Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On a pedestal in the shade of the ash tree at my childhood home, a large wooden bowl has just been filled with pipe tobacco. An old uncle happens by. Delighted, he fills his pipe, lights it, and draws on it with great contentment. Then he departs, disappearing into the atmosphere, which seems to be made more of memory than it is of air. I find a pipe in my hands, the one I keep on my desk that belonged to my father’s brother before he was killed in the second world war. But when I go to fill it, the wooden bowl on the pedestal contains damp, mostly decayed ash leaves. And so I clear the bowl with my hands. Soon thereafter, it’s filled with tobacco again, how or by whom, I don’t know. I’m joined then by a friend I haven’t seen since my father’s funeral in 1995. He sees my pipe and says my uncle’s name. I fill it, light it in his presence, and inhale. “Ghost notes,” is my reply.
it's 5 pm & I'm sitting at a cocktail table at a train station. I walk to the counter.  the clerk has bleachd-blond hair but the stubble on his chin is dark.  I ask him if the 5:45 westbound is on time.  he says it's ahead of schedule. so ahead of schedule that there no longer is time for my complimentary mini-massage. as I walk back to my table I see my cousin Regina in front of a mirror.  she's removing makeup & crying.  when I return to the table I spread out newspaper clippings my mother sent me.  hidden in the clippings is a twenty dollar bill.
the sound of a real train wakes me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Last night I dreamed it was snowing again thick blankets of it and a woman was floating around my house in a orange caftan an intruder and I dreamed I jumped out of bed to wash my hands and the soap turned into chocolate chip cookie dough and I felt dirty.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Last night oh god I dreamed I was Henry watching from the outside a very very exclusive and expensive boys' school. All the boys were dressed in white satin in the manner of the 18th century courts and they sat in a row of white chairs holding white violins with the strings outward (Henry never play violin as far as I know but there is a bass violin in one of his paintings) and the boys' left hands were draped casually over the top of the violins' scrolls and they slouched in their finery and laughed among themselves and teased one another in the manner of the wealthy and spoilt. When their teacher sounded a tuning fork several of the boys' heads came right off and went zooming around the room and the rest of the students got quiet. I was writing everything down as Henry. Alone and watching trying not to get caught.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I had a scary dream last night that I was walking across a kind of ice field while talking to my mom on the phone. Then I could feel and hear the ice begin to crack and shift, and I got sucked down into the swirling, freezing water underneath. I was still holding the phone, but I was stunned, or the wind knocked out of me, and I couldn't speak to tell her what was happening. I lost my grip on the phone, and the current pulled me farther and farther away from it. I was less upset about the possibility of drowning than about losing my phone--that is, having no way to reach her.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last night I dreamed of blankets of snow falling thick and white and silent and other little weirdnesses trying to get in trying to make their way into my brain. Our room is high up and I refuse to shut the curtains because I love the sound of the city and so and so I freeze. Yesterday three of the four terminals at O'Hare lost power completely and no one knows why.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I dreamed of a series of industrial freezers, the size of shipping containers, in which there were racks of seafood, scallops, prawns, crayfish and salmon.  I was free to select from an assortment of these treats for the barbeque.

I had started to cook the scallops, fast over a high hot flame when I realised that others might prefer a whole fish – a whole fish, which I might bake on top of the hot plate one side at a time.

My mother had died not long before I had started cooking and someone came to me and offered a piece of her for the BBQ.  I was revolted by the thought, but no, this person insisted, it is not unconventional to prepare a part of the dead person for consumption.  She arrived soon after with what looked like a trussed fish but was actually my mother’s arm.

I wince even now as I remember the sensation and the thought of not only cooking but eating my mother.  I could not do it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

acrobat/green bra/lacerated tongue

Dream I am a little girl and I’m a gymnast/ acrobat. My father is my trainer or we have a father/daughter act. The father in the dream is not like my actual father, nor is the mother like my actual mother. I am being prepared for some kind of competition. Also I think my mother is a dentist. She is referring people to an oral surgeon. I think the oral surgeon is also my dream father. She brings him a beer, and he has a fit, because it’s the kind from a can and not from a bottle. So she refers a patient to another oral surgeon. For some reason I am talking to that surgeon. The patient has had a hard time eating food and enjoying it. I said, is it because he bit his tongue and he has lacerations? And the surgeon says, yes, exactly, how do you know? And I say, oh, because I have experienced that, and I show him my lacerated tongue. Showtime is approaching and I need a costume. I guess I am old enough to need a bra because I am trying on bras. One was emerald green satin with ribbons… but I need a whole ensemble… and there is a bit of an issue because I invert, so I need something that will not be too revealing when I do so… I suggest black lace shorts…. I must have figured out something because showtime comes… it’s in a playground…. I was so worried about the routine, we’d gone over it so many times… and I think I accomplish it but to be honest I had a very troubled sleep last night and I am not really sure, my jaw so clenched, and up between 3:30 and 4:30, drugs notwithstanding.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I visit some place deep in rural Japan and decide to live there… Alli Warren too is there… I move from my apartment here in Brookyn to  there because one day  I take a walk in that village and there is snow but there are also jonquils… and in a tree.. something I think is first a snake and then a tiger but ir turns out to be som kind of giant SKINK

