Friday, December 23, 2005


I am wandering away from home. There is someone who is nice to me. We disrobe. Then I notice she has other interests. Another guy is with her, and here I am. She slowly casts more and more of her ministrations toward the other one. She smiles at me, wanly, with regret, like a good-hearted blackjack dealer when you draw a queen holding 16.

I will not stand for this. I will leave immediately. But it would be less dignified and dramatic were I to sort around in the apartment for my shoes. That's no way to stage an exit, rummaging for shoes on the floor while your lover has a fling with another.

I just grab a pair and leave.

I notice that one shoe is a small house.

I exchange them. It's all right now.

I am home again. There's company. Hi, company! I sit with my wife and company. I can relax now. I put my feet up.

"Man, I think you could afford a better pair of shoes."

I look at them. My feet are in the light of the TV, crossed at the ankles. My wife knows my shoes, and these ain't them. They are dark and ripped, one of those perforated styles of the twenties.

I try and think of an explanation for why it is I wear strange shoes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

When I was young, I sat in an auto out in front of Bontex Cleaners, owned and operated by my Dad and his brother, Uncle Bush. Voices inside rose. Anger. I sat for some time. I was a patient kid.

Dad came out and drove me home, and later I heard him say to Mom, "...that trick Bush pulled in front of Timmie..." I knew it was about the heated discussion, but I never had understood any of their words.

Sometime not long after, Bush bought Daddy out and there began an adventure in searching up a new career. My Daddy was very bright, and he was easily the greatest sportswriter on the small town paper where he worked for a while, but he had no higher education and we struggled. He entered into a campaign for County Clerk. We festooned our old Packard solid with posters for Hut Bowden, nailed up placards, knocked on doors, and he even went on the radio (gratis, I believe, as he had some sort of in with the owner at KFYN).

He came in last of four, and his confidence was shaken considerably, and he leased Quality Cleaners in a town sixteen miles away, and that's what he was doing when he fell down dead one day.

So two nights ago, I was having two dream at the same time. One had a dual track; I was at once and the same time at home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, dreaming, and also lying in a tent with Niki J at the Bright Angel Campground near the River inside Grand Canyon. I could wake at either location, because I was in both. It's like the instant when you decide whether to commit your weight from the dock into the canoe. I was very confident of this. So I continued my dream.

And it was about the topic debated by Uncle Bush and my Daddy which had set our troubled course all those many years back. I never heard a word back then, but I heard them now.

It was about
Mel Ott.

Uncle Bush thought him the greatest outfielder ever, and a true power hitter, and Daddy said he was a lout and a bum. Couldn't hit a cow with a bass fiddle. He was an all-star, raged Bush, and Hut laughed, yeah, in the years when they played with slabs of beef on one hand in cow pastures marked off by barbed wire.

That was it, then. They were arguing about Mel Ott. I don't even know who he played for, and I have no idea who was right, but it sure is a relief to finally know the cause of all our trouble.

Monday, November 07, 2005

When any of us observed one of those big city TV rigs in our town, we always thought first of Glenda.

I'm going to the library. There's something I want. The library is over a store in a small town built like a set for B westerns. It's the Leatherwood's place; a strange family with some kids I knew from back home in waketime. They own it and there's a key like one of those huge old-fashioned door keys.
I find the key up there on the second floor in a conspicuous place, like lying on the floor before the door. The library is reached by an inner stairway like one traveled up by the tawdry dance hall girls and the drunken cowboys in old westerns. I fit the key and open the door.
In there, I say, it's so loud up here. You can hear all the voices down on the street; the window is open to them. It's so loud, I say.
All attention in the room, maybe a lounging Leatherwood or two and some other young folk, is on Glenda's latest adventure, in the form of a typewritten half-page. She is publicly complaining of her husband Larry's fishing. Her campaign is taking many roads, utilizing many media sorts.
Here is a video of Glenda in her old cheerleader costume, surrounded by the current high school cheerleader troupe. They are dancing and jumping, Glenda perhaps a bit less agile than her mates, and the yell goes something like

Rickety-rackety rose!
Rickety-rackety rise!
Either you stay home with me,
Or more than a fishie dies!

Cut to a segment of Glenda singing during a high school assembly about her lamentable lonely state while her lover is out with the fishes.

All alone am I
Ever since you said goodbye
Throwed me over for a plagued fish fry...

Larry is a very stoic guy. He just says, oh, that's Glenda. The truth is, he doesn't fish very much. Mostly, he sits downtown and drinks coffee when he's not at the Plant. He doesn't hang around the house, because Glenda is usually out filming, and he doesn't argue. He shrugs, and sips.
I gather up the Glenda typescript, because nobody seems to be taking care of it. Later on the street, I encounter Glenda. When I present her with the package, I apologize to her. The envelope includes a couple of vinyl disks now, and they've been broken against a VHS tape. One smaller record is intact, but two others are broken. I'm very sorry, and so is she. Glenda is very glum. I say, of course it can be reproduced.
I know it isn't an original campaign. Some time ago, and far away, another wife set out on just such a media frenzy against her husband. There was much publicity, and this must have impressed Glenda at the time. I don't know if the first event was more justified than Glenda's complaint.

[A waking note: Glenda and Larry are two individuals from my old high school days. They've probably never even spoken to one another. Glenda is a farm girl, and a little abashed about that, and Larry was the sort of guy who would allow you to believe anything to his credit, regardless of the truth of the matter.]

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I have proved Einstein's Relativity in my dreams. Albert told us that one who traveled near the speed of light away from the earth would be exponentially younger than a twin on earth once he returned. I have noticed that long sequences in dreams, as in the one following, occur in very limited dreamtime. I can gauge the latter because I am often awakened just prior to the alarm and drift back to sleep for a very few minutes. In that time, much occurs. Therefore:

  1. Dreams travel at near the speed of light, and
  2. Albert was right.


On a campus, moseying this way and that, dark in keeping as always with my lack of visual perception, or perceptive vision, I have an assignment, though I'm not in school. I know I must, but I don't understand how. It's like high school; I was somehow disengaged when something important was explained.

I understand the outline of it. We are to diagram a root of a local tree, which resembles an apricot but without flour or fruit. It remains low to the ground, sinuous as if struggling to rise, and somehow one large root follows the trunk up out of the ground.

The assignment is to gash the root just above the ground, then lay the tool we used aside, and draw the innards of the root. I see Niki J's artwork, and it's very nice. She used a motor-driven utensil I don't recognize, and it's laying before the tree, which has a large gash exposed in the root/trunk near the ground.

I will use an ax. I will set to work shortly. First however as in all my dreams there is a certain amount of walking one way with decisive intent and then coming back in the reverse direction with an equal amount of assurance. I'll start on my work pretty quick now.

Monday, October 24, 2005

From close up, I'm watching the crew dismantle a postmodern drag engine. They talk to one another like on any work crew. Two of them lift a blower off, which is unlike any blower ever seen outside a scifi flick. They place it over on a bench.

Now I must take the engine somewhere. (All my dreams are moving, as my days be sitting.) We start off, but we have, of course, two cats to take with us. One bounds off up the wrong path and I must catch her. She has the shape of a squirrel and a bobbed tail and grey-white-black coat, and the funny part is, I can catch her.

The other is off to the other side, and there is danger, because an auto is coming now. I rush to that side of the road, and just barely catch this one before he leaps into the path of the oncoming vehicle, whose driver gives one of those patented disgust headshake frowns.

I enter a dark bookshop. The engine is to drive something important there, maybe the card catalog, for all I know. I leave, and find a lady signing in at the desk lobby. Her family motor is just set in the floor behind her, like an inboard Evinrude. Everything drives something else, and I don't question it. The lady notices a list on the counter, mentions it. Hey, there's a list.

Yes, I say. It's my lifting routine from fifty years ago. Haven't used it since, but I like to keep it handy. She continues her entries onto the form.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I am somehow not troubled by a visit from Clyde Hembry, who was in waketime the nadir of the sump of our old hometown society. I mean, seedy thugs try and avoid Clyde, and all that kept him out of prison for major crimes was a lack of imagination. But he is there briefly on some nefarious mission and it's innocent as far as I'm concerned so I give him the location of a certain green of the Golf Club.

This is as wide as the social span runs in our town: from the Golf Club, the smalltown unexclusive enclave yet nest of the most posh families we can afford, and Clyde, but I seem to believe Clyde has a justifiable need of the data so I give him "A-21" and I step outside. I will show him where. I expect him to follow, and he does, but too slow is he at leaving my quarters to suit me.

Here he comes. It's sunshine outside, and I stride forth. I look at the numbers on the greens. I see H and then guide over that way for B section. The greens, I see, relate to large metropolitan newspapers. This makes perfect sense to me. I recognize now that A-21 must mean the San Jose Mercury News.

Over this way, Clyde. Watch the traps.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I am rushing through a moving train. I have to tell Reloj something I've just read.

