Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just a few nights ago, I had one of these reoccuring dreams where I’m chased by the authorities. What my alleged crime was, I have no idea. Late in the dream, I seek cover in a queen-sized bed that’s set right in the middle of the street. Actually, there’s two of us, but what happens between the sheets, let’s not go there. Anyway, the pressure becomes almost unbearable, until suddenly, I find the perfect escape. Call it poetic justice, or not, but I know I can get rid of my pursuers just like that–by waking up.
I had a dream that I had no ceiling. Above my bathroom there was nothing -- no plaster, no wood, no moulding, no tile. It was rotted. It was a black puddle above my shower. I was worried that other people would think it was gross.
I have a dream where I am with my family when suddenly, the ground begins to shake and rumble. We all start running. There is an alien invasion, and the aliens are these huge, metal spheres that roll over the Earth and destroy whatever is in their path. They don't exactly chase humans, but they do roll through more populated areas. My family runs and runs and runs. We head towards the coastal cliffs. We run through scaffolding of the side of the cliff, that presumably the aliens would not attack. We keep going, the thing rolls by and keeps rolling.

We meet up with some other people and go into this beautiful, coastal house with our community. Under the house, the group has built an extensive network of underground tunnels, with windows that open up in the cliff so that we can get light. You might not even know you're underground. We wait in the house until we hear that distant rumbling, and then run downstairs to the underground portion. The thing rolls over the house, destroying it, but we are all safe underground.

There is no way we can figure out to destroy the things yet, as they are extremely tough, metal spheres and we Earthlings don't know their weakness yet--but there is always a weakness.

We start hanging out in the beautiful underground house.

Last night I dreamt that it all made sense. Everything I did and said that night that I am now so ashamed of took on ordinary, understandable meanings. My words became innocent and well all laughed.

And then I came up with the idea for Fear Factor.
I dreamed I was on my way to school. Chris called to tell me that it was going to rain and I should change my pants. I told him to forget it, I was already late for school. I was late for homeroom, I considered going straight to my first period, but knew if I did that I'd be marked absent. On the stairs there were some handicapped students being helped up the stairs, they were moving slowly, so I went down the hall to take another set to my homeroom on the third floor. On the second floor I walked past an office. Inside was Joe Biden dressed as a judge.

The next dream was about Rebecca Loudon's 3 cats. A dominant male was beating on Paris the Genius cat. I told somebody to open the closet and make sure she wasn't trapped inside. It turns out, she had been.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I dream this some time ago. I dream that I have a bike, it's blue, it's a good quality bike, and it's too tall for me.

It's mine though. I ride it around campus. I'm free on my bike, and I'm empowered.

I lock the bike up--I attach it to one of the bike racks on one of the streets that border the quads.

I want to tell you that I've ridden my bike that's too big for me--that I ride it all the time--because I know you'd be proud of me that I've finally learned how to ride a bike. I'm proud of me.

But in the dream, as in life, we aren't talking.

I don't have the key to unlock the bike from the rack. And a part of it gets stolen.

I'm too small for the bike anyway.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I have moved into my new home in Ottawa. The house is huge, with interiors defined by flat, glaring white surfaces. Every room is tinged with a cold, clinical blue. The house exudes loneliness. I move through hallways and a bedroom and see two sets of sliding closets, unimaginatively placed parallel to each other.

I move to other parts of the house and see that it belongs to O's family; I’m their guest. The knowledge doesn’t lift my spirits—they’re not my favorite people. With the knowledge that this giant house is for a family of four, the spaces seem bigger than ever. I walk down a wide, white hallway to peer into O’s room. The king-sized bed is rumpled with toys and possessions tossed about. Objects—too much material wealth—litter the floor.

In another part of the house I see her younger brother. Small and nerdy, sporting oversized glasses with brightly colored rims—the trendy kind—he sits before a super-sized computer, eyes fixed on the screen. One hand deftly navigating the mouse, a vapid smile on his face, he is learning Chinese. As the words scroll by, he selects the characters he needs extra help with remembering, or that are otherwise important. The computer talks to him as he engages in this expedited process of learning. I see an unfair advantage at work.

