face down in the river, black bodies face down the river, three, five, ten of them, some bobbing close to shore, others further from the edge almost as if someone has laid out a raft of black boulders across the surface of the river, stepping stones that I might glide across to get from one side to the other. But I am too terrified to move. I lean against the curved trunk of a river gum branch that throws itself across the water and try to hide even as I catch glimpses of the naked bodies floating down the river. Their long wavy hair and slender outlines suggest to me that they are women, young women, all of them I know somehow have been raped first then tossed aside to drown in the river.

This is my dream. I who live in the eastern states of Victoria and rarely if ever catch sight of a full-blown aboriginal, I dream of their massacre.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Plot Holes

One of my recurring dreams takes place in the church and churchyard of St Mary’s, Ross-on-Wye. The churchyard extends infinitely in all directions, or wraps around so that walking far enough in any direction will eventually bring you back to where you started. There is no visible exit. Let us call this the land of the dead; certainly there is no-one living in it, but gravestones and monuments as far as the eye can see. The church itself is sometimes visible and sometimes not. One can wander for hours and not find it, and then turn around and find it suddenly close at hand. Day and night are indistinguishable, the sky grey and immobile. Time is coming to an end.

There is a hidden system of tunnels below the churchyard, the entrances and exits to which are concealed beneath various monuments both inside and outside the church. Each entrance bears a name, the name on the monument that conceals it. To know the tunnel system is to know the names of the dead. There is a large statue inside the church, inscribed to a local notable although it is rumoured to be in the likeness of Charles I. The entrance below this statue is connected to every other entrance in the system, the very centre of the maze.

If there is a way out of the churchyard, out of the land of the dead and back into time, it is through the tunnel system. If one could only learn all the names of the dead, one might at last come out behind one’s own name. But the tombstones are worn down, the inscriptions illegible on all but a few. The system of names is decaying, and when the last name is effaced time will stop and the land of the dead will vanish completely away. There is no solution to the puzzle posed by the churchyard: it is incomplete, like a jigsaw missing half of its pieces.

Sometimes the dream does not end when I wake up. I open my eyes and I am still in the land of the dead, which has stretched out and enfolded the land of the living. Everything is connected under the surface. I travel to work, enter the tube at Euston, exit at Old Street. I sit at a computer, mapping entrances and exits, naming inputs and outputs. Time is coming to an end and when it stops the land of the living will vanish completely away, bringing you back to where you started. There is no visible exit, no solution.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last night I dreamed I was staying at a house in the woods. It was a big, well-appointed house. It was night. In the first part of the dream, there were huge, weird hogs in the woods. Gigantic, feral, filthy hogs. If you tried to leave the house, it was clear they would attack you. Everything was moonlit and strange outside. Somehow I managed to get away in a stranger's car. I drove for a long time down country roads flanked by grass so tall--taller than the car--that you couldn't see beyond it. Finally I came to a crossroads. I was sure that one road led to a small town, Burkittsville, near where I grew up. I took that road.

Then the second part of the dream began. Somehow I was back inside the house. It was still night. One or two other people were with me. The house was still in the woods but it seemed to be located differently... now, when I looked out the big glass doors in the back, I could see a long sloping yard that ended at the edge of a lake. There was a dock on the lake and two figures were standing on it. They were wearing cloaks and had masks or makeup on. They had rifles and, when they saw us in the glass, shot at us. We hid and turned off the lights. There were more people outside--four, not two--and they were all cloaked and costumed as animals or trolls. There was something familiar about them--their posture, the way they moved. We had to stay away from the windows and the glass or they would shoot at us. They were keeping us prisoner in the house but not approaching the house. It was still night. The inside of the house was dark because we didn't want them to be able to see us. In the corner of the living room there was a big, dirty, drying plant. The figures came closer and closer to the house.