but with markings like a tiger or spotted horse… it is all so unbelievably magical, the beauty of the nature around me, that I feel I have to live there

anyway… it seems that I and Alli have married farmers… we have married these simple and crude farmer guys of the countryside  I have sold my apartment and moved into this other apartment.  I have gone through my clothes and moved from Tokyo or New York or wherever I was.   many of the clothes I have to sell and get rid of because they no longer fit me, I’ve become so thin and anyway I don’t need them in the coutryside

and… I go back to my classrooms in Tokyo or New York or wherever I teach… I have these huge classes there… and I tell them I am moving to the countryside… I talk to Nancy about it she says yeah I almost moved there at one point….

I say it is so beautiful there… and I have come to the place in my life where I need a change

and I hitch a ride back to the country side with some people I don’t know… and it’s weird… I ask if we’re going north… but I can feel we are driving south… and they say yes… but it must have been another road, one I don’t recognize, because we go through a kind of neon Chinatown las vegas kind of place  and I say, oh this isn’t right… and somehow I get back to the village… where there is a little pub… something about a little pub… anyway I am in this new apartment… I guess with my farmer husband?  at parts of the ream I am single other times not… anyway… I notice that when I look out the window… which is oddly shaped… that I see these sort of snowy muddy dots… not the sky… and I hear a rushing sound… and it seems that there is a giant flood… pulling me along… rushing… and I notice… that I am not in my apartment any longer but in a boat…. and I am there with my husband… and I we have never had sex before but we have sex for the first time, I guess because I am so grateful to him for saving my life.... he must have carried me up from the apartment to the boat...

and also it seems we have two kids

and Alli in a parallel situation has two kids, or maybe three… and it turns out we are in this flood, this flood, see, and  when we are saved we are in someplace urban.  It is a combination of NY and SF… but the thing is that now we have these bumpkin husbands and all these children to support… there are these giant documents on brown cardboard paper bound with huge magenta staples… listing all of our duties as rural wives… and there are scenes of me with I guess my mother or grandmother in laws going over the rules… there are piles of vegetables in plastic colanders… traditional ways to prepare things… and they are teaching me

and there are manuals about how to behave… rules… like, even though in extreme poverty do not steal the soap from public restrooms (I remember thinking about the varieties of scented soaps available here in the urban US)… OK so but then I realize that I had fallen asleep in the apartment and not the boat, and my bumpkin husband had saved me… I weep and weep

For some reason I am also supposed to start graduate school  and I am preparing to do that…Maybe Alli too.  We are town.. now we are out of the countryside and about to go to school, what do we do with the husbands?  the children?  The feelings are riotously mixed.   I am so grateful at having been saved.  But I want to be free. There is a huge public hearing in a kind of basement space.  All the local citizens are brought in…I guess this is back in the countryside.. and the huge books with magenta staples are brought in…

and it was about at this time I became fully aware that this dilemma was not a real one but only one I was so overwhelmingly dreaming.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I was offered a choice between two bright-red plastic harmonicas. I said I’d start with the small one, which was about eight inches long. The other measured about two feet. I started to play, and soon my coat grew tails as I smacked my right foot on the sidewalk, noticing the flecks of star-like grit as I did so and almost slipping into the gutter. A crowd gathered. I had no idea what I was playing or where it would lead, but suddenly finding myself in need of a spectacular high note, I had to use the ringing in my right ear — the ringing in my left being an octave lower — and when the people heard it — I could feel its forceful exit as of a great wind rushing through my head — they broke into applause.

