Infestation

“The body takes what it needs,” said my acupuncturist about my acupuncture treatment, during which I had fallen asleep, head back mouth open.
So I went to bed early that night and had a dream, the first in a long time.
The wall was covered with something that looked like corrugated cardboard, seen end-on, this rough uneven texture, and that was covered with all kinds of moths of all shapes and sizes – clothes moths and kitchen moths and porch light moths all flying about and walking about on the walls and I was trying to kill them all, mostly by swatting them with a rolled-up periodical, but also by clapping them in my hands when they flew around.
The wall was lit gently, as if with evening light through a window or one or two 50-watt bulbs, and I went about the killing calmly and with a sense of purpose, until my alarm went off.

There was a strange baby that sang at midnight

A long line of strangers’ cars in the darkness, headlights off, idling or moving slowly. A little moonlight. People walking beside and amongst the cars.
Strangers all.
Near you, a strange woman has a baby and a lot of other things to carry. Maybe she is pulling a wagon. You hold the baby for her.
You want to comfort her and the baby, so you comfort her by comforting the baby.
You hold it gently to yourself, protecting it, and hum.
There in the night, among strangers, you hear a beautiful noise and it takes a while to realize it is the baby singing.
The night is quiet, people murmur, engines idle, tires grind on gravel. Footsteps and your tinnitus whining and whirring and jingling.
The baby’s song rises above all of it like wind whistling through a canyon.
You share a look with the mother. How wonderfully it sings, your eyes say.
How wonderfully the strange baby sings in the night.
What is all this, you ask the dream.
The necessary coexistence of the strange and the beautiful, says the dream.

Odin’s dream

Two beggars came to the door

says Odin.

Laborers, or criminals; foreigners, male and dark.

They could not speak our language.

I did not let them inside.

They looked hungry. I will make you a sandwich, I said

says Odin.

I found bread, white loaves. I couldn’t decide whether to spread butter or mayonnaise on the bread. Then I found mayonnaise I had made and thought, it will go bad faster than butter so I had better use it up.

I made them cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise and sliced cheese that was beginning to go translucent around the edges. I fed them before I woke up

says Odin.

What does my dream mean.

Fear and liminality

says Loki.

You are an old man blind in one eye. Long white hair and beard, and blind in one eye.

but

says Loki.

Still you love the unknown and secret and feed it freely.

Next time feed it something richer than old cheese sandwiches with old mayonnaise.

And see what happens.

Of course the question is, should you take a trickster’s advice.

New wardrobe

I was picking out clothes.

I had this medium-length tan coat, similar to what Steve McQueen wore in a movie. Bullit I think.

And this knit cap, like what Daniel Craig wears in a scene or two of that remake of that brutal Swedish movie about the reporter and the hacker, which I happen to like (the cap. And the movie, as it so happens, despite the brutality).

It was kind of a strange combination, and wouldn’t look good on me, I don’t think, but this was a dream.

I was going to see my dad. I was real happy about that in the dream.

I was still happy when I woke up; then I remembered that my father passed away years ago.

Suddenly, the dream was disturbing.

My wife says I was moaning and groaning in my sleep.

Remember the old days of blogging, when we wrote about our dreams all the time?

Yes, yes I did

I remember, back in the early days of blogging, back when my first computer was powered by a little steam engine, that bloggers often wrote about what they had dreamed.

I sometimes did.

Then that got old.

Also, it turned out that I might have interesting dreams, but they rarely are still there when I wake up.

Well.

A couple nights ago I had a vivid nightmare that someone had bought the wrong breakfast cereal.

It was just an image and an emotion. The image was this box of muesli. It looked wrong. There were too many puffs in it, for example. I do not like my muesli with puffs, or with chocolate. At the moment, it is hard to get muesli in Austria without puffs or chocolate, that may have been the source of the dream.

Or it may not. Who knows with dreams?

Anyway, in the dream, I removed the clear plastic liner from the box, with all the cereal in it, and double checked. But it was clearly full of puffs.

Someone had bought the wrong muesli.

I was filled with profound disappointment.

Then I woke up, as one sometimes does with nightmares, still saturated with the emotion.

Wow, I thought, that was some nightmare.

Once, I had a nightmare about a rock in a stream. A big, flat boulder about an inch under the surface, with the water flowing silently over it. At night. That one filled me with regret and guilt. Some terrible crime was buried beneath that rock.

I have never forgotten that one.

Obviously.

On the other hand, I once had a dream about trying to kill a guy who was absolutely impossible to kill. He kept fighting back, it was amazing. I was tussling with him in a friend’s basement while a couple friends watched television upstairs, so on top of everything else, I was trying to kill him quietly. For some reason, it was impossible to strangle him. He was about as strong as me and kept getting away. I finally stabbed him in the neck with a shard of window glass. I hit an artery, too, because the blood was squirting out real far. Unfortunately, I seemed to have only nicked the artery, because although the blood squirted out real far, it squirted in a real thin stream. It was taking forever for him to bleed to death.

In fact, he never bled to death in that dream. He just kept rassling with me.

Then I woke up, full of anger and frustration. Still, it wasn’t exactly a nightmare.

