Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fifteen days on the road and dreams filling in with U.S. Army trucks-- deuce and a half, ten ton fatigued monsters being prepped and sold to corporations to do some kind of mysterious labor in Guatemala. Color coded spec sheets shuffling around and I start to imagine trucks as people, agents, with a human sort of fate, condition. Mercenary or trafficked, I don't know. Hollowed out, silent, too expensive to own, and what for? So gratuitous for camping or any honest work, and that coming to light with red poppies and purple bluebells whirring by us on the highways, and a smell like basil and coca-cola everywhere. At home again, and sleeping alone always like a child, the sleeping alone feels like the disoriented dream, and remembering real instead the twelve states' bodies and trap of cold, wet open air, fire-surviving, brass band Broadway musical, Auburns, Cords, and Duesenbergs flashing down terrazzoed country routes, meat as a matter of fact, in some homemade version of love, and being given the unexpected gift of a pale pink bicycle forged specifically to suit only me and my purpose...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Two Dreams Following the Death of a Girlfriend


When I walked out of my apartment building and across the two driveways that front it on West End Avenue I noticed a parked black car. I thought it was a limousine but when I passed the side of it two doors opened from the center like a carriage. Inside were four fashionably dressed women, long legged and heavily made up, so much so that I found it frightening. Their faces were white, pasty and blank except for eyes heavily lined in black. “We give women a ride”, one of the passengers said. She opened the square door wider inviting me to enter. Fearful I walked away quickly toward Broadway. I was aware the car was following me. I dialed my husband on my cell but each number punched in wrong, my fingers could not control the digits. On 65th St musicians carrying instrument cases were boarding a bus. I thought to fold into the orchestra’s line and ride away from the danger. The bus started down 9th Ave toward the Lincoln Tunnel and in the 50’s I requested to get off. I descended the steps of the bus in Hell’s Kitchen but suddenly it became a desolate stretch of green mowed fields and carefully sculpted shrubs. The black car, one door ajar, was waiting in the distance.


The architecture was such that there were no silences but arpeggios ascending and descending and long trills in a high register, neo Baroque style, much like Busoni.

The improvisation I heard in my head instantly transcribed to the page. It was as if it was never to be played but its form on paper would become something tangible, something woven, a covering, a shroud of protection. We were lying on the bed, giggling the way fifteen year old girlfriends do. The room was mine of the past. Windows opened to the seashore, lavender flowers papered the walls. But this shroud hung over us and although I could see myself lying there with Bonnie, I couldn’t hear what we were saying. I thought to move and let this covering follow over us so drew up my legs and started quickly toward the door. Turning back I saw Bonnie still lying there, motioning with her hand for me to go.

I walked into a party. Men I'd heard of were there, and more than "heard of," whose intimate veiled thoughts revealed in pages of risky avant garde literature I had read. I was wearing new shoes that were a half size too small. My feet had grown from pounding the pavement looking like someone. The homelessness had broken open in me without interrupting shelteredness.

I had slept with a dry head in a soft bed, alone. It was as if I had always slept that way. I might have resorted to holding a stuffed animal. There was a reason for this celibacy, but it was not religion or disease. It was society. I had exceeded a limit placed on all of us -- how many hands we are to hold before picking the hand we most wish to hold for life. I had thought it was a numeral, but it was a resonance, one that happens early then recurs.

I hit upon it with a musician, a famous man married for decades, a soul already spoken for, enough. I was poor (despite my shelter), and I had learned that "poor" is different from "broke," which didn't apply to all poor people. "Broke” described the noveau poor. And "clarity" I suggested we use when "enough" had been reached.

I dreamt in three dreams that we were at a poetry reading and at two AA meetings. In the second dream of the meetings, the married musician suggested that I read seafaring novels to help the alcoholic I had next met. The alcoholic had rejected AA as brainwashing. Enough, enough, enough, but it wasn't yet enough: clarity in action.

In the earlier dream about the meetings –- the rooms change –- I am bottomless under the table and must cross the room to find pants. My fat shows, fat that wasn’t there when he met me, vantage he would not have seen.

In the dream of the poet, there is a wide sweeping lawn, and we flirt, but it is or is not the same thing, and we have no words for it: “legislation,” “negotiation,” “foundation.” I collide with him on a hill and knock him over. I recircle the hill to see him, but by then he is busy.

