Friday, December 31, 2010

I woke up this morning having just dreamt that Eileen Myles had invented a board game (or written a book?) called Instant Evolution Is Going to Get You.  Then I dozed and in dozing composed lines as if I were writing the rest of the story, but I can't remember them now.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas Day dream.

I am driving colleagues to a conference.  I say colleagues because they are not friends, nor mere acquaintances.  I bear them no malice and yet I cannot say I am fond of them.  We are somewhere in London, or someplace like London.  The streets are gritty with the dust of centuries, dark Victorian buildings tower over narrow roads drowned in shadow.

A Dickensian London and I am driving out of it towards the green countryside where the conference is to be held.  At one point as I try to steer myself out of an awkward exchange with another car I cannot shift out of reverse.  I cannot bear to look in the rear view mirror for fear of what I might see.  It is only an instant I know before I will crash into something.

I can see my rear passengers through the mirror and in the process I accidentally switch on the eject button.  One of my passengers disappears for an instant until I manage to right the switch and he is back safe and sound.  He nearly ended up outside the car.

It is a bumpy journey.

Then I am on a bus travelling to the same conference but this time with my blog buddy, Jim Murdoch.  I know it is Jim from the photo he sets up on his profile, the same thick red beard, the same balding head, the same dour look, as if he is sizing me up for my worth, but it is I who is sizing him up, testing out his reactions.
           ‘I saw you on the television,’ I say.  'They put up an advertisement encouraging people to visit your blog.'
           ‘It’s because of my book,’ Jim says.  ‘To promote the book they promote the blog.’
           ‘You’ll have hundreds of hits after this,' I say.
Jim is unperturbed.  He does not blog for hits.  He blogs for conversation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My grandfather, alive again and in need of a shave. I could smell him when we hugged — that sweaty, vineyard scent of his. But his hug lacked his usual affection. Somehow, without a word, he let me know that I should have been to see him sooner. Practical, as always. And I, feeling guilty and not wanting to break his heart, unable to explain the difficulty of his request. My father, now, to the left, a step or two behind him, half grief, half shadow, looking at his hands. Was he wondering how long he’d been away? Did he know it’s more than fifteen years? Time is nothing when there’s light in someone’s eyes. Even when he’s dead, and gone, and here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In my dream a group of men invade our house, which is set up high on a hill.  The house itself has several floors with rooms sprawled in all directions.  I race upstairs to escape the men, one of whom follows me.  The rest accost my husband.  They have come for him.  Something to do with a court case in which my husband acts as legal representative.  They want to punish him.

I manage to get hold of my mobile phone and try several times to call the police.  The man who follows me knows this but he does not try to stop me.  By the time I get through to the police, the men are about to leave.  They have been in and out of our garden and back shed.  At the sound of the sirens they try to escape but the police manage to capture all four of them.

I rush to my husband who is now a battered wreck.  His bones are broken.  I carry him around with me before the ambulance arrives.  He is as light as a baby.  He is also broken in spirit and I know it will take a long time to heal, but at least the culprits have been caught.

Before this, we had planned a party.  It goes on regardless.  People arrive in droves, couples mostly with small children.  I am a young mother again and ever alert to the needs of my youngest baby.  Even as I have this young baby, my oldest daughter is still on the scene with her son, my grandson, who plays in the shallows on the edge of the sea.  I worry that he might drown.

My oldest daughter arrives on a motorbike with her husband.  Both have beards.  She is a bikie.  I find this strange but do not comment.  The house is in chaos and I begin to worry about how much I will need to clean up when the visitors leave.  Even as I will need to visit my husband in hospital.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I climb the stairs, one by one, aware of a figure leading me up out of darkness. At the top, I turn left into a room where a collection of psychoanalysts and healers treat patients with soft hands and pungent herbs. Someone I barely recognise, sitting behind a desk, tells me I don’t belong here and points across the landing to another section of the building. I enter through swing doors and am welcomed by a group of artists whose shirts and trousers are flecked with coloured paint. One of them directs me to a small room where two women are waiting for me. They smile coolly and invite me to sit down. They place their hands on my shoulders and press down hard as I begin to tremble. There is a rush of energy in my head and all sorts of lights flash and explode. I am sent hurtling through space to some distant galaxy, speeding through tunnels and twisting round dramatic bends. Finally I see a black circle, followed by a white circle, and am dropped into the middle of a crowd in the heat of an Asian night, watching and cheering as a robed Oriental gentleman is carried on the shoulders of his followers to a temple in the mountains.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I am Leo DiCap, running through the woods. As soon as I enter the trees, I am turned without my trying or knowing into a Black Jaguar. I am pursued by another invisible She-Cat spirit, who only manifests physically when I turn human, as I am exiting the trees into a clearing. She has the consciousness of a human woman, a betrayed lover. She pounces at me in my human form. I am chased to a circular platform, suspended high in the air, surrounded by fire and rocks on all sides. The circular platform has multiple levels, descending for hundreds of feet into  hot lava. Her friends, She-Wolves, are hiding, stationed on the descending levels, ready to attack me for what I've done to their kind. I am now a wolf, speaking in defense of myself against her controlling love, struggling to maintain my animal form. As soon as I lose it, she says "You know what that means." I yell "Circle Animal Fire!" and fight the wolves in human form. I wake up fighting the Mother-Wolf.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I dreamed I took care of two elderly women along with my usual charges, my children.  One of these women was my mother and she had recently undergone surgery on her legs.

We had been staying in a guesthouse in the country, sharing with other families. At one stage I was alone with my daughter and we were busy packing.  I had trouble filling and sealing off our suitcase.

My family had dined the night before with another guest family and I had found myself critical of this other family, particularly the father.  In my dream I could see that he too had trouble zipping up his suitcase.

There was something in this process, filling up and sealing off suitcases ready for transport that marked not only a departure, but also our transition back home where we lined up in turn for the bathroom.

I was in the middle of brushing my teeth and needed to close off the bathroom door, which had become one of those doors they build in horse stables – split in the middle on the horizontal.  I closed off the bottom half of the door but I could still be seen over the top.

My daughter stood guard for me, until I had finished brushing my teeth and then I made way for one of the two old women who had queued outside, toilet bags in their hands, still in their dressing gowns.

My mother used the bathroom first.  I pulled out a bath mat so that she would not slip when she left the shower.  She asked me to help her, not only with the shower but also with her leg exercises.  The physio had told her that she must start by stretching out her legs straight several times a day.  My mother feared she could not do this for the pain.  She sat on the floor tiles, naked, an old and wrinkled woman, her body sagged onto the cold tiles and I piled a towel underneath her bottom for comfort.

I watched as she straightened out both legs in front and I tried to imagine her pain.  She did not grimace and seemed surprised that she could straighten them out completely but she did not want to repeat the procedure.  She did, though.  I watched as she stretched her legs out three times and then I woke up.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

there is a man
a murderer
(the Columbine murderer?)
no. why do you think that?
wrong wrong wrong.

the bodies lay flat
around the Colorado
suburban home.

he is tall, has dark hair.
he has been following me,
around the places i know.
and two others.

we are on a porch.
he has been watching us,
in parking lots,
around my quiet thoughts,
he has been inside,
without permission.

he has already taken us horizontal.
our biographies splattered,
our secrets ripped.
i am ruined.
“You? You’ve never gotten an A+ in your life.”
is he right? no, he is lying.
i want to impress the part of him that can still make me feel worthy of his affection.

i think about ways i can cut off his head because his skin has proved bulletproof.

we take arms and squeeze.
i think briefly that i have won,
but it is his game.
i want to end his.

the bodies of my friends are cut into pieces and burned,
like vegetables in a line,
but thicker.
i think about toothpaste.
things that can fit into the palm of my hand.
this is important.
he cannot win.
those who do not value human breath should not breathe.

don’t forget,
there is no evidence.
In my dream have joined a writing group led by an eccentric man who spends most of his days when not teaching in bed.  I walk past his room.  The door ajar and I can see the man in his bed, under blankets up to his chin, his gaze fixed on the ceiling.  His eyes are like deep pools of sadness.