Then it seemed to be a different night. Some time had passed and something had happened and we were relieved, laughing. The figures weren't outside anymore. They had come to the house and we had placated them somehow, or driven them away. Now we were laughing and eating. Then one of the other people who was there went sort of mischievously over to the big, dirty plant in the corner. He grabbed it and started sort of peeling it, and what emerged from it was himself, but now painted to look like a blue troll, and very devilish. He was no longer there, and the troll-version of him ran outside laughing, down to the lake, and stood where the other figures had been and started watching the house.
A very large, very old house; stairs, garrets, passageways; crawlspaces; a spacious sitting room with the furniture covered; tasseled lampshades; no windows anywhere; a calm, almost casual feeling of certainty that I have been there before, and that I am helping a loved one, possibly my wife, find her way out. The sound of my own footsteps; at one point, proceeding on my hands and knees, the pleasant coolness of the hardwood floor against my palms.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Airplane Dreaming

On a recent return flight from Europe I dreamt about a fantastic flight as I slept in the last row between my husband and a window. Things began normally until the pilots instead of just greeting us from the cockpit, came out into the passenger cabin. They were wearing jeans and slick European style shiny t-shirts that an athlete might wear. Each also wore large silver necklaces. They were friendly and shook each passengers hand. They had gifts for us too-a variety of colorful plastic envelopes and binders for stationery and paper. They cut off the envelopes' elastic closures with balls at the end and later we found out the balls were pills for one of the pilots who was ill. From the plane's windows we began to see all kinds of amazing aircraft and flying things-I pointed them out to my husband. Soon he opened a window to let in some air, until we reminded him that we might lose cabin pressure with the window open like that. Then we flew for a long time right next to the Great Wall of China, so that we could see nothing but the wall. The wings of the plane extended over the wall without touching it. In the last part of the dream our flying ship became a cruise ship and some capsules from outer space landed on the deck. Everyone ran to touch the capsules to see if they were real. One of the space capsule resembled a very large bicyclist's helmet that was grey with open spaces revealing a complex interior space. Finally we ended up landing on a mountainside in Portugal where friends of ours were discussing how to get their vineyards going again after the winter. Then the pilots were waiving goodbye to everyone and the one who was sick collected the little balls with the elastics still attached. As we walked down the hill with the pilots they finally admitted to us that they had stolen the aircraft and it wasn't the first time they had done that.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Something about selecting between old and new versions (ie., of
memories, accents, etc.) with the older versions being proved to be
less reliable. "Versions" might correspond to many things-: when the
play button is hit, roll memory. Hindu right wing provocateurs on
email lists somehow mixed up with all of this. The dream had an
imagistic / narrative component that I've forgotten (I remembered on
waking but couldn't get to the notebook on time) but also this very
abstract component, recurring and applied to many narratives, if
that's possible.

The "selecting" between various versions may have looked like this:
----------------- ---------------
----------------- ---------------
----------------- ---------------


Rajnikanth lives in our house with us. There is a pre-story to this part that I can't remember. The house we are living is clearly the McAlpine Court duplex apartment, with its upstairs and downstairs that I liked so much. VHS tapes and that heavy black recorder / player we had are very much the order of the day. Rajni goes out of the house on a bicycle similar to what Appa, my father, has. When all are out I watch a particular Rajni movie, stopping at a sexy part for rewind, replay. (I can't remember for sure which movie or which scene but it might be the scene from Moondru Mugam where Silk Smitha tries to seduce him.) The doorbell rings and I jump to stop the VHS player, remove the tape. Rajni and Appa come in together on their bicycles. Amma, my mother, is nowhere to be seen.
"Madeleine", in this case, is apparently a cartoon about a tough, ass-kicking girl named Madeleine. I am to play her. Anyway, the details of the cartoon are not vivid. What I remember better is the frame story, where I head out for the TV station (rain already present here?) then get to the studio where I'm watching the cartoon on a screen. Later I negotiate labyrinthine corridors and rooms of the station, which is more like a cross between what you'd expect of a station and a bleak apartment block in 70s Chennai or maybe in Patparganj.

