Dreams and Poems

This file just got started with a sudden poem last night, but I'm hoping this is the beginning of a whole new body of works. Maybe someday I'll even get back to writing my Requiem: in memory of the forgotten that's been stuck at the first twelve bars for years.

Glenn Knickerbocker
27 January 1996

(Sadly, so far it seems to be coming out at one poem a year.
20 October 1998)

All works in this file copyright © Glenn Knickerbocker


Also, here are some older dreams.


Fun and exercises: Magnetic Poetry

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Glenn's bizarre dream, during a nap in the evening, 16 September 1995

We're at the Pine Plains Presbyterian Church rehearsing some big thing with music, dance, and readings. The music is by Guy, but it's not the wedding music. The choreographer has picked out one of his songs to repeat for the dance. It's a song about how, even with all kinds of problems, life is good. The original setting is for a male singer, and it's in G, in some minor mode but cheerful-sounding. For the dance, a black girl sings it in E, and she slows down the parts about all the problems to enunciate them all clearly, so the song is a long, lugubrious litany of problems and complications, punctuated by brief little cheery bursts of the "life is good" part.

The singer and the dancers are all junior-high-school kids. The singer is dressed in olive green, and she's wearing a complicated body mic that's carefully covered by things slung over her shoulders. There's a black boy in green camo fatigues who's supposed to move the pulpit out of the center of the altar before the dance starts, but he forgets. He gets up to move it as the singer leads the dancers down the center of the altar, and a white girl helps him move it off. Then he's trying to figure out how to get off the stage, and he sidles up behind the singer and vanishes behind her, staying behind her as she goes down the steps and out into the church. He jostles the things that are covering her mic, and she struggles to cover it up again.

When the whole thing is over, I realize that the wedding party is all assembled in front of the altar, and suddenly the wedding is ending and the church is full of people, who applaud. But we don't recess, because it's still not the wedding music. We leave out the back of the church, down and up some marble steps, and I feel like I've just woken up from a weird dream. (It's a feeling of great clarity, really waking-like, not the usual still-clouded feeling of waking up from a dream within a dream.) I start to tell Carla that I just woke up from a weird dream about getting married unexpectedly--except that we didn't have the license--but she keeps cutting me off. I'm left wondering if I haven't woken up, or if it wasn't a dream.

After this, there's something with Jan and Dad about packing to leave from somewhere. I didn't remember this part clearly. It's in a house with a finished basement, and there's something about figuring out which rooms I need to take stuff from.

Then I'm flying a plane west over water. There's a small hatch in the floor of the cockpit, and I take off my shoes and stick my toes through it. Carla and Jan are in the cockpit with me. As I land, I'm preoccupied with feeling my toes in the hole and don't notice how close to the water I come down. I feel the grass brush my toes as we land.

We're somewhere in Connecticut, and Carla and I start driving home. We're stopped in a parking lot of a diner or gas station, and Carla is talking to someone from some feminist group. This woman is holding something that has a statement from some '60's feminist group printed on it. (I don't rememer what it is, but it's light orange with dark red markings, and I think maybe it's a box from something, maybe having to do with food.) She and Carla are talking about how all these women are dead--except for one named Ida (not Carla's real-life friend Ida) who's no longer a feminist. She did a feminist radio show until she decided that feminism was evil and Satanistic and cancelled it. But this other woman notices another name close to the end of the list, Birra something (short name with an "e" in it), who's also still alive.

Then I'm driving alone. Just before the New York border, I see a man herding two small children down the middle of the road, and then I see their mother and another woman coming to meet them. When I get closer, I see that the guy is a clown (in full makeup), and he's sweeping something off the road. I remember hearing something on the radio about a circus that had been detained and ordered by a judge to clean up the huge piles of elephant manure they had spilled on the road. It turns out they're obeying the order, but they're all doing their acts while they clean it up. I see more clowns working on moving enormous, truck-sized piles of feces. Ahead of me is a fire-eater dressed as a big lion. He's burning stuff off the road, and he doesn't get out of the way of the cars. I slow down but don't stop, and he goes underneath the car.