Earlier, not ten years of it, I had walked into Keillor's bookstore, and the word "clarity" was written across a banner under the ceiling. Enough, I was thinking, but the furtive position of one seeking clarity or enough, quietly or alone, was barely enough when I couldn't see those brown eyes or pass a guess.
Dreamovie 61

I am wandering, hypnopompic, through a dream, but it is a dream almost entirely without plot or action. I am watching a section of dry earth, and I do not know if it is horizontal (the ground) or vertical (the face of a cliff). The earth before me is flowing downward past my eyes or I am moving forward over it. I cannot tell which. The earth is a light brown and jagged. At times, in places, red ants crawl out of the earth and crawl over it like the shadow of a cloud. The movement of the earth speeds up, and my view becomes blurry. The morning sunlight shines through my eyelids, and the view disappears.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hamlet dream, a few months ago
I happen to encounter some people who are cast members anticipating the first performance, in a day or two, of a production of Hamlet, and I remember, before they speak to me, that I had committed myself to playing the title character! I haven't attended any of the rehearsals, nor memorized or even studied the part, yet they need me to fulfill my committment.

Then it is evening, and I am purposefully walking around the basement level of a B&N bookstore. I find some inexpensive versions of individual Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet, amongst a collection of paperback books locked inside a glass case. I would have to call a clerk over to unlock the case so I could have the book, and either I don't want to do this because I feel too shy about it, or I have some other reason for deciding against purchasing the paperback. I go the bookshelves at the far end of the store, and I quickly find a complete edition of Shakespeare's works, totally free for the handling, though of course it is a much more expensive volume than those Shakespeare books that were within the glass case. I'm very seriously thinking of buying this book, but then I start pondering whether this is the best edition of the Complete Works. I try to remember what I know about the various editions.

Apparently I do not purchase the play in any form whatever.

The next day I arrive at the playhouse to take part in the performance. The audience has not arrived yet, but the actors are getting into position to start the play. Or perhaps this is because it is a last rehearsal. I walk on stage and ask the people near me where I am supposed to stand. I am led to the back of the stage, and then far to the left, near the shore of a lake. It seems like I am actually outdoors rather than amongst painted scenery, or at least that the distance I have traversed is much too large to be congruent with an indoor stage (and surely I have walked so far left that the audience will not be able to see me).
Dreamovie 60

I am sitting in a restaurant with a group of people. A man is telling us about the restaurant and how it works. He explains that the meal begins with a large meatless buffet, one that can fill us up quickly. He notes that, after we fill our plates at the buffet, waiters will come around with various meats on skewers and cut off pieces for us. He tells us that the meat includes beef, pork, chicken, sausages, and (this one a surprise) meat pies, each brought out on a skewer. With this introduction, we begin to gather food at the buffet, but we soon find ourselves stuffed and decide to pause our meal and return later that evening for the meat course.

I return to the hotel where a conference of town clerks is taking place. I walk up a narrow set of stairs and find myself in a small office right off the stairs but within the staircase, not in the hallway outside the staircase. Inside that cramped office, a man works at a small desk. A woman attending the conference enters and asks for help. Afterwards, she needs to return to the conference, so I offer to assist her. We take an elevator down and then escalators down deeper. We pass through milling crowds on two or three floors.

When we arrive at our destination, I discover that we are in a large dark room, with a huge set of stairs, reminiscent of a ziggurat, that covers an entire wall and slopes down into the depths fo the room. The audience for this event is either against the wall on the edges of the stairway or around a small flat stage at the bottom of the stairs.

I am supposed to speak, so I stand on the pad at the top of the stairs and take the microphone. I ask the entire audience if they know when my group is returning to the restaurant for the meat course. The crowd is large and tumultuous, and no-one attempts to answer, at least so far as I can tell.

At this point, a country music star and his band begin to set up his equipment on the lower stage. He is preparing to sing, so I walk down towards him to see how the setup and performance are proceeding. By the time I make it down to the stage, the band is breaking down its equipment, and I'm not even sure if they have sung even one song. Bob Newhart then appears on stage, carrying his usually half-bemused half-confused look. Wearing a suit, he prepares to launch into a monologue, but before he does I notice that large aquaria lined up along the edge of the stage.

