Monday, March 24, 2008

I had a dream last night I had $500 and took out $50 to play blackjack and started thinking that I knew I was going to lose the $50 but that it was worth it because I felt excited and I started defending all gamblers in my head as better people than normal people, then I went to a table and asked if there were $10 blackjack tables and she said the place had no blackjack at all and it was stupid of the place not to, I don't remember what I did after that, I think two girls in my dream were "in love" with me so I had something to "fall back" on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I stood at the podium under the stage lighting looking out into a dark expanse, probably filled with faces, but I couldn't make them out. The next time I looked up from my paper shuffling, the auditorium was a bar or cafe, with railroad-style rooms, two or three of them, maybe like the Ear Inn. I shuffled some more, made some humming, hawing remarks to smattered laughter. I found what I thought was Down Spooky, a dark-covered thin book, and opened it, flipping through to find a poem with which to begin. But it turned out to be an anthology I wasn't in. I stopped on a page containing a poem by _______ (an exciting find, if puzzling in the context, though now I can't remember whose it was). More shuffling. Finally I found For Girls and thought, well that's fine, I'll start with those. But I opened to the first poem and the letters swam around on the page. I attempted to recite from memory and made it through the first three poems pretending to read, concealing my trouble with the swimming pages, but by the fourth poem couldn't go on. I looked up to address a confession to the audience, which I spoke aloud. It woke us both, but I'd already forgotten it. I lay awake for 2 hours or so.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Apocalypse has come and we’re living on the top floors of Macy’s in the home furnishings department.

We never go out – or even downstairs -- sleeping on demonstration mattresses under stiff jacquard spreads.

There are no windows, only window treatments.

Drapes hang from curtain rods suspended from the ceiling at the head of every bed.

I play my cello, but I’ve only just taken it up. I keep scratching away, hoping to hear that melodious cedar sound. I am sitting on the edge of the bed, my cello between my knees, when my bow breaks. Did I break it? Did someone walk by and catch it with their knee?

It’s not crowded in Macy’s like it is on Christmas Eve -- it’s more 10am on a Wednesday -- but all this the furniture, arranged in conversation tableaux, clutters and stultifies my soul, like I’ve been rescued by the Victorian Age.

I hold the broken bow and its baleen dangles, hideous as a broken bone.

Tony takes the bow from my hand and snaps the wood into even smaller bits against his thigh. He does this absent-mindedly, as if disassembling cereal boxes for recycling.

I am aghast. I can’t comprehend this injustice done me. Who told him he could touch my bow? Why did he think he could get away with this?

I begin to protest but see that, in his eyes, he’s done me no wrong.

I feel post-apocalyptic Macy’s weigh down on me and I begin to scream.

Even in my own ears, I sound shrill, hysterical.

This dream is the opposite of a catharsis; it feels like sludge, burdening me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

All of our excess books (we have a lot of books) magically appeared neatly shelved in a grove of trees about half a mile from our house. It made perfect sense for them to be there, and somehow we knew it was our personal library, and couldn't be used by anyone else. Rain didn't seem to be an issue.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I am walking/floating with a group across a hillside that slopes down to an ocean-a soft breeze blowing very green and layered with small white flowers. One person says excitedly, "Look those flowers are shaped like bells!" I realize we are in Ireland. I see in my mind in the dream a flag blowing with "California" written in cursive on it and I think-I love California after being to every other place in the world. We are now at the bottom of the cliff, at the shore of the ocean. I am with a woman who is a tour guide, we are being hurried to leave because we have to get to the airport, but we stand there and look up at what is called The Great Tree, a massive tree set into the cliff, a trunk with long pieces of bark that have fallen off leaving spaces it appears for you to walk inside. She is telling me about the tree, and I hold up a photograph I have with me against the sight of the tree, like you would hold your thumb up against the moon. The picture is of a dark greyish green sculpture of the back of a woman sitting at the top of long steps in a public place-the most prominent feature of the photograph is the buttocks of the sculpture poised in the position she is in sitting very straight. We walk back up the hillside/cliff and she, the tour guide, walks into a cave on the side of the cliff a group of people are huddled in laughing welcoming her in and I without a doubt part from her and continue walking upwards.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I straddled the toilet seat, lid down. I had wanted to find a place of escape, somewhere protected from the prying eyes of people who might notice my flushed cheeks, my shame. The frustration of standing in the queue at Medibank waiting my turn, sandwiched between three women, all of whom knew one another and were chatting amicably about the days events, their children’ antics, their husbands eccentricities, this closed shop of womankind, was too much for me. And worse, when I all but reached the end of the queue and my ticket number was about to be announced, I rifled through the internal compartments of my hand back, past reluctant zippers and abandoned lolly wrappers only to find that I had forgotten my Medibank card and receipts. I would not be served.