Eventually, I end up watching the taping of a show, in Tamil (after this most of the dream switches to Tamil), where a man is complaining about the state of newspapers today. He argues that-- a little known fact-- the problem with newspapers is that they depend on ad revenue and get paid by advertisers based on the amount of names (of people) they contain in each issue, with a special bonus for each new name. Thus, in an absurd and frantic bid for ad revenue, newspapers are constantly, artificially, trying to introduce new names into their front pages, often going to the extent of inventing them.

A little later in the dream, I am in another room, participating a show apparently broadcast from elsewhere (Malaysia?) that is in a mix of Tamil and English, and runs via videoconferencing. The topic again is the dismal state of newspapers today. I bring up the point I heard on the earlier show and the men on the screens nod impatiently-- this is something they have obviously already heard about.

Shortly afterwards, a thunderstorm hits, the rooms begin to leak water, and I have to make a run for it (the studio is oddly unpeopled by now). On my way I run into a couple of women janitors, who are dressed up in saris and not uniforms, tut-tutting and scrambling to mop what appears to be a wet laptop, a black Lenovo not unlike mine. It appears to have fallen and has a big cracked bump on top, on the other side of the screen. Horrified, I say, "Whose laptop is that?" (in Tamil) "I'm sorry sir, it's yours." Now in even truer horror, I pick up the laptop and open it, with the other two looking sympathetically on. I switch it on and what appears on the screen is some kind of last-ditch recovery program starting up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Very early this morning, I awoke with the distinct image of a poem in my mind. The poem had short lines, was divided into four verses, and the verses themselves were separated by a one-point rule that was as long as the line of type above it. The first verse contained one line of three words; the second verse contained two lines identical to each other in length and of five or six words; the third verse contained two lines also identical to each other in length, but a word or two shorter than the lines in the preceding verse; the last verse contained one line of two short words, making it the shortest line in the poem.

For what felt like a few seconds, I knew exactly what the words were and what the poem meant. And I thought to myself — or maybe I was still dreaming — "As soon as I'm up, I'm going to write this down."

And then, just as quickly, the words became meaningless blocks of type, and I could see nothing but the form.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An old scraggly hobo asked for water. But my wife and I had no water, because we were in the process of clearing out the kitchen. The cabinets were empty, the faucet was missing. "That's okay," he said. "I'll get some ice." And he took a wide-mouthed quart canning jar from the counter under the window near the sink and left the room. I felt bad that we didn't have ice. I knew we had metal trays for ice cubes. I could see them in my mind, sitting shiny and empty in the empty freezer compartment in the top part of the refrigerator. They were the same metal trays we had when I was a kid, with metal dividers and handles to crack and free the ice cubes. . . . And then I pictured myself dropping ice cubes into a drink glass, and remembered the cheerful, sociable sound of the ice landing in the glass, the sound that meant we had company. . . . Now I was thirsty, and the hobo's ice jar was back in its place beside the sink. It was wet, sitting in a little icy puddle. I picked it up and held it to my mouth, wondering where on earth he had found ice. . . . Across the room, my wife had turned into a misty painting. I thought, "Has someone put us in a picture? Is this the artist's idea of fun, turning us into paper?" And the paper was a sturdy, laid stock, yellowed with age. . . .

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Green Tree Hill.