Two minutes later as people are gathering in the man’s lounge room, that from the perspective of my dream is also the Camberwell lounge room of my childhood, he is now in the centre of the room, loud and confident, however emotionally disabled.

I feel a shot of jealousy when the man hands back a woman’s manuscript full of praise for its content.  I wish it were me.

We settle down to a reading during the course of which I notice that someone has not turned off the tap attached to a hose in the centre of the room.  Water gushes down behind the couch and I want to interrupt to ask permission to turn it off but I dare not.

I mutter to the person beside me about what we should do and the teacher is furious at the interruption.  Who is responsible for this noise?  He decides it must be another man who sits in front of me and proceeds towards him.

       ‘Put out your hand,’ the teacher says as if he is about to cane a student.

       ‘If anyone’s responsible then it’s me,’ I say.

The teacher does not want to strap me, I can see, but he cannot back out of his threat to punish the person who made the noise, so he slaps me lightly on the upturned palm of my hand.

The class continues and I am now with a doctor about to operate on a fish that needs surgery.  It is a primitive form of surgery without the aid of anaesthetic and involves cutting out a section below the fish’s gills.  I wince as the knife cuts through the flesh and the fish falls unconscious.

Sometime later I open a case the doctor has sent to me, inside of which I find the fish now in two and still alive.  In one corner of the case and nearby I see something squishy wrapped in glad wrap.  I peel off the plastic and a frog leaps onto the flat of my hand.  It is the ugliest frog I have ever seen, a murky grey colour with folds of slimy flesh that hang over its jowls.  But it seems a happy frog and I realise the doctor has created this frog-like creature as an experiment: a new form of life however hideous.


In my dream my daughter’s boyfriend, a pilot, arranges to hire a plane to take us interstate so that we might attend a friend’s wedding. 
It seems a good idea at first but as time passes and it becomes more difficult for the young man to arrange a plane I start to have misgivings.  He is not an experienced pilot, as he flies only for pleasure.  He has not clocked up the hours of a professional.  I begin to imagine that we might crash.  Is the anxiety worth it? I wonder.  

I would be so anxious about the flight to and from our destination that I would almost prefer not to go at all.
Then I find myself in a restaurant with my youngest daughter.  I am dressed in night clothes, pyjamas that are made of some strange thick Hessian or herringbone fabric, like that of a tweed jacket wrapped around my legs.  We take a seat at a table and the restaurateur comes up to us and jokes about our clothes.  My daughter is also dressed for bed. 
We are killing time, I tell him, while waiting for the go ahead to fly.
Next I live in a tropical jungle.  I notice a young woman on board an animal of some sort careering into the jungle.  Ahead of her I can see that a dust storm has blown up.  I know it will be dangerous for the woman to go further but she will not stop. 
I send an envoy, a type of Tinkerbell fairy who lights up the dust particles in the air so that the woman can see where she is going.  The woman ignores my fairy who pleads with her to return.  The woman continues to ignore her until the fairy changes the colour of her clothes into a green shawl and the woman is so entranced by it that she snatches the shawl from the fairy’s shoulders and the fairy manages to turn the woman around and to bring her back to me. 
‘Sleep here with us, ‘I say to the woman, until the storm dies down.  I point her to the curved end of a long sickle shaped bed inside a white tent and zip up the entrance against the howling dust outside.  


It is summertime and in my dream I am on holidays in Japan. We stay in the hotel Nova in downtown Osaka.  I know it is Osaka although I have never been to Japan.

I have gone out this morning for a walk with my baby in my arms.  My baby is a boy.  He is dressed lightly in a blue jump suit and I carry him in my arms for convenience.

In this dream my baby drops in and out of my awareness, as he drops into and out of my arms.  One minute I carry him, the next he is not there.  At one point, when he is not there, I manage to take a tram into the centre of the town.  While I am in town I stop at a street vendor’s stall.  The vendor sells small Japanese sweet cakes covered in sesame seeds and nuts.
        ‘I’ll have a soy cake,’ I overhear one man say to the vendor in English.  The vendor is American.  I can tell by his accent.  He comments on how people do not tip in Japan, whereas in his hometown they always do.

The vendor works with his friend, a photographer.  He makes a joke to his customer about another customer and the photographer reacts by going back inside the small shop from where they produce their food.  He then pulls on leavers and presses buttons such that the floor tilts onto an angle.
          ' I’ll show you how to subvert reality,’ he says.

My baby once more in my arms is asleep.  His head lolls against my elbow.  He wakes up and posits a little of his milk – thick, white curd around his lips.  No sooner do I mop up the excess with a loose cloth nappy that hangs at my side, than more milk rises into and from my baby’s mouth.

Another man comments on the way the baby sleeps in my arms.
           ‘Does he ever get to sleep in a bed.
           ‘At night time,’ I say.  ‘We are on holidays, on the move.  We want to see the sights.’

I make plans to come back here to Osaka during the wintertime but I wonder whether I could ever bear the cold.  I do not have the thick coat necessary for life in the snow.

And what about the baby?

Monday, November 29, 2010

In a dream last night, I was ushered up a series of long and narrow staircases made of brown wood. They stopped and turned in switchbacks like those in a cheap apartment complex and by the time I reached the top there were holes in each floor I had to jump up and pull myself through. I was extremely high up and had a nauseous, sinking feeling. There was a red carpet and lines of women in furs and men in tuxedos, many of whom were my Composition I students from when I taught in New York. I walked into the theater where everyone was sitting and the lights dimmed. First, there was a teaser trailer for an unnamed movie that was just a loop of a moth flying out of a garbage can in a dark alley, and then a negative of that same image. Famed voice-over dramatist Don LeFontaine said: "Moths are a super cool dead animal thing...and thing." The movie started, and what was being shown was called "The Laurel and Hardy Movie." It was just a montage of explosions, people in Victorian garb falling down, and home video recordings of people on roller coasters screaming. It was only a few minutes long, and afterwards I left the theater laughing.

I woke up and realized I was laughing. My face hurt.

But I feel back asleep and dreamed I was in my neighbor's house where I used to hang out in the forest. I came in through the darkened woods and it was a different friend's house inside with a small staircase that led down to a big open TV room with a wraparound couch that covered 3 of the 4 walls. My grandfather, who passed away two summers ago, sat in his trademark cardigan smirking at me. I looked down and the professional wrestler Rey Mysterio, a luchadore in a colorful mask, was grabbing ahold of my leg and laying on the ground. I looked up at my grandfather and he smiled. I was hit with this overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, like he was happy that most of the possessions I had been given from him my grandmother were mine to do with what I pleased, and that only the memory of family matters, not the fact that I sold a lot of his clothes and coins to pay my rent. He told me, "you can't have everything you want, unless you want it."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I was punished with a nightmare from the culinary gods last night because I ate a cream cheese and cranberry sandwich very late. In my dream I was with some weird woman small with dark hair who very much wanted to be my friend. She begged me to go to dinner with her it seemed urgent. I told her I was a vegetarian I made it very clear. We were then in some old part of the city shadowy and dangerous and climbed up a bunch of stairs to a dark night club. We sat at a table and I felt something by my foot. It was a black corrective shoe the kind misshapen with cracked leather and I had to lift it to the table to get my dinner. Once I did that I was brought a drink in a shot glass bourbon I think and I drank it quick then I a oily man brought a platter of what looked like sushi but some of it had orange fringes like sea creatures and some looked vegetable in nature. I ate part of one and it seemed okay. The next course was a cat lying on a bed of rice. It was a black cat looked exactly like Paris the Genius Cat. The chef came out and insisted it was dead because I was stroking him. His one golden eye was open staring at me in pain but he couldn't make any noise. I got up and started a fight with the cashier telling them I was going to report them to the police.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I dreamed of my grandfather's boathouse last night like a little log cabin on Lake Pend Oreille with the boat slip attached the boat rocking in green lights and the giant carp underneath. I was in a feather bed in the house with a beautiful man with light shooting out of his blue blue eyes (a family trait) I was holding his face in both my hands (this is the second time I've done this in a dream in two weeks) telling him how beautiful he was and he was telling me we were some kind of cousins and the boathouse belonged to him now but it was okay for us to have sex. Creepy except I loved that boathouse with my whole goddamned heart and still do and I can recall every inch of it and the boat slip and the boat every inch is like a slide show in my head and that boathouse is a place I go when I am falling.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In my dreams this morning, fitful rolling dreams, one after the other, my house was in chaos, mess everywhere, the mess of years.  I woke from my dream, still dreaming and heard my sister and aunt arrive after a long trip.  They were in my kitchen.  I wanted to join them but it was hard to open my eyes.  They were stuck fast with sleep.

