Sunday, December 29, 2013

in the dream i had shaved hair sort of like Aimee Mann in til tuesday and had chinese slippers on and was taking the bus in Narragansett without any money or design. i somehow ended up at a green boutique where i was chatting with Amy King and other female poets about eco feminist poetic manifestations (i still had no money) ... not sure how this all connects Myra Thibault-- but maybe i should come to NYC for New Years?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I had a nightmare about AWP last night--it felt like a bizarre conference of accountants in old Vegas. Had the feel of Leaving Las Vegas in that weird, sad but beautiful last attempt to hold on to what, we're not even sure. There were old-style ice machines and dark hotel lobbies with faded rugs in grotesque patterns. It also reminded me of a hotel I stayed at in New Orleans once, which was haunted and abandoned-but-still-inhabited and the water ran brown, and the curtains looked like old residents. (We moved to another hotel.) Not sure if this means I should go or not go.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weird dream: I dreamt I visited Skrillex's website and it hacked my computer. When I tried to exit the page, it would just stay on it and kept playing this guy's music and showing MacPaint art he'd made as well as quotes from his stupid short stories (does Skrillex's write?!) There was a counter on the top right corner of the page that would count down for when the screen would flip to another image. Below that there was another counter for how long I had to hold the power button down in order to turn off my computer. The power down counter was always longer than the image counter. Every time the image flipped, both counters would reset to a higher number. I tried to turn off my wifi but nothing helped.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lately I've been in a musical stage adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life; I play Uncle Billy, the buffoon who loses the money. So last night I dreamed I was wearing my old-fashioned Uncle Billy costume, and I was with Joan Crawford in an apartment that looked just like the one in Wait Until Dark, which of course stars Audrey Hepburn. I wasn't romantically involved with Joan; I was just a friend. I'm straight, but in the dream there was something vaguely gay about me. Like Audrey, Joan was expecting a violent intruder. People kept coming to the door, and as soon as she opened the door she'd wop whoever it was on the head with her big purse. He'd fall and tumble into the apartment, and we'd see that he was the landlord or milkman or something. “You must excuse her,” I'd say, “she's expecting someone much less welcome than you.” Then a bunch of people in 40s clothes barged in through the back door. Joan knew them well; apparently they were family. They were strangers to me, but one of them was my cousin Gerry, who looked a bit like William Powell in his antiquated get-up. I tried to get his attention, but he pretended not to recognize me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Dream 8 December 2013
My father appeared in my dreams last night , the first time in many years.  I recognized his stooped height, his low voice, the shape of his face, and most of all, his state of mind.  My father was a man possessed, alcohol soaked, as if a demon had taken over the workings of his brain.
My father was past standing and had spread his body out across the floor, ready to die.  Only he would not die.
I wanted him to die.  There were others in the room, sisters, brothers, cousins, all as I remember them from when we were young.  And although no one said as much, I knew that every member of my dream felt as I did; we wanted this man to die.
My father lurched himself onto his feet and came over to me.
‘Will you come to dinner with me?’ he asked.
I hoped I had heard wrong.  I did not want to join my father for dinner. I did not want to spend time alone in my father’s company.  But I could not be so bold as to say, no.
I went instead to my mother and she made excuses for me, which my father accepted.
Resigned, he flopped back onto the floor, his face next to a machine that gave off some sort of froth, which I knew to be toxic.  Soon the fumes would overwhelm him.  In the meantime I needed a shower.

In a communal bathroom, shared by many people, not just the members of my family, I tried to pick my way through piles of dirty, discarded clothes to find a towel that might suit me.
In the meantime someone took my place in the shower queue.  Someone seated on a toilet next to the shower and I remonstrated with her.
She backed off.

Monday, November 18, 2013


       I hear that Betsy is going to have her little girl audition for entry into a private music

school.  She’s to sing a composition of her choice.  Thinking this might be an interesting

diversion, I decide to attend.

       When I arrive at the auditorium, it’s already overflowing with mothers and their

daughters, all around ten years old .  This is no orderly audition; some girls are singing to

piano accompaniment while others are running about.  I worry that Betsy and her kid

haven’t yet arrived.

       I listen to the last few girls sing.  They don’t sing well and they’re nervous.  I watch

them being hurried upstairs (apparently no one has failed part one) for their “interview”.

      Then Betsy appears, very dressed up in a long gown.  Her daughter, very cute, very

poised, very scrubbed, is also wearing a long dress.  A pleasant pianist gets ready to play

the music they’ve brought with them.  The auditorium is empty, except for the four of us.

     The little girl begins to sing a difficult piece, sensitive and esoteric.  She’s clearly 

extraordinary.  The first line of her song begins, “I care….”   On the strength of her

singing, she needs no interview.