We are standing at the edge of a clearing, a small group, my children, and my siblings. We have caught the train to Cheltenham station and we leave the platform on the cemetery side. It is the cemetery side of the station that I am looking at but it seems very different somehow, more as if we have arrived in the country. The man is foreign. Puffy face, dark eyes. He holds the baby in his arms underneath a coarsely woven blanket. I know it’s a baby because I can hear it crying. The man looks as though he feels trapped, standing there on the edge of the clearing as if he had had some intention before we came along but now that intention has changed. We have stopped him in his tracks. He hesitates and just as I am about to offer to hold the baby for him, he throws it down onto the ground beside him and bolts. He is gone almost before we register the thud of the baby’s head on the ground and I am horrified at how close I have come to being able to save this baby. Why couldn’t he have put the baby down, not thrown it down so heavily. The thud of the head on the ground and then it rolls out of the blanket. The baby’s head has been severed and rolls over with no body attached. Its eyes are open, brown berry eyes as deep in colour as a pool of blood, wild staring eyes. I can only register the severed neck and cannot bear it any longer. I wake up.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama dream

Obama was in my dream. There were a lot of people staying in a big room somewhere, like a country house, woody, with high ceilings, but I think it was actually "my house." At one point, everyone was sort of sleeping (think of the scene in the Superdome after Katrina), and Gary and I were on the floor in something like a Japanese futon, and my ass was exposed. I didn't think this was unusual but Gary kind of let me know it was inappropriate. So in another "scene" I was hanging out with Obama and he said, "let's find a way you can make some money with that big old computer of yours so you don't have to work so much." He was very friendly and avuncular (which is weird considering he's only two years older than me) and really seemed like he wanted to help me out!
A bone-white demitasse delicately painted, full to the brim with steaming, thick-foamed coffee; and then, the gentle voice of an elderly woman,urging me to wake up and remember.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I had no phone, I had no computer, I had no TV, and yet for the second time, it was necessary for someone from the cable company to come out and restore my service. I explained to the employee that the first time, her co-worker had to crawl into a closet in order to make the repairs. I remembered how difficult that had been, how dark and deep the closet, and how strange it seemed that there was a metal box in there full of wires. Without saying a word, she headed straight for the closet and crawled in. I never saw her again. When I turned around, I saw a cell phone on a small folding table, picked it up, and listened. It was someone from the cable company saying the repairs had been made, and that I should notify them of any trouble. Before I could tell him about the missing employee, the connection went dead. I looked at the closet, but now the door was closed. I decided to leave. On my way out I saw a dark-haired woman on a cot, in some kind of distress. I had no idea who she was. I laid my hand on her face, she looked up at me briefly without recognition, and I continued on. I came to a very large stainless steel door that was closing like an elevator door, sliding from right to left. Beyond it was a large mostly empty warehouse with two or three men moving about, wearing hard hats, shouting, their voices echoing. I pushed the door back a couple of feet but wasn't strong enough to hold it open, so I let it go. I went into an adjacent warehouse instead, down some wide concrete steps of very irregular depth, only twice touching them with my feet. I knew I was being watched, and that I was considered odd for not using the steps in the usual way, but I was too pleased to care. High above, on what I thought must be the eastern wall, light shone in through a dirty window.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A million different colored lights are dancing in the indigo sky above me. Swirling strobes of color surround me as loneliness settles in my heart...my spirit...my mind. I'm tired, scared, and just want to lay down on the cool grass below me but it is wet and I can't stain the white dress they put on my. I'm so cold but I have no jacket. The one I owned wasn't going to match the purity of my gown.

I drift through mist and come upon a tree, whose leaves had fallen leaving it bare and naked. I place my hand on its cold bark. I'm tired. I settle my forehead on the rough tree and sleep.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My ex-wife came in and gave me a big hug. She was smartly dressed for her wedding yesterday, wearing a mink coat, white dress, pearl earrings and exceptionally careful make-up. Although she seemed happy, she was actually angry about something. Was it because I congratulated her on her marriage?
I must have slept for 13 hours last night with all sorts of strange dreams about the library computers crashing at peak times (yesterday was a little stressful and draining), weird camping scenarios involving being captured by cannibals, and a strangely erotic dream involving a male poet/blogger/editor I once met at AWP and probably have only talked to one time. But I think I'll go to my grave without saying who...;)
I was on holiday in a Victorian mansion with ocean views from every window. I had to go to the bathroom, & I wandered away from a gathering of people drinking & laughing in a well-lit room to darker hallways. Wallpaper was peeling in the endless cabbage-smelling hallways. I came upon Steve, looking into an aquarium. Well, not really an aquarium, but more of

a wall cutaway & replaced with glass

"This was my nursery" he sd, & inside the now waterfilled room was a small cradle, a changing table, a chest for toys. Two maids were in the display, one seemed to be dusting, the other painting green fireplace bricks white. They moved in aquatic slow motion.