It was in Schopenhauer. See, the way I understand it, is, you cannot substitute one string of longing and desire for another. I see it as a golf ball. You cut into the cover and you unwind one length of thread and stretch it out on the table. Then you take another and you substitute it.
Schopenhauer says you can't do that. Any impulse or drive is so deeply rooted there is no way to synthesize another for it. I go to tell Reloj that, rushing through the cars, out one door onto the platform and into the next.

We are going to a therapy clinic somewhere up ahead which will cure Reloj of his smoking habit. One of the strategies is the trading off of the need to smoke with other oral fixations. But I found a copy of something from Schopenhauer which says we're bound to fail in our mission.

Sublimation? Is that the term?

Eyes are cast above me. I notice the glaze, all along the rows, in every car, and then I know the cause. There are TV sets up high to my left.
Nobody wants to talk Schopenhauer here.

Everyone is blankly staring, as in a trance. There is noise coming from the TV sets.

Anybody? They only stare at the sets up on railings, two to a car. They do not hear me. They do not even see me.

Does this mean perhaps Schopenhauer was wrong? It's good, if so, because maybe then Reloj can quit smoking after all.

I wonder when I'm awake if Schopenhauer ever wrote anything like that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The young black lady was prepared to save our rotting southern community, lord knoweth how or even why.

She was the director of something she called Fascinating Theatre. On the surface, it looked just like any cineplex. It was the largest building ever in our town, and we were all convinced by the simple fact of it. Such grandeur is very impressive. Its erection showed she had faith in Fascinating Theatre in our town. Now, we didn't truly understand the theory, but with such grand developments, we didn't figure we had to, no more than the sun coming up most mornings. Most everybody not otherwise engaged, which was most, became a shareholder, an employee, or both, of Fascinating Theatre.

She taught us that theatre could not be confined to the ten screens within the walls, but must follow us all the day and into the night. All of us must attend the movies, and when not inside the Theatre we must be working for its success among us, and grateful for our very existence as a direct result of Fascinating Theatre.

She convened a meeting to show us what she meant. The city manager (this was the little bigshot Napoleon complex who was the boss in our office once upon a waketime) was trying to manipulate her. After all, she was a woman, and Black besides.

"I don't think we need both me and the mayor for this ceremony..." he laughed. She must've agreed. Immediately, he was out of the project, and only the mayor stood at one side on opening night.

There was developing a Theatre class, and a detritis of the left-behind. I was over there across the street come opening night. Here come the Director, with another one who resembled her. She was dancing, an African dance, scooting along the walk together with her follower, on the edge nearest the street, grinning broadly, their arms syncopated in a motion like the drive wheels of a locomotive. It seemed to be directed at me, standing there in blank stupefication, but maybe all the left-behinds felt that way. I stood across the street, in front of the old Drive In Theatre, which was decrepit and dying, just watching.

It resembled a dance the natives of the Serengeti might have performed to mark the coming of the white man's railroad. It was a celebration of the successful introduction of Fascinating Theatre to our town, or maybe the failure of the old way, or both.

All that the Theatre class did during the day related to Fascinating Theatre. You tried to catch their eye, thinking, you're kidding, right? but they never blinked. When they talked, they did so in banal boosterism, advertising the savior of their community. They sounded like TV commercials. We laughed at them, but we were unnerved. There were few of us, and we had after all been rejected by the Fascinating Theatre.

He is a professional forensic craftsman. He is taking apart a revolver, and he is dusting the shells, and he puts the works through a variety of very close order chemical tests there on the table while we watch. He is sweating.

He cannot find what she wants found. He shrugs. His hand is shaking now. She informs us all that probably they must now tear down the front end of the vehicle. I don't know what she means, but he does. His voice cracks as he says, "I can't do it now; I've been here for sixteen hours!"

He is afraid of being taken off the project through failure, or exhaustion. Then he would only be one of us.

There were chats in the coffee shops, casual encounters at Clayton's Grocery, wives in their turnip patches bent double at the waist out on the broad flat field, men sitting on summer evening porches running water from a hose at the St Augustine...

No more. Now in our town nothing else is but the Theatre.

Monday, September 19, 2005

He has a plan, and he's going through with it. That Black gentleman over there. He has an idea for a community. It will be built in the treetops.

He will flatten and level the crowns off a triangle of redwoods, and he will cinch them together and draw them tighter and tighter. He will build his city on a platform set atop the three redwoods.

It will be powered, this city, by Dynamic Tension. You may remember this theory from the backs of magazines in the fifties. In just fifteen minutes a day, Charles Atlas would make sure no more sandkickers bothered you and your lady at the beach. The principle is an irrestible force meeting an immovable object - and you don't need logic to buy into the phrase. You apply all your force of one hand against the resistance of the other, basically.

And so the force of the treetops trying to spring back to plumb will develop sufficient power to run his city. It worked for Charles Atlas, he said. But power requires movement, you say, and he says, it worked for Charles Atlas.

I don't know where to begin. But he isn't listening to me anyway. I will build this city, he says.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I am running along a dirt road which is a loop to a mountain two-lane blacktop. I am chasing another vehicle. I don't know if I've awakened into my dream (Reloj once wrote of wakening from a nap during the night on a street of Mexico DF running at full tilt after someone who had lifted his wallet) or this is as far back as I can ravel from sleep come dawn.

But I realize finally, I'm chasing a vehicle on foot. I'll need my own auto if I'm gonna catch up. I must retrace my steps to where I parked my ride.

Someone is inside it. There is standing room, as if it's a large panel truck. He is very unconcerned, going through a drawer as I approach and make get-out noise. He is utterly unperturbed. Which of us is right? I think, this is a handy time to flash a pistol, but I have no weapon. But I must continue the chase, so I fire up the engine and head on down the road, with the interloper a passenger. He doesn't mind. It's all the same to him.

I accumulate riders; family, friends now. We must split up. Here is one ride; there another. I think, this puts the invader guy with one of my friends, alone, and I don't know this guy.

As we head out in our vehicle, one asks, "How long has he been working at Microsoft?" I have no idea; I don't know anything about him. I didn't know where he works, and say so. But this biographical data renders the guy less mysterious anyway.

In my mind all during the chase, I do not even conceive of a `why?'

Monday, September 12, 2005

Me and Jack, we're leaving his place for mine. We're walking through his house. He asks in passing, as we can look out through a window at the church next door and see folk performing janitorial duties, why I don't help clean up anymore, and I say, "Because I don't go to church."

That doesn't seem to sit well with him, and we're a bit churlish now, and when I leave on my bicycle, I go ahead, although he hasn't joined me. I figure he will if he wants. Maybe he's sulking.

A little reddish longhair pup is racing along the street beside me. I have to protect the little guy. Why do they allow him to run wild? The streets are dangerous. I must see about him.

My bike is gone. How can my bike be gone? It was right here a moment ago. (This is the second dream I've had recently where I cannot hold onto my valuables. I think maybe it's a metaphor for aging.)

I must procced on my route home over strange obstacles; hilly lawns under dark oaks with viny masonry walls like in old movies. I somehow recognize a spot in the brush, although there is nothing there to even suggest what I'm looking for. I reach and hold and pull...and my bike comes out of the dirt!

My bike. (I think right here in my dream about the classic film The Bicycle Thief, and wonder if it's true society cannot protect my bike does it follow I may consider nobody else's bike is covered by law or social etiquette either.) It's my bike, all right, only it has a new seat and other accessories. How can this happen so fast? It was right here a moment ago.

But I have it now. Except I must surmount the wall. Is there glass set in concrete on top? I won't know until I'm there. I begin to scurry down the grassy knoll and clamber up the wall.

Wait a minute, I think. I look back. Sho' 'nuff.

My bike is gone again.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I am part of an on-going project. I see the way it is going. It is creating history to fit with legend, which is news, which is memory, which is everywhere and nowhere. I live here.

There is a legend about Shakespeare of Stratford. He ran away to London because he and his mates were caught poaching deer out of the Forest of Arden, specifically the estate of Sir Thomas Lucy at Charlecote. It is a very nice story, but it 'stands on your eyelashes,' to quote an old Reloj Spanish saying.

The problem was, Sir Thomas had no estate at Charlecote in those years. What to do? The history was being rewritten in slow turns; that was the project. You begin with the myth and you repeat and repeat everything that fits and omit what acquits the Bard from the poaching charge.

This is what is happening. I am there and do whatever is needed to continue my own role in the matter, for I know of no other. It is a matter of one or another opening doors and coming in and then after a nondescript time going out again. Everyone seems to be casually busy and there must be some purpose else why would they all be so engaged?

It is in service to the myth, then, and I take my part. I don't really have to analyze it any further. You think all these coming and going are worrying about the plot to our story? I don't think so.

There, that last segment of the vast journal of our lost days, right there, see? The lease on Chilcote? The dates are smeared. I cannot read the dates. And the journal is to be the only resource, for all other documents appertaining will be lost.

I mean, come on, some kids takes a deer that doesn't belong to him, or he doesn't, four hundred years ago? Who wants to spend time proving long-dead innocence? Especially if it does harm to the legend?

