Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dreamt I was the principal dancer in a ballet version of Waiting for Godot.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I dreamt that a British couple was walking through the newsroom.  They were looking at our nameplates.  “Who are these people?” one of them said, as if we weren’t there.  I had a feeling the woman wanted one of our jobs.  I started talking to the woman, who also turned out to be a poet.  I sensed that I seemed shameless to my fellow workers.  The woman and I went for a walk outside.  I asked her about her poetry.  While I couldn’t understand her accent perfectly, I gathered that her tastes were Victorian.  I said we seemed to be on the opposite ends of poetry.  During the walk, the woman became worried she would miss her subway, a G train, which ran above ground like a suburban train line.  I said we would be able to see it coming over the landscape.  We avoided a wet area, then bent low to walk underneath a weeping willow.  I asked if she knew my old friend Roland Vernon, a British novelist.  She didn’t.  At a house we entered, the phone was ringing and water was boiling on the stove, but no one was home, which was very disturbing.


I dreamt that the poet Peter Gizzi came to see me at my childhood home in South Orange, N.J.  I pulled up some chairs near where the outdoor playhouse used to be.  I had a messy bag of rolling tobacco, from which we harvested cigarettes.  He asked me if switching from working part-time to full-time had made me more bourgeois.  I said I didn’t think so, but that something else had.  I told him that when I was working part-time in South Brunswick, N.J., I sat next to a guy named Bob Cwiklik.  My mentioning Bob conjured him up, and he joined us on the chairs under the giant white pine.  One day, I said, Bob and I were walking to get coffee, and he said to me, “I don’t know if you realize this, but your assets are losing value every day.  Have you been to Europe lately?  The dollar doesn’t buy anything.”  The implication was that the eroding value of my assets—and the need to do something about it—was what had made me bourgeois, which was totally untrue.  At that point, we went into the house, which was different from our Montrose Ave. house, more a warren of rooms.  I lost track of Peter, then I gathered that he had encountered my wife, Louisa, and she didn’t recognize him, which upset me.  I shot into the dining room to prevent another faux pas.  Soon, Peter had to leave.  He was going to walk back to the train station in South Orange Village.  It wasn’t the same walk that it used to be, but flatter and shadier.  As we stood near my back door, it started to drizzle.  It looked like it was going to rain hard.  I offered Peter an umbrella, insisted that he take it, but he was sure that he didn’t need one.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Paris Air Show of 1922

In a dream, I am in an old mansion basement, feverishly scrounging through boxes of old pamphlets, on a table, as other collectors and dealers are doing likewise at my side, when I happen upon an old booklet, bound in limp green leatherette, showing a picture of a bi-plane tilted up in flight. The pilot, his head encased in a form-fitting leather cap, and large goggles, is seen waving from the cockpit towards the viewer. Across the top of the cover, it reads, in darker green, “S O U V E N I R – Paris Air Show 1922.” In the dream, I wake up and go downstairs to the computer to see if there really was a Paris Air Show in 1922, and to my surprise, there was! Later, I “really” wake up and come downstairs to see if there really was a Paris Air Show in 1922, thinking if there really was one, that would be some kind of wonderful coincidence, since air show pamphlets, and aviation generally, aren’t subjects that I've ever dealt in as a book trader.

I discover that the Paris Air Show (or “Salon”), the world’s oldest and largest, originally was begun in 1909. There was a Paris Air Show in 1921, but I can’t find a record of one in 1922. In the seventh (1921) show, a prototype of the so-called French Breguet 19, based on a World War I light bomber, powered by a Bugatti engine, was first shown. A new design of the same craft flew in March 1922, but it doesn’t say where. It was the model for the French Army’s Aéronautique Militaire from September 1923 on. It was used in the Greco-Italian War, in World War II, primarily as a reconnaissance aircraft. It was used by a number of European countries, as well as some in the Western Hemisphere.
Breguet 19     

Did I once see such a booklet, or did I conjure one up in my dream? The obsessive book scout in me is perfectly capable of inventing such an object. I go back to bed, hoping to return to the scene I have created in my imagination. Perhaps I am fantasizing that I can bring the imaginary pamphlet back from the dreamworld into the real one. Or perhaps I am simply enjoying the experience of having made something up that has a probable counterpart in the real world. Thus, my writing this account--a prosepoem of the dream--is a partial realization of that desire.  

My unconscious is sending me a message, whose secret meaning I may never be able to decode. This vicarious desire—expressed as a vague longing in the murky semi-consciousness between sleeping and waking--that my experience in the imagination might actually have happened--is like a dream come true.

Friday, October 2, 2015

In my dream a record was playing. It was the youthful, ebullient Billie Holiday of the 1930s singing an unfamiliar song. She sang the lyrics: "Although you left me behind / You're still one of a kind."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I dreamt that I was taking a train with my dead father and my younger sister, Liz.  We sat in the front car, where we could see very well out the bus-like windshield.  Dad started to have a heart attack.  His face—it wasn’t really his, but that of a thinner guy—turned very red.  We tried to get the train to stop, so we could take him to the hospital, but the train was an express and wouldn’t stop for a half-hour.  I argued with the conductor.  We sped through local stations.  It was ridiculous.  Dad was lying on the floor.  His face was very red.  Then he died.  As soon as he did, his body vanished in the blink of an eye, like magic.


I dreamt that a brilliant orange and white bird was flying around above a suburban street.  It perched on top of a streetlight.  I had the feeling it would fly into my arms.  I opened my arms, and sure enough, it flew to me.  In my arms, it wasn’t orange and white, but furry brown like a bunny.  There was another bird, too, that flew to me.  I took the second bird back to the place where I was staying, a big suburban house that reminded me of one on Irving Ave. in South Orange, N.J., a few blocks away from my childhood home.  The bird lived there for a while, flying around the downstairs rooms, but then decided it was time to leave, so we let it out the door.


I dreamt that my former brother-in-law, Larry Travis, was getting married in a reception hall in Iraq.  Larry made a little speech in which he alluded to something that happened to Jack Kennedy and Jackie.  As I stood outside, smoking, it suddenly occurred to me, “This is Iraq, it might not be so safe.”  I looked around.  From where I stood, I could look down several outer-borough-type streets with relatively low buildings.  I didn’t see anything special.  A few ordinary people.  But when I focused intently, on one thing after another, the scene felt menacing.  I realized that problems could suddenly emerge from a number of directions.  Back inside, a young woman called a group of us together in a small room behind the reception hall.  She asked us, “Do any of you want to get out of Iraq?”  I think several of us indicated we did, including me.  Then she asked, “Are any of you Jewish?”  This was a confounding question, partly because several of us obviously were, and she seemed Jewish.  I wasn’t sure how to answer.  This might be a trick question, designed to identify with certainty a Jew, who would then be killed.