‘the traces of our dreams’

If we cannot see the traces of our dreams it is because we tend to look for them by day or with a lamp. At night, when we glide through black absence, their phosphorescence betrays them.

Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions: Volume I

broken wiper [dream]

One of the wipers was brokenstuck in placegoing nowhere. As I stared through the rain-smeared windshield I wondered how exactly I had arrived here. The parking lot looked familiar. I knew I worked at this place, but what of the last few hours. Waking, eating breakfast, deciding (oddly) to drive instead of bike…what of those actions. Goneall of them. With trepidation I opened the car door, walked across the dirt parking lot, and entered the building. Inside, coworkers and friends from long ago gathered around a table in the vestibule. I sat with them, aloof and guardedunwilling to divulge the increasingly alarming gap in my memory. As I casually looked around, I noted three doors leading from the the main lobby. One of them led to my place of employment. But which one. I didn’t recognize the people passing through on their way in. I craned my neck as each door opened, but saw no familiar landmarks or personages beyond any of the three. Suddenly I realized I also could not recall the appearance of my own personal office space. So should I even guess right as to the proper entrance, I would not know where to go once inside. It appeared that I would need to take a leap of faiththere was a choice to be made.

always red and black

i returned
to the rocks
where i picked
one up to find
a snake coiled
in red and black

(sleeping it was
as i am now)

up above i flew
circled around
where from the air
i saw the snake
wake and slither off

the next night
i found tiny snakes
wrapped around my wrist
and as i pulled them off
they inserted fangs
beneath the skin

the pain was great
but i kept at it
as did they
until i’m not sure
if i blacked out

from Aurélia by Gérard de Nerval

I resolved to fix all of my dreams in my memory and to know their secret. “Why,” I said, “should I not break through these mystical doors, armed with all of my will, and dominate my senses rather than submitting to them?” Is it not possible to tame this fearsome, compelling chimera; to exert control over these night spirits which toy with our reason? One third of our life is spent in sleep. It is consolation for the sorrows of our day or atonement for their pleasures; but I have never experienced sleep as mere rest. After a few minutes’ torpor, a new life begins, untrammeled by the limitations of time and space, and without doubt, similar to the one which awaits us after death. Who is to say whether or not there exists a link between these two existences and whether it is not possible for the soul to establish that connection?

Gérard de Nerval, Aurélia

moleskine miscellany (annotated)

i.

the sky in the glodes between masses of cloud was irenic blue—j. gardner, ‘the warden’

ii.

in the dream, people called it a giraffe but it wasn’t a giraffe—it was orange, maybe shaped more like a zebra—someone was leading it for a time, and then it was running along the river with the migrating birds. we all saw it.

iii.

when i ceased to be alone, solitude became intense, infinite—m. blanchot, the one who was standing apart from me

iv.

to be alone in public is true freedom. to be alone in a private residence holds a spell of constriction, resulting from the receding of the outward-facing gaze into an inward-facing position. as self-consciousness fades so too does presence of mind, of the rooting of the self in its role, be it outsider or not, within society.

[post-transcriptional annotation]

1. outward-facing: infinite possibilities; heightened awareness from surging external energies

2. inward-facing: finite possibilities; shrinking awareness from negative self-generated energies

(my talk show starts tomorrow. during a series of six silent sessions, i will expound upon the nonsense listed in part iv. tune your magic dial to eleventy-six-oh at quarter past the slowest hour of the day or if you don’t have a cardboard box with day-glo dials painted on it, tune your peepers to the suspicious-looking cloud formations in the western sky, which i have arranged in advance to spell out the answers to all of your questions. that’s all.)

disordered chronology of movement

I.