A lady, somber, opens the door and enters. Out there are plenty of other doors in the hall, and a stairway. There are myriads of them, walking, frowning in boredom, entering and exiting. See them go. There they go. Go, myriads, go.

There. Sir Thomas Lucy. The page just plopped onto the pile. Overly protective of his deer, it says.

Tomorrow it will be precisely the same as memory.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I am writing furiously by hand and I'm awakening to time's winged chariot. I mean, I am writing a play. I have not quite a page done. The play is supposed to be performed this very evening, and it's already afternoon.

Not only do I have not one page done, but I keep losing that. Where is my page? I move here and there and the staff is not concerned that the charter of all they will do is undone. I am the only one showing urgency.

As if I needed it, there is one other problem. The play has roles which are unfilled. How can we bring in actors and have them learn their lines in the time remaining. It's impossible.

The lead actor will appear with me. We will be about on the dirt streets of a village of the 19th Century. It will be dusktime and we will be in the shady dirt, talking from some distance. (This is sounding like Our Town but that name never came up in the dream.)

The lead actor is my son, or rather an actor playing Will, and like Will he is completely unflustered by circumstance. I say, really, we must put off the play!

He shrugs. Everyone is coming to a gathering this evening and the play was to be part of it. But we can delay it for two days.

I am greatly relieved. Two days. All I know is, at least it ain't this day.

I think, maybe we can have the lines of the other actors echoed in our own, like an old Bob Newhart phone bit.

Two days.

[Note: In the photo above, taken this year when Will and his wife Jill came flying out to visit, the lady in the background at baggage claim offered the most flattering opinion I have heard: "You sure do look alike." I leave it to you to appreciate her kindness to me.]

Saturday, August 27, 2005

We are all persuaded to cast off our private illusions for the community standard. A metaphor.

We mumble about it to ourselves and think it's a good idea. Hey, why don't we do it.

The form of the metaphor is a ball of string. It is huge, and it is growing. We each tie our stray string scraps to a central ball...which sits there.

That's it, it's a metaphor which does not move. We all variously and singly come up to the big ball on the square and we tie our pitiful short lengths to it and it grows, inexorably, inexplicitly it grows, and that's all it does. It does not move or mean anything else except it is our community metaphor and it does not even know that. It doesn't know anything, it's just a dumb metaphor.

Once in waking time I had a housemate named Crazy Pam. (My name for her; she only answered to the second part.) She wanted to be a science writer and so she was taking a class up at the University in writing stuff. I think it was called Writing Stuff 101. She actually became an assistant TA or something for the class.

So she needed to know what the parts of writing stuff were. She asked very simply, "What's a metaphor? What's an allegory?"

So I told her. "A metaphor is only a static symbol. The other side of the coin. Screaming headlines. An allegory is an extended replica, like a fairy tale of the tortoise and the hare, or the grasshopper and the ant. It teaches us a lesson in large-print, easy-read symbols we can understand and plug our own days into. If it's a holy lesson, it's a parable."

I think it's significant perhaps in the dream that the simplest form of representative speech is what we all gave up our separate stories for.

The moral for this story is -

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I stop by a shop on my bicycle commute. This goes back to the times when I rode miles a day over hill and into the valley beyond. I am thinking here as I ride, though, it's easier than it was, although I remember how it really was. I come easily up to a turn and it's steep and I'm stalled because I'm just too lax approaching it, so I have to dismount. I'm expecting it to be easier than it is.

In the shop now; it sells outdoor gear, and I'm wandering around through the racks. I don't know what I'm here for.

I become aware I have lost my poncho. Then I think, I don't remember the description of it. The grey pullover? The rainjacket? I have lost something and I'm not ever sure what. I will have to ride in my tee, then, and it'll be a mite chilly.

Then, I think, where's my backpack? Oh, dear, now I can't think where I left my backpack. I'll have to report it.

My bicycle! Where is my bike? I am conscious of losing everything, even after I was alerted by the loss of the poncho, or the sweatshirt. I speak with a clerk, and he says, we'll have to have a conference with the manager.

She is quite young; they're all just kids working here. We sit in a private office to go over the theft procedure.

I am helping a clerk cover his vehicle with a tarp of strange compositon. I am watching the sky outside for the light. It's falling fast. I cannot ride in the dark.

And then I think, that's strange, too. I am still planning about riding, and I have no bike. If I'm going to be planning on simulated bike riding, I may just as well conjure a bike with a light.

I'll call Niki J. She'll come for me. I'm a total washout. Good I still have Niki J!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I am watching a soccer practice, and the guys are strangers, and some of them who come late are foreign and quite good. I see Mrs Mary Jo Lipscomb, my favorite parent growing up. She is smiling and happy, and she seems to recognize me. I give her a big hug, though she cannot quite call my name. (Mrs Lipscomb, I heard the last time I was back home, is in a nursing home. I say, I'd like to go see her, and her son says, she probably wouldn't recognize you. Not often do real characters and situations enter my dreams.) I am crying quite openly. Later I hear her enthusing over another, and she calls that one by her name.

I'm standing with Rusty McDonald. (This is the fringe kid I drove to Dallas the first time I had control of the family Ford for going to school. That privilege lasted one day, because I blew the time coming back because Rusty was running away to live with his uncle and I had to take him clear to Oak Cliff. We found the house and I left him in the garage of one of those dense downscale neighborhoods of the fifties and drove off lost and took too long coming back and was taken to school for some time after same as when I was in elementary school. I saw Rusty back in school the next Monday. He said, my uncle had moved. He was hanging around the garage of strangers.)

Rusty is driving me, now, a huge box truck, maybe a big rig, and he's backing up beside my own grandma's old house on Chestnut Back Home. He is backing by the southside and I just sit and watch. All of this goes on like the earth spinning without my question or input.

It is the house of a doctor, I do hear that. I wander around again with strangers. I must leave, because I have to go home, because Niki J is expecting me. I cannot find the way out of the large rambling mansion. I do not want to ask, because that would make it obvious I don't belong there.

The doctor comes by. I'm in the room where he sits and pulls off shoes and prepares for the next act. I ask him, and he points the way. He's friendly but not at all solicitous.

I find a phone. I pick it up, and it's one of those trick numbers for special purpose I don't understand. An inside line. I look for another.

Then it's shoes. I have lost my shoes. I cannot leave my shoes. (They are the ones I wear downtown, the very ones over there on the hearth right now.) I begin a new search, leaving off phones, now it's shoes, my own pair of shoes.

I wander around without a plan, which is what I've been doing all through this dream, and this life.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

We are driving in separate vehicles out of Houston. Very soon I am in terrain I do not recognize. I pass through a tunnel which was never there before. All these roads, they're strange to me.

A guy is close by the driver's side of my auto, so I roll down the window and ask him how I go back where I started from. He thinks this is a trick question, and ponders it. He is smiling, but he doesn't wanta be made a fool of.

I move on. Here is a stopping place. I don't understand why I pick this place. It is nondescript outside, one of those tin industrial parkways, almost abandoned. I enter a restaurant. Sit. Smile. Everybody like me now.

I ask a lady at a nearby table. How do I go to - and I forget the city I started from this morning. I grin and think. Houston, oh, yeah, Houston. How do I go back to Houston. Nobody thinks of just wondering why I don't go back the way I came.

This one says, "You go down this highway you were on." She means I should continue on the road I have been traveling, which is away from Houston. But, I nod. "You will see four D's."

She doesn't explain, so I don't ask. I'm supposed to know what D's are, I assume. I nod more. She says nothing. "So, after the fourth D, I turn..."

"No, no," she scoffs. Such a ridiculous idea. Turning. I nod. I am afraid to ask anything more.

So far I have: I continue on the road I have been using to drive away from Houston in the same direction I have been going. I will pass four D's. I am to, at that point, do something which isn't turning. Okay.

So now I am leaving. I stand up and go out. Now we are on the second floor, like an interior office of a warehouse. I must slip down someway. Then, when I'm on the concrete floor, I remember I've left something up there in the restaurant. I have to go back. A sweater, I think. Something.

To go back, I try and find access. Stairs are of course out of the question. I don't even know how it was I went there before. The owner of the restaurant comes by. He sees my problem. Shows me a rope, says, there you go. I grasp it and try to climb up. It's incredibly difficult.

But here I am inside the restaurant, and here is the owner. How did he arrive ahead of me? He says, you aren't gonna wanta miss this. He tells me his wife is coming, with someone famous.

A couple creates minor bedlam, laughing. They tumble over a table in hysterics.
"Just look at that honeymuck on her face!" derides the owner. I look for a hickey, but cannot see.

Then the wife comes right in. I am alone now, and she says, Henri is coming. There is something on her cheek. Maybe a honeymuck? Her hair is short and she is stylish and somehow she wants me to know Henri, the famous San Francisco stylist, is with her.

Okay, I say. I try and radiate enthusiasm out of all my confusion.