    The director tells Betsy (who winces sharply) that tuition is $1780 a term, and rambles

on about where and when to send the girl’s trunk before leaving us alone in the room.

     I ask Betsy how she obtained her song.  “It’s from your poem,” she said.  “I set your

poem to music.”

    “I’d like to send you another poem,”  I say.

    The three of us, happy at the outcome of the little girl’s audition, continue to talk a

while before going home.  At this point, Betsy notices that I, too, am wearing

a long gown.  It’s soft organdy, white and ruffled, tiny green leaves and flowers all over. 

Betsy says to her daughter, “Doesn’t  Irene’s dress look like lettuce?  Taste a little.”

     The girl takes tiny false nibbles at one of the ruffles.



       Scavenging at the beach, we spy an old shovel in the sand.  I doubt its merits but we

take it with us.  My eye passes over the terrain: sand, sea, and gulls.

        In a continuation of the dream, I’m there again, but only a small, enclosed area of  

beach is revealed.  It’s the view from my kitchen window.  The courtyard is the  

beach; the three levels of rooftops beyond are the sea.                                           

        I pick up a small stone and throw it into the ocean.  I am amazed when it    

 boomerangs!  Back into my hands falls a soft, resilient object, like a child’s stuffed    

 animal, pinkish in color.  It then becomes a baby, though not a real one.  However, I

 treat it as such, carrying it to a house I think it belongs to, then caring for it myself when 

 no one in the house pays attention.

        I throw a second stone.  It bounds back as a wooden elephant, ears painted white on

dark blue, a child’s toy with moveable legs.

        The sea becomes a flexible sheet of clear cellophane.    I ask a bather for precise

directions to the Staten Island ferry.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Everyone was dressing to go to something for a writer who was very sick and either did or did not know it.  I kept telling all the writers, poem and prose writers, that her writing was like a big negative thing that sucked people into it. I was screaming this. Some people didn’t like me because I said this. I offered to take anyone who wanted to the service for the writer who was oblivious that it was a service for her. There was a mother and daughter who were very large and the daughter decided to ride with me in the open car. Air was very important. I could see that parts of her body stuck out and showed beneath her clothes. She wore a long black skirt that gathered at her waist and still I could see one of her bones.

I was wearing many different patterns and finally took one off in the form of a scarf. I felt more all together after that removal. We walked up and over the hill past the people at tables and through the gate that was on the street side. The fence down low was like a picket fence, only more colorful. Once we got through, that left us on the outside of a rail fence that still had bark on it and had the natural shape of tree branches. We finally got to the car and it was red. The poet who didn’t like that I talked about the sick girl’s negativity squinted slightly when he saw me, to avoid me. That was the last I saw of him.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wow, it's been almost 2 yrs since I last bothered to describe (a) dream(s).  Last night was fitful as usual, maybe a little more so.  I started a 1 wk juice fast yesterday, I'm only at the end of the 1st day.  There was a period in my life when my dreams mainly consisted of fighting off thousands of people trying to destroy me, maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions - that was easy enuf to recognize as an exaggeration of my waking life.  I didn't succumb, I always FOUGHT, & got more & more impossibly tired.  Last night I was fighting again.  Sortof.

I was in a big spacious rm.  Nothing as simple as a rm such as one might ordinarily encounter in a house - more like a warehouse space w/ multiple vertical layers not necessarily organized around any readily apparent purpose.  It seems that I was fighting w/ at least 2 males, maybe 4.  I might've also had some friends, who weren't fighting, maybe 2 or 3 or 4.  Anyway, I apparently killed 2 of them by throwing objects that hit them on the temples.  It was all very amorphous, or, at least, my waking memory of it is.  Did these enemies exist?  I remember a high platform?  One of the enemies might've been there.

I was trying to leave, trying to clean away the evidence before investigators came to discover the murders.  But I was doing so in a chaotic, dysfunctional manner.  I wasn't doing things like wiping away fingerprints.  & where were the corpses anyway?  Maybe friends were helping me, maybe we were all dispirited, it was a horrible enervating situation.  I was half-heartedly hiding some small things, like C batteries, in something like a partially busted cabinet, in one of its broken interstices - knowing it wdn't really work..  &, yet, there weren't any investigators, they were just a possibility.

I awoke & eventually went back asleep again.

I was in another, more claustrophobic, mostly empty rm, hypothetically an interrogation rm..  but there weren't any interrogators..  just the feared threat of them.  I was thinking about what I'd say about the murders.  Did the victims actually exist?  Wd I just be trying to fool the investigators if I sd that I didn't remember?  If I sd I didn't actually know whether I'd committed the murders or not?  Wd pleading amnesia be accurate?  Or was this something other than amnesia?  An actual amorphousness of 'reality'?