I found the bathroom, but instead of a toilet I peed into a small glass container. It had a chrome lid that lifted with a small leaver. The inside glass had markings, so you could measure liquids. While I was urinating a trapdoor opened beneath me.

I was expecting it

& stepped aside, continuing my pee into the open floor, which turned out to be another tank of blue aquarium water. There were hundreds of eels swimming about & a massive shark swam a the top of the tank. I finished, & .
In an unfamiliar room, I come upon a slide show of old family photos, some in color that shouldn't be, progressing slowly on a large TV screen. And then a blank space, voice only: my father's poet-painter uncle, singing — something I never heard when he was alive.
I'm reading over a prose poem I just finished. It's really wow. I have the perfect title: Seinoira. I print out the poem. The bold, one-word title looks especially beautiful over the block of justified text. But I think it should be "Sayonara." I Google it to make sure. I cross out the title and write in two words. My handwriting is illegible as usual. I correct the spelling in the body of the poem as well. I wake up and I'm awake for real so I head downstairs, power up my Mac, sit down in my squeaky chair. I have a three-line poem called "Sayonara." I hold it in my hands. The first and third lines are longer than the second. It's like an embrace. It might be something. It might be wow. I feel competent as a child screaming out for Mommy wakes me up for real.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saying to me, as I woke up: "I do not believe in the fabric that lies underneath the skin." huh?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A light bulb shatters. The backs of strangers, scurrying away like rats. A broom in my hand, dawn, the soup-stained floor of someone else's kitchen . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

unfcomfortable & strange dreams the past three nights:

1) there is a particular other poet whom I know but not well. awake last week I saw the poet at a restaurant but was stoned & too shy to say hello. this past saturday night I dreamed that the other poet & I had made social plans; I was excited to strike up a friendship. I went to the poet's house which to my surprise was strongly redolent of my neighbors' house from around 10 years old. the other poet was cordial but not warm, & the awkwardness of our interactions, heaped up with my own self-consciousness over same, came to grate. after some hours of rabbity conversation, I stepped outside, frustrated that it hadn't been easier.

2) the next night, sunday, was the most upsetting. I was a part of a loosely-organized military force, a mob or an army detachment, who had captured a particular important family Nikolai-II-style, & were facing down their indignant threats of repercussion. our motive wasn't clear. we were myriad. I wound up in the room where some hundreds of us were confining the (maybe 17-year-old) daughter of the family. she had powerful language but did not frighten us. we were all acting as tho without choice, our cause unclear, & we were distracted by our own unhappiness. finally a notion rippled thru the horde that we'd not need to murder or in any final way punish the girl; she could be released. we were immensely relieved, a flutter of assuagement rippling across the hive. on waking that good feeling was replaced by a horror that lingered & seemed to strain against all yesterday's color.

3) there is a particular woman who hurt my feelings when I was 16, & whose life I visited again when I was 25 & found it hideously conventional (dullness in the name of a career, prefab heritage, fiancee without apparent magics). last night I was walking in a dream on 5th avenue in manhattan (high teens, near the mesa grill) & I spotted this woman at completely impossible distance. I managed to chase her down, & asked for news. she was happily married &, she revealed, pregnant with an odd pregnancy that could only be seen from one direction. she was with her younger sister, whose name I surprisingly remembered. they both had startlingly beautiful hair.

