Sunday, June 27, 2004

I have somehow given over charge of the upkeep of our family vehicle to childhood friend Jack. I think it is not going well. I'm wondering if perhaps Jack is drifting away.

We live in cubicles; everyone does. Very tight quarters and all indoors. We are here, and our auto is around the block. It's like we live in storage lockers.

Something is wrong with the vehicle. I look under the hood. Yes, yes, there is something wrong. It seems to be missing.

The engine.

I am to understand we await a motor transplant. I am under the auto now, looking around. It is a Toyota engine we are expecting. Someone calls out, "What make of car is that?"

I'm slow to answer because I don't know. I pretend to be preccupied looking at a lot of oily metal, embarrassed. Then I spot the steering wheel, with the Indian head on it; turn it so the chrome label shows.

"Powereze," I call out, authoritatively.

"Oh," he says. "A Pontiac."

Jack has made arrangements for a wood campfire under a missing wheel. This is to be our family heat, I figure. But won't it be too hot then under here when they come with the engine?

When I am back on the street, I see something I hadn't noticed before. The right side and roof are destroyed, opened up like an explosion ripped it from inside. This, I understand, is how they removed the engine so quickly. They must've used a monumental wrenching gadget.

I'm thinking, maybe I should ask Jack not to help us so much...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I step ashore and gingerly pick my way over an obsidian spikey reef. I am reporting for military duty.

There are long lines which snake through coutyards and what looked like superficially elaborate government buildings in South America. We were in line to buy desks. That's right, desks.

Apparently (and there was no one telling us, which isn't the way of military life at all; you're closely directed and monitored) we must first of all be outfitted with this office apparatus. We pass by working models, like sparse sidewalk cafes. Oh, that's nice, mahogony, and there's a mini, the size of an end table, now, that would be ever so much simpler...

I ask a friend to hold my place for me. (I know her and one other; she's like an acquaintence in a small town; you can ask favors in the big city although you never pay attention to one another back home.

I find a dark room with a bed. I have no idea how I knew it was there. I nap.

But when I return to the line, my placeholders are not in sight. I walk up ahead, but I'm not moving ahead of anyone; everyone is moving surprisingly fast. I had thought this was like breadlines in Moscow cica 1950. But we amble forward through these strange passages at a goodly pace.

We pause, roam, even sit. There does not appear to be any pattern to it, and I somehow feel the futility and embarrassment of asking anyone anything. It would be like an admission I'd lost my way in life, and I'm guessing that's what keeps panic down along these paths.

I sit, pick up a pictoral album. It's in quarto, or half-sized. I see along with the photos and descriptions there are some notations in pencil.

I recognize my own handwriting.

Hey, I say to one near, Here are notes I've left here! I must've been here before!

He isn't at all excited by the news. Either he doesn't believe me, or he doesn't think it remarkable. Does this mean we've all been down this road before? Is that how I found the bed for my nap?

We are up and shuffling along now. Through herd instinct, I join others in a vehicle, and we're moving. I am thinking now about where to spend the night. It's alarming not to know where you'll spend the night.

"Hey, where will we spend the night?"

No one answers. Either all know, or no one does, or no one else cares.

Here we are. I recognize this. It's the lobby of a hotel. I ask for a room. I am handed two each small shells from the beach, each intact, perfect. I am told these will work at another hotel, and I should pay them now and they would transport me. It would evidently cost me some dollars here, then the shells when I arrive there.

I'm suspicious. "So there's another hotel which will take me in for two seashells?"

A guy behind the counter is chuckling with a coworker. They sit in those old row desks from ancient schools.

"If there wasn't," he says to her, "We wouldn't have to work so late."

Monday, June 21, 2004

The team is going through entry cards. They are quite somber. Joey and Rose have been promised a winning ticket, which is supposed to be in this batch. As the last ones are opened, it becomes obvious, the winner ain't here.

Signs announcing the swindle go up all along the awning of the storefront of the contest sponsor. They are hand-lettered, by Joey and Rose.