Monday, August 15, 2005

We are having a discussion on the street. It's a question about physics, but I can't bring it back to save me. Very technical and a revelation to me. I am with son Casey, and his science teacher in high school is our ah hoc instructor.

He holds out his hand. Casey laughs, and we pass on. I realize...he's now a mendicant street professor. He must beg of pedestrians, and his busking gig is science. He is neatly dressed for a wandering science beggar, but a little slipshod for a teacher. He was a very funny guy in school; everyone liked Boomer. (This isn't him; it's someone playing him.)

We pretend he's kidding, leave him on the street, forms passing in all directions. He smiles, and allows the outhrust hand to be ironic if we like. But he isn't kidding.

I don't like it. First you think, a scientist, you'd insult him by giving chump change. Then, do you not humiliate him more by ignoring his request?

I never know. I'm no good in these matters. I never studied science.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Here we go again, traveling. We're in a limo of unknown size roaring up a dark mountain road. I am frightened to see how high we soar, especially considering how I cannot see where we are going and that's an acute problem since I'm driving. I take solace in how everybody does this. We all have blind spots driving, so it's not unusual I can glimpse only fragments of roadside as we soar like over a giant expansion bridge.

I hold a discussion with some guy over the proper grooming and feeding of canines. He's talking about Scoob. I explain to him very logically how what I do is right, as we ever must. I happen to be in a tree of bare branches, about ten feet from the ground. It is also logical I be there, I think.

This isn't going anywhere. Long as I'm here...


I am waiting for a lady in an off-beach shopping center. I'm in a central location so she can see me, `where the fountain should be,' which was the odd arrangement.I wander onto the sand, circle a dark figure of bizarre aspect set out on an expansive fabric laid out to protect her from the sand, a huge beach towel only much larger. She has many vague comforts about her, like a child's bedroom. She smiles at me. She's in a deranged silent dark mood, apparently, her face is like Boticelli's springtime women but with no softness. She hands me something.

I carry the gift away, hurriedly - maybe the one I'm waiting for has come and not seen me where I'm supposed to be. I don't know how this gift from the dark lady on the sand will go over. I don't know what the gift is, and even in the dream I've no idea.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The lobby of a funeral parlor. I have no direct reference to death, but I'm here. I am to somehow show solemnity, and I do. It is one of those stage sets, a den of an old Victorian with drapes and embroidered lampshade tassels and fabric table coverings.

Here, says someone in an upper room. Here is how you see him. Him means the honcho. This one shows me a hinged door on a sloping side of the inner closet to the bedroom, and I push on it and with difficulty it opens. There is a passage which goes on and on, a scaffolding in the dark with dim light only from somewhere high up. I have great confidence, only because someone seemingly in authority told me to go this way. We're all such children.

I am now in the bedroom where the Chief rests. He lays back at an oblique 45° angle to upright against a plush comforter on his bed. Saying nothing, but I understand. There are gifts for me I've forgotten now. I was pleased. The sort you receive from attending a very cheap timeshare hustle.

I intend returning to that lobby, but - I go by way of the bedroom door onto the landing and I am high up and workers are on a scaffold where the stairs should be. They see it not in their contract to convey safe passage to me, so they don't break from hammering and measuring. I ask. They say, you can - and they describe a rigorous pattern which would allow me to lower myself onto the bottom floor. But I merely stretch and hold, for I notice if I do so, the floor below, which had looked like a fifty foot drop, is only inches from my feet.

Which are unshod, by the way. I have left my shoes, which are unique and like the slip-on Robin Hood stocking Puck boots from the old Howard Pyle illustrations, are not where I left them. There has been some rearrangement to the furniture and the five or six pairs of shoes scattered in one corner are none of them mine.

I lace up some tennies, and am stopped at the door. I really didn't mean to steal them, I say, I had only mistaken them for my own. I didn't even realize these were the ones I had picked. It's not very credible, but it's true.

I leave, barefoot, and wonder if I can write or call for the shoes. I turn back instead, and I am not greeted with warmth at the door. Not at all. I escape all this opprobrium by exiting a back entrance. Or entering in reverse a rear exit.

Which leaves me in a strange neighborhood. I think, I'll just keep walking and somehow my evnironment will be familiar. That's what keeps us all going.

A tightly-thatched community, with wild vegetation and shacks everywhere; a ruddy pickup backs up towards me from below. I think, he'll stop, but he doesn't. Catches me right at the tailgate of his truck and pushes me uphill in the swarming grass. I complain, and the driver, an elder black man, lets out a stream of invective directed at me.

I keep walking, and he keeps yelling. He is very angry, and it isn't going away. As I approach what looks to be disheveled public buildings (maybe like the old tin cotton mill from my old home town, abandoned like a forgotten graveyard) there appears to my upper left a string of vehicles - they look like road graders but they are very narrow without blades and a louspeaker blares from each of them into the neighborhood at large.

"Be on the lookout - a vagabond invader is in your midst - you must be careful of contamination - report him as soon as he is spotted!"

I wonder if stealing sneakers is behind all this. Or merely being different.

I hop aboard a float. I'm nervy that way. It begins to approach a waterfall which runs through the old forsaken derelict structure. Down below is an actual run of ice. We will flow on our stream into the center of a large barn, and from there a landslide will bring us home.

I will be free of the anger, at least.

The ice wakes me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My companion is a little pup. Scoob is offstage for the moment, like when we go to the beach. The pup and I sit at a small table which is part of a restaurant, but it's angled and obscure like a labyrinth so you cannot see out of your immediate fern-beclouded setting.

There is one who is hiding behind the greenery spilling from a planter box over our table. He has a camera. There is one plate, set before me, as you don't serve hounds in this place. The photographer intends taking our picture. I don't know why, but I don't mind. The waiter has no badge of office; he's like somebody in charge in a Mexican joint in his cleanest casual.

I see on my plate chips of what may be beef. I intend it for the pup anyway. Underlying the dish, whatever it is, maybe hidden by gravy, is a slab of steak.

Then the steak comes up missing. I follow the photographer into another part of the forest. He is in different dress now, but I recognize him. He's pretending to be on other business, behind a long counter like in old-time diners.

I ask the waiter, who is slouching nearby, hey, where's my steak? He shrugs. That guy took it. More shrugging. You have to replace it then. Still more.

They both think they can just wait until the dream is over. Time is on their side.

They're right.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

In the morning I will suit out in my dress greens. There will be two of us, my first drill sergeant, a lanky sort with brevet stripes, which meant he was acting as a DI. I don't remember his name. It's been over forty years now. Maybe he's reading this, and will write and tell me his name.

I am to show up at work in my dress greens. This I don't question. It's an office requirement. Okay.

But it's morning and I seem to have left off gathering my uniform until now.

It's the busdriver's suit, you know. I hustle around and look for parts of it. Brother Joey and I will take the bus. He works somewhere else, but he's wearing dress greens too. I cannot find everything. It's been such a long time.

I am on the bus. Oh, wait, I say to Joey. I have on white socks. Joey says, that's doesn't matter.

Joey says not to worry. But then I think, hey, wait, I don't have my headgear! It's against the rules to be outdoors without headgear. I better go for my busdriver's hat!

I run back. I look in my apartment, then in Joey's. He has one small one-bedroom on the same floor. I am very late, I know, but don't look to see just how much late. I think, wait, there's this corner, and I go back to my apartment.

Find where old gear is gathered. Here's Joey's work cap; it's a sharp modified baseball cap, part of the fatigue uniform. Sure enough, I find my flat dress green headgear. It looks like Ralph Kramden's. I go out now.

I take the stairs rather than wait for the elevator. But that puts me down in a strange street. I run this way and then bend over that way, and then find a bunch of people at a stop. I stop.

It is some time here before I ask which stop this is. It's Third and Fifteenth. Oh, dear. I need Third and Second! Second Avenue is the route that takes me to the office.

I take off running up Third. I'm very late.

Do you know how pretty are the ridges up here? Like coral reefs in the sky. The bright colors are to warn away aircraft, you know. I ride it down the slope; it's like the spine of a Triceratops. Wheee!

The coral is now slithery, sinuous.

I catch up to the head of the snake. It flashes forked tongue, rambles.

Here I am now set down in a garage. I'm traveling with an Hispanic guy on bicycles. We're going somewhere, you bet.

He stops off at the window along the cavernous pathway. I ask, where is the school. He indicates, so I keep going.

But now I have to slide on my back, the way I swim. I pass others. Here is a child with a mother. It's my child; I have fathered it, but it's only like I jaywalked or something. Sorry, but she understands.

I am swimming over the pavement, the way I swim, which is floating on my back and paddling. I now am before the registrar. She shows me a mark in my record, her jaw set like it's a D. It's another child I've fathered. I'm chastened, but it's not like I failed the course.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


It's Reloj and me on a trip to Monterey, CA. There's a Mexican restaurant in Watsonville, on the way, and evidently also in Montery.