Once I'm past the circus, I find myself writing something down on a section of the dashboard above the shift lever. It's a telepathic transmission from some woman, something about a spirit that she drove out of someplace back to (I'm not sure if it was to join or become) "them," seven of them. I run out of space just as she tells me their seven names, all Italian-sounding, but it's OK, because I realize she's also writing this down and sending it in the mail. I see her face and her memory of these seven men. She calls me Mike, and I'm wondering whether I'm still myself or have turned into some other person. I get home to a little yellow house I share with two other guys, and I hear one of them (Nic Harcourt? I'm not sure) asking if that's Glenn that he hears coming. I'm relieved to hear that I'm still myself, but I don't want to talk to them just in case I'm not really. I pull the car in as quietly as I can, which involves shutting off the engine and somehow walking it on two wheels rather than driving. I manage to park it, get out, and shut the door silently, and as I'm about to walk to the front door I wake up.

Settled Under Nightfall

26 January 1996

This poem was written very suddenly when I got home one night, the first stanza while I was getting out of the car, and the rest in the space of about an hour and a half.

Musk pervades the velvet air of evening.
A silvery cooing drifts through neighboring fences.
My love turns its face away slowly, satisfied.
I am alone and gentle, settled under nightfall.

Seven years ago, I had no name.
I sang a terrible and faithful rockslide,
dipping headily into lustful torrents
and emerging, unabashed, but bowed, silent, and slow.

This let be my permanent awakening,
this clarity of dark and turgid vapor,
this constancy of effervescence, love
that rests between advances, settled under nightfall.

A political dream, 19 March 1996

I'm in some kind of radio club. We have a small, one-room clubhouse at the top of a long, steep driveway that goes down to a house. There's a desk and just a single chair inside, and a phone on the desk that controls some kind of remote-control system. Otherwise, it's just bare wooden walls and green industrial carpet.

There's snow outside, about six inches deep on the driveway and more on the ground. People are standing around outside and I'm sitting on a snowbank. A van arrives, and it's Bill Clinton on the campaign trail.

There are two boys with plastic sleds at the top of the driveway, and Clinton asks them if they're going all the way down the hill. They explain that yes, they're racing down the hill as a kind of salute. He applauds them and rolls in the snow with them when they come back up. I say something about its not being too cold once you're in it, and he says, "Yeah, right."

We go into the clubhouse for an interview. We all sit on the floor, and I'm in the front, even though I don't have any questions to ask him. Clinton sits at the desk and picks up the phone. It makes some strange noises because of the remote-control functions, but eventually he figures it out, and he calls his press people to tell them to make up a story about his calling Hillary from North Carolina last night.

I wake up before we ever actually ask him any questions.

Camp and songs, but no camp songs, 9 August 1996

This dream or series of dreams took place at a small hotel in the country. The hotel was a grey house with a shaded stream running through the lawn behind it.

My father gave me a new recording he'd gotten from Trio Kavkasia. It was one song, a very short verse repeated over and over, and Alan's voice was layered over the rest at every cadence. Carl sang the words first in very clearly pronounced Georgian and then in an English translation, but slurred as though to conceal the text.

Then I was talking with my sister Jan in a big L-shaped washroom with white tiled walls, huge mirrors, and half a dozen porcelain sinks. She was describing having her hair cut by a friend at camp. As we talked, lots of kids and their parents were constantly going in and out of the washroom. Jan had been upset at how short her friend was cutting her hair, but then looked at it and liked it--but it was still short, she said.

In a dingy, unfinished room behind the washroom, a four-year-old girl sat on the floor between her mother and her aunt and complained about having no clean clothes. She said she was "down to camp clothes and dirty underwear"--camp clothes being like what she had on, smeared with big patches of mud.

I met Stuart and Guy, and Stuart was telling Guy about where they had made their recording. They had recorded it at Andy Partridge's studio, out behind the hotel. We went out back and followed the stream to a small, grey building and went into a workroom with all sorts of niches and cubbyholes full of odd junk and recording equipment and wires running everywhere. Andy didn't look anything like his pictures on XTC album covers. He was a skinny guy with long, dark blond hair.

