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.