A giant green road grader roars into the lane next to us from off right; it's clean and neat and a chicano sits high up in the cab.

Asks if he can to park heere.

"Si," I tell him, with all the simpatico at my disposal.

We're alongside a long tan building. There are trees and a gravel road running by it.

"I like you, mon," the grader man smiles.

Inside now, Reloj and I are in conference.

"Champagne," either one of us says.

"Champagne," mutters a disembodied voice.

A plump ma is grinning over her stewpot, rolls like dough from her fat cheeks and arms, "Champagne, yeah, shore...champagne," she seems to be melting into the pot, cackles and all.

On the road again, without any champagne, a small plane swoops in a circle, around behind - it's one of those aerobats but I wonder if the pilot is in control.

It zooms behind us as we watch, squanders altitude, pulls out of fearful freefall and continues to circle in front now - amazingly it keeps its nose pointing at us like a hex.

It sidles around us; I can hear someone onboard it chuckliing like ma as the plane circunmnavigates...

I am back at the restaurant in Watsonville now. Oh, shoot, I slipped a cog in progression. Reloj is still in Monterey on real time. I have to go back.

Inside at the counter, in Monterey, someone sits, and a lagging lilting brunette is behind us, reaching for something. She is rummaging in the high racks of flat displays. The higher she reaches the more of her bare lissome stretch is available to the public behind her. I wonder if she knows this. I wonder why they place all the common flatware so high. I am hardly ever cynical while dreaming.

(I forgot to mention earlier while we were there someone we called Pop had come through after the lunch crowd with a pushbroom - I had a straw broom I'd taken from the auto - my old red VW of Mexican venture days when dreams merged with the jarring world again - customers pick up their feet while the long head of Pop's broom whisks by...)

The lissome lady comes back around the counter, drops something there, everyone shuffles up and heads out - I see it's one of those juicy chocolate chip cookies I'm now addicted to and am glad.

Reloj's in the car when I go out. He has on a striped shirt. We discuss how we came to be separated. He had gone somewhere, and I hadn't. I didn't know. It's all right now. The auto we sit in is a sports machine, like the Triumph TR-3 I once drove.

We nod together and I fire up.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I wake a time or two every night, and the first time, I thought, that's a good dream, I'll surely remember that one. Then I was asleep again. And when I awoke, all I remember of the dream is...

The kittens over the minefield. The enemy had cast them out there to clear the mines. I was panicked. The enemy are scum.

But I managed to call them all back to me without tragedy.

In the next sleep segment, I am visiting someone and am reminded, you forgot to do the film. Oh, boy, I sure did. I was supposed to help with the film last visit.

This is a multiple-adult house. I go to the machine. It has a keyboard and a long window viewport into a box about three feet by six, and inside you can see several small wax figures. You prepared them for the scene by the keyboard. For one shot, they are held horoizontal and glue is applied. This is so a material will stick to them.

Then they will be programmed to act the scene, with the special effects, and it will look on your screen exactly like any other movie, yet these actors are all about six inches tall. It's a remarkable studio to have in one room of a private home. A spectacular explosion and auto crash scene costs five dollars, and looks like anything you'd see at the mall.

But it's the end of the shooting day, and I go to tell Mischa, the producer, there'll be no real footage today. I see someone I know, have known before, and she is cold and ignores me. That's best sometimes.

This is Gone In Sixty Seconds III, and it's becoming very expensive. I think I'm responsible for some of that, because of my tardiness on the set. The price is ballooning up above sixty dollars American. But, with European distribution, we expect to gross around two hundred million, so everybody will be friends again when the receipts start rolling in.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The boys drive off in a jalopy to my left, and the police to my right. I am expecting both to return soon with trouble. I am anxious about that. I can be whupt or arrested.

A blonde in a roadster passes by, left to right, and I call to her. I pick up a huge surfboard and hurry to where she has stopped. I figure she must, for I am in danger. She does. I sit down in the passenger seat, and nevermore is the surfboard a participant.

She immediately turns onto a hidden road winding down to our left. Opening up in the dell is the prettiest scene, a pond and an escarpment like a mushroom; it's the illustration for a child's storybook.

In the house, I amble along through the rooms. The blonde has spoken not a word to me. I see children rambling through a sunken den of sorts, and I continue on.

Pause at a door. There are two men in there, I'm guessing, although both have yet to rise this day. They are different ages; maybe the father and brother of the blonde.

There are strangers everywhere, although the family isn't large, neither is the house but it has narrow passages. I should introduce myself, I suppose, but nobody pays the slightest attention to me.

Scoob is here with me, and there are puppies, too, who cavort and bark, but the barks are subdued, like whispers.

[Two events in waketime history may account for these scenes. One is when I skipped out of Ft Polk, 1969, and spent the first night, after being shaken down by the Leesville city police in Lousiana, across the border and was immediately on awakening accosted by the cops from nearby Jasper, who took identifying numbers and drove off "to check" and meanwhile I expect at anytime the MPs to come across that bridge over the Sabine I had just crossed in the night.

The second was when my brother Joey took me to the house over in Dodd City, a little burg east of Flatlandia, to meet with and perhaps take a young lady somewhere. She invited us in, and Joey wisely declined, and I went in to sit in a circle with strangers. Nobody introduced anybody.

This circle was brought to mind recently by Joey's recalling what I had told him about the conversation I overheard. It was hilarious, now that I remember it. Two old guys are talking trade. One says to the other,

"Lem, how'd you swap that 'ere five five Chevy for my Pontiac ?"

And Lem squints at him, growls:

"Just like you didn't have nuthin'."]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I drive to a large house on a shady street and enter. It is the home of the fictional Leatherwoods who in the musty shop of my hometown history operated a booth.

But this house is huge with many and varied rooms on multilevels and the occupants the same.
The family is in early nineteenth century British countryside dress, and they fall into pageants like children at play. They are almost all women and they are creative and talented in many spheres.

Here they form an impromptu tableau of a famous painting I cannot name at the mere mention of the title. I'm told the rendering is precise.

Here they jump into a scene from Moliere which I, alas, also do not recognize, but am told it may be the very best presentation of those moments onstage anywhere, and I'm inclined to believe it.

I walk around as at a county fair, with the addition, rare for fairs but common in my dreams, of lapsing at times into insufficient attire, including none at all. I'm bare at times, and at other times I have on a minimal plus-four undergarment arrangement which suits me better, but I have no idea how these separate items come to be associated with me.

Oh, dear, I've lost my camera. A little digital number; have you seen it? Drat.

I spend much time going through rooms and encountering interesting personnel in search of my camera. I am in step with a willowy youngster and am informed in one room that were I to conduct an affair with Olivia I must be more discreet. To laughter I stutter I have no such intentions, least no such hopes. She is lithe and radiant and then she is off on another march and does not seem to recognize me further.

And now I'm outside, for it's the time to go, and I auto is not where it was left. At least, not where I think I have left it. I go about down the street in search of it. Ragamuffins in the street on dirtbikes agree to search for a generous fee. I tell them it's a small dark Datsun, and they go off down the winding drive of a garage.

Here comes Lee, one of the Leatherwoods. I go back inside with him, for he has some presentation to make. Here is your wallet, he says, and grandly hands it to me to general applause. I am so grateful I forget for a moment I didn't lose my wallet, but my camera.

Everyone seems to be of the opinion it is a very pleasant development, and so who am I to argue?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I don't remember the mission. I am rumbling around a common area, like around the pool of a condo, but it's well-appointed dark wood and sedate fabric...only I realize it isn't really the commons anymore...I am going back the way I came and I see the kitchen area with folding cabinets like short walls closing it off, and I realize...

Mrs Standsbury is home.

She is startled to see me. I pass through her kitchen smiling. She has a classy new sweep hairdo and she looks younger than her years; she's put together like a middle-aged widow.

[Mrs Standsbury was our nextdoor neighbor when I was young. Once we were in her back yard. She came home, spoke to me, said, `I thought you were a nice boy.' We'd been on her front porch and left dirt, maybe from her flowerpots. We meant no harm. We were just careless. I said nothing, eked away from her yard. I realized I should go back up front and clean up, but I guess I just accepted I wasn't a nice boy after all...

In those days, most September there was a heavyweight champeenship on radio. We picked it up early during the ring announcements but the signal faded during the fight. Like, this time, it was over, but we could not tell who won. Mr Standsbury was in his bedroom, turning off his radio. In these days, there was no air conditioning, so windows were open. We ran to his screen, called out, "Mr Standsbury, who won?" He paused in the dark room. "Patterson," he said.

Mr Standsbury was locally famous for a quote of his about working the graveyard shift on the railroad. He said, `If they'd just taken the first guy who agreed to work nights out and shot him, it would've been a better world.']

It is an ordeal. I am now moving what I had brought with me, and must distinguish what belongs there. I pass before Mrs Standsbury and her friends or family out on their veranda, and I see they aren't angry. It will be okay over time.