I was carrying a small sword I had picked up in the hotel, and it had dozens of little magnets on the back of it that I was trying to conceal. As we talked, at one point it had a little medallion halfway down the blade, and when I put it down it had a serving tray attached to it, covering most of the blade.

We went inside to the small, cramped kitchen, a white room with a long, white table and an old, white refrigerator at the far end. Instead of Guy and Stuart, Ken and Carla were sitting with Andy at the far end of the table. They were talking and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. I looked up for a second and Carla was topless, but when I looked again she was fully clothed again. The sandwiches were huge and overflowing, and the cream cheese looked like marshmallow Fluff.

I didn't get a sandwich.

Women and dogs, 31 May 1997

Carla and I were driving to Camp Epworth for the People's Music Network meeting. (This was what we would actually be doing later that day, to perform a historical reading about women's suffrage at a celebration honoring Sojourner Truth.) We went past one end of the road where Cynthia, another performer in the same reading, lived, and we saw a sign pointing down her road saying "Women's Freedom Day." We saw another similar sign at the other end of her road, so we turned back to swing by her house and see what was going on.

When we got to Cynthia's house, she was walking two huge dogs (I think one white and one black) up a hill across the road. I started to go up the hill after her, through a yard full of cattle, but two large bulls scared me into turning back.

I walked into Cynthia's house and her husband, Larry, was arranging something in the living room. I was uncomfortable about my dirty shoes and was avoiding him, hoping he didn't notice I had come in. I went through the house to the kitchen and met Carla and Cynthia coming in the door. Looking out the kitchen door, I saw a sign marking the house as a historic site. Suddenly, a busload of tourists arrived and started walking past us through the house, with a tour guide explaining the history of the house. Cynthia explained that this was something she and Larry put up with several times a day!

Sing to Me as the Sun

9 May-19 June 1997

I wrote most of this poem on the train in Chicago, on my way back and forth from our hotel to the University for the Caucasian Cultures Conference.

Sing to me,
Sing to me as the sun,
As the sun, brilliant and beautiful,
Spinning across the heavens in impatient glory.

Sing to me as the sun,
Coughing and yearning and strengthening
In its ascent from the fiery sea
To the smoky expanse of cloud-choked sky.

Lost in the mists above the river,
Swallowed up as in memories of younger days
We spent swaying in the tallest pair of apple trees,
The sun grows silent, huge, and cold.

Its pale ghost hovering like some frozen dragonfly
Locked in a dance between death and the water,
Each wave faintly mirroring its icy glare,
You echo the sun's soundless cry.

Sing to me as the sun, my love,
Your shining songs of ice and crystal
That dart on hazy, golden wings from bank to bank
And pierce the hallowed parchment of remembered times.

As now gleaming bolts of captured flame
Spray through ragged punctures like long-forgotten dreams,
In crystalline tones of clearest reflection,
Sing to me as the sun.

Where's work? 23 June 1998

I'm staying with my parents in the house I grew up in. I've left for work, but I'm delayed for some reason at the top of the hill. Mom and Dad come by in their car while I'm there, and follow me all the way to work. I drive around the back of the site and get out of my car to show them the modular building that I work in--and it's gone, without a trace! There are no cars, no construction workers, not even a sign of where the foundation was.

I go to Security, but they have no idea what's happened. I'm in a room with computer screens pointing every which way, and nobody pays attention to my being there except when I pick up the phone. I dial Gary's number, but the phone is taken away from me until he answers and says that I work with him. He tells me that our group has been moved to the third floor of another building.

I go to the new building and have some trouble figuring out where to go. It turns out that we have to walk the whole length of the building three times to get to our offices--the length of the first floor to one stairway, then back along greenish windows on the second floor to another stairway, up the stairs to an executive suite, and then the whole length of the building again on the third floor.

