another night or day

I got to a pretty good state for awhile yesterday waking up after midnight and going from the endless night of despair into the day instead of trying to get up in the afternoon in despair and seeing things just get darker.

I thought maybe I was on the right track. But, waking up at 3 a.m. today (a favorite time of day) it seems just too dark. I think I was having one of those dreams that was just a true and graphic account of my lack of place in the world. Maybe it was better yesterday when it was all running and hiding and people being shot in the head.

But the part I remember was ending on a somewhat lighter side of trouble. After all, I found a place to pee for a change (well, it was off a sidewalk, but I didn’t think anyone was around), and did so quite easily. (I thought maybe because my penis was particularly short at the time.) So the walk was going along okay into the grey color field, skies and sidewalks and buildings.

But a vehicle starts pacing me, then falls behind, and someone is talking.. I have to turn around to see that it’s a cop car. What luck. He wants to know what’s going on or something, I say “you tell me. what do you want?” Well, it turns out he doesn’t say anything about indecent exposure, or anything of a legal nature as far as I can tell. He’s just harassing me about my life in general, and leading to, “You let yourself go bald.” As I was trying to say in a scoffing tone (don’t talk back to the cops, kids) “That’s not something one has much choice about” I woke up. And here we are, with the imaginary correspondents again.

memorable yet forgotten dream

When I got up Thursday it was Friday. It had been another strange and overly extensive day into night’s sleep. Before, I’d already stayed up a bit too long and whiskeyed a bit and was more than prepared to fall out of it when there was a last minute turn and I decided to do what needed to be done instead. So then came further hours of getting stuff ready to go to the post office, walking down there and a side-trip to a store where I bought and consumed things which I should have not. After the staying up, stayed down a sleep-and-a-half in penance; waking briefly for visits from the cat, too impatient with me to stay in my arms, and a surprising explosion from the sky followed by reassuring water fall. Maybe there were some other memorable but forgotten interruptions, but still little indication from my waking mind that it would ever wish to re-enlist.

Toward the end there was one of those long, connected, maybe lucid dreams in a place with diverse enough areas and people to seem to justify the many chapters and themes. Unfortunately, I was once again unwilling or unable to get up after, and the details and connections are eroding and wafting away.

The event was outside at first, a festival of some sort I guess as there were booths and exhibits. In front of the booth where I was, which no doubt had something to do with African-American, and perhaps Jewish-American, cultural history there was an “amusement” of some sort, a game or ride, involving a tall pole. There seemed to be a reference to lynching, a “heritage” thing I guess, and its position right in front of us felt like an intentional provocation. Frustration. Leaving for awhile. Return as things were winding down and some conversation about whether anyone had done something, or why we/I couldn’t. “Well, anyway, they are gone and we are still here, so perhaps…”, she said.

Then it was inside, after-party with many people in The Lodge. Although, there was some kind of overlapping with my place. For, in discussion with someone about my extensive incomplete and undistributed works, as I was trying to explain about how I had been a visual artist as well as songster and writer, I was pointing out that the works on the wall didn’t include any of my best prints, but there were some upstairs I might be able to root out. From nearby a confident-looking gentleman, a solid well-groomed fellow with dark hair, sidled into the conversation. He said he had heard enough to know that I had something, but that I was in need of representation. I allowed that that may be true, and he assured me that he was the man for the job and knew how to begin our business. I was all for it.

It is at this point that I began to have a recurring problem with understanding the other characters’ words. I couldn’t tell whether it was because the noise of the event was making it hard to distinguish, or they were actually using words which I did not know. However, since the confident dark man seemed to be going into academic and Arts catch-phrases of some sort it may have been the latter in this conversation. He started right out with something like, “So, you write Shakespearian <insert Latinesque neologism>s which can be related to <more gobbledy-gook> and for which there is a market in <who-the-fuck-knows>…

I interrupted with frustration (and some yelling, I suppose), to object that, no, I don’t. I had merely made some passing reference to a one-off sonnet, and that all I really do is (generally odd) songs and drawings. He walked off in disgust.

