In the period from early 2009 to sometime late in 2010 I had a number of often lengthy and sometimes highly weird dreams that I remembered in detail on waking. I, or my brain, lately seem to have lost much of the knack of remembering dreams in this detail and completeness. While the big harvest was going on I wrote down the dreams as fully as I could. Having nothing else to do with this record, i have decided to publish it here, in chunks that may be long or short. Some of the dates given are inexact, or wrong, but that hardly affects the reading, if anyone actually does read them. They are also available to writers who need material, upon application to the author and dreamer, and the payment of a small fee.
March 13 2009:
L and I are lying in bed. Awakened by a door opening downstairs. I go down in the dark to find a tall man coming up, and recognize him as someone who regularly comes to take L to work somewhere. He is way too early; yet here he is, stricken. He asks if we’ve heard the news, the terrible thing about Holland. Suddenly I realize that I know about a dreadful, stupid, international crisis. Has Holland been bombed? I ask, and awake before I get an answer.
My yard abutted a property taken over by a sort of cultish orthodox Jewish group, mostly young men. They were burning brush on their property, and I had some I’d like to burn too, but wasn’t sure they’d let me burn my non-kosher brush in their fire. I brought some over but the young men themselves weren’t sure. A dispute developed about whether a non-conscious being, e.g. a robot, could commit non-kosher or forbidden acts.
With L in a kind of crowded refugee center at night . A girl of six or eight left there alone – long straight hair and faded dress. Apparently had been prostituted by her mother—talked very affectlessly about what she’d been made to do, but uncomplaining. Then she came to the bed L and I were in in this crowded space. We’d taken her in or taken over her case. She got in with us, and immediately took off her dress – naked under it – assuming that I or we would want to make use of her somehow. I tried to convince her to put the dress back on, but she wouldn’t understand — no sense of tenderness or caring.
In a large crowd (one of those conference crowds I’m frequently in now in dreams) walking through woods on their way from one meeting place to another. We passed over a border without my knowing, and I had no passport to get back – only a damp and illegible ID card. Then at an airline desk asking my daughter if she had her passport. Trouble, canceled and delayed flights. Now I am driving with my agent Ralph through a Midwestern city at evening – his kindly, courtly Chinese dream-assistant telling me that the bill for the car, which L had rented, would be $800.
No memory of the part where I lost something or suffered some setback – but then out on the usual dark city streets. Saw a young, tough girl driving a crazy three-wheeled a motorcycle – admired her toughness and skill. But she was going too fast on the potholed road, wouldn’t stop, finally lost control and was flung out onto the street. I was following – in a car now – and stopped and got out. People had gathered – among them her boyfriend, it seemed, grief-crazed – he was picking her up to carry her to a hospital– actually piggyback, her head lolling. I yelled after him to stop, he wouldn’t, I ran to my car to follow him but the car was gone. I’d left the key in it. Stolen, in the one minute since I abandoned it.
Then somehow in a low hostel crowded with unsavory types, moneyless, without the car (which I realized belonged to my agent, as in the dream of the night before.) A kindly black hostel director asked for the rent – I had none – I tried to explain everything to him and began to sob terriby over all that had gone wrong: the money, the car, the thing that had happened before, whatever it was. Sobs that woke me.
Getting married. A big family, all hers, gathered in the living and dining rooms. It seemed a sort of 1930s middle-class apartment. A relative, an older man, made a long speech. Someone next to me – I knew him but can’t remember now who it was – said that I was the one who should have made that speech: questioning my commitment. The bride-to-be somewhat dim, a mousy, slight girl— my relation with her cool and not passionate. I went upstairs to the bathroom and searched my feelings – did I really want to do this? Wasn’t there some horror or reluctance in me? And no there wasn’t. I was happy about it, and about her, even if I hardly knew her.
I woke then, and slept again, and the dream continued. I was talking with her—less mousy and diminished now. I felt I could look at this face a long time. She was telling me about a bad boring time in her life when the only interesting thing that kept her going was listening to William Buckley on the radio. I was a little alarmed at that and hoped that she was listening to Buckley because she found him outrageous and funny – but I didn’t know her well enough to be sure.
Turning into my driveway I felt I had driven over something, but couldn’t be sure. I got out and looked underneath, and saw a crow had got entangled under there. It came out, shaken and hurt but not badly. I tried to urge it to go into the garage, where I would care for it, and nurse it back to help. I was secretly delighted at this chance. The crow had meanwhile grown considerably larger, buzzard-sized. I did get it to go into the garage, and we began a conversation about the feasibility of my plan. The crow was doubtful. By now it had transformed into a young girl with black hair, while remaining a crow. Sure, I said, we’ll have you back to hunting in no time. Ugh, she said, I hate hunting.
Going into a cheap restaurant or food joint with a group. Discovering that the waitress there was my eighth-grade sweetheart, in a town I left in 1960. She appeared older than when I had last seen her, taller too – but no more than 20. An inconclusive conversation with her.
Walking through a series of public rooms – looking in on a string quartet, no a small vocal group, practicing. I passed a room where chairs and tables were arranged so people could witness something at one table, where my friend Larry (who in actuality had died a few weeks before) and his frst wife sat, looking just as they had in 1963, he in a tie and blazer. I felt shy about joining him or speaking to them; there was something wrong about this. But I did, and they were glad to see me at first; we chatted about how this return of the past could be possible. Then Larry start to slump over onto me in some kind of painless agony, distorting him, slack-jawed. I knew he was dead and the illusion was over, and I woke up crying aloud.
Many people in small messy apartment. A man somehow possessed by evil lying prone in a small bed in a small bedroom. Dark, dark. Mephisto beard. People came to look at him. He was having sex with a woman either as part of an exorcism or just as an expression of his evil. She was very into it and talked sex talk, but he forbade her to name the things they did or the body parts involved – “Not till we’re done.” At last a sort of doctor or guru entered the scene and somehow purged the evil from the man – we all congratulated him. The man had turned, because of this cure process, from dark to pale blonde. Realized when I awoke that this was an alchemical dream.
[More to come]