Monday, October 27, 2008

A dream and a dream and a concert and a fall.

Earlier this week, I had a dream.
It happens, I guess, and it wasn’t much to write home about: Just a simply-structured situation where I found myself at my old grade-school, suffering my nervous ticks through a one page test on transitive verbs in my 8th grade math class, all with my current boss playing the role of teacher. Not much happened.

But still. I remembered it.
That’d be the odd thing. For me, at least. Because it’s not something that’s done. It’s not something that I really do, as if my conscious thoughts were trying to create a buffer zone, a dense wall built of spittle and tar and chunks of dried-out bread, building it high to keep my subconscious and my open eyes in a place where they can cohabitate, but not coexist. It’s rare, truly rare that I remember my dreams.

Earlier this week, I had a dream.
Another one. A second one. And…and I remembered it.
It was stranger, this one. Longer, and stranger, and far more dangerous. Still, in the end, after all of it -- after the sudden screeching halt of my cars tires, and the sudden dive behind the barricade on the suspended bridge; after the excessive debris came crashing towards damnation upon the Earth, and the entering without breaking but still without asking; after the garbage can full of hot urine, and the solemn summation outside of a screen door where I sat next to a mustachioed police officer while being calmed by the gentle lapping sounds of the sea -- not much happened. There were some wacky circumstances, but I got out alright. Except afterwards, I remembered.

Again. I remembered again. And as I said, this time, it felt far more dangerous.
I expressed this sentiment to someone, the very next day. Not just the explanation of the events -- because again, while amusing, it wasn’t exactly a holy terror riding roughshod across my mindscape, laying waste to all thoughts that I could ever hope to have. It was the way that I felt afterward, in the new light of day. It was the memory that did it, the memory remember-ed. When I felt my temples that morning, they seemed dense and malignant, as if a tooth were rotting inside. So I told someone. I told someone about my nervousness, about this transparent ghost from my subconscious, the one that found itself transubstantiating into a solid thought under the glow of fluorescent work-approved bulbs, the one that used its new weight to lay heavily upon my blade of nerves, not caring as it began to cut deeper. My friend, she told me to wonder, “Why?”

Why feel that way?
Why worry about dreams made solid, even if they rarely choose to make themselves known? Why care about newsreels cut and color-timed by random happenstance in the depths of the subconscious, burdens let loose in a dark room for the sole purpose of a safety-net for sanity, helping me and you and I along a guide rail so that we might fare better in our waking hours?

That’s…that’s a damn fine question, I tell you what.
So damn fine, that as is our custom, the answer is hard to find.

I know that for a long time, I’ve found myself wary of dreams. Both kinds: The thoughts of the resting night, and the aspirations of the driving day. One because they represented thoughts that could never really be realized, ideas that existed only in chaotic realms, sometimes to be harnessed by other ideals, but never really there as a solid benefit, never helping nor harming in the way that me and you and I have grown to appreciate, in a world of consistently better things. They’re just…there. And for a man that hates sleeping, it always feels better if the act doesn’t leave things behind.

As for the other?
Because of what I’ve seen them do. Human beings wearing themselves down past flesh and into bone due to the misjudged, sometimes misguided desire to consider themselves as human doings. People should keep trying, of that I’ve no doubt, but still… “Dreams shouldn’t control you. You should control them.
Sometimes, it’s alright to be content. Maybe.

Maybe I was thinking about that, while at a show last night. About those ghosts of the subconscious sticking like spurs underneath my ribs, striking me more with the sudden metallic cold than the scent of my blood in the air. About those fateful aspirations, the kind that lay waste to men that sometimes might be construed as Good. John Darnielle was playing, as he is wont to do. And as I was watching him, Miss Kaki King was watching that mans back. Eyes riveted to that space, fingers moving in the dim light, as if she were seeing the future unfold on that dark patch of cloth. Who knew what her aspirations held, and who knew what her subconscious wanted her to think; who knew that the force of that room bursting with energy and love and sensation and thoughtless, fruitless, thankless desire were enough to strike someone down where they stood?

Someone was struck down.

