Monday, December 29, 2003

Inside you there lives a woodpecker, diligent and dutiful. Also in there is a Rainbow Plover, desirous of wonder. Science does not really know why we must sleep. They only can say with certainty we do. I know, however. We sleep to release the Rainbow Plover. You may say, but there is no such animal as a Rainbow Plover, and I answer, but that's exactly the point. - from Birdbrain; Woesong


It’s break time on campus. The curriculum is career-oriented yet playful and outdoors, like Park Ranger school. There are stoonts in an auto, and I’m standing near the driver side. I know stuff.

There are intricate personal interplays among the various personalities, staff and stoont. I know, like the camera in a movie knows. I say to the auto, “You think you know what happens, but you don’t. Not yet.”

The driver speaks to me. She shows interest. I cannot make out what she says. The window is up. I have much knowledge to share, but only if they are interested. I’m like the omniscient narrator just waiting for his chance. The driver speaks for them all. Oh, yes, yes, please tell us.

I am adjusting the idle on our mailbox. It’s just an ordinary tin affair with a number on it. I fashion a blade as a screwdriver. The only adjustment is how high it runs when it isn’t working. It is a delicate operation. I listen. Maybe 1,900 RPM? I want it not to die when it’s hot. I have no idea now, and did not then, why a mailbox needs a gasoline engine, but I was proud of being able to adjust the idle on ours.

But I walk out in the country lane, which is our neighborhood but unlike any I have ever lived in, and I notice a redwood down. It is down in consecutive sections, as if a neighbor had already been there with a chainsaw. Giant trunk cut up like sausage, lying in the road, right at both shoulders, allowing just a bit of roadway between.

But insufficient for a mail wagon. I must drag the deadwood away. I see one neighbor approach with a ladder, dragging in the dust ahead of him somehow. Oh, he means to haul the lumber with that, I figure.

I must jump to it. For what’s the use of adjusting the idle on your mailbox if the mail truck cannot pass through the lane before your house? It’s a real problem.

I must change my clothes, of course. I need shorts. I retreat into the house and up the stairs (none of it of course jibes with waketim) after a pair of shorts. I am set upon shorts come waketim.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A pretty lissome coral, or maybe a garter, coils serenely about my arm. I think of inhaling her as a sort of practice, as spaghetti, and then am lurched into an epiphany by her fervent avoidance, just as I might have done to save me. I am abashed and begin to consider other existence than my own as having place…

A plain woman, dark, brings an auto in front and carries a bag. She approaches listlessly, like an inept sales force for a forgotten lost enterprise. She is offering news left out of the regular paper, culls, and she gives us the weekly, monthly, annual price, with is $5,000. I am surprised that Niki J accepts, although I have no real sense of economy in my dreams. Five grand for news not fit to print? We sign up. The dark saleslady does not seem too surprised or overly pleased. Guess she isn't on commission.

I am working the track for a race. The competitors are off-stage, maybe bikes, maybe open-wheel spider racers. The question is the weights used to hold the bales at the corners. They should be weightier, I say. There are films of the competitors, and they mill about the bales at end of race, drawing up the weights, which are in discrete units, like on barbells but large and V-shaped. "V-bolts," smiles my associate, who is in charge of the track.

My own position is not given.

Monday, December 08, 2003

"There is a category called `imaginative' and `scifi' and `fantasy' and it's all such pedestrian hackneyed rubbish. If you want wonder, go to sleep."
- Woesong.

The setting is corridors circling like smoke from campfires, like connective conduit tissue in parking garages, only they are pedestrian, only they expand without becoming noticeably wider, higher, it's just that your perspective allows for autos in the dim rows up above. It's an ant colony.

I see even a helicopter hover, and it's like a cartoon because I can observe the pilot, who is an average guy in Sunday afternoon knit shortsleeve; he is roundheaded, slightly ruddy, and his wife is seconding beside him, and he lurks and fires weaponry onto an auto below where shoppers are returning. The pilot is lackadaisically shooting the shoppers who would become auto traffic in their vehicle parked beside the road which continues looping in a prehensile coil upwards from where I stand.

I see Ray Smith approach along that roadway now, he stops briefly to set off a pistol into the head of an elderly woman who is herself in the act of busying to start up her auto after shopping. Smith continues on his way. I watch him.

