These dream accounts were made several years ago when for no reason I know, I began to have vivid story-like dreams almost nightly. You (dear reader) may be among that small population that enjoys hearing dreams recounted. I may not be a superb dreamer but I am a pretty good recounter. So here you are:
My parents were in town to visit me. I can’t remember how I learned about this. I was living in a huge hotel suite with black glass, mirrors, steel everywhere. I had to get ready to meet them and had that ancient (dream) problem of nothing to wear. I opened the huge closets, which were filled with clothes of all kinds, but not mine. It seemed now that I was subletting the place. Finally, sort of ready, I went out, noticing dishes and mess left on the black glass dining table. Outside I was in a small town like Deerfield. I realized I didn’t know where I was to meet them. I had my phone, but didn’t know Dad’s cell phone number (Dad died in 1970). I met L. She was terribly upset: a series of old murals painted in the basement of some building were to be painted over and destroyed. We had to go and join the protest. The building was a modern colonial, packed with would-be protesters being admitted by staff. L seemed to have this mess of yellowish greasy stuff like custard or butter all over her face, and it appeared I was to put on some too as part of the admission or the protest process. Woke at that.
L was getting married to a sort of ordinary man named Hubert or Herbert– nice enough, but she wasn’t in love with him. Did want a big wedding, after all these years, which he could supply. I gave advice. Sometimes we seemed to have the history we have and sometimes not – dream paradox. L seemed reconciled but the same time deeply troubled and shaky and near tears.
L and I were servants of Lord Byron. Working in a great shabby kitchen space — the Gloomy Interior that is as frequent in my dreams as the Dark City and the Light City. No suggestion of a past era. Byron was off on a journey. We quibbled about something in the kitchen. Then I took a leftover pizza we thought Byron might want on his return, and went to put it in a refrigerator in an adjoining room, also huge, dirty, and dark. The refrigerator apparently antique or period — it was a large box surmounted up by a huge black stove, glowing red with heat, which made the box cold. Or maybe it was to reheat the pizza?
I was living with a Latino family in an apartment, a middle aged man and children. I saw smoke rising from the floor beneath the window curtain, or between the curtain and the window. We all have to escape. More smoke in another room. I go into a bedroom where I know the elderly, ill, and senile grandma is. I explain to her (“Nana”) that we have to go, and pick her up, tiny, just skin and bones. The strange thing was that all this seemed to be happening in a play or movie, and I knew what to say, what would happen, and would recognize it when it did — the smoke, the reactions of the people, my own speech and actions, coming as on cue, or as though rehearsed and familiar.
Walking in Berlin in the 1930s. A little afraid of being recognized as not belonging there, and not belonging then either. I’m wearing a wool suit and a heavy wool overcoat. A door leads to a bar that announces it’s the oldest in the city, or very historic anyway. Pushing through, I find myself still on the street – it’s a sidewalk sort of affair despite the wall and the door. A patron is passed out head down on the bar. I have no money – I ask the cashier where I can go to change money. Right here, she says. She changes my American bills to German currency. I can order a beer without speaking German – just point to one of the enormous beer-pulls.
I brought food to a cat kept in an enclosure. It began to burrow rapidly down through a hole in a corner of the enclosure. Someone next to me said, He just wants to see San Marco one more time! The cat then worked his way backwards up trhough the dirt to appear again – his tunnel had somehow fallen in and he could go no farther.
Intense feeling of claustrophobia on awaking.
Walking through suburban neighborhood along the back yards. Several swimming pools. Because of climate change the water and the pools had changed to a milky white. In each pool was an alligator. I went to my own backyard, glad I didn’t have a pool, but when I reached it I could see that in the yard were several large alligators. Skirted them carefully, feeling that we will all have to be very careful from now on.
Tale end of a longer one: in a dark shop with an Asian man. Proving to him that indeed I did know where the secret box was hidden. Went to a crowded corner and found a wooden box all shattered in pieces, so that it no longer contained the secret thing –shop owner alarmed –I pulled the box out, found it was full of Valium. I offered one to Z and was going to take one myself, having found them, but decided I didn’t have any need for it.
October, no date:
Met a young couple, boy and girl, very attractive, slight; boy with a sort of Caesar haircut, lightly orange skin, his hair too. His nae was Victor. It became clear they wanted to have sex with me. So pleasant and cool and cheerful. I was thrilled. We walked the streets of the usual dark city, but somewhere the girl was separated from usand I was sorry. Victor said no, she has something to do, she’ll meet us later at my place. We started that way. Very grateful that I could get to have sex with this beautiful (now shirtless) slight, lithe person. Awoke.