Dreams, aren’t they weird?

Where do they come from, I wonder.

What the sailor told the magician’s assistant

“I was not old when I left home. My father beat us and we took refuge in my mother’s stories of a tree house sanctuary. We’d move someday to a leafy hide out where we’d see him way before he us, and play Aggravation and checkers, and read in hammocks, library books we’d check out when the coast was clear. Once I realized it was only a dream and not a plan, I left. I was a long haul driver’s punk for a year or two, after the money I stole from my father ran out. Then one night I heard a fight out in the lot of some poor bar as I huddled in the sleeper cab of my master’s rig, and him getting the worst of it. They abandoned him for dead and words bubbled from his lips when I went to him before the dawn. Get help he mumbled, so I did. I took the key to the strongbox and left with his savings, my second treasure. It was a lot for a kid. After that were dishes washed and unwatched tills. I never actually killed a man and all my loot I deserved more than the ones I robbed, high pressure systems move to low.
At eighteen I found myself at sea. I actually swabbed actual decks, and painted steel and served up slop and climbed up through whatever ranks one rose through and my foot locker filled with cash from paychecks never spent and jewels I bought to save space. One day, standing on the deck I realized I was at the place furthest from a tree as if I’d kept an oath sworn as a boy, which I had in fact not consciously sworn. But life can take us to these junctures unawares, where had we sworn an oath it would be fulfilled: no more love, no more trust, no more hope or faith, no dreams of trees it was for me.
And now I’m here with you on the bed of the sea they took my ship in a storm just like you. It’s over there, full of cargo. I’ve made my bed in a container full of mattresses, king size, and wander this shining city at all hours, looking for a place to spend my loot. Would you like to make a bet?”

“I’d wager that your trucker’s dead,” the magician’s assistant said. “I stole the clipping from your purse, that was my old profession, as you spoke and gestured. So you didn’t kill him but you let him die.”

The sailor shrugged. “To remind me of my life on land. My father beats my mother still for all I know and she still dreams of trees.” He got down on his knees. “Will you marry me? I’ll pay you well. I didn’t think so.” He stood back up. “I say that to all the girls, pro forma. If only we had a big casino with roulette wheel and blackjack and a stage and a red whorehouse in the back, or a mall.
A hobo robbed me down by the creek between my father and the truck. Or drifter, if you subscribe to the romantic notion that all hobos are above board by definition. I fought him and he knocked me down and pocketed my cash. Someday you’ll see how illusory this really is,” he laughed.

“Here’s your clipping back,” she said, the magician’s assistant. “And your other stuff I took. Are there many others here?”

“There are a few. Maybe more, who hide from me. I feel their thoughts and eyes. Captain Nemo is down here, the old liar, with his lying song of death.”

What the mermaid told the magician’s assistant about her dream about the crater of day

The crater of day, the mermaid said, a list of things forgotten. People I’ve seen wearing bandages. Child athletes as adults. Cars I’ve driven as a function of phases of the moon. People I’ve witnessed vomiting. The fish in the river are acting weird. They’re lining up like birds and singing, not like people, like cables in the wind.

Something about the way they grit their teeth.

The river banks are hardpacked clay. Practically only blackberries grow there and when it rains the layer of mud that forms is thin and slick. There are barns and trailers and beyond that a mall and houses. Once it was fields and it’ll be fields again.

The colors in your crayon box are brighter than the colors in your life. Pastel houses, white truck, grey carpet, brown paneling, cork floor. Blue jeans, t-shirt, blue jacket that you got on sale. Brown fridge in a brown kitchen. Even the produce section has gone dry and is a uniform red and green, red and green, maybe orange.

The fish running in the river are silver and making a silver sound. Nothing is golden, nothing is salmon, not even the salmon. A kid at school has over 100 crayons in his box. You thought a couple dozen was a lot, it’s more than you got last year. For you it’s a lot.

Even the peaches in the U-pick orchard are washed out in this light, brighter than seems good. It stuns your retinas even if you squint. When you’re used to darkness nine miles down that’s bound to happen. The fish tank burbling in your room is no comfort so far removed from your natural habitat, and plus the snails are taking over.

What is the difference between a refuge and a prison cell, a cage and a lifeboat, I wonder. The bathtub needs a little hot water. If a zookeeper chains you to the tub it’s a cage. If kids bicker outside the door it’s a refuge.

The tiles are a brown that somehow looks as faded as the somehow faded blue walls and tub.

(Some dream, thinks the mermaid.)

Traffic today was like an unmedicated insane asylum and someone was crying at work. Two old guys got in a fight at the store, about something. One was a customer one was boxing the customer’s groceries. He cried too, when the store manager sent him home.

Bath beads of a brownish-yellowish cast are arranged on the counter in an accidental pentagram, just out of reach. From whom were they a gift? What is their scent? Honey?

Vanilla?

(The mermaid wonders about colony-collapse disorder, like so many phrases more beautiful than what it signifies. The mermaid tries to remember what she was doing before the dream, what she will do when she wakes. Watch coins of sunlight through the holes in a sunken pirate ship? Fly somewhere on a business trip?)

Posted by in Metamorphosism

Tags: , ,

Permalink