Failed recollections to begin with. Slow-creeping toward habit. A giant round metal head. Sudden velocity. Sudden inertia. Pavement merges with gravel. The emergence of a tentative consciousness, neither hard nor pebbly. Vexation of unidentified raptors. Vultures soar over open sore in ground. A blast. Winged assassins. New commonness of thrashers in the street. Feet to pedals. The river like a swollen artery choked with plaque. Ungroundedness. Slow mounting keen of a train not far off. Dream rivulets running off a dry and calloused cerebellum. The importance of a second floor. Eye contact with strangers. Avoid building awareness of a presence. A body imagined close, a body far off yet close, a body buried in dry soil, a body husking a soul. A dipping line, looming and drawing back, tangled in the hanging moss of a halting lifetime.

II.

The exultant dismissal of everything. A hitching-up of trouser legs above this rising level of foreign liquidity. A spreading out tempered by a wish to gather in. Weathering. Rusty rooftop with greenery. The futile accomplishment of deletion. Southern hospitality. Sensory overload. Sensory deprivation. Every atom split to populate a neverending shell game run by con artists connotating the building blocks of life. It’s so casual is what it feels like. An unseemly seeming accidental existence. And yet people fly planes. Against near-white skies. This is a reason not to listen to all the best songs in a row. This is the reason time means nothing. Look out, the fuse is lit. See how it sputters, this heat seen and heard, racing on its journey to a black-powder shattered shack. Every early morning blink of a first-opened eye, this fuse is lit. And wetted fingertips flutter to pinch it out quick.

III.

Bird on a wire, sing your song, lift your wing to the world. Swoop down and over this set of fleet footprints filled in long ago. Expectations of nothing can never be unfulfilled. It’s a something-nothing to believe in, at least. An anti-ideal to carry stuck beneath an idealist’s forever-sweating armpit. Relish the freedom of solitude in public places. Deny detours diverting detritus. Pick it up, handle it, determine meaning and value, discard when done. Don’t look back but for inspiration. Forward motion fuels freedom. Reminders come free.

the one and the other discuss wonder

What did you see today, other, asked the one.

I saw a tiny warbler bathing in the bird bath.

Oh! And how was that.

It pleased me in a way that I don’t often feel.

How, how did it please you, other.

Hmm. I don’t know if I can articulate it. It filled me with wonder.

That sounds good.

Yes, it was good, one.

Tell me, other, why are you not often filled with wonder.

I’m not sure. Lack of the right stimulation, I guess.

What is the right stimulation, other. Is it like how so many of our dreams go to childhood, where everything was a wonder, and our minds were not yet full of life-junk or maybe they were but it had not yet come crashing in on us.

Yes! It is like that. I think of roads, roads I traveled on as a kid, staring out from the backseat, and I looked off the road to what was beyond and I imagined myself there so many, many times that it was as if I really had been there, in the beyond, even if I never really had. And those are the roads I travel in my dreams, over and over.

The roads of wonder.

Yes.

Other, do you think there are still roads of wonder out there, for us to travel on, now…

I hope so, one. I really do. It is that hope that keeps us going, right.

Yes, that and the absurd, other…do not forget the absurd!

O right. Yes, we do take much delight in the absurd, don’t we, one.

It’s all around us. Were we not to take delight in it, it would surely drown us, other.

Plasticity of the mind. We must focus on the still-plastic parts of our minds, one!

Anteaters.

Yes, indeed. How long have you been saving that one up.

At least since this morning. Goodnight, other.

Goodnight, one.

late rain world

The world was late today. I don’t know. I was late. But I wasn’t expecting the world to also be late. I had hoped for a leisurely ride in on mi bicicleta. Instead there were cars everywhere. An automotive horror show. Maybe it was the rain. Rain slows the world to a crawl. Like slow motion, creeping and crawling. Not me, though. I was pedaling quite rapidly, in fact. Bike commuting reminds me I am alive. Otherwise I might think I was a walking corpse. Or a dancing one. I’m skipping a meeting this morning. I don’t care. It empowers me. Robert Walser would skip it. Walser wouldn’t still be here seven years later, though. Walser wouldn’t have made it seven months. Seven weeks, maybe. More likely seven days. He’d be in his attic room writing his soul out on shreds of borrowed paper with a stolen pen. Oh, where is the rain crow. He migrated long ago. Now who will tell us when it is about to rain. I felt the cold rain on my face and knew I was alive. No more alive than last month or last week or yesterday, but alive nonetheless. 2013 dreams have been vivid so far. It’s like there is an arthouse revival series going on in my dream life. I’m liking it. There’s nothing else to report, I’m afraid. Raining, check. Biking, check. Reading Walser, check. No more rain crow, check. Not a corpse, check. Alive, check.