A man comes onto the stage, carrrying a large hollow tube. The tube connects to a bit of flexible tubing and a large pump, and he explains that this can be used to move the large fish in and out of the aquaria. He offers me the tube so I can move fish into the tanks. Instead of fish, I move watermelons of various sizes into the cold water, dropping them between the swimming fish.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


1. A snake swimming through water.

2. A glowing Gideon with a blanket wrapped around his head (like the Virgin Mary).

* * *

Last night I dreamed that I was at a fancy mansion buffet. The people there pushed around their food, drinks and books on wheeled carts. I thought, "ah, this is how the rich do it" but didn't use a cart myself. I started at the buffet and one of the staff brought out a bowl of white corn that the chef made especially for me because he/she knew I liked it. I filled two small bowls and ate a spoonful. Then I considered getting a cart.

Friday, May 23, 2008


A runnicle is an image left over from dream left in the mind at waking, an image or fact with no narrative content or context.
This information is itself a runnicle, I wake with it, and hurry to write it down to share this runnicle with the dream community.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

With machetes, we surprise attack another alien species in a sterile
white room that oscillates into being a news report of a battlefield,
and the white room.

As we are shooting, I am wondering why we are.

Suddenly I re-enter the white room. The alien species and the ones
with me who attacked them are all sitting there, casually, hanging
out, watching a movie on a big screen, no traces of warfare or the
slightest hint of enmity.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dr. Temperance Brennan (aka Bones) is pregnant. As the pregnancy progresses, it becomes obvious to everyone that it's not a human fetus. She is being guarded by a centipede/alien-like creature that prevents anyone from "saving" her although it's likely too late even if someone could. Her body is contorting and the birth will no doubt be deadly and it's likely her body will be the offspring's first meal. Angela arrives and gives her a cigarette. Bones puts the lit cigarette backwards (lit end) into her mouth. It's the best way to die at this point.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I nodded off on the L on my way home from work yesterday while reading Thomas Hardy's The Hand of Ethelberta (1866), and my half-dreams were of the novel--but as if it had been written by Alvaro Mutis, whose Maqroll stories I had spent the weekend reading. Waking, I was amused at the ease with which the world-weariness of Mutis had infiltrated Hardy's uncharacteristically comic novel.

If you'd asked me, I would have said the two writers had nothing in common, but the dream reminded me that Hardy's more typically tragic novels do share with Maqroll a certain fatalistic vision. I was reminded of an exchange I've quoted before from a conversation that Hardy had with Princeton professor Henry Van Dyke in 1909, about Tess:

"Yes," he said gravely, "I love her best of all."

"Why, then, did you kill her? Was there no other way to end the book"

"There was no other way," he replied, still more gravely. "I did not kill her. It was fated."

Maqroll would understand, though whereas he tends to complacently accept, or even welcome, his fate, Tess is unforgettable because she rails against hers--and by vigorously opposing it, hastens its tragic arrival.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A few nights ago I had a dream that I dressed as a woman in order to marry Joe Massey, in order to be able to visit him in prison. I remember Joe saying something like, "No one's ever going to believe you're a woman," and he was right, and I had to spend a lot of time, an endless amount of time looking better. It was a disjointed jaunt this dream, but I do remember walking on the streets of Joe's California seaside town and no one paid us any mind, which was all we really needed, to pass.
Dreamovie 59

I am traveling with someone by car. We are approaching a bridge and cars are all around. I don't know this at the time, but we are driving either to Long Island or Iraq. The exact place is unclear, though everything appears to be in the United States.

We meet a woman who lives in one of a series of small blocky buildings. She explains that there was a big sale at the PX, as there is from time to time, and that she has purchased supplies at a great discount. The only downside to all of this, she explains, is that she may have to abandon her home soon. The area around her home seems peaceful, but we know a war is ongoing in the region.

After this traveling, I am in a city but I still have to get somewhere. I am on a busy street and find a car that might be mine. I back the car into traffic, make a dangerous U-turn and then drive on.

I find myself eventually in a low-slung building and then in a narrow hallway in that building. I enter a room through a doorway on the left, and I find myself in a cramped operating room, where the surgeon explains his style of surgery. He believes in strapping patients to an operating table and suspending them. I imagine being suspended overhead, the surgeon cutting into me, and my dripping blood onto the floor.

Although I am still clothed, I lie down on an operating table. A woman is strapped on another operating table, and she is raised over mine. She faces me as the two tables slowly come together. We are pressed together, our heads turned to face away from each other. Slowly our tables rotate to a vertical position and move away from each other. In that position, our feet over the ground, we await our surgery.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I found some sort of typo in Boswell's Life of Johnson that somehow turned an ordinary sentence into some sort of prognostication about my brother's life. Even as I dreamed it, I was amused by the thought--but impressed nonetheless--but on waking I lost almost all the details.