I had tried to tidy my consulting room in my dreams.  My children who were still young had been playing there.  The accumulation of years of toys and dolls and dress-ups spread across the room, behind cupboards and on chairs.

No sooner did I manage to clear one pile than I found another.  There was so much to sort, so much to pack away, so much to dispose of.  The piles were endless.  On my way down to the kitchen I noticed other rooms in the house in similar disarray, including the hallway itself and the kitchen.  It was as if all the toys and objects from my children’s childhood through a span of twenty years were still accumulating in my house and there was no more storage space.

I spoke to my aunt and sister, tidying around them as I offered cups of tea.  They had brought with them my uncle’s dog, a yappy dachshund with paralysed back legs that he dragged along behind him on two makeshift wheels.  The dog pulled at the edge of my skirt, harmless but irritating.  Besides I worried for my youngest daughter who in my dream was still only a toddler.

At one point I opened a door off the corridor and discovered a room I had forgotten over the years.  It had only half a floor laid down and I concluded this was the reason that we had kept the door closed, but then realised the non-floored section was in fact a water feature and deliberate, a pool in which fish swam and on whose surface, strangely, despite the absence of natural light, water lilies grew.

The walls were surrounded by fat books, books from my husband’s past, and my father before him, books we might never read now, the type of books you might see lining a Victorian library from floor to ceiling, grey with dust.

In the centre of one bookshelf there was a glass cabinet in which on the centre shelf my husband had laid out his toy soldiers, miniatures, meticulously painted, with rifles, swords and bayonets and fixed in the postures of war.

Strange I thought that I should have forgotten this.  It was like the discovery of a secret cave.

I rejoiced in the room's presence but knew immediately it would be a danger to my daughter who toddled in as I stood admiring the books.  She hovered at the edge of the pool and I scooped her up into my arms knowing I would need to close the door onto this room again until she was old enough to resist the temptation to drown.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Last night I dreamed for the entire night that I was sewing. Red satin dresses. Blue silk dresses. I was sewing them all by hand tiny perfect stitches. Right before I woke I dreamed I was sewing an intricate deep chocolate brown velvet Victorian hat. I was busy busy busy. I believe this dream means prosperity is coming my way that I can make it happen by believing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yesterday after visiting the hospital twice in a week to give blood I decided I would like an Advocate. I'm not sure what they are but lots of people in queue to give blood had them. I wrote about it extensively last night then deleted the post. Last night I dreamed my Advocate appeared and she was a chubby cross between Patty Duke from the Patty Duke Show including the headband and June Cleaver except she wasn't sweet as she appeared she was all business with had a soft speaking voice and a sweet demeanor. She was my Janus coming to visit. She had a huge book with plastic pages a scrap book that I never got to peek into but apparently it held the story of my life or a version of the story. Before I knew it I was on trial for being broke. My mother was there my father and his wife my step father and they were to be my jury. I asked my son to go hide in the closet and the Patty Duke/June Cleaver Advocate Janus began to question me. I answered her honestly but the screaming from the jury overtook my words every time I defended myself the jury screamed and shouted and fought. Finally  my Advocate asked me what about music? And I started to answer and realized my clock radio had gone off. I considered hitting the snooze button and sleeping another half hour but I was afraid to go back into that version of home sweet home. I woke in tears which sucks when you have a cold got up made some tea and crawled back into bed to watch Inspector Gadget on one of the invisible channels that come through at odd times when you don't have cable television. When I got out of bed to go to work I hugged my son who was not raised in a screamy house. I told him the dream. It made me cry again so  I'm putting it here to let it grow leathery awful wings and fly away.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last night I had no dreams

and woke up with no worries

The night before last I dreamed about "her"
and that morning when I awoke I had many worries

There must be a lesson in this  that is as I re:call

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 8, 2010

November 3, 2010

Last night I had two dreams that felt important. In the first I was painting women in blue dresses on a large canvas and every time I'd finish a woman she'd float off the canvas and up to the sky. Pretty obvious I guess. In the second dream there were two men in tuxedos side by side. The man on the left was holding a gold plate full of bees. The man was on the right was playing a viola de gamba. The music coming from the viola de gamba was the sound the bees were making a deep earth abiding hum. This dream was joyful.

October 25, 2010

Last night as I slept I kept dreaming that I figured out the trick to staying asleep and I did stay asleep the entire night using the trick which I couldn’t remember when I woke.

October 13, 2010

Last night I dreamed there was a period like this . exactly that size floating around in my left eye. I wanted to rub my eyelid but I knew if I did so more punctuation would show up and eventually start spewing out tons of it like flies on a rotten potato.

September 26, 2010

Last night I dreamed I was at the Poet House (always the same house with poets a beautiful huge house in forest with giant windows looking out) again only this time I was there with Peter Pereira. I was attempting with his help to put toothpicks in an avocado seed so I could plant it in water something my son did in elementary school. The toothpicks kept breaking and finally I found some Pick-Up-Sticks the kind I had when I was a child and they seemed to be working but the seed slipped out of my hands and fell into the glass of water and suddenly exploded into bright colorful flowers (the colors of the Pick-Up-Sticks) strung together like a Hawaiian lei. Peter and I were stunned by its beauty.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The room in my dream served several functions: as a consulting room, a classroom and a conference centre.  It was raining outside, and seemingly within.  There must have been several gaps in the tiles on the roof that let in what looked like waterfalls in every corner of the room and even in places in the centre, yet somehow the various people who used this room managed to stay dry.

It was only a matter of time I thought before someone cops a gush of water.  I drank a cup of tea and worried that the water from the ceiling might collect inside my cup and dilute my warm drink into tepid slops.  I worried that the old therapist in the corner who was conducting a session, a man I recognised from my past who is now long dead, might get angry when he found a wet patch on his chair. I worried that the nun taking the small group of primary school children at their desks might turn on me instead of the children she rebuked.  I worried that the people at the conference might ignore me.

Instead, one man, a Canadian came by and passed me a handwritten letter.  I tried to read the words but they were indecipherable. I could only make out that he had been friendly at the last conference and wanted now to send me his good wishes.  His wife had not been able to come this time because of their children.  That much I could tease out.  Perhaps she was pregnant again.