I move to a workshop or display center, where Uncle L shows off the fancy centerpieces he has made. This is his hobby. Although he thinks of these items as high art, they actually look just like the expensive, pointless home décor sold in bourgeois chain stores such as Pottery Barn. As a form of appreciation for my looking at his art, he presents one of the centerpieces to me as a gift. It is one of the more boring-colored of the pieces. He could have at least given me a brightly-colored one.

Last night I dreamt that I was a virgin princess, and I was captured by three gods: the dragon, the dirt, and the dark. The dragon, the dirt, and the emptiness. The dragon, the emptiness and the grave. They were in competition with each other over me—it was a game for them, who could keep me, who could capture me from the one who had kept me. I flew on the back of the dragon, red scales and muscles flexing under me, until the emptiness pulled me away. The emptiness flaunted me until the dragon swooped in and took me back. Back and forth, back and forth, each taunting the other with his prize, just wanting the game to continue. And then we were in some building and I don’t remember who had me, but the dirt snuck in and the dirt grabbed me and pulled me along behind him down the stairwell, down and down and the dragon couldn’t follow and the emptiness was left behind, down and down until we were in a dirt basement, and I could not get back up and there was water running down the walls and there were rats and crawling things and the dirt did not even pay attention to me there, just tossed me to the floor and I cried and I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to get out. And somehow I managed to send a message to the dragon and the emptiness, to let them know where I was, so they could come and save me. And somehow I managed to get out and they took me again.

And I realized, I am in love with the emptiness and the dragon. I love their game. I love riding through the sky on the dragon’s back. I love the feeling of the emptiness enclosing me. I am in love with them. I do not want the dirt. I do not want the grave.

Except, later on the grave decides to woo me. He whispers look at this bed I have laid for you, and the other two will never notice and just come with me for a little while. And I am cautious; I don’t trust him, but I think that after just a little while, I will go back. And so I say yes. Take me away with you. Yes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The dream I had last night must have been detailed, but I only remember one moment, and that’s the part right before I woke up. I don’t remember where I was, and I don’t remember if I was even myself, but whoever was conscious in the dream pointed out a very large, caterpillar-looking insect. It was about five inches long with furry spikes along its back, and I believe it was white. The last few moments of my dream involved this caterpillar finding another insect and killing it, taking it in its jaws and crushing it. A voice in my head said, “Why does he do that?”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There was a terrible apocalypse that made everyone's money sticky and no one could get their money out of the ATMs anymore. It had something to do with an anarchic, communal effort to pour maple syrup into the machines. Since apocalypses require one to make quick decisions, I had to make a split second choice about whether I wanted to spend the rest of my life indoors (in a building like the art deco American Airlines hangar at La Guardia Airport, the building with that beautiful font) or outdoors. I couldn't find Peter, so I had to make a choice that I thought he'd make so we could find each other. I choose the "indoor" option, and when I moved indoors, I could see his face pressed up against the other side of the glass. I made the wrong choice. So I begged and begged the "indoor" leaders to let Peter join us indoors, and they gave in to me. But when I ran up to meet him, I realized it wasn't Peter. It was someone impersonating my husband to get indoors and that again, I fucked up.
Last night I dreamed that I returned to high school after a mysterious absence. In the cafeteria a bully girl sat in my seat. I asked her to move. She wouldn't. So I picked her up and slammed her against another table. I held her down and dared her to free herself. She couldn't. She told me that I was "insanely strong" and I added that I was very angry too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I dreamt that Ron Silliman had ended one of his blog posts with the words, "My weird."
My first night back home I dreamed the following things: funny-shaped pills, driving to many cities, a cheer/dance routine performed to a poem, a poet complaining about his sex life, a party, a mall, looking for a toilet in a salon and senseless murder.
I had a pleasant dream about Bill Luoma last night. Bill was going through my pile of books to get rid of, asking about the poems I planned to read last night. He had really good recall of poems of mine that were similar to but (in my mind) not as good as the poems I had intended to read. In my dream, I gave him the logic book that I have not yet given him in real life (Naive Causal Modeling, volume 1), and I talked to him about the advantages of backwards causation (part of the book argues the possibility of backwards causation, i.e. the idea that things I do today might have caused past events). I argued that backwards causation might enable Bill to change elements of his past life if he wanted to, by triggering backwards causation with his actions today, but Bill thought any past events he might be causing today had already happened and thus were unchangeable. But I said that meant that the effects would be determining the cause which is impossible. . .