the town

The highest point of the town held a water tower and once I rode down that hill on my scooter using my new shoe as a brake and when I reached the bottom I found the scooter’s tire had burned a big gash into the heel of my shoe.

The lowest point of the town held a lake and once I stubbed my toe in its silty bottom resulting in a trip to the doctor who poked holes in my toenail to relieve the pressure.

The town took away and it gave and it took away and it gave, sometimes it left parts of itself in me, parts that had to be removed, other times the parts remained encysted and grew into hard black stones that never went away.

The town visits me now, frequently, in my dreams. It is the setting for all types of absurd scenarios, completely unrelated to actual events, only tapping memory for details of setting, and even then playing sly with the facts, bending and shaping, but always leaving things just recognizable enough.

I find this unsettling as the town means nothing to me in my present life and I have not been there in many years. There is nothing there for me now. And yet it is the skeleton of my early life. The streets are the bones. There is a house somewhere that serves as the skull, with windows like eyeholes, looking out onto a world I was seeing for the first time.

I feel a pull toward the town and I don’t know why. I think it is the aching for a home, a place I know so well it is a part of me, inseparable from who I am and what I do. A known setting for my life, however I choose to live it, with scenery grown like vines through my blood and bones. The place where it all starts and ends. Home.

light | dark

Light Dark Light Dark Light Dark Light Dark Light Dark Light Dark Light Dark

Light Light Light Light Light Light Light

Dark Dark Dark Dark Dark Dark Dark

LIGHT

DARK

DARK

LIGHT

[narrator leaves house, unpacks moon-viewing instrument]

LIGHT LIGHT  LIGHT LIGHT

[the ‘light’ from the moon is false — it is a reflection of the sun]

DARK DARK DARK DARK

[narrator adjusts focus, lets in more light]

LIGHT dark light

LIGHt dark lighT

LIGht dark ligHT

LIght dark liGHT

Light dark lIGHT

light dark LIGHT

[narrator goes inside, observes black ring around eye, laughs bitterly]

DARK light DARK

[narrator watches solar eclipse on television, loses vision in one eye]

one eye: DARK DARK DARK DARK

other eye: LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT

[other eye compensates, dilation lets in more light]

LIght DARk LIGht DArk LIGHt Dark = dark | LIGHT

[narrator freaks out at giant pupil peering back out of mirror]

LIGHt dARK

LIGht daRK

LIGHt dARK

LIGHT DARK

[narrator takes sedative, falls asleep]

D-A-R-K

[narrator sleeps for days, dreams about moon]

D–A–R–K     l-i-g-h-t

[narrator stands on moon in dream, looks at sun, falls asleep in crater]

D_A_R_K

[narrator feels hot, wakes up on sun, quickly returns to sleep, wakes up on earth]

L_I_G_H_T

[narrator applies eye shadow, begins collecting shiny objects]

light light light light

[narrator sprouts bushy tail, gathers nesting material]

dark light dark light

[narrator curls up in ball, falls asleep in nest]

DARK DARK DARK DARK DARK DARK DARK

[narrator dreams about the sea]

LIGHT | DARK

[narrator wakes in forest, burrows deeper in nest, falls asleep again]

DARK | DARK

[narrator dreams of monks self-immolating, twitches in sleep]

L__I__G__H__T | dark

[narrator wakes, crawls out of nest, forages on forest floor]

L–I–G–H–T

[narrator lies on a rock, soaks up sunlight]

LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT

[narrator leaves dark, enters light]

L____I____G____H____T

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