jan says that the other night i was screaming in my sleep. "like animal...animal. waahahah!" he falsettosaid. the dreams that i remember of the night seem fairly innocuous...a bowling match, photographs of small children playing in sinks, a jumprope-style-reversable tuxedo shirt of light blue tree bark. but i also remember a state of half sleep, in which a dream, still flowing, was being observed by my conscious eye for dream journal inclusion. and in the midst of this mental recording, i questioned myself: if i was semiconcious at the moment, did this really count as dreaming?
could this moment of blur have caused my screams? it seems doubtful, but one thing certain is that my recording of my dreams is affecting the dreaming itself. for one thing, a consistent geography is coming to light. a steep forest hill, a vortex of wind and surf, a physics laboratory on a dark cliff, a vast mall, a store for blue dresses and old record players. a labyrinthine house of strangers and drywall, a purple ballroom ship, a german train, a school with hidden closets and bizarre security designs. the characters too have a consistent personality from night to night, both the predictable cast of family, friends and lovers, and more bizarre, the phantoms that i create out of thin night with rich complexity. in the bowling dream of two nights ago, i had to ask a fair hippie sitting on the floor behind me to move over so i would not backhand him with the ball (the pins, giant red dice, were set up five across in a wicked split at the front of the lane). his blond curl shine smiled at me and revealed puzzlement at my activity and sadness at his exclusion, mystification and irritation, but then an internal shift, and finally a compassionate decision and a smile and a scoot scoot scoot so i could execute my spare. this insignificant moment detailed and full of contradiction and humanity.
the evening following the screaming, i was daydreaming on stage and missed the entrance to scotsman jack walkers blitzkreig of miss saigons "why god why". which was really a damn shame, because the beginning is just bass and piano, a really pretty and mysterious rocking Bo to Am thing over an F pedal. (i frantically sandwiched the first three notes into a sickening mockery of a triplet starting somewhere in the middle of the second beat. but by bar 2 i was on the scene). where was i? i dont really remember, because i was trying to remember more details of the previous nights dreams; but the exact nature of the reminiscive investigation was as lost to me as the elusive dream details themselves. a moment of remembering, unremembered. daydreaming of dreaming, recalling the past and forgetting the present, asleep in wakefulness. and a memory and a dream are in the end the same. why god why, he asks, why did god send me this beautiful vietnamese girl on my last night, why now this love, why?
a memory and a dream, the same. both stories in my experience, in my library of thought, that shape my present actions, reasonings and raptures. are these dreams then real? once they are etched into memory, what difference in contribution to my vastness do they have from waking experience? the cause, the intention behind the experiences themsleves is different, clearly, in that i am actually creating the dreams in a more complete way then i create my living experience. but after, when only the memory remains? and why god why am i creating these particular things? does my secret heart know what memories it hungers for, what will keep my velvet belly shining and full?
and then. the next morning, this morning, and the dreams are lost. i am robbed. i have a pretty good method for recalling dreams: since i almost always dream of people i know, i just go through a mental rolodex of everyone ive ever known, starting with the big guns, then aimlessly floating through different phases of my life, recalling faces and names and scents and songs, until a tickle of recall is awake. but this morning, nothing, nothing. my head a closet heap: i still had why god why running through my head (oh but fuck its a good song!), and i was thick with the jack daniels i had shared with the trombone player daniel the night before. (this trombone player, alcoholic, is a sad story that is slowly breaking my heart, by the way, and i dont know what to do). my head was crowded, gas station bright.
so heres what i did: i cleared my mind. ha!
i tried to do this by focusing on the breath, but im honestly just not a very good meditator, and this did not work, still mocking circles of invasive thoughts chased me. instead i focused on a single image. ah, a blackbird. i painted her loving on mind screen, facing left, still, zoomed in on her twitching head, deep eye, caressed her slightly, and then still. stopped the endless modifications that my mind insisted on for thoughts survival. still, still, breath and then spaced out.
images began to float in on the peripherals. i was hoping these images would be of my lost dreams, but they were not. they were new images, unpredictable and vibrant. a red and green tiger, an animated postal golf cart, a tall glass of passion punch. if i looked to one of these imgaes, the bird and her steel grey background would tear, vertical diagonal swatches of her realitys fabric exactosliced away by my inattention. in refocus, the new images to drift past half seen. and thus i allowed myself to only discern partial impressions of these images that were being created completely by my mind.
to only know some of what i thought.
now, was this dreaming?
and why god why, are you giving me this beautiful vietnamese girl on my last night, why this love now love? do you know what my velvet belly hungers for?
in the morning, i stopped at the mess before going to the beach (oh yes, im in bermuda). i had missed breakfast, but was hoping to find a croissant or yogurt in one of the forbidden stainless steel cupboards of the pantry.
and what do think i found? belly growling, and there, on the counter, under a silver lid, a plate of untouched, still warm, eggs benedict.
why god why?//this velvet hunger//benedictus deo//