In a shabby American rural environment — can’t recall what led up to it, but I was in a sort of shed, where there was a long wooden box or trough filled with something like dead leaves. I don’t know how I got the idea to begin wading in this box, kicking up the leaves, which uncovered various items buried in them, some of them valuable. A woman talking to me, who thought this was a waste of time when I had a plane to catch, but I kept at it. Turned up money, a few ones and fives, and sort of tag sale items, a creepy fake-Chinese decorative teapot, some silverware — save it for my daughters? — and a wooden spoon like that one of L’s that broke. I knew with increasing sense that this enterprise wasn’t worth it. Finally traveling with the woman, or another woman, in a big car through the compound where this shed and other buildings were. Big blue sky, flat agricultural area. “This is Mennonite country,” she said. “Places like this have a deep emotional meaning for those who live here all their lives.” I said I understood very well. She dropped me off at another building. Reaching in my back pocket I found my wallet gone – only a loose pack of credit cards. What happened then to all that money that I found? (It now appeared to have been a lot.) I tried to believe it was safe, but began to be overwhelmed by a dreadful sense that I’d made wrong choices, missed my plane, everything was going very badly, I was a fool and trapped. Awoke.
December 18 also:
Nightmare of a common kind I have: In a realistic environment something impossible happens, proof that occult powers are present and acting in the world. In this one, I’m standing by the door of the back hall when one of my old Wellingtons began flopping horribly e all on its own across the floor. As often in these dreams I am horribly afraid but to try to stand up to the things — stamp on the squrming boot — but then the closet door opened and empty coats and dresses began coming four and reaching for me. L woke me up screaming.
I wish I could remember how I got there, or how the situation began, but I begin to remember at a point when I was with various members of my family, Jo and my mother, in the offices of an old and respected parfumier – his name was Fischer but the perfume company had a different name, not a brand in the waking world. He began showing me small samples of his most famous perfumes. I said I wasn’t good at perfumes, though I remember vividly some from my youth that have a powerful impact when I encounter them. It appeared that this conversation with Fischer was a job interview, which was not going to go well since I know nothing about the perfume business, and also because I was in my bathrobe. My mother, who’d got me the interview and was looking on hopefully, began kidding with another interviewee, who couldn’t answer one question — complete the name of another famed perfume company as shown in an ad in a glossy magazine: Frieda K… “Oh, come on,” we all said. “Frieda Kahlo!”
Brief one: driving on a flat landscape and seeing in the sky huge numbers of white balloons very high up, and more soaring upward from the ground – they began to form geometrical shapes and patterns which vanished as soon as formed — like kaleidoscope patterns. It became clear that it was an art show, like fireworks made of air. I could guess at the physics that caused the balloons to come together and then burst, thus seeming to vanish. Thrilling but vertiginous.
Teaching a fiction writing class – trying to get students to identify the central problems that make one piece of fiction different from another. We take a break and everyone goes out – we are in large dark-windowed ground-floor space — and I decide to go take a bunch of books out of the library and read the first sentences to the class to make the distinctions clear. Two students — a male and a female — volunteer to help, and we go to the library, a huge cavernous building like a deserted Gilded Age mansion, and of course can’t find the stacks as time is running out. Up and then down to basement levels, crowded now with people and brightly lit like a mall or airport shopping area, and I know I’ll never get those books or find my class and again in time.
With Paul Park on some kind of rooftop terrace – an art or literary event there involving us reading or speaking or both. A nice buffet. It appears the events are to be video recorded, so I take the opportunity while lunch is on to drive home and change clothes. As in the dream above, and in so many like it, this plan takes longer than I expect, every piece of clothing is wrong or dirty or made of camo (!) — eventually I decide on a sort of hospital undershirt with snaps will be good. It buttons between the legs like a child’s onesie, but no matter. However, this garment transmutes the surroundings into a hospital, and a nurse and a child patient appear, watching me, wondering what I’m up to, which I try to explain. The hospital, an ancient one, is high-ceilinged, an old-time bare ward, white iron bedsteads.
Dream of riding in a car with Tom Disch. he was driving, and we were having a dispute or contention about some matter. He tried to call someone he knew for corroboration, on an elaborate car phone that included a radio and big headphones. Feeling at one moment that I should express love for him in some way, because he was in fact dead, or would soon be dead, and I wouldn’t otherwise get the chance. I took his shoulder in a grip. Finally the phone machinery elaborated to the point where he was gone and I was alone in a house. At the direction of someone (a family member?) I was hanging up the key to the car-phone system in a special cabinet filled with saved things and other keys.
In a mall or public space with the kids, who were young as usual, and passing a sort of pitchman dressed as a space traveler, doing a pseudo-informative lecture on something — actually a pitch for a product, using a high-tech display/video. I had walked past and when I heard him behind me saying something about homosexuals. “Tests have shown that on average they are X percent less intelligent than others.” I marched back and confronted him, showing his misuse of statistics. It appeared then that the pitchman was not just dressed as a spaceman; he was in fact William Shatner, down on his luck (and having lost a lot of weight). Somewhat sheepish about his pitch, which he was only doing for the money.
In a large meeting around a circular table – huge — crowded with people, young students sitting on the floor, all about my books (embarrassing wish fulfillment?) Critical remarks made. My sister Jo across the table made interesting and insightful arguments about some aspects of a book of mine, but a standard academic person started off on a different topic. I recommended Jo’s insight over the academic’s ramble, and then again noted that it should be paid attention to, until L. kicked me under the table, Shut up.
There are more, too!