I'm carrying an awkward pile of things with me. Most of the way down the first floor, the floor changes from linoleum to wood, and a big pile of plastic cases extends from a lab out into the hallway. I overturn a section of the pile to get around it, and walk quickly down the hall in the hope that I wasn't seen. The plastic cases are CD cases, and I notice that I've dropped some of my own CD's that I was carrying. I run back to find them, and it turns out the owner of the big pile is Alex (who in real life no longer works at IBM). I find some of the CD's I dropped, including Peter Hammill's Everything You Hold, but as I'm waking up I can't find X My Heart and some album that I don't have in real life, maybe Roaring Forties.

What Plague

October 1997-20 October 1998

I don't love this poem, but it's finally done!
I wrote the first half during a night of auditions and, despite not really finding it very attractive, felt compelled to finish it for a whole year.

What plague of birds and tortoises
Can add indignities to human thought?
No shadows of extremity
From glaciers, rocks, or sycamore arise
To steal the proud sun's glory from the skies.

What masters of their industry
Dare champion the stench of rank supplies
When stolid forms of mortises
And potent turbines have bright wonders wrought?
In Heaven's tutelage such men are taught.

Shall I resign from paradise
To root among dark beetles, pitch, and dung?
Some agents of inclarity,
While fluttering on the heights that gave them birth,
Corrupt the light they filter to the earth.

Can we deny disparity
That coruscates in twinkling points of worth?
But no, these pangs of sacrifice
Are false--no bright, celestial beast has sung
The paradigm from which their stars are hung.

Beneath the humblest hills rest mighty fortresses.

Landing on water, 4 March 1999

I dreamt that Carla and I were visiting Zaza in Georgia. He met us in a pontoon plane that he had borrowed, and he flew us to where he lived, someplace where we landed in a small harbor and somebody towed the plane to shore. The dream repeated here, and we landed on the harbor again, as if the first landing had been just a rehearsal. All the banter shouted across the water was different the second time.

We went to his house, which was up on a hill, very much like the house where Kevin lived until last month. There were several small tables in the yard, with young women sitting at them. Zaza had turned the yard into a restaurant, his mom did all the cooking, and all the service was in English. His wife Manana was nowhere in sight.

I went inside and said hello to Zaza's dad, and then went to find the bathroom. Most of the house had been converted into a hotel, and there were large blue signs in English everywhere. Upstairs, the guest rooms were on a twisting hallway that ended, with no door, in mom and dad's bedroom. I finally found the bathroom downstairs.

When I came out, our policeman friend Nik was there and wanted to talk to me about something very important. We both thought we would have to speak Russian, but Nik started in English and it turned out he knew much more English than we thought. I don't remember what we discussed that was so important, but I remember that Zaza couldn't understand us at all because we were speaking English.

Another kind of camp, 10 May 1999

I'm at a restaurant in a club or hotel somewhere in Germany, choosing among dishes with veal, venison, and wild mushrooms. There are many small dining rooms, all richly upholstered, along a winding corridor with deep blue carpeting. Suddenly, everybody is herded out of the dining rooms and along the corridor to a long, white hallway. I'm not sure who I was there with, if anyone, but I manage to catch up with Dad and Jan.

We're all taken to some kind of prison camp, though apparently not a particularly harsh one. The prisoners who are already there are in plain, clean, white clothing, and we're given white clothes to change into. We sit on all-white bleachers with the other prisoners, facing a flat, blank, white courtyard of some kind, listening to instructions that are in English but still don't make sense. It's not clear whether we're supposed to do any work, where we will sleep, what we will eat.

The guards leave and disappear completely, leaving only the prisoners. Mike, who arrived with us, decides it's time to change back into his own clothing and see about leaving. I follow him behind the bleachers, and our clothes are right where we left them, in a narrow room with hardwood paneling, fancy mouldings, and frosted windows. The other prisoners seem to be amazed that we would think to look there.

There's a door out the back that seems to be open and it's not clear whether we can leave that way, but there are no guards in sight and our changing clothes doesn't seem to draw any attention. The dream ends as we're changing.