‘I’ve forgotten my forms’ I stammered to the woman behind me. ‘You can have my place.’ I fled from the building. Earlier I had made a fuss of not being allowed into my rightful place in the line because I had come into the building through an adjacent entrance and not through the one that most people, most women, they were all women, including those serving at the counter, had followed.

Out on the street I looked across the concrete wasteland to the service station opposite. I could smell the loose oil, petrol and seared rubber from skidded tyres. The garage toilet, garages always have toilets for their patrons, would be tucked somewhere behind the main building. These days you have to ask at the main desk for a key, but in my dream I did not need a key. The toilet was slightly ajar and it stank, as you might expect, of disinfectant, urine and shit. I sat down on the toilet seat. I could not close the door of the narrow cubicle. It shed light into the corridor, an airlock that shielded the nakedness of the toilet from the outside world, the back of the garage, the stacks of used rubber tyres and empty petrol tins. I looked down at a mango I had produced from my bag, and pulled apart it’s already cut flesh. Someone had slit the knife through the mango making a crisscross pattern for easier eating. I forced up the skin to raise the yellow mango and began to chew off lumps of sticky sweetness. The juice ran over my fingers, down my chin, onto my lap. I did not care. There was something in the fruity sweetness of the mango that offered me comfort and I ate like a starving person, till the outside door opened and through the slit of the door I could see one of the station attendants waiting his turn for the toilet. He would have barged right in had I not managed to push the toilet door close, dropping the mango onto the floor. This was enough to indicate the toilet was occupied, but not enough to send the man away. He continued to wait for his turn. I wiped my face with my hands. I peeled off sheets of toilet paper to try to soak up the sticky excess from the mango. I puzzled about how I might hide the mango halves now dust covered on the floor. I could not conceal them. I would leave them there I decided, hoping the man might think they were someone else’s and not mine. I reached back to flush the toilet. The water echoed under the closed lid like a waterfall.

‘It’s the smallest toilet I’ve ever seen,’ I called out to the man, in a tone I hoped might sound nonchalant and normal. Then I squeezed my way out of the door past the man and back into the sun-blinking daylight.

I have not been able to describe the desolation I was feeling throughout all these movements. I was in a dream. I knew I was in a dream. In a dream I could feel the full impact of my sadness, my worry over ‘running out of resources’. This was my fear; that I would have no more money to pay my bills.

The secretary from the garage came over and handed me a bill, $211.00. I was relieved. It was for services rendered. Earlier the apprentices, supervised by the head mechanic, had cleared water from the petrol tank of my daughter Tessa’s car. It had been a lucky escape. Any more water in the engine and the car would have been non-drivable, irreparable without a complete tank clearance.

Friday, March 7, 2008

We’re driving near the Hudson River, but it looks like a road in Maine, one that we go on every summer, between Kennebunk and York, I think. The road goes right down to the water. It’s winter. The car slides off the road in what feels like slow motion & falls in slow motion into the river. The car cracks through the ice. We’re all thrown in. I am plunged down, deep into the water. I look up, frantically trying to swim to get to my son, who I know has just fallen in the water after me. I have to save him—he can’t swim. I can’t seem to get back up to the light where he is--the pressure from the water holds me down. Unbearable sadness. I know we’re both going to die.

2nd dream, another nightmare. A bigger turtle, eating a little turtle. Again, I am trying to save someone. This time, it’s the little turtle. The poor little turtle tried to pull back into its shell but by the time I get there, both its legs have been bitten off by the big turtle. Gory. Awful. It's not dead, just in horrible pain. I wake up gasping.