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.