I'm thinking, this isn't right. Often I don't know the rules in my dreams. I will make an issue to test this one.

I wait for Smith to arrive at my level. Smith in waking days was an older guy from my high school. He had a "curl" one year when he was new. Hair greased in a lap over his forehead like Bill Haley. Some didn't like him. Some don't like anybody. Later he became an auctioneer. I don't have the scale for that.

I arrest him. He doesn’t mind, doesn't contest; it's as if I'd accused him of littering. Someone nearby agrees to watch him while I go for the law. I take off down the darkening corridors.

I begin to think I may not have a firm grasp on reality. I should at least go and verify the old one is stilled in her auto up above. But I am not sure of which street. The names of streets is from the seaside town where I live now, which is itself a twist of the track of the reality train. Before there was just one long and winding road.

Someone is bringing a product in cellophane out of a frozen locker. The guy in apron sets it on a trundle and rolls it down the corridor, and I move. I am looking, and I say the proverbial about not finding one when you need one.

And someone up above in the higher reaches of the colony says, they will be here shortly. They are always here when we close. For it is remote and dark up there come closing time.

I see a line of skirmishers, like theatrical or third-world rentacops. They have showy clubs and badges and they are all in a line. I suspect I will complain to one of them, and as I am near, I see finally an official uniformed police officer.

She listens to me, responds by walking off towards the gents' room, where I have left Smith and his guard. Now we're going to do something. My doubts, at least, will be cleared up. Does Smith have a handheld weapon? Is there an older lady perished in her auto up above? We'll see now.

The room where they have gone, Smith and the guard, is like a rest room with accessories. There are tables and counters to take off your outer layers. (Smith, I notice, is well dressed, with topcoat over arm like in forties urban film.)

When I wake up, just this morning, I think, this is not a kelp dream. (I think of most dreams like the seaweed wrapped around your shins when you wade out of the ocean; there is much sealife around all the time of your sleep but the last wading feet is all you remember.) This is a dream from much earlier in the night. I think, maybe it's from another night.

It's a time like all time when I am not sure if there is an objective backboard to bounce the ball off. But I have confidence the cop will straighten it all out. Maybe tonight.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Hello darkness my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seed while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains

- Sound of Silence; Simon & Garfunkel

I have a cohesive four part dream. I wake once early, then sleep a little more. Most mornings I do that. The four-part harmony, I know I can bring that back.

In the dream of my brief resleep, I am cognizant of the earlier comprehensive story of my night. The continuation now has me driving over the mountains, the actual Highway 17 which separates our seacoast from the big city to the north.

I see Nolan Ashmore, walking beside the road. I think, okay, I have conveyed, and this grows very tricky, the progression over this mountain as one of the four concessions. (Nolan Ashmore was an assistant football coach who lived in my neighborhood while I was in high school, and he became a principal of the high school when I left. I had no direct connection with him as coach, teacher, prinicipal. It's hard to imagine anyone less connected with me from my high school days.)

I think, as part of the deal I have made with society, I should give Nolan a ride. I look for a place to turn around and go back. I do. It's miles before I am back, then heading north again, then finding a spot to pull off so Nolan can hop in. I have my family with me.

The earlier, intricate dream is utterly lost to me.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but, waking, no such matter.

- Sonnet 87



In Guatemala, we live in a hootch in the jungle, and I am reading the news. It is in Spanish, which I read at about a first grade level, but reading a Spanish newspaper is no stranger than living in a Guatemalan jungle.

The story I am following concerns two students who have devised an elaborate experiment involving a donkey. They have outfitted the beast with a pack featuring a battery, and on a swiveled pod above is mounted a Kalashnikov and a four-power videocam, each with a 360 degree swivel. A sensitive aural device was included in the package, together with a GPS. This was the best-outfitted mule in the universe, and he was tracking through the jungle alone for all that.

The two sat in a cabin, monitoring the path of their beast, which they named “Ramburro.” A large monitor showed what the cam saw, and they heard what was local to the burro, and they watched and heard in shifts all day and night, even when the mule slept.

At first of course the little one was afraid of the wild, for anything might be expected to harm her. And then she was very frightened of the sound of the automatic rifle going off about two feet above her back…until she noticed and remembered how threats seemed to disappear with the roar of the rifle. Her stride became more assured then, and then even jaunty. She foraged and she slept where she list, and went where she may.

