Dream Journal #36: Vague and Unconsummated

We were lost in the city, a post-apocalyptic Disneyland, searching for a car. We had driven to town for a birthday party.  Her birthday, a blue car. My hair was long and tousled, like it was in my thirties, not like now. The party had been in a building, like a school, but under construction, or in decay. There was a moment when we had kissed, or when she had kissed me, or almost kissed, which kept playing back in my head. Why had I turned away? Several times we passed a house which was being gutted. A large tree, like a live oak, had grown throughout the house’s framework. She clambered up the tree, to reach the second floor of the house. A large bare-chested man with a handle-bar mustache and tattoos, like a circus strongman from the 1890’s, came out and tried to sell us the house for 340,000 dollars. He said the house was only two stories, although it looked like four. We left to find the car. This went on for hours, or minutes. We would split up, return together again, push the car’s door lock key hoping to see lights flash. When we had left it for the party, the car was the only one on the street, now in the early morning light, the streets were crowded. It started to rain. A man running a uniform store overheard us talking about the house and said that we might as well buy a noose right now if we were going to buy that house. He started to tell us a story, but his assistant interrupted to show us a chef’s hat like they used to wear at diner’s or fast food restaurants, like Burger Chef in the late 60’s. Near the shore fisherman were unloading their catch from big nets. Along with the assorted fish, body parts, like arms and legs, stuck casually from the nets. She kissed me again, or tried to kiss me again, or was that the same kiss? Why did I turn away? At the party, a poet we both liked was reading her poems. No one was listening. Since the floor was being redone, broken tiles were strewn about like crackers. She looked around the crowd and wondered if there would be anyone we knew there. People I had known from work, or school, whom I had never socialized with talked together in small disconnected groups. Everyone seemed uncomfortable, and for some reason that was my responsibility. My brother-in-law, Jim, stood in the corner whispering judgmental comments, and combing his mustache. I left, but could still see them as if through a glass store front window display. The streets were empty and slick with rain. The blue car was nearby, but we had somewhere else to go. Home? An apartment? It was a white building, near where she had kissed me, or tried to kiss me. Why did I turn away? She followed me to my hotel room, commenting on the large leather chair and the open curtains as she entered. When I stepped out for a moment, she started to write a note on a pad next to the bed. She stopped and said it did not matter, when I came back into the room, interrupting her process. She said the room was over-priced. We left to find her friend and have a drink. It was emblematic somehow of the whole affair, unconsummated and vague.

(September 20-23, 2019)

New Normal


Trouble pulses, like cicadas

along oak branches through

summer’s heat: pervasive

and cold. It permeates

my blood like a poison.

I worry the times — for nothing

can be done – How does one

take on more than one self,

yet again? Don a new mask

to project a calm certainty

when fear’s fires rage and burn?

I have no place to stand with 

surety. Answers are simple

without people’s constraints:

the constant tug and shift,

like the tight tectonic grind

as ground slips over ground.

(April 2, 2019)

Preponderance of the Great


from “Renditions of Change,” a work in progress

I worry too much,

or not enough,

yet do nothing.

Here at home

cats curl

in our laps;

when friends visit,

the table’s full,

laughter and wine

flow unabated.

Far away

along the edges,

below the ice,

cracks appear;

and, the ground shifts

beneath us.

(March 7, 2019)

Weeks Before Winter Solstice

W

                                      “and I am

out with hanterns, looking for myself”

                        –Emily Dickinson

Despite the lights in the house,

The darkness penetrates.

It assumes positions in corners,

Presumptuous in its domain.

Like lions pace a cage’s confines,

I am lost in loops of thought

Looking for a set of keys

Which will let me inside.

Yet, there is no rest within

Nor without which can comfort

Enough to bring a closure;

Locked in my obsessions,

I worry each item in turn,

Tangled like tumblers at a fair.

(November 26, 2018)