There is a broadcast pending, and I must appear for it. This is more than just flipping on a radio. I have to lower myself down a narrow chute like a spelunker. Uh-oh. I step down on a trashcan and smash it. Plastic.

I think, maybe I can make do in all this. I say, it could've been worse...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Okay, here's the deal. You see these wires? They connect to a three-pronged simple network of DixieCupandThread phones. We want three talkers on an elemental network, see? There they are laid out in the street. A busy city street.

Someone is already talking to someone else, which gives me pause, because the wire is not hooked up yet. I go to hook the two sections. It makes no difference. They're still chatting separately just as before. I wonder if all talk is like that.

An added ingredient to the project is that the network needs to be positioned among a triangle of windows on the hundredth floors of three separate buildings. I guess they don't trust the phones in the rooms. So I make to fire the wire from one room out of a cannon with only sufficient charge to reach across the street to the next room, and then he will have to repeat the process over to the third room.

Wait a minute. Now I just woke up. I woke up driving a motorcycle. I was riding in the sidecar, which is now missing, and I'm at the handlebars now. I'm a bit irritated. He should've told me.

I arrive at a site. I know what it is, but am not cognizant of it, this being a dream and all - I mean, I dream I know but don't know while dreaming. It's like plotlines in an old B-movie.

The honcho of the firm wanders around with intent. I explain to him very cryptically and laconically that my partner, off somewhere with a missing sidecar, will be along. The owner has an agreement with the sidecar guy, not me.

I figure I better get busy doing something. So I begin stacking fried chicken parts. Grisly, but deep-fried, crispy, I place one on top of another and continue building a stack. Okay, I'm thinking, I'll do this.

A little kid is in front of the small table where I'm stacking. He is hungry, he says. I make to show no weakness, sentiment, but remove a leg for him. He says, thanks, but I won't need it until Monday.

I happen to think, it's Friday.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

We're moving along dark streets, and Chico says, we have to take the keys. I'll divert him.

So Moss is stopped, and told something, and he goes away with his keys in his ignition, the way you'd sprint to a door, meaning to return quickly. But when he came back, his keys were no longer in his ignition.

We are driving along an embankment now, and Chico determines this is the place, so I cast the keyring down the slope towards the river. But they don't make it to the river; even in the dark I can tell.

We stop now. It's be cool time now. We are mingling around the government center. I make to appear helpful. It's a warren of rooms for all civic purposes, and I have a gadget which makes noise like a leafblower but is actually a sort of vacuum cleaner. I make to be intent on my work when the deputy comes to me, inconspicuous and non-authoritative but asking if I will take the test now.

I show disinterest, but agree. I don't know what the test means, and if I ask, I may incriminate myself, for what do I care if I'm innocent? Tests are offered and taken all the time in this berg.

I find ways and means to be dilatory, though, following the deputy. The test (polygraph? fingerprints from the keys they found?) is not set up as yet. I pass a structure. This is the water tower, and Chico with others has climbed it. (Unlike the one back home in Flatlandia, this is European, a boxy building of white rock.)

I am thinking, where did I hear taking keys is Grand Theft Auto?

But in my dreams the test never comes.

(There are characters like Moss and buddy Chico in my history - and Chico and brother Reloj did in fact climb the hundred foot water tower on a rainy night in Flatlandia, and we always referred to The Embankment as a down and out hotel north of Madera out of Orwell - but here they play strange roles.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Rhynda is daily studying a Mallard because she is a zooligist and because she was born in the Year of the Duck. She works in a large metropolitan zoo, and she specializes in the one duck kept in a cage of one wooded acre, bounded by a black wrought-iron fence such as mark trails in city parks. It is two feet high and there is space for the passage of any bird between the rails and also this mallard can fly as well as any.

Yet she doesn't. She daily paces out her ritual. Rhynda has diagramed her route, and she sees it resembles a giant skull in profile, and she notes always the duck ends her walk at the limits of what would be a huge grin.

Then something occurs to Rhynda. She is idly plotting her own various movements since she left home some years back. A circuitous pattern from Florida up through North Carolina and over to the midwest and back down to Texas and then over to Mobile.

It forms the outline of a skull in profile! She is so amazed. Maybe fate has designed her very existence!

But her travels are not complete. She has yet to describe the grin. On the map, she sees where she must go to match the pattern of the mallard in the zoo. There is a small burg in the middle of nowhere, and she immediately pulls up stakes and heads out for that destination.

She is working now as the checker in a local supermarket, and living in a cabin way out on the outskirts. In the night, one month after she has arrived, there is a feathery thump against her window. Instantly she jumps to jerk open her door and rush outside to investigate, for she has come to believe in signs, you see.

It's just another dopey dove.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Casey is slapping Max. I am very much troubled. It's to help him relax, as he has dental work pending. Sort of like sodium pentothol, but I'm not laughing. I love Max, and this draws on family patience.

Max the beauty "golden medley" is rearing up and Casey is slapping him. I must tell him it does not work like that. So, I consult the vet.

I have her number here, but I'm not sure she is the one. I have no visual memory, but I have her picture in my wallet just across from her address and phone number. She looks a lot like Jilla. But is she the vet? I need an expert to tell Casey that isn't the way you relax your pup.

I look up and - is this her? Like at a country fairgrounds, others saunter by, and here she is, right in front of me. Is this the vet?

I guess there's only one way to test the premise. Are you her? I ask, and show her the picture from my wallet. Is this you?

I have no visual memory.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I'm going to football camp! It's a generic "post-highschool" league, just forming. I'm to be a quarterback again. I'm not sure of my arm strength. I'm assured I was graded as "one of the best" prospects, rating maybe third in the nation. That encourages me. I'm going to football camp!

When I do show up, tentatively, one else is there. There is someone in charge who says, it's no matter. This was supposed to be a great rejuvenation of fabulous careers grounded on the shoals of misfortune (like on the rocks of poor arm strength) ! Where is everyone? There is an excuse given, which is meant to logically explain why a great opportunity is missed by everyone but me, and doesn't do so.

I remember something which might have a bearing, and then it seems utterly conclusive. I'm 62 years old this month. This is a sudden discovery of mine. You cannot go back and pick up the threads of lost youth at 62. Even if you're rich as Gatsby.

I go to work then. It's not a job I'm familiar with, but like in all my dreams I am aware it's familiar territory although it isn't. My boss is very genial but I know he's waiting for the proper emplyee relation moment to tell me he wants me to work more punctually, to show up more often, spend less time attending faux football camps. He takes time to make small talk about the job.

Here is a pretty model. The cameraman is very roughly plugging a suction device the size of a camera lens onto her face at various points. The operation seems very invasive. The skin of her cheek follows the device as he quickly unplugs his suction lens and plants it again a few inches away.

"He is taking light readings," says the boss, with some distaste. He has yet to mention the reason for our pleasant interview.

Someone marvels about the cute puppy outside. I go out into an alley (which resembles the one which ran between the gym/auditorium and high school back at my old Flatlandia alma mater) and see not a pup but a small duck. "Why, such an adorable little doggie," they swoon. I decide to withhold my opinion about the duck.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

I attempt to modify a small icon of a bean seed. There are about six miniature panels of pictures of the bean. I want to edit two of the frames, and also add a drawing for the back of the portrait.

The artwork is to go up somewhere, perhaps online, perhaps, who knows? as a display in a train terminal. I must work from an enclycopedia article on the bean, because it no longer exists on earth. The presentation is an elegaic psalm to a strain of life now lost. There is no editorial sidebar to the image collection.

"They didn't even hug the kids this morning," says Niki J. It is the time of the confrontation. Each dawn we gather on our side of the line. The sides are selected by age. No one knows the exact demarcation, but youth however defined is over there.

One of them says, the line held this day. It is the crepuscular standown hour. I ask, what if way down that way one or another breached the line? It runs directly down the center of an otherwise unremarkable street. And this one, a stolid non-confrontational studious sort, replies, oh, then one or the other side would be overrun. He says, the line held today.

I am called to see about something. Someone requires an assay. She is making her way down this street. Pushing along a table tilted to run on wheels. I go ahead of her. I can do this something.

At the end of a street which meets this street, there are wonderful sinewy oaks languishing, with branches thick and twining and beginning low on the trunks. There are veins of gold running along the branches, motherlodes of them. They run just off the ground and then swoop up like the flights of birds. The bark is so white and the gold is brilliant in the afternoon sunlight of another day, another confrontation ending back on the street where this one perpendicts.

I have to go for something. I am thinking, if she arrives, perhaps she may do damage to the wonderful oaks. I must go for a tool and then I can do something, but I hope I'm back before she is here, moseying with her table tilted on wheels.

I come across Scoobie! Hey, here's Scoobie! I bend to him, love him. He's on the second floor of a walkway near a door. The restroom. I open it, and he bounds inside. He picks up something from the floor of a stall, and I worry, but it's only a stick, carved, a toy. Someone is lying in the floor of the room beyond the entrance. It's all right, I think. It's all right anyone behaves peculiar here.