A woman, a girl fell in front of me, her body going limp in a flash of time that couldn’t even be considered a second, sending her falling, crashing, dropping down onto the surface of my knees. I caught her; a reflex action. A cradling action, bringing her down to the floor, trying to figure out what was going on without losing hold of the sudden weight that had been brought upon me. This happened to me, once before. A girl got drunk and fell on my head, as I was squatting down to give the lengths of my legs a rest. On that previous night, she laughed, and I silently rolled my eyes and went the way that I knew was mine. I thought that this happened to me, once before. This night…not quite. I was wrong. Looking at her face, I knew I was wrong. Hearing her boyfriend’s voice, I knew I was wrong. Her eyes weren’t moving. They just stared straight ahead, as if they were made of glass. I snapped my fingers, dropped my sweater upon the ground as I tried to get a better grip, moved my knee underneath her to support her weight, all while the lad she knew was calling into her face, trying desperately to get a reaction, to get some sort of action, to see some indication that sparks were still flying in the engine of her heart. As I held her, I felt something wet expanding on my knee, and without any clarity of vision connecting the thoughts, I found myself in a moment where she was dead. Whether it was true or not, I couldn’t really say, but to me… Her skin was so pale.

Like rice paper wrapped tight around a spring roll, showing the immobile pink and blue underneath. Her eyes still didn’t move, even as colored lights still rained down upon us, the various hues giving her skin an illusion of a life song that made clarity all but impossible in the situation that we were presented with. In my arms, was a ghost. No Conscious, no Subconscious, no nothing left to worry about. As I glanced up to see that the person who had accompanied me for an evening of musical revelry was dialing the appropriate numbers, the girl’s friend who was a boy and I set to work cradling her within the womb of our arms, trying to carry her back towards life. Pallbearers, working in reverse, drawing her back from her supposed grave as best as we could.

Around the edge of the crowd, they cleared the way; they parted easily without a word. The music played on.

We stumbled outside, propped the limp form up in a chair, shouted with clear, directed voices, waved an LA Weekly in her face, trying to force air toward her as it is done in the moving pictures, brought out cold water, rubbed it around her eyes, felt the bass pumping through the wall of the club, waiting for the siren to begin making its way down the boulevard, hoping to see a lucid spark, trying to figure out a new motion, one that would serve the right purpose, bringing this situation to a place that we could manage. A place where there were no ghosts, and no subconscious. Just open minds, and thoughts singing aloud, clear as bells of brass.

She came back to us. Frankly, suddenly, immediately. As if someone had flipped a switch, her voice came to her mouth, and she wondered aloud just what the hell had happened, her eyes moving freely while surrounded by skin that was still so, so pale. As the siren began to reach our ears, I looked down and saw the dark patch of dampness on my knee that was growing chill in the night air. It was what had supported her, her lower extremities, back when it was bad back in there. She had urinated on me.

In her more lucid state, she thanked my friend and I. She shook my hand, and asked my name, which I happily gave. I’ve forgotten hers. I’ll never see her, and I’ll never remember her name. Just how my mind works. She got questioned by the FDLA about her health as well as food/alcohol consumption, while my friend and I stood off to the side. Eventually, she signed herself off, and her lad and she wandered off to a place where they would eventually discover that his car had been towed. But before that was revealed, it was just my friend and I, left alone out there in the night. When all was said, and all was done, I noticed my coat resting in a bundle on the edge of a sign by the door. I still don’t know how it got there.

So then. All that we’re told inside our heads, all of the horrors that erupt in the spaces of our dreams, all of the wishes that tear us apart like screws driving into meat; well, they are important. Like so many things that I know that scare me, that I know I don’t desire, sleep and wishes and the sun on my face…I know that I need them, sometimes. I hate those ghosts, fading in and out. But even with that said, I think that I know something else. In my lucid mind, in the thoughts that I make for myself, formed with the clarity of cold air and buzzing light.

Dreams -- Dreams cannot tell you what you are.
And they can’t -- they can’t tell you what you’ll do.
As horrid as your mind might make you feel, in the real world, you might still do the right thing. You might not.

But hey…there’s a chance. Whether you dream it or not.


In the process of writing this, I found that I had fallen asleep. There I was, listening to live recordings made of .m4a formatted audio through individual Quicktime windows, when all of a sudden my eyes were open. Daylight was setting the room aglow through the diffusion field of my thick curtain, keeping it bright, but keeping it soft. Night/Day. One to the other, no time in between. When my head rose up, there was no fear, and no uncertainty. Although logic regarding sleep cycles state otherwise, as far as I could recall, there were no dreams.

It felt good, crossing that divide. Quick and clean, solemn and steady.
So perhaps that’s it…moreso than any deep seated contradictions, or fears that give way to the Right Thing in a pinch. It’s might just be a desire to step away from that yawning black pit, taking it as a fresh start every morn. Here are our thoughts. We’ve made it, me and you and I. Our eyes are open, and there are things to see and say.

I am refreshed, and I am ready, with no baggage of the night before weighing me down. Duty-free. This is how a day should begin.

And today, I'm glad it has.

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