Sunday, November 09, 2008

I was signaling my father from some sort of platform or parapet overlooking a river. He lay on the shore on the other side.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Something was wrong with my lighter, the Zippo I inherited from my mom. It was sort of coming apart, and it wouldn't light. There was plenty of gas - I could hear it hissing out the nozzle - but there was something wrong with the flint or the wick, or both. Suddenly it sparked, and the gas that had been expelled caught fire. The flame ran up my chest and neck and along the left side of my face. I frantically tried to put it out.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My dad was ailing and yet he was driving somewhere with my brother and me in the car. At a certain point he became incapacitated - not exactly unconscious, but suddenly unable to operate the car. I reached over from the back seat and did my best to steer us to safety, asking my brother to step on the brakes. We managed to pull off the road into a strip mall parking lot in our old hometown, Storrs, Connecticut.

We were indoors suddenly, with other people around us. My dad was slipping in and out of some kind of trance-like, near-death state. Someone asked him, "What's teap?"

"It's peach-flavored tea," he replied authoritatively. I viewed this as a sign that his mental faculties were still strong.

Then he began to describe a fancy dish he'd had, or seen, or was anticipating eating, which consisted of five kinds of small shellfish impaled on the spokes of a kind of radiating fork. He called this dish the "hand of god." My sister-in-law Amy was there and immediately corrected him, saying that in fact "the hand of god" was a phrase used to describe a controversial soccer goal scored by the Argentine player Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup against England, in which he deflected a ball into the goal with his hand.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I dreamt I saw a drone up in the sky. This was the night after I think I saw one in real life. In the dream it was darker but still small, jagged-looking. It flew lower and lower and closer and closer to me - it seemed that it knew I was watching it, or knew I was thinking about it, and this compelled it to come closer. I was afraid and rueful that I'd dared to notice it at all. It made a few harassing passes, a bit like a bee. When it was a few feet from my face it opened a mechanized mouth full of arrowhead-shaped metal teeth. I was terrified it would bite me of course, but when it didn't it occurred to me that its purpose was to open my third eye. It hovered right above my forehead and somehow coaxed my third eye from the middle of my brow. When it opened the drone placed a contact lens in it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I was at a concert by a single woman, sitting cross-legged at the side of the stage. I had a guitar and wanted to play along but knew it would not be appropriate. But then the performer handed out guitars for people to accompany her so I played along to her version of "El Paso," which she was playing in the unusual key of C#.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I was on a trip with friends to Boston. At night we had to go from Cambridge to the city and that involved a very long ferry ride under a tiny moon. It was Vegas too, somehow. The Philadelphia Eagles were playing a preseason game inside a huge casino. They were winning and looked great. There were vague characters who seem to have been old classmates but whom I understood to be current and former coworkers. One woman revealed that she'd betrayed me in some personnel shakeup matter, and began to cry, saying, "I don't know why I just told you that." She said she did it because I deserved it on some level. I was forgiving yet tried to defend myself against her charges. Jesse was there and we had a beer and began to talk about what was going on.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Strange and very vivid dream about my mom, in which she was communicating with me from the dead. I was leaving on some trip, getting ready to go to the airport, and I was being sent off by others (including my dad, who was alive in the dream), with some ceremony, as though everyone knew this was to be a profound and meaningful voyage. The fact that I'd also embarked on a mysterious dialog with my mom was of a piece with the trip itself, and people seemed to be aware of that, too. It was hard for me to tell if my mom was happy or not, or approving of me or not. At one point I think I asked her to confirm that she loved me. The communication seemed to phase in and out, and though she was occasionally visible before me we never were conversing eye-to-eye. Generally, I perceived her as an overwhelming, supernatural presence permeating my mind and observing my actions. In the end I realized that I could communicate even more directly with her by drawing pictures of hats. I drew several hats - bowler hats with narrow brims - and was not very satisfied with how they looked. However, I knew my mom understood something in each stroke of my pen. I was compelled to draw a minimalist face on one hat, with simple strokes representing the mouth, nose, eyes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I was at some college where a famous writer was an English professor. I'd heard that his favorite piece of advice was this: "Every story must have an alias. Why not you?" I took this to mean a story should be written from one's own point of view, or at least be based on one's own experiences.