This is not your mother's McDonald's, also 10 May 1999

I'm in the lobby of a nightclub and look up at the ceiling, which has patterns in textured grey material that sometimes resolve into words like "Live music." The wall where the box office is is made of the same material, and the door is made up to look like a gate in a tall fence. I suddenly realize that I'm in a McDonald's commercial as somebody starts talking about what he can't get here at the club.

A brightly colored menu card pops up above the fence, with each selection highlighted in turn. Some zoot-suited patrons leave for McDonald's in a huff, and several of the performers refuse to go on because they can't get what they want from McDonald's. Barbara Hardgrave is some sort of nightclub diva who's the headline act, and she storms out of the gate, insisting she can't go on without the supporting acts playing first.

Behind me to the right is the outside door, and to the left is a section of the room with a double bed, lighted in red and decorated in garish red and orange. Peggy LaBelle sweeps in through the door, announcing that she's the super-bitch who's going to put Barbara in her place. She hurls Barbara down on the bed and then strides through the gate with her McDonald's takeout bag in hand, to the muffled cheers of the audience inside.

After tropical storm Floyd, 17 September 1999

I had this dream after the first two nights the power was out.

An alien technology has been discovered in the form of growing and contracting steel automata. They sprout wheels for locomotion, and finely jointed arms for grasping. I'm standing on the wooden porch of a hotel, overlooking a large, green lawn and garden. I have a remote control that controls the wheels of one of these metal creations. I'm driving it around the hedges and up and down the lawn. Somehow it gains self-control when I leave the remote control idle for a few seconds, and it grows large and menacing and rolls up the wide, wooden steps onto the hotel porch and into the lobby.

I run into the lobby, where the metal monster is wreaking havoc, and up a narrow staircase to a balcony. I manage to use the remote control to maneuver the machine into a small booth under the balcony, and I go down to see if there's a way I can switch it off. I hand the control to Jan while I move closer, and tell her to be careful to make sure the machine doesn't reach out to grab it. She just holds the control idly, and as I approach the machine an arm shoots out and grabs the control from her. The machine now has control of itself and chases Jan and me out of the hotel, down city streets, and into a dingy, dimly lit apartment.

What happens next is unclear. Somehow, I stumble on a way to cause the machine to shrink its legs and retract all its wheels. This stops it from moving, because it doesn't know how to use its arms for locomotion, and I'm able to duck in around all the flailing arms and grab the remote control back. I find controls that cause its arms to retract, and it shrinks until it vanishes entirely.

Flying to France, 22 October 1999

I'm in grad school, studying physics, in a class where I sit next to the daughter of a famous physicist, herself a noted engineer. Another woman in the class is making a pitch for a charitable contribution campaign. The class won't agree to commit anything more than 12 dollars for the entire class of 15 or 20 people. I put $2 in the collection box.

Then we're all on a plane flying over western Pennsylvania. We land in France, but geographically it's San Juan, Puerto Rico. Without ever leaving the airport, we go to an indoor beach. It's inside a huge, black, glass cathedral-like building, and sand is pushed up against the insides of the walls. I have no cash, I don't think I have my passport, I have the dog with me, and she has to pee. We can see the ocean outside the end of the building.

Walking With the Dead

27 September-5 December 1999

This one was written mostly during rehearsals for Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Despite being filled with images of romantic love, it's really more about the expectations that surrounded me growing up.

I moved into the house of the dead last night.
She followed me as I carried each box down the stairs,
Waiting to catch me when my shoe
Slipped in a groove of the worn floorboards,
Or caught on a nail pried loose
By their sway under her lover's heavy tread.
I never saw her, but I swear she seemed
Disappointed each time I reached the bottom
And stepped out onto the dusty cement floor
Without the warm pull of her hand on my arm to steady me.
I could not feel the coarse stir of her breath in my hair
Or hear her footsteps behind me, falling evenly spaced between my own.