Monday, February 7, 2011

dream: "escape"


I was in "Paris" although it didn't look like Paris
I had to take a train
to get to the cineplex
which was one of the only things
to do there
so it really wasn't Paris
and it was actually a kind of
or museum of the moving image
and there was one "exhibit"
that would put you in the movie
in some marvelous computer-generated way
and I couldn't at first see what the results were
but I did it again and then I could
there were war films, and science fiction,
and fantasy
and art movies and porn, and walking
in golden gate park
or some park that looked like it
but the amazing thing about this
technology was that the resulting film moved
in several "strips" from right to left
and also vertically
and sometimes it would replace all of
a person or object with me
and sometimes just a part
so sometimes I'd be
flying through the air
and sometimes it would be another woman's
breast in place of my breast

and at one point I was back here in NY and
Bradley showed the film
and now suddenly I remember Gary was there too
I guess we were still together? but in the film
I had had an "affair" that was not just computer-
generated but real? I don't know it was one of those
dreams that kept repeating elements
I think.

I think also there was another exhibit of a similarly
non linear and disorienting film
although I can't remember how it worked exactly
it was a little like those "choose your narrative" stories,
I guess video games are like that but I don't know
since I've never played a video game.

the exhibit/movie was in a circular room and there were white wires with buttons
and I would push buttons to make another scene happen in the movie
or was it in experience? I don't remember if I was in this movie or not
maybe I was? maybe this was the one with the "affair"? there maybe was talk
of this movie having been "directed by one of two famous directors: one
was Cassavettes but I can't remember the other one.

but it is interesting especially because I had just been talking
in real life yesterday to my Thai student Nham, who is a filmmaker,
and super-cool, about how movies maybe started out trying to represent
our perceptions and have ended up reorganizing them. I realize
this is not a very sophisticated observation

but a dream is kind of a movie, right? and that there was a movie inside
the dream, and then that the movie was later "shown" to an audience,
to me extremely intricate.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Bill's Backyard, Bolinas"
by Tom Clark

Dead friends idly amble through the arches
The green bower makes over our heads;
In Bill's backyard -- framed for this flashback
To the days before, or perhaps during, the Flood --
Things are, as in a kind of moonlit masque
Lit up at night like the carnival scene
In Strangers on a Train; yet strangers
There are none, only friends; summer fog coming in
On the marine layer clockwork shuttle
Over the populous village in the dream;
Sea, hill, wood, numberless goings on;
Off in the distance beyond Elm somewhere,
Off beyond Ocean Parkway in the mists,
A whistle buoy intermittent; blue reedy
Spiritual openness of Eric
Dolphy floating from inside the humble shack
Taking shape as words, a cool
Geometrical language; then cloudy faces
Tossed up on the cresting waves
Beyond the reef, in the dream: ghosts
Waving, not drowning. So let's make this stroll
Through the underworld last.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Last night I dreamed I was living in an apartment attached to a restaurant. I walked out on the terrace of the apartment and outside was a long reflection pool kind of like the one at the Washington Monument only shorter and in it up close were two baby orca whales and they were swimming back and forth rubbing their bodies against each other and I told the owner of the apartment and she said she had to get rid of them and I went out onto the terrace again and there were two huge boulders and on each boulder was a giant pulsing pink octopus and I told the owner again about them and the third time I went out to the terrace someone had thrown a black and white live cow into the pool and the whales were feeding on it eating chunks from its side. I ran in to find the apartment owner but she wasn't around so I ran back outside to find her putting two bird cages in the pool and in each cage was a cat and she was pushing them out into the middle of the pool so I jumped in and rescued them.

Before I went to bed my cell phone rang and the little screen read AT&T Billing and I thought maybe I owned them money so I answered and it was my mother. I don't know how she got my number. I gave it to the hospital when she was there so maybe they gave it to her. I don't relish the idea of her having it but at least I know not to answer when the weird AT&T thing is on the little screen. I am positive it was my mother in the dream.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I was with my father and late maternal grandfather at an antique gun show in the parking lot of Eastern Michigan University. A Goodyear blimp like a giant hermit-crab croissant hovered high overhead. My father and grandfather toted their acquisitions toward an embankment surrounding the lot; I followed empty handed. (I haven't fired a gun since my teens.) My father uncharacteristically aimed his new old rifle at the blimp and fired. Characteristically, he missed; even more characteristically, he accepted failure with good-natured equanimity and turned to proceed on his way. My grandfather then seized his opportunity to display superior marksmanship. He took aim, fired, and missed. Unlike my father, however, he was unwilling to concede that the target was beyond his range. He took more careful aim and fired again, this time hitting a glass panel of the blimp. I heard a faint tinkle and saw tiny shards falling. My grandfather chuckled his bad-boy chuckle, and we all turned and started up the embankment.

Suddenly I heard a horrific crash behind me. Like the opera-house chandelier in The Phantom of the Opera, the blimp had fallen on the rifle show, crushing countless people! The wrecked blimp gushed a pool of gas that spread with preternatural speed. I tried to run up the embankment after my father and grandfather, who'd disappeared; but I stumbled and fell, and the gas got me.