It's all right, but if there were a soundtrack, it would be one of those mournful, slightly portentous, cello solos.

[And today, the morning after, we went to the beach as we do on Saturday mornings, Niki J and Scoob and I, and after we walk along West Cliff around the bike path, and we look back at the beach, and just beyond the barricades before us is unaccountably some guy just lying there on the rock escarpment some twenty feet above the surf.]

Monday, April 11, 2005

I identify him easily enough from descriptions at the office. I sit down across from him, smiling. Soon we are chatting. I am good at chatting. Eventually we move over into the personal. His life. His wife. Lots of folks, you think they are chary of their privacy, but there is hardly anything these days they would sooner dispense with. Everybody is obsessed in these screaming hysterical publicity times with ADD - no one has enough of it.

We talk, and I take mental notes. I retreat to my berth, and my partner is steaming. What's taking so long?

I tell her, I must be sure. She rolls her eyes. I have to be saddled with a conscientious hit man. I go back to my subject.

Over the miles rocking over the countryside we talk. Yes, yes, he has had much trouble but he expects it to go away soon. He has made an unfortunate match and she will leave him and he will accomodate that. Yes, it can be hard, but what is one to do?

I can't do it, I say back at our berth. I can't.

When I go back for one last talk with my subject, he isn't alone. He is sitting with a most voluptuous blonde. I am close before I realize they are together. Her hand is on his knee and they are laughing.

I catch the eye of my partner, then stand smiling beside the happy couple. When my partner has her camera ready, I reach an envelope to my subject, across the heaving bosom of his friend, wish them a good day, and quickly exit the car just behind my partner.

It's really a small job, she said. You are paid to do a small job. And here we are clear over on the other side of Flatlandia and must travel miles on these bloody rails again today, all because you are a moralist. I'm saddled with a plagued priest.

The subject is still smiling as he opens the envelope, expecting great tidings perhaps from his new friend.

He unfolds - a subpoena.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

He is somehow trapped in the net he has set. It is legitimate somehow, though wrong; he has reported an abuse for which he is punished. There is much dismay in his face and something is happening though I don't know what it is. It is not fair, but logical, given the milieu, which is strange and unidentified. A cubicle is closing in on him. He is all alone, and in much woe. It's like the rabbits caught by the wily hawk.

My right hand fills. I am walking with Niki J on my left, and I become aware a young gamin is to my right, holding my hand. Isn't that sweet?

But Niki J comes around the front of me to tell her, no, no, you must walk behind. So the little girl does that. Disengages, falls back apace.

I have a sense in my right hip now. I feel and realize...the little waif has sliced the seam of my rear pocket and she almost has my wallet free.

She jumps away, climbs onto a scaffolding. Maybe she thinks I won't follow her. I follow her. It's my duty.

We proceed up the dark steel bars. I catch onto her, grab hold of her flank. That seems to be enough. I return down the tubing.

I have now a little hound, a "Golden Medley" like Max. I return her to her owner, a young guy who knew the waif. He is so pleased, he is playing with the pup. I say, "We must report her, I suppose." The waif has apparently stolen the hound. All this, like all else in my dreams, I become aware of through some unknown learning. It is just understood, though nothing proceeding before has even suggested it.

"Oh, no, no," he says, laughing and rolling with the little pup. "Just forget it."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Dark hallways, crowded. I find my room. I am in charge of this room, although my duties are not prescribed. I am familiar with the job, just like the one at the county as a gamma minus civil servant, doing nothing really but performing well. This seems like a schoolroom. (In my dreams I'm often in unfamiliar territory and not acknowledging it like protagonists in scifi stories.)

Others are scattered in the room. There are lovers here, stragglers there. I say, I have to use my room, and they began shuffling out.

I must go to the office for my assignment. I do that, down a long U corridor. At the desk, it is very crowded.

A little guy is worried, but he shows bluff. I see him clearly, up close. He's a child forced to be a man. He says, it's $18,000 on it, and Ma doesn't know what to do. I lean closer to ask, "Is it a divorce?" and he throws it off with a sneer; "No, it's not a divorce."

I want to help him. What can I do. I say, I'm no lawyer, but I'll look at it for you. He seems agreeable to that. He is in profile to me, at the counter. His hair is long and oiled, like a very short adult. Just no time to be a kid. I really intend doing something. Sometimes I'm able to help. Probably some legal document the officials are always terrorizing civilians with.

Out the door is a train station, but it runs indoors like carts for the lame and lazy at the airport. Hey, I'll take it around to my room. I go out and enter the sliding door and it closes behind. There are lots of us just standing and the cars swoosh away.

I see out the window we've passed my room. There is no stop there. The terminus is in another quarter further on, and as I step out I realize I must make my way over strange terrain to find the room.

The conductor walks away from the engine car and someone follows and so do I. He must know the best way to go. Doors open ahead of him and he doesn't even lose pace, and neither do I nor the other guy.

The last door opens onto a control room. Banks of breaker boxes, cables. The two of them go right up to a box and begin fiddling and adjusting and discussing, while I stand there like an idiot.

I must again find my own way...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mother directs me to a rooftop to find Reloj. He's been running the bulls up there, actually a calf in deplorable condition, as if it had actually been through the corrida. I am utterly aghast and wonder if the little critter can be saved, and through quick and easy remedies, he is.

The roof is like in movie tenements such as West Side Story, but actually it's more like the system of gables where I'm working, a small farming community in the North Central Coast of California. (My dreams are often cobbled together out of what I know like happens in high school prop departments.) I am leaving for the weekend but decide the calf is all right up here grazing on the roof if I come back and feed it every day.

I drive to a bar to meet old Bonham character Heavy Johnson, who is turned murderous from the jolly old fatboy he was by beer and a dearth of outlets for testosterone testing. Heavy casually dangles a knife, staggers to menace another table. I slip out - virility stretching like a balloon makes me nervous. Heavy stumbles dramatically to radiate drunkeness so he won't be responsible in the morning.

Back at the gabled office building (actually an old vets hall of the type like Mexican aduanas) I meet some anonymous folks in an auto out front. An elderly shy withered chicana has to go to the bathroom. She is small and gaunt with gray in her hair and deep lines in her face. Okay. I guess I'm the bathroom guide. But - where?

There's a conference out front between some raucous wouldbe attendees to a musical soiree and the mustachioed Don Frito, the baron of this hacienda. They are actually looking for a place to stay, these lurking silent stoic campesinos, and the Don tells them there's no room in the gabled inn.

`We can go across the street to Mt Charlie's,' says one of them, but Don Frito tells them that's an old myth, as Mt Charlie is no part of his establishment so will not take his turnaways.

Around the side of the building a shy withered one takes matters into her own hands. She bends to release a slide-arm mechanism on what I take to be a fire door and she pumps it open, strides without hesitation down the steps into what is obviously a private bedroom to another door.

The one who had the idea about Mt Charlie's steps just as deliberately to a pay phone near the fire door. Everybody seems to know their parts but me.

I move to reassure the one at the phone, who hands the receiver to me. At the same time, the chicana sweeps out of the bathroom and turns to step briskly, adjusting her skirts still with a swish, to the front door.

I am aware at around this time somehow that the calf is missing.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

From 11-Oct-1980

This is a complex restaurant setting. I am there on my lunch hour with two women friends. I'm having tea and crumpets, although I don't know what `crumpets' are. The waitress isn't taking my order anyway.

I walk about tables and intricate glassware. One of the women is the better friend, and she has gone. I decide I won't pay.

I have been left with the friend-of-the-friend, and neither of us are happy about that. I am calling for a ride; she waits in an adjoining room, stiffly. I call work as well.

I am driven in a convertible around a residential circle, one of those long drivway U tracks like in romance novels. The driver up front has his lady with him, and they're only acquaintences of mine. He drives very fast in reverse but it's all right. He stops and I step down. I traipse uphill on a road they drive away over in the other direction.

Here is an arcade, a wharf of old whitewashed cavernous brittle flaking concrete. I know where I am. I can be back to work with a long walk through an extended "L" course. I try and call work again. (I had asked the lady in waiting, I remember now, and she told me it was 1:15 and I've been trying to call work since.) A pay phone fails to connect me.

I pass among dowdy rustic fishers, Italians, one plays an accordion, nobody pays me any mind.
I lie down, and I'm in attendance at a Linda Rondstadt concert. I am in the second row, and I have on a Stetson, smiling, and all around they are preparing to go onstage for a photo sequence. I am not designated, but in the neighborhood of those who are.

It's a benefit for an unfortunate, the photo series will tell a story with speaking parts and group shots with the audience and crew behind Linda. I wonder if my voice will desert me onstage.
Linda warns participants about mugging or "showing your teeth with a hand at your throat." This is, I understand, a cartoon expression of anxious war vets. It will all go to Governor Brown (her strange boyfriend) eventually as some sort of petition.

I lay there in my Stetson. The woman to the right of me goes forward. I don't.
From 11-Oct-1980

This is a complex restaurant setting. I am there on my lunch hour with two women friends. I'm having tea and crumpets, although I don't know what `crumpets' are. The waitress isn't taking my order anyway.