The dead sleeps on my couch every morning until noon.
When she rose today, there was no trace of indentation
Where she had lain, no rustle of fluttering paper towels
As she went to the refrigerator and, at the last moment,
Turned and walked away, leaving it undisturbed.
When she wakes tomorrow, I may already be sitting
Where her legs have slipped from the cushion and dangle beneath mine,
Not reaching the floor, feeling nothing but empty air.
I'll sip my coffee and laugh at the TV,
Or at my mom's corny message on the answering machine,
As she slides silently to the half-closed window
To stare, unseen, at a passing car that was once her lover's.

One last time, I saw the lover of the dead.
The agent who showed the house on the day of the funeral,
Not seeing his car, casually pushed open the door as she rang the bell.
A glass still rolled on the carpet in an arc
Beneath his hand that lay open at the top of the stairs.
I remember his face, startled suddenly to life
As he blurted needless apologies and, gathering his things,
Pushed past us to the door and the street beyond.
She kneels there by the cellar door when I'm not looking,
Hoping to feel his warmth on the ghost of his empty glass
Or to look up and see his gentle hand stir
Before he shakes the hangover from his eyes and finds his way to the bus.

I walk with the dead this afternoon through every room.
Her warm breath leaves no moisture on the cold glass of the sliding door
That admits the creeping shadows of bare branches.
Beneath my steps the glass front rattles in the empty china cabinet
And fine grit drifts from the stucco ceiling,
While she glides lightly ahead of me down the hallway.
My bed's turned-down blanket and rumpled sheet
Lie unmade only on the side where her lover used to sleep.
I do not see her hand reach underneath, searching for his presence,
Never hear the sigh of the mattress under her weight
As she presses her body into it
And curls up to sleep beside me, alone.

My Kibological dream, 7 October 2000

I dreamed I was trying to find a private place to eat because I had no pants. I found myself on a city street at twilight, crowded with people leaving work to go home. I slipped into a side entrance of a store with black marble walls and heavy, green-tinted windows making up almost the entire front wall. Carol from work was just on her way out as I arrived. There was an ATM in the entryway where I bought some big, brown, baseball-glove-shaped thing to eat, with no cheese filling. I went into the store that was now lit just by the dim light of the street. It was a large, mostly empty space, it was closed up for the night, and Wayne was minding the front door. I knelt in the dim light from the street by a plaster mannequin to eat whatever the mysterious thing was that I had bought, with hundreds of people walking by and glancing in.

Elevator Diving, 12 April 2001

In an earlier dream, I had gone deep-sea diving with a group of about 20 or 30 men. It was organized like a military group, but it didn't seem to have any military purpose. We didn't dive from any kind of boat or submarine. We went to the end of a long, lone pier and through a flat, featureless door into a stone building, and then took an elevator to the sea floor. In teams of three or four, we put on army-green pressure suits over our clothing, with soft-sided helmets with large, clear glass faceplates. We didn't really dive at all; we just sort of walked out onto the sea floor, I'm not exactly sure how.

I arrived to dive with this group again. I was with my team of three in a white room with a small bed on the right and an ornate white cabinet on the left with lots of small, shallow drawers to put things in. My team leader was giving us some kind of instructions for today's mission. I suddenly remembered I needed to take bulky things like my wallet out of my pockets and leave them in the cabinet. The cabinet was stuffed full and it was hard to find a space for my wallet. While I was doing this, my teammates disappeared, and I started looking around for my pressure suit to put it on.

I couldn't find the pressure suits anywhere. I was running frantically from room to room in a Victorian house painted all dark colors inside, muttering to myself about where the suits were, looking behind dark purple curtains, and going around in circles. I ran into someone who showed me to a room where there was another man and two suits packed up in small canisters on the floor. They were thin, round metal canisters about a foot across, just like 16mm film canisters. Somehow even the glass faceplates were squashed flat into these canisters. The two of us started putting on the pressure suits. There were brown, tooled leather shoes provided along with them, but the ones with my suit were way too small, size 5. I said something about wearing my own shoes, and the other man thought I meant a pair of black formal shoes that were under my chair. No, I told him, I meant the white walking shoes I had on.