I have a sense that the three are somehow connected; some connections of course are obvious but not, to me, the most interesting ones.
In a shadowy back room I am shown how to use an iPod to record peoples' thoughts/speech. This recording device works rather effectively through walls. Immediately after being shown how to work my recoding device, I suspect the teacher of some form of treachery. I watch my back & attempt to record this shadow, though through all the whiteness of the world I cannot find the teacher again.

I have people I must record, & setting out I wander through a clean, white world; all buildings interiors & exteriors are painfully, blinding, florescent white. & mostly every place is a cafeteria or a department store. I spend most of the dream sneaking through the snowy commercial atmosphere with light elevator music playing in the background.

Upon reviewing my recordings, the subject's face appears on the iPod display screen. I have recorded my mother, & she speaks/thinks in an endless loop of small talk, her tiny head chirping in my pocket.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

From high on the only shelf in what seems to be a neatly carpeted but abandoned library without walls, I take down a very small, very thick, very old book. The print in the book is the tiniest I've ever seen. Somehow I can read it, but I don't know what it means. Near the front I find a date: 1803. And on the inside cover, there's a price written in pencil: $59.00. There are many other scribbles, but they are too faded and smudged to read. I wish I had the money. . . .

I'm in a small used bookstore. This place I know. I go directly to the poetry section and without even looking I find the same small, thick, old book. This time it costs eight dollars. Then I find two more old books; both are a little larger, and barely holding together. The contents don't really look like poetry; this pleases me, because it proves poetry can look like anything and everything at the same time. I take the books to the desk by the door, behind which the owner is sitting, lost in a book of his own. To my left, I notice many shelves are missing, and that the open space has been transformed into a kind of sitting room, with one old leather chair, a table beside it, and a floor lamp for light. When I ask the owner why he made the change, he looks up and says, "That is a secret." The total price of my books comes to sixteen dollars. I take out my wallet, which is much older and more worn than I remember, and completely empty except for the pleasant surprise of a twenty dollar bill. Without hesitation, I give him the money. I wake up hungry.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I was in an unknown building that seemed to be a school and one of the teachers who I felt questioned my honesty, wouldn’t leave the office although I told him I needed to use the restroom. Then suddenly before I realized what had happened he lunged at me and laying himself face down beside me, put three fingers in my rectum.

I thought he was trying to see if I really needed to use the restroom or if I was just trying to get rid of him. I did want to get rid of him, but now I had proved myself to him concerning my need to use the restroom. I felt ashamed to think that he had invaded my body with his fingers that way, and happy that my body had cooperated with my need to get rid of him.

Many people found out about the incident and they played hurtful jokes on me, like forming a line of cut clumps of hair up to my office door.

After this I became a student in a classroom waiting to receive back a hardbound book with my test scores written inside it. Although my grade was above average, it wasn’t the top grade that I wanted. I couldn’t tell if it was the grade I deserved. There were large notes from the teacher scrawled on the first page. She came up to me asking to meet with me. I agreed and took her up a hill near a fence and began to tell her what had happened to me as if that prior incident would explain a lower grade. For the effect (I think), I sobbed as I tried to tell her about the three-finger lunge.
Eclipse with Object
Ann Lauterbach, Pennsound file

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm driving a through a deeply furrowed field. The car becomes impossible to manage. I'm stranded at the field's edge. Walking, I come to a door which leads to another field, and several short rows of plants with single stalks about five feet high. Although the leaves are too big and I know I'm fooling myself, I decide the plants are purple basil. I rub the leaves and hold my fingers to my nose; when I find there's no basil smell at all, I feel a deep sense of regret. Then, someone I almost recognize, a man in his fifties, arrives with an old manual lawnmower. He says he will take care of the grass, then pushes his mower, rust-colored blades whirring, through the back door, which is set in a high aluminum wall. I look up. I can't see the roof. I can't see the sky.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I don't remember much about it now, except for the recurrence of the swan-like creatures that would start out looking dead or taxidermied or curled in on themselves--and then would slowly unfold or inflate into life-sized animate forms.