In my dream Bill was using a baseball bat like a walking stick and spent a lot of time pausing to think. When he did speak I often felt surprised by what he said, and I had to think about how to respond to it. I guess this is my impression of Bill: soft-spoken, casual (not causal!) in affect, but deep, as if when you say something to Bill it takes a long time to float down through his attention, but when it's fully registered he comes back with an incisive but very light response. I'm always interested in conversation dreams which show me my internal models of other people, which are mostly about a mixture of gesture, timing, and tone. It's interesting to think of having these simple models of other people's way of presenting in one's own head--I wonder to what extent these models get triggered when doing, for example, email?

Very complex dream last night, in which many past events of my life had happened differently/been substituted for. In general, the main difference was that I hadn’t moved to LA in Summer of 2003 (when I married Tova). Instead, as I realized while chatting with my old friend Phil Poulter, I taught at MCC in Texas (which had been vastly expanded, to the size of a university) where I was exploited during the Spring 2003 semester by being given only one class [this is a reference to how I was treated in NYC that semester at John Jay College of Criminal Justice—I was cut down to one class which damaged my economic prospects in the city] and further exploited (in the dreamlife, at dreamMCC) by being forced to edit the student newspaper for free, in return for a chance to teach more classes in the future. I kept running into my students from the 03 dream-semester, smart, affluent, mostly Asian (dreamMCC had demographics more like UCI than central Texas, and I think the students from the “dreamclass” referred to the students in my Art of Poetry class at UCI in Spring 2001—probably the single class I have most enjoyed teaching, to naturally thrilling results (I won an award!)—the sort of class that I feel like my friends with PhDs and “real” teaching jobs have the chance to teach all the time.

In the dream I had had to more or less write the student newspaper myself, with help from a handful of kids in my “dreamclass” (which was just a comp. class) and it had been short, naturally. I had been dragooned into doing it because the person whose job it was had been on leave, maybe pregnancy leave (a reference to how I filled in for a teacher on pregnancy leave in Fall 2003 at Cypress College, where I was also poorly treated [classes cancelled in summer 2004]—interesting how the referential dates revolve around Summer 2003). In the “dreampresent” the student paper was huge and done by students. It occurs to me that dream MCC represented all the community colleges (since MCC was the first one), and Phil represented all the colleague-friends from the community colleges (since he was the first and best one).

Then found myself at the Martin house conversing with Phil P and James Sherry. Alcoholic subtext, but not directly mentioned—just that kind of conversation. Someone was puking in the garden. Then found myself in New York City (Williamsburg) for John Ashbery’s wedding [?]. Everyone involved very shy of publicity. Many old southern gentlemen talking about John, comically mock-pompous orations. Teenagers recording everything with camcorders, the tapes from which were meant to be confiscated at the end of the ceremony, but some of the parents of the teenagers [poor relations!] plot to sneak out with tapes to tell to the tabloids. So, a confidential wedding and it’s unclear who the other groom and/or bride was, so also a one-man wedding. There is a lovely circle-dance of teenagers pointing camcorders as they spin. It ends with confusion, as there’s a general effort to confiscate tapes, poor relations screaming and crying as the tapes [negotiable memories] are pulled away from them. I am the poor relations of course, as much as [no, more than!] I am Ashbery. I would like to be Ashbery, which is different.