We finished putting on the suits and walked out onto the beach. There were some people playing with something on the beach, but I forget what it was. We walked quickly across the beach to a pier and started running toward the stone building to go down the elevator. At this point the other man was my friend Steve. As we ran, he was about three steps behind me. We got to the building, and as I went to open the door and climb in I realized it was the wrong building--this was a loading dock door, and the door we wanted was at floor level. The men working there had no idea what we were doing there and hadn't seen our teammates. We ran around the side of the building and further down the pier, and as I was going under some sort of white portico there was a Japanese tourist who wanted to get my picture. I was adjusting my visor as I ran, to try to get exactly the right view for him.

Meanwhile, I was saying to myself, "God, I love it down there." I really wanted to get down to the sea floor and out into the water. Steve said something about some kind of jet-powered device he had used the time before that had kept flipping over and was really annoying, but all the time I was thinking it sounded like the greatest thing in the world. (I think its name was one of those words I have in dreams that aren't made up of possible sounds; in any case, even though my team hadn't used one the last time, I could picture it as yellow and trapezoidal.) We kept running toward the end of the pier to get to the elevator. But I was also starting to think that maybe we weren't supposed to be suited up yet, and that was why my teammates had disappeared so fast. We got to the end of the pier, but the building with the elevator wasn't there.

It turned out this wasn't the lone pier we had dived from before. To our left was the open beach and the house we had come from; to the right were several other piers, with so much built up on them that we couldn't even really see how many there were or which one was longest. We walked to the right along the edge of the pier, and we were surrounded by casinos on either side of the water with lots of blue glass walls, aquamarine trim, flashing lights, and people going in and out. I was very sad at the thought of not getting to the sea floor again. We kept walking around the edge of the pier to try and find where we were supposed to be, but I woke up before we got past the casinos.

Mystery Date, 9 June 2001

This was the second of two mystery-story dreams in the same night. After I woke up and went back to sleep, I had another dream in which I told people at the kitchen table about the other dream but got interrupted before I could tell them about this one. Somehow I managed to forget the other dream entirely when I woke up again, unfortunately.

In the first part of this dream, I'm the woman on a husband/wife detective team. We're following someone who we think is going to commit some terrorist act against women. We're in a second-floor hotel room with a woman whom we have rescued from this man, but all she knows is that something is supposed to happen at 8:00 and it has to do with an extra finger. As I go out the door, I hear a clock chime 8:00 and crouch to the floor, expecting a bomb to go off somewhere nearby.

I creep over to the stairs and go downstairs, where I'm at Freedom Plains Church and there are people everywhere. There's a bear-claw logo at the foot of the stairs pointing into the hallway, and another one pointing toward the Common Room. They're there to direct people to a voting machine, and they have six different-colored claws to represent either six candidates or six offices, I'm not sure which. Our man and his wife are in the Common Room and I realize they're tampering with the voting machine--and somehow know they have people tampering with machines all over the country at the same time to elect someone who will promote the enslavement of women.

I don't confront them, and I talk to a few people who are going in and out of the sanctuary before a concert. One of them asks me something about a physics teacher I had in high school (Mr. Brown, but in the dream he has some longer, French name). I tell her I haven't seen him in years.

I go back upstairs and tell my husband what's going on and how the extra finger referred to the bear claw emblem. He and the woman we rescued want to know how I figured that out, and I tell them I didn't, it was just right in front of me on the floor. We start to go downstairs, and the dream shifts to the second part.

In the second part of the dream, I'm myself and I'm in a house where I live with a bunch of people. It's 4:30 and I've just come home from the downtown area of a small city, where the first part of the dream took place. I tell people what's going on, and Poot Rootbeer (whose real name in the dream is Jesse, but we still call him Poot) gets me to get in his car and go back downtown with him. It's 5:00 and getting dark, and the streets and parking lots are empty where they were full of activity a half hour ago. We both comment on how quickly this town empties out when people leave work.