I walk about tables and intricate glassware. One of the women is the better friend, and she has gone. I decide I won't pay.

I have been left with the friend-of-the-friend, and neither of us are happy about that. I am calling for a ride; she waits in an adjoining room, stiffly. I call work as well.

I am driven in a convertible around a residential circle, one of those long drivway U tracks like in romance novels. The driver up front has his lady with him, and they're only acquaintences of mine. He drives very fast in reverse but it's all right. He stops and I step down. I traipse uphill on a road they drive away over in the other direction.

Here is an arcade, a wharf of old whitewashed cavernous brittle flaking concrete. I know where I am. I can be back to work with a long walk through an extended "L" course. I try and call work again. (I had asked the lady in waiting, I remember now, and she told me it was 1:15 and I've been trying to call work since.) A pay phone fails to connect me.

I pass among dowdy rustic fishers, Italians, one plays an accordion, nobody pays me any mind.

I lie down, and I'm in attendance at a Linda Rondstadt concert. I am in the second row, and I have on a Stetson, smiling, and all around they are preparing to go onstage for a photo sequence. I am not designated, but in the neighborhood of those who are.

It's a benefit for an unfortunate, the photo series will tell a story with speaking parts and group shots with the audience and crew behind Linda. I wonder if my voice will desert me onstage.

Linda warns participants about mugging or "showing your teeth with a hand at your throat." This is, I understand, a cartoon expression of anxious war vets. It will all go to Governor Brown (her strange boyfriend) eventually as some sort of petition.

I lay there in my Stetson. The woman to the right of me goes forward. I don't.

Monday, March 07, 2005

From 10-oct-1980

In a strange country, a sinking sort of dream...

I practice my serve with a fancy raquet and no ball. Perhaps it's a sporting goods store. An elaborate serve it is, too, with twists and turns in my motion and the raquet is engraved with names in the handle I don't recognize and no visible results anyway.

The upper quadrant of a shopping center parking lot, that's where I am, and there are splashed in the grass puddles in my day, an Escher woodcut; there is all eternity lurking, openings in the dark ground with no warning to let the unwary through to the lower level many feet below.

I enter a Mexican or European restaurant with my bike. I am known by the proprietors and cooks sitting at a small table on the upper level at the end of the bar. They offer to take me down to the dining area, and their table with one other, that one with a smiling grizzled character still seated, begins to descend before I am aboard the section of floor where the tables sit. It's a massive lift of twenty feet square or more. They just sit, the staff and the raffish one, for a new level to evolve.

At the other end of the bar is a doorway. I take that as just as well; work my bike along tables and feet -

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I go driving. Just driving, to "get out" like we used to do in the old days.

I wander off the reservation. I'm down 75, close to Dallas, only it's all freeway. I make to turn back now. Cross left the oncoming lanes, clear to the frontage road going up the other side. I'm not sure of the way home.

I turn into a complex, a nondescript building off the service road. Maybe someone here can show me the way to go home. I dismount and wander into a building.

There are counters and offices, and no border between where the customers stay and the workers move. I'm waiting and nobody seems to mind.

I approach a trio, and radiate presence. One of them still talks, and I await attention, politely. Which way do I go? Someone says, over that way. I smile, thank her, leave.

It's down 75, only not like any 75 I ever drove. Reloj is with me now. We're to turn off here. Right here. I do.

In the process of traveling down a narrow dirt road, two ruts, really, Reloj becomes the driver. We are brought up short at an ordinary country barbwire fence, a lock on a gate.

We stand down, consider. Obviously, we must find someone to open the gate. (We never consider just turning around and going back from whence we came. Dreams are like time itself sometimes.)

Someone looms along one side of the road beyond, which is paved, a farm-to-market. He's a lanky highway cop, indicates a building. Okay, we go into still another building. It must be what you do around here when you're lost.

Reloj goes off to an office. Inside, it's just more worker wandering, me waiting.

I finally am able to attract notice. The auto we drove up in is now in a lot, she says. Just go to the attendant, she says.

I go back down to the gate. There is now a huge parking garage, multi-level, and I enter into the foyer to the office, speak with the one in charge through a half-door.

He says, he doesn't know my auto, and has no way of knowing where it is. This doesn't strike me as peculiar, all these unhepful agents. I am very patient. I explain, but it makes no difference. He does have an orange copy of a ticket, which obviously refers to me in some way. I ask to see it.

Inscribed thereon is a complete description of the auto, a Nissan, with all relevant numbers and the exact stall where it now rests on the third floor. I point this out to him.

He is not embarrassed; it's as if I've finally provided him with relevent data he can use. It's like the common workday wisdom of those who figure someone new to their premises thus ignorant of their process must be mentally deficient.

Now it's standing in front of the garage, beside the wired fence gate, waiting for Reloj time.

The lanky highway cop meanders back by. He remembers me. I figure there may be trouble retrieving my ride, because it now belongs to Reloj, who is off on some obscure conference somewhere back in the building.

The cop asks where I came from. I point to the trail. He says, no, you couldn't have come that way. I insist. He says, there's no way. I even describe for him the building which sent us down this way.

He laughs. "Fella, you know, that's Special Customs. There's no way on earth you just waltzed on through there."

I say, "You mean like Miami Vice?" He smiles, nods. That's it.

I have no idea how I made that connection, or how come him to ratify it. Perhaps the reference is so abstruse he isn't sure there isn't something to it but doesn't want to admit he doesn't know what. Maybe it's just that my TV references are slight and aged like ol' Barney Fife himself and his must be, too.

My dreams, they dissolve often without a working denouement...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

From 4-Oct-1980

I am in earnest affable confab with a counselor whose speciality is sex, maybe Kinsey; he is smiling and I am loose and cooking and he says, "We'll get to the problem in a moment," which means he's sure I'll ask the question I'm there to ask, but I'm not there for any question, just the informal discussion - and then I realize or am convinced, there may be a slight trouble somewhere...

I am amazed he spotted this and in a total cordial easy manner besides, I am astonished and I am prompted and begin to point up my general references to the personal - but we are interrupted by a dowdy glum dull matron who plops down in the middle of our eager frenetic vitality to sap us down to her dreary mundane minutiae -

- she holds up a postcard she intends mailing.

And that bit of data seems to be the sole justification for sidetracking us all into the grim backwater of her droll dreary day; misery in a sad lady self-indulgent in the bleak company she inflicts on us unabashed. I am eager to get on with my own recitations like everyone else but can't with her there, holding up her foolish postcard, mailing a bloody postcard, that's her demand on our furrowed and frantic consciousness, dead sparks drying in the still air...

A postcard.

Monday, February 28, 2005

I am greeting lots of pups; there are two at either hand before me and just behind them is Scoob, himself a rambunctious little pup now. He waits patiently. He knows me and him's tight. I'm comfortable with him there, in a semi-stadium for canines.

I'm leaving now to go and see someone. There is a range of barracks, or dorms, and I must find someone. Maybe it's my brother Joey. I realize I'm in the wrong dorm. We must move like in Hong Kong, with too many per square foot, shuffling, ignoring personal space.

Now I sit at a lunch counter. There is a smiling russet blonde, slightly older lady who is demonstrating the creation of a sandwich. She does this like it's she's working the cosmetic counter at a department store. Smiling and giving advice. It's my sandwich, but, I realize, I have nothing to pay for it.

I eke away. I must go and find Joey. I realize now, it's the apartment high and on the far side, but it's another building entirely. I'm not worried yet.

This is a searching, slogging through anonymous crowds, my pup taken care of, lost dream. Yesterday I found out in real time my column I'd been writing for the hometown online news isn't wanted no more.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It looks like we won't be emperors no more.

That's my first thought on awakening. I expect a mob. Yesterday there was a coup, although we weren't there, so we missed it. However, the results are in; we've been deposed. Doesn't that mean a mob should be storming the palace? I think the golden parachute for emperors is a lead anchor.

There is someone outside, but only a random passing in our neighborhood. It's a peculiar palace, perhaps unique for emperors. It's just one of the model homes in an upward mobile community. There are five floor plans, see, and the houses are rather crowded, and we have one of them, me and Niki J, the emperors. Until yesterday.

Should we have escaped? Don't ex-emperors run for the border? I'm so worried about us sleeping in our first day on unemployment.

Someone associates with us. It's an elderly couple, conspicuously ordinary. They just sort of glom onto us. We don't object, because, really, we don't have the authority. We don't want to provoke anyone by complaining. We are waiting to see what our role in the world shall be.

The couple, they are older (about our age, but we are much younger in our minds and me always in my dreams) and quite boring, to tell the truth. But they're better than the mob. We all start out somewhere. Niki J and I, we don't know where.

"Now," says the opposite lady, "We don't have much."

Oh, I see now. We are to be yoked with an older, dull couple of deadbeats. Maybe forever.

I wonder if this beats Elba.