Then, they aren't there. I am sitting in a parlor with a caller to the residence of Joey and Rose. This is the boss of the shop where the contest was held. We wait for Joey and Rose. He does not admit to removing the signs. He does not appear to be angry.


She thinks, they have faith in me, because they allow me to hold their baby. She is loving and cooing to the infant. They have confidence I am all right.

But she must go away, after all, it was said. Nerves, it was said. She would be away for a time. Her roles were seeping into her regular life, it was said. She had no regular life, it was answered.

I don't know who she was.

I am mounted on my old buckskin pony. I'm dressed in pink woven mini chaps and vest. I carry the means by which the upper reservoir will be joined to the lower lake. Some are dead set against the project, which is why I must be my hot pink cowboy gear.

My podnah in this act of eco-terrorism is in a class, like a sitting tour given by a park ranger where they pass around antique rocks. I must pass a key to him. I have to go. I lodge the message, semi-camouflaged, in a crevice at the end of a rock railing at the rim of the canyon. There is no reason the podnah will find the hidden clue instead of anyone else, but I'm satisfied I've made the effort. I ride off down the canyon.

I roll out of the saddle and down a row of hedges to descend the last fifty feet. It's magical, rolling suspended on soft vegetation over hard rock.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

In queue along some decrepit stretch of industrial wasteland, I await with others for something necessary . Crowded. (My dreamscapes are gothic postmodern noir nowadays, the slipshod renderings of gloomy postindustrial decay, dark wrecks in dusty ruin, the end of today...)

Someone is very close behind. Her breasts against my back. Without any agreement, any word even, nor any look, I bend lower and take grip around each of her thighs and she is aboard piggy-back. It is a point of honor I do not look at her, speak to her. She might then be obliged to gratitude, or perhaps she would be recalled to the strange interlude and want down and out of it. I want to help her, carry her, be her anonymous hero.

We travel about like that. There are single-level building wings, even, one after the other, glass and aluminum with some brick. Some there to make product, some sell them, others offer services of varying sorts. I walk and look at the desolation and we say nothing. I do not seek our reflection in glass anywhere.

I enter one wing, and travel through a series of dining halls, all in a row, all in one wing. I ask an attendant what is the difference between the various diners along the row. She tells me in a staccato sing-song she has delivered many times that day alone, and the import and even denotation of the words have been worn off like a water color left out in the rain. I learn nothing.

I am conscious of how light the girl is, how well she rides my back. Nobody seems to notice us. Nobody seems to notice anyone.

Down in a grassy dell between two wings, there is commotion. I see Scoobie, cavorting with one of his buddies, maybe the Ridgeback Gramby. Someone is running after them, trying to restrain Scoob.

I quickly set the girl on her feet and hurry into the pit. The action all hits pause with no damage, as it most often will. I turn to retrace my steps up out of the pit.

There are some who watch now, disinterested, like you might if caught in traffic at vague honking elsewhere.

I have no way of finding the girl again. I know not her appearance nor her voice.

Nobody makes any sign of recognition. Of course, were I to identify her, the magic would be lost anyway.

I am so sad for her, as I trudge back up to the rank and forlorn row. I am so sad for me.

Friday, June 18, 2004

We have caused a mismatch with our recent computer software upgrade. The tires on our little Japanese auto no longer work.

It will become necessary, I am guessing, to replace the present set of tires with the former by my own hand. We consider the difficulty of this task. Is it truly something which can be done at home?

At no time do any of us contemplate how computer software in the home interacts with rubber on the road. It is just understood, so no sense worrying about.
Workplace Bathtub

I have installed a bathtub at work. There is a separate rec or break room to hold it. I fill it up now. I hear distress from outside. Oh, dear, comes from the main office. I detect about a foot of water and rising on the floor of the break room, and the suspicion naturally arises; this could be the source of the concern out there. (The voice of affliction outside sounded like my mother.)

I try and imagine the chance that a flood in the room is unrelated to the tub filling up within it. What other newly factors might there be? This diversion is truncated by spotting a fast leak high up the side of the tub. Thus ends the rationalization.

