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.
I was a helicopter
flying over
indigo badminton courts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jerome Rothenberg, at PennSound
My father said,
"When 13 opens to 83
you will round a bend
and realize how lucky you are"
I was being tested at the end of the school year on how my drawing skills had improved. The piece of paper I chose to draw on was handmade and full of imperfections but smooth. I had a yellow tinge to it and in places there was almost a faint image of some of what I wanted to draw or I made use of the imperfections as I constructed my image. My line style was scribbly and I used colored pencils to build up subtle color. The forms emerged as I drew and although it was to test architectural rendering, the drawing needed to be dramatic. From an angle, I drew two heads with hats that overlapped each other and I showed all the formal details of the hats as well as the space the figures were in. I worked on it until the last minute and felt pleased with the drawing. A friend walked with me while I turned it in, just in time. She and another friend looked tanned with pretty heads of massive golden red curls.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


So I was looking in a notebook of mine, right at the point where Luca Antara ends and the next book begins (don't know what this next book is/was) when it suddenly occurred to me that I'd left something out. The whole episode of Hitler in Adelaide. I made a few notes and then remembered there was a book about it. I'd have to get hold of a copy of that book. The relevant papers were in a low cold flat under a hill. More tunnel than flat. I didn't live there any more but thought I could probably get in. I knew my things would still be there. It's a dream place, I've visited more than a few times over the years. First I dropped in on a couple of friends who live nearby. They are real people who used to like to pretend they're re-incarnations of Robert Graves and Laura Riding. I mentioned the book and he shrugged in that louche way he has and said Of course. He meant there was a copy on their shelves. There at the back of the room. So I didn't have to go to my old flat after all, that was a relief. I'd never been happy there. However I did have to search the shelves ... took a while but I found it. 600 pages long. A kind of straw yellow hard back, large format, crudely made. Co-authored by two sisters, their name, along with Adolf's, was on the spine but I've forgotten it: Droescher maybe? Anyway the focus of my inquiry was on where exactly in Adelaide Hitler had lived and what he did there. There was a fold out map in the front of the book that turned out to be 3D and interactive. I saw the City of Adelaide morph into being, it was a view both top down and from the street. Beautiful. It was Adelaide, I remember how the City is disposed from my only visit there, many years ago now. But this was the business district, he didn't live here but somewhere in the suburbs. Ah, said the voiceless voice that comes to us in dreams, he had a hat shop. Or perhaps he sold caged birds. Something like that. And worked as a jockey. Then I saw Hitler himself, dressed in silks, getting ready to ride in a race. Except his body would not do, it was one of those limbless bloody screaming trunks out of a Francis Bacon painting. We would have to substitute him if we wanted our horse to win. I remember dressing the other jockey, I remember translating Hitler into another realm or dimension so our girl could ride in his place. His post-war refuge in Adelaide did not last long of course. He and the Droescher sisters were soon found out and had to flee further afield. Their book ... who was the publisher? What a rarity it must have been. Unreadable as Mein Kampf no doubt but there are people who have read Mein Kampf. To think I have held it in my hand. As I woke from the dream there was one further image that I carried over into consciousness: in hard, chunky, geometric capitals the legend: HITLER IN ADELAIDE.

Note(s): There’s a crypto-fascist news agency based in Adelaide called Nuca Antara—it is mentioned in passing in my book Luca Antara. Werner Droescher was the name of an anarchist professor of German I knew when I was a student. He had fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and was married to the writer, Greville Texidor. He had tried to encourage us to form a cell on campus at Auckland University in 1970. The whole question of places that exist in dreams and may be visited again and again over the years is one that perhaps needs further investigation.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In my dream I drove twice from point A to point B. Not only was I able to make the trip in a very short time, but also I was able to take pictures of important landmarks like old churches and falling down barns with my digital camera without even stopping. By the end of the second trip I had become an expert at holding up the camera and shooting on curvy, winding roads without looking at the screen. I had become very familiar with the road. I realized that I got faster on the second trip because I timed myself. My wristwatch showed that on the second time around I made the trip in less than an hour. The only thing is, I have no idea how I ended up twice at point A.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

last night i dreamt about surfing and cats

Friday, August 1, 2008

My wife and I were several floors up in a large hospital. The doors to the patients' rooms were all closed, and there were none of the usual sights, sounds, and medical equipment in the corridor. The few people we did see were dressed in regular office clothes. But they didn't see us. When we came to the end of the corridor, my wife went one way and I went another; I had it in my mind that I wanted to go to the seventh floor — the Psych Ward. On the way, the corridor narrowed, then turned, then turned again. More corridors. More turns. Finally, I came to an elevator; it opened and I stepped in, but was disappointed when I realized it was taking me to the ground floor, not the seventh. I got out at the lobby. There were several men and women chatting. "Doctors," I thought. I asked one of them, a man distracted by some papers sticking out of his briefcase, if he could direct me to the Psych Ward. "Oh?" he said. "Is your dog sick? Tell me, what are his symptoms? Depression?" But I didn't have a dog, and I was suddenly very concerned that my wife wouldn't be able to find me. Realizing that the doctor was crazier than I was, I got back into the elevator to look for my wife. More narrow corridors. Signs on the wall at the end of each, pointing somewhere else I didn't want to go.