Before I knew it I was in a car accident.  I was a back passenger in a white Volvo station wagon, driven by another of conference participant, this time an American woman and she was now in a state of shock.  Her husband leapt out from the front passenger seat to assess the damage.  The rear passengers joined him.  No one was seriously hurt though a woman who had sat beside me in the car kept asking me to massage her back.  I could not quite get to the right place on her back to give her relief but I kept trying.

Meanwhile the driver and her husband and some other helpers managed to un-crumple the roof of the car so that we could drive off again.  It looked almost as if no damage had been done, though the driver was still in a state of shock and I sensed she blamed the accident on the quality of roads in Australia.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I was about to give a talk to my colleagues.  It was to be held out in an open field.  I was unprepared.  I stood near my car with its bonnet open and started to prepare from the few notes I had taken on an article by a writer whose name was Engel.  The book dealt with the way we attach and grow.

I had read Engel’s book some time ago and had taken copious notes but I had not pulled it together.  I had thought I might have more time to do this but then realised too late that my talk was about to begin.

The convenor clapped his hands for silence and was ready to introduce me.  I would need to bluff my way through, I thought.  I could ask the audience to join in and help.

Engel’s book included images from a series of films and photographs that suggest a link between what is real and unreal.  The way toys can have personalities. A doll, for instance, a Mirka Mora image can have a face full of expression, even with buttons for eyes.

Still I could not remember the names of the films to which Engel refers or events in much detail.  I had not had enough time.

I woke as I flicked through the book still trying to prepare myself as the convenor waffled on about trivia.  I wished I could go elsewhere and pluck out some meaningful quotes to make sense of the book.  But it was too late.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Last night I dreamed there was a bear on a rampage in a carnival. People were panicking and running and screaming. I thought the best thing to do would be to trap the bear in a room and let it calm down. It was impossible so I grabbed a baseball bat (there were multiple baseball games going on at the same time as the carnival) and went to look for the bear. When I reached it it was lying in a carnival booth enclosure. Someone had taken a shovel and had chopped off its hands and feet (paws?). It was awful, and the bear was in terrible pain, but couldn't get up and run away. Then whoever it was who had the shovel took the shovel and gashed its neck and it started to bleed profusely and we all knew it would be dead soon. I felt terrible for the bear, because all it had done was wander into a place where it didn't belong, and even if it had to be killed so that people wouldn't be killed, it didn't deserve to be mutilated, terrorized and humiliated.

The only dreams I seem to remember are the gruesome ones that wake me up gasping.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I had a book of poems by Cormac McCarthy. At first I was excited about it, but disappointment quickly supplanted my excitement: McCarthy was like Raymond Carver in that his poems weren't as good as his prose. In the dining room of a student coop where I used to live I threw the book away. Since it had become a large, bloody slab of plastic-wrapped beef, it hit the bottom of the trash barrel with a sickening plop. "You shouldn't throw it away," I thought. "You know how you are: you'll wish you had it back. Besides, the trash won't be taken out for weeks. The book will rot and stink." And I knew that throwing the book away would somehow make me a suspect in the recent disappearance of a ten-year-old boy. A drug-dealer--a fourteen-year-old boy with scraggly blond hair--approached me and, brandishing a knife, demanded the whereabouts of this missing boy. Then I was on the lam in the back seat of a car driven by one of my students. We were careening around slummy, nocturnal streets. Drug-dealers shouted jeers at us and pelted the car with garbage which my student windshield-wiped away.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A child’s doll has died. At his request, I ask his mother for permission to conduct a funeral service in a language no one understands. This she grants. The doll is in a shoe box, beneath a fastened lid. Sunlight finds us in the street outside. A lone trumpet: inside the box, the doll begins to sing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I had two dreams during that nap . . . one was about trying to help an old lady mystic figure out which food was poisoned (likely candidate: the pizza). There was also some possible upcoming scandal about people finding out my true relationship with a ladypoet pal of mine. It was strange because the incriminating poems were written years ago--why are people just reading them and putting it all together now?

In the second dream I walked into my "beach" bedroom. The furniture was rearranged, the blankets and curtains were white, it was really nice. I had a bunch of new clothes that I hung in the closet. Each hanger had a different woman's face. I'd tell each hanger how beautiful she was. There was a man in the room helping me. He then pulled out a map and I knew I was dreaming and it was time to pay attention because he was going to tell me something really important. First, he pointed out Neverland and told me I definitely didn't want to go there. He told me that I was currently in Ireland and that I needed to go to three places. The first place was called Homalee (Honalee?) (Homily?) and I need to get the _______ horn. I waited for him to tell me the second two places, but I knew this was all I was getting now and was about to get booted out of my nap.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I sit on a couch and my father leaps onto my lap.  He is naked and his penis flaps against my legs like a handbag against my shoulders.  It is flaccid.

He seems like a child, oblivious to what he is doing, and all I want is to get him off me.

Tall and lanky, like an oversized baby, he presents no threat to me, now.  He is simply a nuisance.

In this mornings dream I sat among an assembly of people, mostly men in dark suits.  They were a rowdy bunch,  of politicians on either side of the fence, the Labor party and the Liberals. 
In my dream, the Labor party held power, which happens to be true in reality.  The Liberal party representatives were clearly affronted by this fact.  You could sense their displeasure.  It bordered on rage.  They were restless to begin the meeting. 
A local journalist from the ABC conducted the discussion.  She called for questions or comments.  It was hard to get a word in but I had devised a question in my mind and shot up my hand.  Amazingly the journalist saw me and nodded.  I could speak after two others.
‘Now you Liberal party members know what it’s like to be without power,’ I said.  ‘So you should know how awful it feels to be humiliated.  Don’t you think it’s time the two sides come together and work for a compromise.’
There was a clang of disapproval.  My question annoyed the audience it seemed but no one had anything to say in response.  I feared for a minute that I had asked a nonsense question or at least a question that could not lead further. 
Eventually someone else took the floor and spoke, but not in relation to what I had said.  My words seemed to fade as quickly as anyone else’s words in this non thinking bunch of people who were just plain angry.
Our half hour time was nearly over and the journalist decided to call on Amanda Trimble, a well-known Political commentator, to have the final say.  I could tell that Amanda Trimble was a Labor sympathiser by the way she held herself, and the way she dressed.  It was clear she supported the underdog and despite the large Liberal party presence in the room she was also popular with the crowd. 
She basked in the applause, microphone in hand, before she began to speak.  People applauded, at least some people applauded, but others, mostly Liberal supporters began to file out. 
Soon there was a long snake of people leaving the room and the journalist had to call to them to stop and finish the meeting.  Someone locked the doors, but the meeting was over and Amanda Trimble never had her say. 
I was disappointed.  I had thought she might have put a full stop on this unruly and meaningless meeting, but it never happened.  The whole thing had seemed like a waste of time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

build a tiny cabin

1. in the dream
i found one of the 500 copies
of robert grenier’s sentences
for sale
at a convenience store
disguised as a deck of cards
in a vinyl pouch
and it is something like
when someone is learning a new language
and finally they dream
fluently in this language

2. in the dream
i also bought
three red pens

3. ‘to write poetry
after auschwitz
is barbaric’
-theodor adorno

4. the sound of a portland bus
your phone
to mine

5. performance
about sanctuary:
build a tiny cabin
preferrabley in a grove of trees
and allow people
to use it
[a reservation system
or sign up sheet
is probably a good idea]

6. dearest kate,
i arranged
an altar
for you
with water and chocolate
sequins and
the tiniest
glass bottle
of flowers
wishing you welcome-homes
on whichever side of the thin veil
you are currently residing

7. in the galley kitchen
three of us
the issue
of art
that dares
to have an emotional

8. leaves just threw themselves
through the flowers
more gently
than usual
you say
in a pre-sleep dream