My environment was taking shape around me according to some sort of sub- or un- conscious force, perhaps wishes.  The rm, not the same rm, not the interrogation rm, became a store for used odds & ends, something like an antique shop.  I was w/ friends, fellow musicians, maybe Kenny Haney, maybe Neil Feather, maybe, later, Brian Wolle.  The shopkeeper was showing me a Bb clarinet, an unusually LARGE one but still straight, not like a contrabass one, eg.  I explained that I'm not a clarinetist & that I might not be able to get much out of it but that I wanted to try it.  I arranged the reed so that it was on top & sat down to play.  Even tho it was an 'ordinary' Bb clarinet it was so long that its bell reached to between my feet while I was sitting.  I was trying to stabilize the clarinet so that I cd get my fingers on the keys but the clarinet kept turning.  The bell wasn't completely circular, it was about 2/3rds circular w/ a flattened side.  I thought the flattened side wd go on the floor but in that position the keys were torqued wrong.  Of course, if it were an actual clarinet in waking life, I cd've spun the bell to whatever position I wanted it in - but in the dream that didn't occur to me.  The shape of the bell changed as I tried to look at it to see what the problem was.  Now, instead of a circle w/ a flattened side, it was a circle w/ 2 flattened sides forming a "V" w/o the dramatic angles of the letter "V".  I tried to play the clarinet but only got a squeak.  In waking life, I wd've been more proficient.

None of my friends were in the rm so I went in search of them in an adjacent rm, perhaps like an arm of an "L" in relation to the rm I was in w/ the clarinet.  I like being in rms w/ instruments & when I'm somewhere where there're none I often feel like the rm is missing something important.  In this new rm there were a plethora of instruments & I was excited.  & many other objects to.  I gravitated toward what initially appeared to be an oversized upright piano, perhaps one w/ more than 88 keys.  It was partially obscured by other miscellania.

As I got close, I was excited to see written on it that it was a "Mirliton".  "Mirliton" had another word before it, like a brand name, but I don't remember that now.  In waking life, a mirliton is a membranophone activated by blowing, like a kazoo.  But in my dream I was thinking of it as an automatic instrument, like a calliope or some such, the type of thing that the Bayernhof displays in Pittsburgh or that House of the Rock displays in Spring Green, WI.  Excited, I called to my friends to point this out & confirmed that it had doors on its front that cd be opened to display its inner workings.  Then I noticed that the doors were unusually small, that they'd apparently been glued shut, & that there were little screw holes that showed where small knows for opening the doors had originally been, now removed.

The proprietor came over to examine it, he didn't realize what he had.  But as we examined it, it became increasingly flat, rather than free-standing in the rm, as it had originally been, it became more & more reduced until it was just a canvas, perhaps 3/4" deep, hanging on the wall.  There was no keyboard, no lower body, even the appearance of small doors had become sketchy.  The proprietor & I awkwardly removed the canvas from the wall & put it on the floor & then he walked away.  Surprisingly large creatures started to scurry off from their nests in the canvas's stretcher frame.  At 1st, a very large centipede, then a very large spider, then a mouse, then an 'impossibly' increasing number of mice.  When I called the proprietor's attn to this one of the mice seemed to be a baby rat instead.

I wrote earlier that "My environment was taking shape around me according to some sort of sub- or un- conscious force, perhaps wishes."  But it wasn't quite a lucid dream.  It was more like me discovering the nature of the way dreams ordinarily form.  It's not like they're just 'there', they BECOME THERE as I create them w/ whatever drives are bubbling to the surface at the time.

In the midst of all this, I awoke at one point & wrote down this phrase: "Damnable boys on innuendo state, she said".  I've been keeping a list of such phrases thought of while half-asleep since the mid 1970s.  I call it "Telepathy Research Training".  But I don't recall having added any new phrases for at least a decade, maybe for 15 yrs.  Was last night's sleep a time when some sort of unconscious dam broke?  Did accumulated cholesterol work its way out of my (he)arteries? 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I learned of the novel, The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd, through advertising at Fictionaut.  I clicked on a photo of it, though I tend to read few new novels and reread classics, then read an account of it and an excerpt.  I liked it.  Early the next morning I dreamed just before waking that Amy Grace Loyd sang to me and my publisher her praise of my writing and my way of representing it.  Her language seemed untailored to my situation yet enthusiastic, and my praise of her, though I have not read her novel, was precise and equally enthusiastic.  My publisher, as I am forced to know him after three decades of friendship, stood by me as we withstood the gale of Loyd's approval.