Technical assistance might help. Here is a technician from the service department. He chuckles like over the foibles of toddlers. `Here is the work of a fledgling in the art of bathtub setup, of which I am master,’ is the eternal message.

He is sighting along the port gunwale. See here, he is saying. There is a wooden ridge atop portside I hadn’t noticed before. He says, have to line this sucker up.

I’m thinking, now, just what is the use of a bathtub in a workplace anyhow?

The Miles March

Out in the shop proper, I note apparent co-worker Miles Davis. He is prancing in a section behind a counter, like at UPS. (All my dreamscapes are vague; even familiar scenes are counterfeited, possibly due to my lack of visual awareness and memory.) Miles is approaching like doing a clockwise circle; he is at three o’clock. He wears pink rubber galoshes and boxer shorts, the type of tee called a `skivvy’ back home. He is blowing light and quick, like an up-tempo bugle call.

I say to others watching at the counter, “Miles is blowing a march,” and when he joins us on a stool immediately to my left, I say, `Miles, you’re blowing marches!’ and he brightens, as if he is glad to have communicated a mystery, as he would had someone merely listened in the studio and recognized the guys were cutting riffs on blues progressions for the album later named “Kind of Blue." I was proud of spotting the theme.

Miles explains how the silence works in his music, why he uses sixteenth notes. As he continues with musical complexities, his head sinks down on his chest and his voice becomes unintelligible.

Another dream ploy. Jane Austen advised her would-be writer niece, “If your characters depart Dover for the continent and you’ve never been, best you not accompany them”.

I know nothing about music theory, so in a dream Miles will naturally be indistinct when explaining what he does. Nobody asks Miles Davis to speak up. I seize on the idea of what is left out to imply rather than state, and the sense of the unit will be stronger. I think of the elided lines in the Miles Davis Summertime from Porgy and Bess.

I am a proactive listener. I offer on the theme elided notes in art my own examples.

(1)Hemingway’s cutting away from the structure of his stories, leaving less than a skeleton for careful readers to reconstruct the corpus.
(2)Learning to play the piano; you engage a bobbing head, shrugging shoulders, clenched jaw, then when you master the instrument the music flows imperceptibly from heart to sound. (This from an article by William James.)
(3)The D H Lawrence coda from Women in Love which denotes the onto/philo passing from primordial primitive through civilized complex to perfection back at the purified simple.
(4)We were told in Little League by chiding teammates when muffing a one-handed attempt at a pop fly “Two hands while learning,” and yet the big leaguers routinely snare fly balls one-handed.

By the time I had arrived at #4, Miles was clearly bored. He picked up a phone, and I moved off.

Watch For Milk

I am heading down Fourth Street back home now, the central main drive in town, in some sort of street sled. I am traveling fast, and then I notice Scoobie is with me, mounted on his own similar but unconnected vehicle.

At the end of the run, say two miles down 82, I must return on foot, bringing along a little girl who toddles in all directions. I catch her when she rollicks onto the roadway, and point her back the way we should go. I figure this could take some time, for she rambles fro as much as to. She has a passel of sisters not much older now, and begins to run in the right direction. We are making good progress now.

We stop by a house along the way. (Perhaps the location was our old homestead at 719 East Fourth Street.) I offer to trade a watch I have for milk for the little girl. (Although I have the sense she lives here.) I remove the battery from the watch. (I mean to swap only the battery?) Then I think, better to keep the watch together and bring the family a complete new one tomorrow. (I wonder if this is some sort of weird echo of the “federale” trying to trade a watch to Dobbs for his pistol in Treasure of Sierra Madre.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

There is an ending, a striking of the set, which is dillapidated blue-black dusty gothic desolation, decrepit buildings and rubble. We proceed through the funereal site. The object is to remove salvageable items from the premises. There is a straw boss, harsh, acerbic, but without the interest to generate real malice. There are grim spires of excellent craftsmanship piled up, derelict gazebos in an anteroom, all the tricks and trappings of fond hopes gone to seed...

I should be in the adjoining structure, I'm thinking. That's General Cable, my old worksite from long ago. Maybe we're all here to demolish our ancient dreamscapes.