Before this unfolding, someone didn't realize that one was alive and flushed it down the toilet like some kind of feminine hygiene product (even though one is not supposed to flush those down the toilet).

Later, there was a sense of regret.

Also, a sense of having been tricked as part of some sort of devious, widespread hoax.

A diagram on the back of the toilet stall had given instructions for disposing of the swan-like creature and someone had only been following instructions.

As the swans inflated, people kept asking, 'Is that some kind of blow-up job?'

But they were real and alive.

They looked swan-like, but someone said they included human DNA.

Perhaps they were some kind of genetic experiment.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A writer tells me she has ghosts in her house: the ghosts of large fish are swimming behind her baseboards, making loud thumping noises as they go.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm sitting at a long narrow empty table by a window with an old writer-friend of mine who is unusually talkative and has developed the strange habit of fluttering his eyelashes while he speaks. About this time, a cheerful old lady comes up to me and insists on pinning a little ribbon on my lapel. After she leaves, my friend tells me he has a terrible headache. We stand up, but can't leave because the table is too long. So I get down on my hands and knees and say, "Come on, we can go out this way." But when I try crawling out under the table I'm met by a wooden crossbeam that's so low I can't crawl under it. And then, suddenly, there is no table and no friend. I'm walking along a large grassy corridor toward the hut where I've been living when I meet a man talking on a cell phone. It's someone I haven't seen for years, a man who used to run a little neighborhood market with his brother. His shaggy eyebrows are twice the size they used to be, and he is at once very chipper and insincere — to the person he's talking to on the phone, and to me. I greet him without stopping. I reach the hut. Everything's a mess. Someone's been there. I go to the little shelf in the corner to get my friend an aspirin. But instead of the bottle I find a single pill in some spiderwebs, lint, and shavings, so I dust it off the best I can and put it in my pocket. I turn around, only to find that someone has planted two cherry trees while my back is turned. They are straight young trees, with trunks about two inches in diameter, and the dry hard ground around them shows no sign that they have just been planted. Just then, a garbage truck approaches the small opening between the edge of my hut, which no longer has any walls and is now constructed mostly of chicken wire, and the corner of what looks like a backstop on a baseball field. The space is about three feet wide. Somehow, the truck fits. I remember my friend, take the pill out of my pocket, and swallow it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Images from a troubled sleep . . .

my mother, eighty-six years old,
looking up at me from her bed,
without the strength to rise;

a stranger calling attention
to the whiteness of my beard,
then saying he remembers
when it was blue;

crossing a fallow field,
I'm joined by a friendly dog;

an unfamiliar road traversed
by a caravan of rusty old cars —
someone says, "Oregon or bust,"
but I see only his hands.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I dreamed that I was apprentice to a typesetter.

Together we lived in a huge crumbling mansion across the street from the well-kept mansion of a bishop, or some kind of bishop-like religious figure. He would appear in the early mornings dressed in a red robe and nightcap to collect the papers on his front door.

The typesetter I worked with was potentially a murderer, and the whole building was full of creepy Victorian scientific equipment as well as printing machinery. There was one machine that was like a huge typewriter, but for shapes and flourishes instead of letters. Sometimes a larger version of Lester lived in the house with us, and he looked very very green against the dark gray colors of the print shop.

At one point, the typesetter and I were giving a tour of the shop to someone--perhaps someone who knew that the typesetter was a murderer and was trying to secretly find some evidence. I remember thinking that I would have helped him find the evidence if I knew what it was. At the far corner of the print shop, which was in the huge attic of the mansion, was a door. The typesetter led us through the door and said, "And this is my master suite bedroom." The walls, floor, and ceiling were covered with loose type, and there was loose type rolling about on the floors, unfixed. At the back corner were a series of metallic frames that looked like old bed frames, but were also pieces of type, somehow.

Then my alarm went off, and I got up and ate some high fiber high protein cereal with blueberries.