At this college, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh were members of the faculty. I was hanging out with my dad and we spotted Phil entering a building with his bass, possibly on his way to teach a class. My dad said, "Look who that is," and walked over to introduce himself. I knew that Phil was very guarded about his privacy so I was worried that this would not go well. Some bodyguard or assistant tried to intercept my dad before he got to Phil. My dad persisted and finally got Phil's attention. Phil was trying to tell him to leave him alone, refusing to shake my dad's extended hand. Then my dad was back by my side. He told me that Phil had hit him. My dad was lying in some kind of bed or stretcher, stricken, with a pane of broken glass extended over his body. I understood this to represent his glasses, and that they had been shattered when Phil hit him.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I was attending a high school reunion, somewhat reluctantly. My old friend Bill Suits was there. I recognized Colin O'Rourke, sitting on a couch. I went over to shake his hand and he said he didn't remember me. I said, "Well, we didn't like each other that much," wryly, out of the corner of my mouth. At one point I found myself alone in a room with Mike Simms, a notorious asshole. (He used to go to keg parties held by classmates, drink their beer, and report them to the police after he'd left.) I figured I should say hello so I said hello. He kind of grunted and turned around.

Then the reunion was outside, on a hill that resembled the front yard of the house I grew up in. There was some vague sexual tension among the classmates, the same tension that might have existed when we were seven years old and didn't know what such a thing meant. Jenny Allen was there. I understood that the event had been organized by Melissa Ladd.

I was also skiing, in what appeared to be a parallel, concurrent, dream; or perhaps it was a dream segment that formed a desultory interlude between one part of my dream and the next. I was wearing what appeared to be cross-country skis, long and narrow, and I had no poles. Someone was taking me and someone else around the bunny slopes, as though we'd never skied before. I wanted to protest, to say that I knew enough to ski down a real trail. The snow was thick and lumpy, late-season snow.

The reunion ended with lengthy goodbyes and complicated arrangements for transportation back home, or to a hotel, or to some ensuing event - it was not clear. Suddenly I was across the street, with Sara. There was a house and a vast field full of Jews of various ages and cultures, some orthodox, some young and modern. A rock band was playing, with the younger people dancing and the older, bearded men tolerating it from the fringes. It was some sort of protest event directed at the activities across the street, from where I'd come. Apparently the high school reunion was held under the auspices of the PLO or some other pro-Arab, anti-Israeli organization. I realized that the people who lived in the house on the Jewish side were kibbutzers, and this was some kind of disputed territory, like the Golan Heights. We snuck around the house and tried to avoid being caught by the occupants, who were preoccupied by the general festivities. It was a beautiful, modern, bourgeois home filled with art and books. We examined a thin volume about art, with colorful reproductions, and I fumbled with it nervously as I tried to put it back in its place on the shelf before someone walked in. We got out without being seen.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I was visiting some town in France, I think it was meant to be Lyon. I was looking at a map and it seemed to be somewhere in what was labeled "the Industrial North." I think Jim P. was there too. It was a heavily touristy city, or maybe some event was taking place, some festival. We strolled down a pedestrian street lined with stands serving beer. I was no longer the first person in the dream; I was a disembodied spectator, observing the protagonist's actions from over his shoulder. He approached a stand that sold Guinness. He asked the man if the Guinness was good, and the man replied, with some pique, that it was the best in town.

"How much does it cost?" the protagonist asked.

"Five ninety," the man replied. I understood this to mean five Euros ninety, a steep price.

The protagonist protested and seemed to be angling for a price break or even a free beer. The man handed him a mug of Guinness but then poured a carton of milk over his head, saying something like, "Here's your beer." The milk dripped thickly off the protagonist's head. The man took back the mug and said, "Eventually you won't need this anymore."

