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.