Monday, October 18, 2010

Alexander Brailowsky playing piano on old HMV 78rpm records -- 6 preludes by some central European composer -- who wrote this intense serious music? -- how did Brailowsky come to record it? -- it sounds all the same on each of the discs -- loud thundering unremitting octaves in both hands

 I wake to sound of heavy rain on  the roof

Sunday, October 17, 2010

with my head besides the trunk of  a tree
 looking up toward the branches
 the forms took on what looked like a windy road leading to distance hills
a voice said
this is the landscape of heaven
 of the sky

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dream 10 October 2010
The Wild Ones
 I am in the middle of a passionate embrace with a young woman, whom I do not know by name, much less by sight.  Her arms grow tight around me and I can feel myself strangled around the waist. 
 I struggle to get free and can see now that the girl has a distorted look on her face, not of love but of malevolence.  Her front incisors  grow long and pointy like those of a vampire and I imagine that soon she will draw blood from me.
 We fight like animals.  We claw at one another.  I am desperate to break free.  The girl morphs into a series of monstrous creatures from fairy tales: from a female vampire, into a grey haired were wolf, into Beowulf’s Grendel.  The girl claws at my skin and it is as much as I can do to stay asleep. 
 I am desperate to wake from this dream and I shake myself repeatedly only to fall into another where I am travelling through some sort of seaside fair ground at night.  All the cafes and bars are filled with laughing, dancing, drinking and jostling people. 
 I know no one and search for a familiar face.  In the distance I see two old friends from my writing workshop days, but they rush on ahead of me.  They go into a crowded bar and I lose sight of them.  I fear they have avoided me deliberately.  They do not want to be with me.
 The weight of my sadness and loneliness is palpable.  I cannot enjoy myself on my own, not in this place designed for family fun.  Someone has thrown a long plastic sheet down a grassy embankment and I watch as a small group of boys slide down. 
 I fear that the ground might be uneven and dangerous as it is broken up with old tree trunks chopped off close to the surface, but I wake again and shift to the grade one classroom of my primary school.  There must be at least sixty children in this classroom and I am one of the bigger ones, taller too. 
 I take my place in the back at a low double desk with a slide in bench.  It is made of pale yellow wood and is shiny from age and use.  The nun in charge, whom I recognise from my primary school days, tells us to settle down and to write a story, any story in our brand new exercise books. 
 My story comes effortlessly.  I write longhand in grey lead, page after page about a farmer.  My story has an energetic flow and I find I can write for several pages, reach a turning point, and then come to a natural conclusion.  After no time at all, I have finished writing.  I put up my hand.
‘I’ve finished,’ I say to the nun in the front who looks over the top of her glasses.
‘You would,' she says.  ‘Begin another.’
 My second story does not flow so easily but it does not take me long to get page after page of handwritten narrative down into my book.  I feel proud of myself.  I know this nun thinks that I am a stupid ignorant girl, but at least I can write.
 A girl in the front asks the nun for help.
‘How old are you?’ the nun asks.
‘I’m three,’ the girl says, and I realise then that we are unevenly placed in this classroom.  I am five years old.  No wonder I can do much better than the littlies.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It is 5:00 AM as I write this.  Dream woke me up.  I was part of this
colony of religious type people who were living on another world.
Somehow I was one of the select few that knew of the existence of life
on other worlds which the rest were unaware of.  We had cities but
overall it was a small world with a low population.  Very low tech.
Reminded me of the group which doesn’t use electricity and what-not.
At any rate we needed outside goods and since our existence and
arrival we had maintained trade with other worlds secretly.  Somehow
though one of these worlds found something we had that was desirable
and an invasion was imminent.  There was this big meeting – like
sermon on the mount – there was a big amphitheatre which sort of looked
like the Grand Canyon and our religious leader told us we the Lord was
about to turn his face from us and a people would persecute us from
above.  We were told that we would retreat to “some world I can’t
remember” to wait until the scourge had passed.  Everybody had always
been told of these wonderful underground tunnels and how they were
almost like heaven.  Time passes – maybe weeks and then all of a
sudden the invasion begins happening earlier than we planned.  We
retreat as quickly as possible underneath.  Some of these big “tubes”
were also storage containers and underneath the ground all over the
world they were buried.   We were given weapons and told to fight.
This was not good.  None of us had ever fought before in our lives.
Asking us to fight was like asking us to go against everything we had
been taught.  So we lay down our weapons and run! We head
underground.  I remember one scene where this alien – not really alien
but human in strange war gear was throwing these spears at me which
had a really cool set of spinning blades on the end.  When they threw
them the wind caught the blades and they spun outward.  Anyway I
dodged like five or six and kept running.  So finally I get to the
underground access tunnel and I go in as well.  But we get in there
and it was basically a shithole! We were told how wonderful it was and
it was just a big cellar though it did have food and all the
necessities and these underground tunnels connected all the cities.
Well it was short-lived because soon we watched from above as the air
access ducts began to shake.  First one and then another and then
another which meant they were finding them above and would soon be
underground when they found the tunnels.  So we all retreated further
and I ended up in this strange sort of Greek architecture place.
There were all these strange areas underground which represented
periods from historical Earth.  So there was a Greek one, the Roman
one, etc.  Anyway there was these games you could play where you tried
to throw a baseball and squish a spider.  I wasn’t very good but I
played.   At some point they find access underground and invade.  We
are all captured and they come to inspect us and when they do it is
all people we know.  So I saw people from high school and college
there and they remembered me and I them.  Same for others I think.
But then somebody starts flooding the whole underground chamber along
with our old/new friends.  Then we all really panic because they
sealed the exits.  The water rises and rises until we are floating
near the top with barely room to breathe.  And then they open the
exits and this lady who was the leader says that we had to be baptized
in water to begin a new life and she didn’t mean to scare us.  All the
people who died in the earlier invasion then got up and were okay.
The dream ended with actual movie credits weirdly enough……
Dream 3 October 2010
 I had heard there was to be some sort of warfare and the government had called in all its troops – army, navy and air force – to do a reckoning.  I sat in my car at the entrance to the freeway waiting for the first of the army trucks to pass.  One squadron after another rumbled y, huge trucks and lorries with wheels the height of horses. 
 At first I was content as I waited for the soldiers to pass – patience as my civic duty – but after ten minutes, as aeroplanes flew over head and in the distance I could see a flotilla of navy boats in the bay, I began to feel impatient.  Would it ever end?
 Then I found myself at the airport about to get off a plane.  I dragged my hand luggage off the walkway only to discover that I had not packed it properly or that it had come unstuck during the flight and my underpants fell out of the top of the case onto the ground.  I grabbed them back in embarrassment, hopeful that no one would notice.
 I found myself in a motel room where the bar fridge was stocked with all sorts of beer, wine and face make up.  I wondered whether the make up might be free, part of the hotel deal. 
 A glamorous woman walked into my room.  She was connected to the hotel chain and began to use the makeup from my fridge on her face.  I followed her example.  It was the type of makeup my daughters use, blusher and foundation.  I do not usually use this makeup myself but I was impressed with the way the blusher shimmered though I needed to blend it in well, otherwise it stayed on my cheeks like a clown’s painted dimples.
‘I’ll have to be careful,’ the woman said, as she smeared the foundation more vigorously into her skin.  ‘I don’t want a chin line’.  She had a chin line I could see.  In fact she wore her make up so thickly she looked comic, more like a transvestite who tries too hard to look feminine than the young attractive woman she was.
 I thought she should not try so hard.  Several other women arrived, visitors to the hotel, and the woman in make up began her sales pitch, about the benefits of holiday here. 
 My alarm went off, the start of Daylight Savings. 

