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?