Then I was sitting in a corner next to some stairs, from under which people occasionally crawled out of a door. Someone had witnessed the encounter with the salesman and said that they had noticed his mask. It was a party, so I suppose there may have been masks, but I had not seen him in one. They said, “It was his smile. It is the mask of The Devil.”

Then from the stair-door emerged a lovely young woman who I thought was someone I know (unlike most of the nice helpful women I encounter in these places, who I don’t recognize.) She was talking of someplace I could possibly go and take refuge. A room, or maybe a box. I picture a pillar in the middle somewhere. That it would be alright if I stayed to this one side where the water hadn’t reached yet. But, I couldn’t make out what her word for this place was, and some other details. I kept asking her to repeat it, and she did. But I had to say, “sorry, I’m still not getting it.” After awhile she went off to other things, but leaving some hope that we were going to be getting together later.

The last thing I remember is doing some washing-up with some other women whose words of encouragement I cannot recall. The surfactants in the tub seemed to be working well for them in clearing off the dishes, but I was left struggling with scrubbing at some small utensils whose tiny nooks and crannies, curves and corners, held onto globs of grease.

morning announcements II

(pre-caffeination poesy)
I built a tiny hut in my mind
To live in briefly
in the backyard of my brain
where neurons flash rich complicated colors
just before they fail and fall.
But, intruder thoughts in
Giant gas-guzzling vehicles
Their flabby arms covered with
Tattoos of large muscles
Came by and broke it all to pieces.
Squished the exotic fruits
Set fire to the drying leaves
So flashed and flew in panic
Before a grey ungraceful fall

Now I meditate in the embers and ashes
It's warmer, anyway
In a way. 

— B. Chern, sukkhot 2020

Back to the Big House dream #10,336

Dream Suite (detail) lithograph diptych.

I had another dream where I was back in the Big House that was torn down in the late ’70s to put up a parking lot. I never stop trying to live there in my dreams. This time some group was involved in rehabbing it and someone had heard I might be interested so I agreed to rent a space. I was there having second thoughts because I had no idea who these people were or what it was going to be like, and I already was renting a place where I was all set up. There seemed to be a LOT of people there already. But, I told myself, it was good to be there with the good wood and the large spaces; and I did a little dance and stamped my feet on the oak boards of the large front staircase landing. There was a piano in an upstairs room and I was trying to tell someone it ought to be downstairs, then I went downstairs and was trying to tell someone how there used to be a full sized upright piano right there. “So, bigger than this one?” they said, indicating a little toy piano sitting there on top of a cabinet. “Yes, bigger than that,” I laughed ruefully. There were people working on replacing boards in the entryway ceiling, and I recognized one organizer as this younger musician, a much more successfully self-promoting type. I tried to tell him about how I had dreams about being back there, and thought it was going to be torn down when we left. “Oh, I thought it was just supposed to be rehabbed and sold to someone else,” he said distractedly looking at the ceiling. “No, see, it was actually condemned and…” “Excuse me,” he interrupted, “I have to go talk to these guys” and walked off while I was in mid-sentence. I went down into the basement with a bit of laundry, and tried to figure out what was going on with a bank of small coin-operated machines. The one that was not in use did seem to be a washer, so I started putting stuff in there and asked a person next to me if he had any idea how these things worked. “Well, first of all, don’t put boxes in there,” he said, pulling out a cardboard container blocking things up that I had apparently put in along with the underwear that came in it. “Oh, I don’t know what is wrong with my head,” I apologized, “I’m so flummoxed all the time.” I was having to step around construction on the basement floor, large dug out spaces having big squares of flooring glued down. I realized I had no real involvement and no say in what was going on, no real part in anything. That’s how I woke up.

morning announcements

There was a peaceful moment
just a little agony over facing the inevitable struggle with eggs or cereal
I even pulled up the shade on the back window for a rare look
and the bare fingers of the spindly trees posed against a long lit cloud for a two-tone fashion
subtle greys bottom and brashly contrasting summery top.
Then, there was a scratching at the back door
Did the porch cardinal suddenly decide to present demands?
No, scratching to the left and right there are never so many birds (would that, as we were just)
No. It was the wind again.
The director called strike this set
the cat started yowling again
or the cat was the director, I confuse
That cloud was rolled out stage left tout suite
Hold onto your hats