Dream 1 October 2010.
 Last night I dreamed I was driving my car loaded with children and people from my past and we were having trouble negotiating our way through the traffic on Tooronga Road. 
 To get out of tight corners there were several times when I needed to reverse at full speed while lorries and trucks rushed past in what is only an ordinary sized suburban street.  Somehow I managed to avoid hitting a single parked car, or more amazing still, I managed to avoid all the other cars and trucks that raced along in the busy morning traffic.  The sensation was one of being out of control and it was purely by chance that things did not go wrong. 
 The whole time I was behind the wheel travelling in reverse I expected to hear the crash of metal on metal, the smash of breaking glass, the squeal of tyres on the road.  It was a dream and therefore perhaps I did not imagine much by way of blood but several times during this hair-raising journey, the people in the back of my car exclaimed in horror when they saw that another car had squashed a large lizard that had been wriggling its way across the road.  It was a frill necked lizard, the sort that usually sun themselves in the centre of the Australian dessert.  It's significance came to me slowly in the dream.  My husband sometimes nicknames me, Lizard.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

In my dreams last night I am a schoolgirl again at our annual sports day.  Instead of holding the sports at the girls school, the same school my daughters now attend – though in my dream it becomes my old school – the teachers use the sports grounds and facilities from our sister boys school.  Boys’ schools tend to be much better equipped when it comes to sports facilities. 
I wander down long and steep driveways, initially in the company of one or two others whom I know well, but over time I lose contact with them and I walk on alone. 
At the far end of the sports ovals, the ground has been excavated and there are steep cliffs and stairs that lead down to the open sports field below.  Activities are about to begin and I am still not dressed in my uniform.  Some one has piled all the regulation sports uniforms from all the girls into the middle of a large table and we are told to wear any items from this pile that fit.  There is no point trying to locate our own uniform as it would take too long.
 I have trouble removing my t-shirt and I worry that I have no bra.  Other girls around laugh good-naturedly at the sight of my bare breasts but I am on the edge of feeling humiliated.  It is hard to get my clothes on and off.  They are too small for me, and too tight.  Eventually I manage to change into the white sports t-shirt and navy shorts of our uniform and I run out onto the field. 
 There are hundreds of schoolgirls everywhere and no one seems to be organising any events.  In one open field there is a circus tent filled with play equipment, the sort you might find at a fair.  Some girls have attached themselves to these machines and they bounce along the ground, up and down under the tent’s inner dome on stilts or suspended on pulleys.  
 It does not seem like a competition.  They are having too much fun.  Everyone seems to operate independently and there is no one to judge or take notes.  It looks like a free for all.  In the end a siren goes off and the girls abandon their harnesses and leggings and move on to the next oval.
 I wonder whether I will be expected to compete.  No one has told me in which relays or events to take part and I imagine, given how lost I feel that I might spend the entire sports day avoiding any activity.  I am not alone here.  In fact it seems to me there are no sports activities taking place whatsoever.  Just a crowd of schoolgirls wandering around in groups, pairs or singles, and all looking disorganised at best, at worst lost.  Like in a scene from a Harry Potter movie, we move in strange unknown worlds.

Dream 26 September 2010
 The knowledge came to me slowly in my dream.  My daughter had been accused of murder.  It could not be true, I thought.  How could my gentle first born be accused of such an act? 
 To make matters worse, my informant, a man I recognised from my previous workplace, told me that it was the second time my daughter had murdered someone. 
‘You might call it manslaughter,’ he said.  ‘I don’t.  She pushed a person to the point he fell, hit his head and died.  In my book that’s murder.  She should be gaoled for it.’
 My daughter in gaol.  The thought horrified me.  What of her infant son?  Waking was a relief.  To know it was only a dream, but then I fell into another in which a couple of loutish boys had managed to get into my back garden. 
 I had seen them earlier on the street and worried that they might throw sticks at my dog.  By the time I reached the side gate, which we keep locked to stop the dog from getting out onto the street, I could tell that the boys had already been inside.  The gate was askew hanging off its hinges.  I tried to right it at the same time as I held onto the dog by his collar to stop him from running out. 
 The boys must have heard me.  I could see them on the street in front and soon they were half way up my driveway.  I was not fast enough to bolt the gate.  They were inside my back yard again and into my kitchen in no time and with them came two others, an unkempt old man and a middle-aged woman. 
 The four ran amok in my house, overturning chairs, stealing food from the fridge.  They trashed the place and I could only watch helpless as my children stood around terrified. 
 I grabbed my mobile phone from the bench and dialled 000.  I dialled these numbers by instinct. 
‘Where are you and what’s the trouble?’ a voice said over the phone.  I gave my address. 
‘Some hooligans are trashing my house.’
I yelled across the room to the four invaders that I had called the police.  In minutes we could hear the sound of sirens. 
By the time the police had arrived, the two boys, the man and the woman had settled down.  Now they behaved as polite visitors and fooled the police into believing that I was the troublemaker, not they.  I had called the police out on a false alarm. 
The four intruders righted chairs.  They cleared the benches.  They spoke politely such that the police had trouble distinguishing who was in the right and who in the wrong.  I woke up. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In the dream I have a teenage son who I’m worried about. He’s a musician and artist, always in his room practicing his guitar or painting, and lately he’s been having some kind of internal emotional issue that makes him very hard to reach. Lately we’ve been arguing bitterly over the tiniest things. After these arguments he usually storms into his room and slams the door, or storms out of the house and slams the door. He won’t appear again until late in the night.

There’s been another development in my son’s life. An intense writer friend of mine, a woman around my age who has been over to our house for tea a number of times, has begun to reciprocate my son’s crush on her. I’m a little off-put by the situation but also strangely relieved that she will be my son’s first sexual experience. It settles the question in a way that feels somehow familiar and reassuring. Still, I am not at ease. My friend is a strong, sensitive woman and like all writers, she’s prone to moods of her own. My son is physically and intellectually mature for his age, but can he handle the challenges of adult emotion, an adult relationship?

One evening my son and I have an especially bad argument. He packs his gym bag with several changes of clothes and storms out of the house. It’s clear I won’t see him again for several days, that he’ll be holed up somewhere with his paramour during that time.

My partner tells me there’s nothing to worry about, but still I worry. I think about the kinds of manias and delusions that can result when two artists in distress come together and pour their souls out to each other. I imagine blissful states of communion but also the potential for horror: madness, murder, a suicide pact. My partner tells me I’m being melodramatic, that these are not artistic anomalies but simple human facts of life.

We start to argue about this, but our quarrel is interrupted by a noise at the front door. It’s my son and my friend, emerged from their exile. There’s a large canvas propped up between them, a painting they made together to commemorate their affair. The composition is stunning, and from the exhausted look on their faces, I can tell that the work was dangerous and far from easy for them. My partner invites them in for something to eat. I feel relieved, and proud of my son.

As I wake up, these words go streaming through my head: Every art collaboration is a death-tempting experience.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I am a young boy with a fistful of glass, blind and sitting in Ocean View Cemetery. Raymond Carver's grave is right in front of me. I hold the glass reverently, like it is three wilted daisies. The wind blows and it is warm, carrying the breath of the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu. I can sense her presence, feel her in my visionless world pushing the warm air all over the cemetery and I can hear Carver's gravelly voice over my shoulder.

He tells me a story he wrote about a man who was going around with the most beautiful woman in town. How he had been looking for love in every corner, to the ends of the Earth until he found her. For many years he was happy. Then he found the bottle... and he couldn't decide which he loved best. Couldn't give them both the attention they deserved or demanded. So he slowly spiralled downwards into silence. His wife jokingly called him 'Holy Man', because he never spoke, just kept his head down, glass in hand. His head was down the day she packed her bags and threatened to leave. He rocked back and forwards trying to shape the words in his mouth. 'Will you please be quiet, please' (the title of one of his collections of short stories). His head was down the day she left. He held his whisky like it were a woman, his eyes all full of love.