After the wedding, I start driving home but have drunk too much and lose control of my car in a small tree-lined neighborhood just north of Williamsburg [very funny—suburb with lawns where Bed-Stuy should be]. I crash the car in a yard. I get out, and find my head is bleeding. I know if the police catch me I’ll get a DUI so I decide to walk home. I have to walk with no shirt on because I’m using my shirt to collect blood from my head. I go into the backyard of a suburban house and find an outdoor pantry from which I take a bottle of water. I worry that I’ll get punished no matter what I do next, because the crashed car is evidence against me, but on the other hand if I’m sober when they see me who’s to say I was drunk when I crashed. (The answer is, the wedding guests will narc on me.) So I walk and find a small southern-style convenience station, the sort you’d find where one one-lane highway intersects another, with a Bubba type dude inside. He doesn’t care I’ve got no shirt on and a bleeding head. I ask for directions to the train but he doesn’t know shit. Then I walk out and some tourists point me to the train. It’s the train to Manhattan (where apparently I live). I find a backpack on my back, put on a shirt for the train, find my head has stopped bleeding and my vision has cleared, and off I go. It’s actually the 1/9 train (misplaced, and of course the 9 train is discontinued now).

Dream seems to reference my comments on “backward causation” on my blog yesterday, the idea of changing one’s life through a natural, unnoticed process of backwards causation where actions today cause events in the past to unfold differently until there you are in a different present—my dream runs with this [nerdy] idea of an unstable continuum.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Why on earth are we painting the walls stark white?" This is what I'm thinking as I dip my roller in the paint and slather it on the wall before me. I'm wearing a long, cream-colored silk wraparound skirt printed with pale pastel flowers. It occurs to me that this is the wrong garb for painting, since it will probably get ruined by paint drips. There's another woman here, painting the wall adjacent to mine - a stunning, slender black woman with a large afro. We both dip and roll without saying a word. At the exact same moment, as if by design, we both set down our rollers and step back to assess our work. I'm still thinking how boring it is to paint the walls white. Suddenly the other woman shakes her head violently, and a rain of bright purple paint flies out of her hair, landing in big splotches on me, on the walls, everywhere. We look at each other and laugh.

The hand that touched my elbow was cold, and felt clammy. I turned to look back in panic. It was perhaps my startled reaction and the expression of alarm on my face which brought a sudden, amused smile upon the face of the person I found standing before me. The features of that face were like a sketch from a distant past, his right hand was covered with a white bandage…and it looked a bit dirty. I forced my mind to recollect where I had seen the face. It was like those drawings one made as children, where the trick is to keep moving the pencil chronologically on the dots till a face is formed on the paper. I stood on the sidewalk, trying to recognize that face, feeling fuzzy brained. The person, who was standing before me, kept smiling all the while, watching my confusion. Not helping, not speaking at all. Just smiling mildly. The drops of rain fell in a soft spray on him, wetting his hair and clothes, but it did not seem to bother him.

He just stood on the pavement. Smiling. Involuntarily, I extended my umbrella towards him; to save him from the rain, and to my sudden, absolute horror, I saw the face and the form disappear. It appeared as if he was dissolved in the pouring rain. I was holding out the umbrella in an empty space. Few passers by gave me vague looks and I pulled the umbrella back, feeling foolish and scared. My heart was beating hard. I could feel the pulse throbbing in my temples, inside my throat and behind my eyes. In my half awake state I saw the raindrops roll down my window pane.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A casual swim begins in calm, blue waters. First I’m alone. Then I hear others laughing and splashing. The waters expand. In the distance there’s a small rocky island. I start swimming toward the island, but then a breeze comes up and the current pulls me off course toward a cliff. At the edge of the cliff is a black road; beyond and far below is where the ocean begins. A fog settles in. I feel a sense of panic. Then it lifts and somehow I can see under it and over it, but not through it. Now the stars are out. I’m walking on the road. I hear my brother’s voice. He and his wife are in a cave with pale walls. They’re waiting for me with a small fire and a meal of bread and cheese and wild greens. Before I take any, I realize that I’m holding a key. When I look up, it’s daylight again and I’m facing a locker on a busy street corner. But before I can open the locker, I have to empty out my mother’s closet. Most of what’s in it is old and stained and doesn’t need to be saved. Then I find a familiar looking towel. I retrieve it for the locker. There’s a field of corn stubble between her closet and the street corner. While I’m crossing it, I see a young woman standing alone, her back turned toward me. She’s been crying. I don’t know who she is or why she’s unhappy. I ask her if I can help. She smiles and says it’s too late. And I think, how strange that we are standing here in a field. How beautiful and lonely and sad everything is.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The other night I dreamed that I went to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. I got my glasses out of my purse so I could see. There were a bunch of hovering objects over her desk. She told me to focus on the pickle and tell her what I saw. Is it improving or getting worse? she asked. The pickle was getting worse, it was blackening. As I contemplated the pickle, I became aware that the pickle represented the masculine.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dream # 2:

Some of the last words I wrote before coming to this place were "with wings." With or without wings, I now find myself flying over a rugged desert landscape. Make that without wings. I look at my outstretched arms and see that they are indeed arms, not wings. Now they're stretched out to the side, now palm-to-palm in front of me, now held close to my sides. Yes, this is effortless!

Soon I lose interest in how I'm flying and focus on the rapidly changing landscape below. I swoop down low over a boulder field and wonder how it would be if all the rocks were the color of lapis. Instantly they change to a deep, luminous blue. Now I'm flying high over waterways coursing through an emerald forest, now over an ancient city.

I'm suddenly aware of the precariousness of flight. A disembodied voice says "you know, this is a dream." Out loud I say "you know, I can do this in my waking life too," and awaken here.

Dream #1:

I am reading Pedro Páramo, whether the novel or the play I'm not sure. But this much I know: there is an elusive passage that appears and disappears. Sometimes it's there, sometimes not. But it changes something about the book/play, deepens one's understanding of it if one is lucky enough, or maybe astute enough, to catch it. I'm sitting here reading the book/play intently, and Sidney is here in the room with me, sitting in his comfortable chair, waiting to see if I catch the passage. Suddenly I see it, and it's as if a light has lit up in my head. Only now, as I look up from the book in excitement to tell him, he has vanished from his chair, as readily as the passage itself and the ghostly inhabitants of Comala.

Screep, screep, screep - it's 2:11 a.m., and I'm abruptly roused out of the dream when my car alarm suddenly and mysteriously sounds outside.

Monday, May 4, 2009

dreamt that me and Ramsey Lewis were renting rooms from Linda. Linda was an eco-terrorist...her and her girlfriend would rent houses in Contra Costa County, plant forests inside the houses, watch houses be overwhelmed by trees, and mold, and spores, and leaves, caves would form, rooms would crumble, houses totally destroyed, forests began taking over the neighborhood. Ramsey Lewis and i reneged on the rent and got the hell out of there.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Klaus Neumann was in my dream last night. Structurally it was a familiar sort of dream.

I am with a group of people, one of a group, colleagues from work or university and we are planning to meet Klaus for coffee. Somehow our group breaks into smaller subgroups and I become disconnected from them. I am standing alone below a tall building with an overhanging veranda. On the veranda itself I can see one of these subgroups of people playing a game together, maybe darts or ten pin bowls.

Their laughter echoes across the courtyard and I feel left out. I want to join them but cannot figure out how to reach them. In the meantime I am aware of Klaus who is supposed to be meeting us all. I do not want to miss out on seeing him. Across the way I can see another elevated veranda on a separate building and I know that Klaus is there with one or two others. I am jealous of these people. I want to be with Klaus.

In the dream, somehow even without seeing him, I know that Klaus is busy and preoccupied. He has no time for us, least of all for me. This is what I call the structural familiarity of my dream. It frames that old sense of exclusion, of not being wanted. When I wake up, I think in my logical and adult head that it is simply because Klaus has not yet responded to my email of a few days ago. The longer he takes to reply, the more rejected and unwanted I feel. But I must not take it personally.

Friday, May 1, 2009

- dreamt I lost my entire life last night. Even my plants.
Sarah Connor broke into a corporation run by the mob. She is frantically photocopying/printing documents, information from the company that she needs. There's a young male employee with her, a slovenly, slacker-type who's cracking jokes. He does not get the seriousness of the situation. Sarah senses that the terminators are near and tells the employee they need to go. He doesn't understand what's happening so she points to the security monitor. It shows rooms full of dead employees and the mob's heavily armed security forces shooting large machine guns. The security forces are quickly mowed down.

Sarah takes the employee to another room, perhaps a safer one, and continues to print out the documents that she needs.