Then I was again an actor in the dream. I found Jim in some sort of outdoor market, examining Chilean sea bass steaks by caressing them with his fingertips and the back of his hand. He was dressed in a Roger Rabbit costume. It was for the amusement of his son, Leo, who was there dressed in some kind of costume too. We left the market and Jim and Leo each got into separate cars and raced back to their house along separate routes. Though I was a bit put off that Jim didn't offer me a ride, I ran after them towards their house.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sara and I were at some kind of overnight party, possibly in a foreign country. I woke up early because I heard the sound of someone playing a guitar. He was playing "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," and I was compelled to get up and take out my guitar and play along. The clock said something like quarter to nine. By the time I got to the living room where he was playing, the song was almost over. Someone else was accompanying him on an unplugged electric bass, which was inaudible to me. I got my guitar out anyway, my new Martin, and I started playing a few odd chords and riffs. The guy said, "Wow, you have a -" and he named the model of the guitar, but it was a word I'd never heard before, and can't remember now, though after he used it I noticed that it was printed on the headstock of the guitar, where you'd expect, and I said to him, "Yeah, lots of people have been telling me, hey, you have a -, but I didn't even know it, all I was thinking when I got it was, I like the way it sounds." For some reason he found this very funny, and I felt oddly proud of my nonchalant attitude about the specific model of my guitar. He introduced himself with a soul handshake and said his name was Julie Stone.

"I'm sorry?" I said.

"Julie Stone."

Monday, April 21, 2008

I was lying in bed in the morning and I had the idea to write a science fiction novel in which a severe disorder has infected certain people: they are incapable of discerning whether others are male or female. Somehow this throws the entire society in turmoil. All of gender and sexuality is put into question. Additionally, inanimate objects have gained not only consciousness but gender themselves. Toasters, cars, chairs, shoes, everything. It's all slowly gravitating toward full consciousness and sexuality. The people who suffer from the disorder are called Aniamata if they are male and Annamiata if they are female - those aren't clinical terms, those are their actual names once they are diagnosed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sara and I were driving into the wooded country to go to some sort of event, though it wasn't clear what it was. When we were near it, we saw a young man directing traffic, maybe directing cars to park in a field by the road. His head was shaved and bore a tattoo of a Swastika. I pointed this out to Sara with some concern, and she said something like, "At least it's not a red Swastika," as though authentic Swastikas were always red. I told her Swastikas were "always black" and she became annoyed that I was compelled to correct her. At some point we got out of the car and walked among crowds of people towards this event, or party, or whatever it was. When we arrived, there were rows and rows of booths set up, with people behind them, and the crowd just flowing in between them, and it was still unclear exactly what this was, except there were more and more skinheads and I realized we were at some kind of backwoods white supremacist convention. We were disgusted and decided to leave. On our way out, I noticed that Amy Winehouse was there, standing behind a booth. I figured she couldn't possibly know this was a racist event; she wouldn't be here if she did. She loves black music. And yet, was this some real aspect of her mysterious persona? On the path back out, we stopped and hung out with some people and I pointed back to the event and warned that it was racist, full of skinheads, and everyone listened with due concern.

In part of a later dream, my old schoolmate Chris L. told me he was in the NBA. I asked him how many minutes he played and he said about five.

"Five per game?" I asked.

"No, no. Five total. All time."

"Have you scored any points?"

"Yes, of course!" he said.

"Good. So at least you popped your cherry."

He laughed and said yes, he'd popped his cherry. This is particularly funny because Chris L. was one of the shortest kids in school.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I was in some fancy hotel with a swimming pool at the top. There was an enclosed pool that looked like any old pool in a gym and a pool that was in a loungy setting with a bar nearby, all potted palms and chrome appointments. I took the elevator up with a Hasidic Jew. Some disembodied narrator declared that the view of the ocean, which was visible from the glass elevator and through picture windows in each direction in the swimming lounge, as though the hotel were a tower in the water, had been "adjusted" to show what would be concealed by the curvature of the earth. I took a look and saw rough waters around us and an expanse of smooth, blue water beyond what should have been the horizon.

Monday, March 31, 2008

I was getting ready to record or something, with the old band, and the act of playing the guitar actually became the act of filling in a crossword puzzle. I was holding a guitar, but when it came time to play I saw I had a folded newspaper in hand, and a pen, and the way to produce notes on the guitar was to solve clues and, as rapidly and dexterously as possible, fill in answers in the correct spaces.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I dreamt of Van Morrison somehow, of his voice, of him singing.