He speaks to me again. 'That's the way it is when love breaks down like a hunk-o-junk Ford station wagon in a busy shopping centre car park'.

Then there is silence for quite some time and I wonder if he has gone.

'Jezus', he says. 'That's a lot of words for this early in the morning'.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I dream I am in an elevator between first and third floor, alone.  I want to go up but after I press the button the lift jerks and starts to plummet downwards towards the basement.  It is as if it has come off its moorings. 
 It drops slowly, jerkily but I am not too fearful.  I believe I do not have a long distance to travel before the lift hits the ground.  I wait for the impact but instead find myself outside the body of the elevator and now in the lift well hanging onto the elevator cable, which has become a long suspended ladder with loose planks ascending into the darkness ahead. 
 All I can do is climb one rickety step after the other in the hope that eventually I might reach daylight and some way out of this dark lift well.  I cannot think for too long about where I am, or where I am going.  I dare not look back down behind me into what I imagine is a pit of darkness. 
 I am hopeful but fearful all at once.  It is simply a matter of holding on tight and putting one leg in front of the other, one step at a time. 
 Royal blue is the colour of my daughter’s evening gown.  We are in the foyer of a large shopping centre early in the morning before school begins.  Today is the day of the school formal and all the girls assemble in their evening gowns. 
 My daughter has her hair up on her head but she has forgotten the adornment she had bought earlier to put into her hair.  I run from shop to shop trying to find one, but there are none available. 
‘Don’t bother, Mum,’ she says.  ‘It’s alright.’ 
I cannot settle until I find one. 
 I have been through shops like this before in my dreams, and in my waking life.  Bright shops with pristine merchandise laid out in rows.  Bored shopkeepers and sales girls stand around ready to pounce, desperate for a customer, more for something to do, someone to talk to, rather than from any need to make a sale.  Though that would be an advantage. 
 These shopkeepers to whom I pitch my request are all helpful but none can supply me with what I am looking for.  It is a fruitless mission.
I am in Singapore at a conference.  I race from one talk to another and soon feel exhausted.  We have reached the final day.  The conference convenor is up on the podium thanking everyone for a successful event.  She promotes the next conference to follow in two years time.  It is a conference conducted by the International Association of Biography and Autobiography and I recognise many of the European and Australian delegates from previous conferences but this one is marked by the arrival of delegates from within and around Asia.  Women in silk saris and kimonos, men in long white robes. 
 As we sit around in one of the many lounge rooms at the university where the conference is held I notice a wedding take place between a young man and woman.  The ritual of courtship seems elaborate, for the man must first lay claim to his woman by taking possession of her with the authorities in writing.  After he has undertaken this, the man then returns to his wife-to-be and the two prepare together for the more elaborate ceremony.  This man however – a free thinker – has elected to pass up his patriarchal claim to the woman before the ceremony so that the two can be on an equal footing when they marry. 
 I am impressed by this procedure.  There is an actor among the last few delegates.  I recognise him from a play in which he stars at the moment and from his appearance.  I am surprised to see an actor at an academic conference like this.  He shows us how the light that we have seen flashing in the distance is actually a round electric light that can be submerged in the ocean and put onto a flashing rotation, hence the intermittent beam.
 A woman comes along and asks us to take off our clothes in protest against repression in this country.  I hesitate but in the end decide that I should join the protestors.  I sit in front of the bus that carries us to the airport and am now naked, uncomfortably so.  People look at me as though I am strange.  A group of women dressed in saris walk by with blankets so that I might cover myself.
‘Put your clothes on,’ they say.  ‘You are not decent.’  I refuse initially but in time when I notice that I now seem to be the only person naked on the bus, I decide that this derision is not helpful.  I manage to get a dress over my head. 
‘This is a Christian country, is it not?’ I ask a woman nearby and she reassures me that it is not.  It is largely Muslim and Hindu.  I have been confused, I decide.  I had thought that my protest was directed against Christian repression, now I am not so sure.
 We wait in a foyer for our plane to arrive.  It is not due for several hours.  The room is Singapore hot.  I watch the man of the bridal couple escort his wife-to-be on a bicycle up the banister of a staircase, an extraordinary feat.  I tuck one of the other conference delegates into bed, under my blankets because she is tired and I begin to wonder how much longer I will last myself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hi C:

I had a crazy dream last night and you were in it (as well as lots of other folks I know).  We were all at the beach (it sorta looked like Grand Manan off the coast of New Brunswick) and the water was very cold.  You spent a lot of time carefully raking up the seaweed and beach stones into small piles.  Very slowly.  It was beautiful.

Because I had this dream after finding out you have sarcoidosis, I wondered if this was a cure, or something you were supposed to do. 

In case it was a cure, I didn't want to keep the dream to myself...


Friday, September 17, 2010

Lice Plague
I stand behind my sister at the Queen Anne Dresser in our parent’s bedroom and see the two of us reflected back in the mirror, one tall, one short, one dark, one fair, one beautiful – to my eyes at least – the other plain. 
I take a comb to my sister’s tangled mess of hair.  There are clumps so twisted that the comb refuses to pass through and I must hold onto her hair by the roots before scraping at the unruly mess with the brittle red plastic comb.
My sister winces but I am so intent on the job that I do not hesitate to yank and pull.
There are scattered bits of twig and dry leaves, loose threads and bits of fluff throughout. 
‘Your hair is like the bottom of a wastepaper basket,’ I say.  ‘And there are old nit eggs everywhere.’  I pick at the white bulb of an egg half way along a hair shaft and scrape it off between my finger nail and thumb. 
I imagine at first that these nits are dead, that they died long ago when my sister’s hair was last fumigated, but a winged nit flies out of another clump just as I lift it in readiness to start untangling.
I race down stairs to the hairdressers. 
‘I need some Sm24, I say.  We have a lice plague.’
There are women seated at basins along one wall of the salon.  I recognise the New Zealand writer, Janet Frame, among them.  Janet Frame, as a child, her flame red mop of hair dazzling in the light of a single bulb that swings overhead.  Janet Frame, as she is envisaged in Jane Campion’s film of Frame’s autobiography, An Angel at my Table. 
We are in some sort of bunker and the hairdresser wears a mask on her face and a cap over her head for protection.  The room is full of flying nits that float in and out of the various heads of hair on the children who sit at the basins. 
My scalp starts to itch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My day began in the middle of the night when, after emerging from a tall building that consisted only of stairs, landings, windows, and walls, I met a friend in an open grassy area that might have been a cemetery had there been any graves. The friend, a poet with whom I have corresponded for several years but have not yet met in person, was much taller than I have imagined him. We walked together until we came to a rectangular marble slab about three feet wide and five feet long. About two-thirds of the slab was covered by an inset rectangle of the same relative dimensions and composed of a duller blackish-grayish material on which appeared the faded letters of some kind of message or text. I tried, but it was impossible to read. The letters were like willow wisps, curling and descending toward a dark stream. In a high voice, half recitation, half singing, my friend told me he had placed the memorial there himself, and that the work had taken him only a few hours. With his head held high and his eyes gazing off into the distance, he explained that the government would never have acted as quickly, that the matter had been discussed in Congress before and would be countless times again, despite the fact that the issue was already resolved. From this I understood that it was a war memorial — not for any war in particular, but for the ancient destructive fact of war itself. Then, in my mind’s eye, there rose up a cry in script on a recently excavated scroll of thin flexible stone flecked with bits of  fossilized dung and straw, a song of grief long since turned to dust and stars and unearthed bones. I looked up. I saw in my friend’s skull the place where his skin and eyes used to be.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