The experiment, were it to prove successful, (and there was ever reason for optimism thus far), would be expanded to include all beasts of prey. A tame deer with magnificent antlers would be taught to carry the pack, and when the hunters came…

The two in the cabin could find in their reading or in their philosophy no basis for human arrogance and cruelty, for how should the deer or the rabbit be considered worthless but as feed for the gullet or the pride of these swaggering bipods? It would be shown how the luster of killing would tarnish when the prey became the hunter. Fat men would leave the woods in droves, but first some of them would be left as forage for the beasts. It is best to begin this experiment in a land where a corpse found in the woods or out was not considered shocking.

I rose up off the bed then, and I was lumbering like a beast myself. I carried with me unintentionally a huge robe of whatever make, and sought to replace it. I was stumbling about, bent, lumpen. I was going to the bathroom.

These calls in my dreams were intricate and frustrating, designed of course by my waking state as a hedge against enuresis. In the night, through the walls, from another cabin somewhere, I heard a muted scream, someone wailing about something of the child’s dripping on his feet. I endeavored not to notice.

I see a dark facility, and I lumber about. The section I intend for my purpose was not so designed. I press on. There is a sink and a urinal and a line before it. I wait.

I must squeeze in behind a counter featuring a proprietor and his wife and two small children. I make to do that, realizing I am by rights afforded this place, and so are they. The children laugh and remark and I make to keep their hands away from me.

When I leave, there is someone, a young guy, portly, gray, moving with me. I think, he will follow me, but he very deliberately strides off at an oblique angle. I am left to return to our cabin, where I have left Niki J asleep.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on mortals, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens their ears, and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn them aside from their deeds, and keep them from pride, to spare their souls from the Pit, their lives from traversing the River.
- Job 33:15 -18.


White Mouse

There is a need to ask questions about the circumstances involving a little girl. I have in my files an old series of just such inquiries. Surely they will answer them now, I say to an investigator, as they have before.

We are in an auditorium, the first few rows, and someone suggests the questions. (I have no memory of what the questions were; even what the general topic was.) In front of me is one who is gnarled and darkhaired and raffish, he says in not good English: “You...don't axt me questions. Ah…don’t answer questions!”

I realize he is the leader of the clan. There is an admiring sort of laughter around him; his tribe encloses him. The laughter tips over like waves into song, a strange and pretty tribal tune. The leader of the clan sits beside me now, nudges me with his elbow, but accidentally. It is simply the practice of the tribe not to question the elder. All righteous standing has shifted from the questioners to the tribe. Two women are standing, arm in arm, singing. I see it all from behind, as I am with the elder at the back of the section which includes the tribe.

I am running now, behind one who is the father of the little girl. He is very athletic and tripping off at a good pace, but she keeps right up with him and, strangely, so do I.

We are running through the winding path of a park in the woods. Some friend or acquaintance of the father calls out to him from the grass, where a picnic blanket has been spread. Some advice is offered relative to the little girl.

“I don’t need any help,” he is muttering to himself and to her. “I’m your father!”


In my dreams, often perspectives alter dramatically during the scene. I am on a roadway now, and it collapses so that I am outside my vehicle and moving on foot up a path which is very close around me, and steep. The terrain looks like the sandstone along the Colorado deep in the desert, but it’s the consistency of rubber, and I can mold it with my hands for easier footing. There are vehicles behind me, still of the roadway panorama, and I am conscious of blocking traffic perhaps. It is a strange transition, then, autos moving on a road which attenuates to me molding rubber sandstone up a steep hillside.

Here’s Scoob, and we’re alive with cats. They’re everywhere and we practically have to wade through them. Scoob is alert but friendly; he merely wants to know more about felines. He bursts away and I must run up stairs, like the scaffolding or wood passage of the docks. I dive and catch him just before he moves out into traffic.

A cat holds a vivid white mouse. The mouse is the focus of the entire dream. It is in the mouth of the cat, who seems quite proud of her prize. Then the mouse bursts free, is down on the ground, and then sits back and looks up in a gesture altogether human in effect. That’s the center of it, right there. A mouse shows a nature I can grasp, believe in. The white mouse is at the very center of it all.