Friday, November 1, 2013

20 October 2013
Last night in my dreams I died.  I knew I had died because a letter arrived saying as much.  I had been involved in some mystery murder.  A young man had been killed by an unknown person or persons.  I was involved in tracking down his killer.
I do not know how I had died or why, only that my family had begun to grieve but they forestalled their grief when I reappeared only for their grief to start up again after I told them I could only stay a while until we had solved the mystery.
And there was a scene in which the video cameras in my dream replayed a segment in which the father of the dead boy had shaken him under a particular wall in their outside garden, because the man had kept secrets there and the boy had inadvertently trodden on the place where the secrets were concealed. Was this father the murderer?
I do not know the nature of his secrets only there was another scene in my dream movie where the man/father/murderer was rowing out on a lake alone in a gondolier type construction with a large silk hat on his head and fancy clothes.  A cross dresser of sorts.
Something sexual in the secret?  Isn’t that always the way?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Inside the church of St Ignatius I wait for others to arrive.  I have been carrying around a long and skinny rooster which nestled in my arms until it tried to get a foothold and clawed at my skin.

‘Leave off,’ I said to the hen, ‘I’m happy to tote you around but not if you claw into me.’

The chook flapped off to join the other hens of whom she seemed afraid.  This hen was different.  She did not fit in.  The others sat atop the altar, perched high, more like pigeons than hens.

A priest in my dream who seemed both nun and priest was on his mobile phone asking about a new job.  He had wanted me to hang about until he was told one way or another that he had the job or not.

This decision weighed heavily on him, on me, on us.  We two were in love, much like the main characters, Father Peter Clifford and Assumpta Fitzgerald in the TV series Ballykissangel.

A priest in love with a member of his congregation.  Unthinkable, and yet, here we were.  Chaste as yet but filled with desire.

And then the head of the organization, a lay man but still religious, on his way to the priesthood, gave me instructions about how I might cut the table cloth to size.  There were rows of tables all adorned in white in readiness for Mass.

‘Could you carry the offertory things?’ he asked me, 'the bread and wine up to the altar.'

The idea unnerved me.  I had not done this before and would need to rehearse.  I wanted to be involved but I was on the periphery of belief in that I had none.  Still I relished the ritual.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The survival place started out as a hobo camp, but there were things for sale on the honour system. I was carrying my baby and we were doing okay, but we needed something like socks. Before this, we were in a room where my mom and my brother were. There was Lego on the floor, a little yellow building. My baby was there, too, and my main concern was taking care of, protecting him. I escaped into the woods with my baby—it was raining lightly. There was a very tall man whose stuff it was that was for sale. He gave or sold me something and shrunk down to a normal size. We went into a motel there on the shore of the lake. It was then that I was addressed by the name “Jack” but also realized that some people knew me as “Teddy” from an earlier time in my life when I had done something terrible—or perhaps done something I thought of as justified but which some people considered terrible. I walked through a huge complex that seemed to blend elements from hippie survival treehouse and rundown motel. My wife was there. My baby was not. The tall man was also gone. I realized that the place was being run by witches. I also realized it was the same place Teddy’s crimes had been committed, but most of the evidence of what the place really was had been covered over. I changed my hair, now extremely long, and instantly my face changed and I looked exactly like my sister. I was disguised. I showed my wife, who was at the mirror. She was not all that impressed. I escaped again into a rowboat with a woman from the Teddy era who sneered that she remembered me from then and knew what I had done. By way of denial, I said “I’m Jack,” and the rowboat now contained a somewhat unfinished-looking doppelganger of me as well, staring blankly and menacingly at the woman. “That’s Teddy.” I was on shore again, but in a car with my wife. It was still raining. We were going to a big, grey building to see about some kind of expensive medical procedure for her. When we got to the parking lot, the attendant sold us a day pass for $35. We only wanted a $5 one hour pass, so we were yelling at her, but she seemed apologetic. Inside, there was a smaller version of a common corporate coffee chain. The lineup was very long. I got in line.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"My name is Davi Det Hompson," he said, "but you can pronounce it however you want." Some in the audience thought this was audacious. Wanting some more mystery. "I'm from the southwest. One of those towns where there aren't any children. So there aren't any crows." He was sitting in Leo's desk at the new Division Leap. "The number of crows always corresponds to the number of children in a town. IT has to do with the tires. That's why I do what I did. I didn't want to 'heighten language' or have a dialogue with the potentiality of the book. But I didn't want to write poetry either. I wanted my language to seem to be alone in the desert."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I just had a dream a few hours ago where I wondered how to approach Zeus respectfully on my upcoming visit to Mount Olympus. Should I actually touch his gigantic feet or not?