... going to a small dealer-gallery in a terrace house in some unnamed city. The dealer was selling a recording of a dull sounding rock group to a client. Enough of that. I went to go out: one floral wall-papered room with a floral-wall-papered door, led to another identically wall-papered room and so on, in series (a Robbe-Grillet/Last Year in Marienbad dream). When I finally got out of there, I looked around and could not recognise any of the streets. One was called Queensway. One led down a hill, but I knew that was not the way to go. I began jogging along laboriously in a street with shops, just keeping pace with two strolling middle-aged women. They found this vaguely disturbing. I needed to go back to my bed-and-breakfast, because it was already an hour after check-out time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dream of Father, October 6, 2009

I dreamed my father was still alive.  He came home & I hugged him!  He was young and virile & he showed the scar on his knee to verify it was him -- just the way Odysseus proved his identity to Telemachus.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The location of my reading series, Cadmium Text, suddenly changes from R&F Paints to an elementary school with tiny desks.  One of the readers cancels, so I ask Scott Helmes if he'll jump in.  He'll do it, but needs a ton of unfindable electronic equipment to display his visual poems.  Half the audience sits in the hallway outside the room, muttering.  There's no food, so I have to trudge around town (!?) looking for pizza while carrying heavy bags of poetry.  It's untenable: everything is too far, too heavy, I know no one but Scott at the reading (whom I've never met, but am collaborating with by mail IRL).

I wake up.  My already tennis-injured back seems worse.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Although we were eating in a cafeteria, there was a bird in this dream shaped in some ways like a canary and in some ways like a dove. It had blue feathers and orange ringed eyes, and its keeper, when asked when it was a canary, answered "It resembles a canary, and we can call it that, but its real name can't be shared."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last night, my first night out of hospital, and still sporting a broken leg in a thigh to ankle plaster cast, I dreamed that I had been out shopping in a type of bazaar, a series of stalls along a veranda. I moved below to the basement and realised that the warehouse my husband and I and some unknown others jointly owned was on fire. I knew this because when I went to the entrance the two metal doors were hot to touch and smoke seeped out through the central crack.

I went next door to ask a shopkeeper to call 000, but the shop woman refused.
      'It's too expensive to make such calls.' She did not seem to realise that her shop might also be in danger. I went to another shopkeeper and asked her to ring 000, but she too refused. I was beside myself. Eventually someone else noticed and called the fire brigade. They opened the doors to find a machine had been smouldering for some time. It could explode at any minute. In spite of the possibility passers by came inside the warehouse curious to see what was happening.
     'Get out of here,' I said. 'It's dangerous." But they ignored me. Mostly I worried about the children.

The dream shifted. A woman passing by in a car drew down her window and asked me for directions to a small town in Cornwall. She knew it must be nearby and I offered to show her the way. I climbed into the back seat between two other women who travelled in the same car and realized then that the driver was a man. We chatted as we drove along until the man seemed to go off course, off the main road and pulled the car aside into a cluster of bushes.

I realised then that they were up to no good. The man turned and began to make sexual overtures to the woman on my left. I knew then that he planned some sort of orgy and the women were all in on it, that I would be their victim.

I pleaded with them to let me go. I felt as helplesls as a caged bird. They were pitiless. I could see it in their eyes, in the set of their faces. They were hell bent on their own sadistic pleasures.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We couldn't find her so we went down to the water. I looked through a glass door—suddenly it was winter—where some kind of security guard in a diver's suit was standing on a rock ledge that jutted out into the water. She was lying there, half frozen in the water, her legs and hips frozen and locked into the ice. But she had only been there a few hours—how did this happen? It was clear that she had tried to kill herself. 

Then she started to wake up. I saw that her thumb had broken off and she was being woken up because the security guard was starting to thaw the ice around her. This had to be done carefully and slowly because her flesh could tear or limbs, frozen, could snap off. She was in terrible pain, and started to cry and moan. "My hand! My hand!" she said as she held her hand up to look at what was causing the pain, and she saw that her finger had broken off, leaving the bloody stump of a thumb.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In my dream we had decided to purchase a house in a rough neighborhood, although it made no sense. We took a down payment and went to find the owner. She gladly took the money and had all her family move out immediately. My daughter and I started walking from the front entrance to the back rooms of the house. There seemed to be a long hall with rooms off of it, and was mostly a place to sleep with lots of beds. When we got to the last two rooms on the first floor, we found two families still in bed. Evidently the woman who sold us the house had been renting out these two rooms and had not warned the tenants that the house was going to be sold. We told them that we would work with them until they found someplace else to rent. They seemed relieved but still upset that they would have to find other quarters. Then we climbed to the second floor and found a very large gymnasium that was being used by a school that was situated across the street. All the boys had on white uniforms. The gym was much longer than a basketball court. The coaches were surprised to hear about the sale. We walked towards the front and found that the wooden floor would move as if the whole structure was a large boat in dry-dock, without any supports. My daughter and I moved the ship from side to side, made it rock. Then we finally found a room at the front of the house that had a fireplace that was roaring. The room had leather chairs for lounging. There was one more family renting a room upstairs who had to be advised that they would have to find another home. Like the others, the whole family had cell phones and started using them to communicate their dilemma to friends and family.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I dreamed I sat on the front doorstep of my house and listened to her talk.  She spoke from some distance on the other side of the garden near the fishpond.  She spoke clearly but the roar of the passing traffic drowned out many of her words.  I could hear enough to know that she spoke of serious matters from the past.  She filled in the missing pieces.

I moved to be closer and soon we sat together in the front seat of my stationary car.  I was in the driver’s seat but she controlled the conversation.

‘I lost my baby,’ she said.  Tears welled in the corners of her eyes and I knew then that she had not been entirely childless, as I had once thought.  She now worked in the children’s hospital, and began to tell me about a mother she had met there. 
‘She was psychotic.’

‘How do you know?’ I asked.

‘The way she held a photograph in front of me, then tore it into little pieces.’

‘I suppose it is the manner in which she did this that would let you know for sure,’ I said.

 My car began to move into a slow roll.  I pressed my foot hard against the brake but to no avail.  We moved in slow motion and I worried that my car might run into my husband’s car now parked directly behind me.  I turned the key, and my car and accelerated forward, but I knew I could not hold it still once I turned off the engine.

‘Can you use a rock against the back wheel?’ I asked and watched as she selected one of the biggest rocks from the garden bed and shoved it in place.  At last we held firm.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

There was a house surrounded by water, bayou, swamp.  The house was on the smallest dry land.

There were many other women.

We had all come to the house.

There was a sense of frantic competition.

The man came home driving down the road and into the drive in a small, shiny, red and white, roundish, toy-like dump truck.

I got in it and drove it.  I could drive it but I drove it a little cuckoo.

This made him laugh.  This made  him like me.  I didn’t mean to do that but I wanted him to like me.

We laughed in the garage.

He laid down on the floor and I held him.  When I thought it was enough, that I had been bold enough and started to get up, he pulled me back and asked me to hold him tighter.  We spooned, we turned and faced each other, we smiled.

I wanted his love.  I wanted him to love me like he was food and water and I loved it that he chose me to love.

When we went inside, all the other women wanted his attention.
We went upstairs; we went downstairs.

There was one other woman fiercer than all the rest and she began to draw him away from me.

Longingly, I decided to sail the tiny red and white sail boat to the tiny island just across the way.

I hoped that he would see me from the window upstairs and come with me on the little boat so that we could be on the island together alone in love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

on my last night at Coral Sands in Hollywood I dreamt I was a guest at a tribute to Jean-Claude van Itallie. my entrance was announced by a spotlight. my smile was that of a star. after arriving I began an intense conversation with Linda Hunt. I awoke in mid-sentence. it was 6:30 & hummingbirds were busy in the courtyard.