Somehow Poot knows that this man has a music store that's a front for his criminal activities, and he has a plan to confront him and expose the voting fraud to the world. He won't tell me what the plan is, he just tells me to come with him into the (still open) shop and downstairs. I realize as we're at the door that he got me into the car so fast that I'm in my underwear. I stay outside and crouch at a window that looks into the basement. I see Poot go into a room and then don't see or hear anything for a long time. Only one person walks by on the street to see me there in my underwear.

After a while, I get scared and start to go around the corner to see if there are any other basement windows or doors. Before I find any, I hear somebody yelling "Jesse" and realize that's Poot's name. I run back around the corner and I hear him talking with Bernie from the G&S opera company. I see them standing and talking on a lawn below the sidewalk, and as they come up Bernie says something like "I'm sorry this had to happen."

Poot has been successful in exposing the voting fraud, but I still don't know how. We all wonder what will happen now. Poot says that will probably be up to each state's elections commission, and we agree. Poot and I excuse ourselves to leave, and on the way to the car we wonder if Bernie (who wasn't involved, but is in cahoots with the gangleader on other matters) meant he was sorry about the voting fraud or sorry it had been exposed.

Where's Connecticut? 29 April 2002

I woke up in the middle of a dream where aliens are taking over the earth and for some reason we're trying to protect Washington, D.C. from them by pretending it doesn't exist. There's something about following a chain of references in a series of doctored Boy Scout manuals, and the fake publishing information in one of them pointed to Westport.

I opened my closet full of maps, and the alien assumed Westport must be in the West and tried to help me out by looking on the left-hand end of the shelves, where there are actually maps not from the West but from the D.C. area. I hastily explained we were looking for Connecticut, pushed open the right-hand closet door, and reached for my map of Connecticut, but it wasn't there. I pulled out a road atlas that's organized by region, and the alien is again trying to be helpful and pointing out pages that it should be near alphabetically, like Alberta, but I'm flipping through as quickly and discreetly as I can to find the New England section without exposing the Mid-Atlantic section. I still can't find Connecticut!

Unda fluxit et sanguine, 14 May 2002

Carla and I had appointments with two different lawyers in the same office at the same time. Carla was there for some financial matter, maybe having to do with the house, and it wasn't clear what I was there for. They served us dinner in the waiting room, and then Carla's lawyer, a man, came and got her.

I was about half finished with my dinner when my lawyer, a woman, came and got me. I carried my plate into a big, blue-carpeted lobby to the right, but she still had something to finish up before seeing me. She was both a lawyer and a counsellor, and I wasn't sure whether I was there for legal counsel or emotional counseling. I followed her to her office, and then back to the left to a back hallway, where I stood waiting while she sat at a small table by the window signing some papers.

Instead of the small table, in the hallway is a cluttered, beige, metal desk, and a deep bookshelf to the right with an assortment of medical equipment on it. I'm there to see a doctor, a man, for some simple "male procedure" similar to a vasectomy, and also some unrelated procedure on my heart that involves two huge syringes.

He puts a grey nylon smock over me and inserts the first long, curving syringe through a hole in the smock into the right side of my chest and around to my aorta. He leaves me standing there holding the big, black barrel of it while he roots through equipment on the bottom shelf for the other one. The second syringe is to be inserted from the left to place some kind of plug into the hole made by the first one. As I'm waiting, the syringe slips and I think I feel blood oozing, but I can't see anything through the smock. I can't speak loud enough to get the doctor's attention. He finally finds the other syringe and stands up, and he comments on the blood, adjusts the first syringe and has me hold it again, inserts the second one through another hole in the smock on the left, and finishes the procedure.

Carol is there, I'm not sure whether to accompany me or to assist the doctor. As I take off the smock, he says something to her about how "there are two things you never tell the patient: that he's going to die, and that he's going to live." I get the smock off, and I see that my t-shirt and pants are completely soaked with pink, watery blood. Carol asks the doctor if I can get my clothes washed out while I lie down, but I say that I feel fine and that the "male procedure" should only take about fifteen seconds, so I might as well just get it done and go home to wash my clothes and lie down.

The Music Room, 3 November 2003

This dream is mostly ordinary, with the same old "back in school" theme, but I include it here because of the character who shows up again two weeks later.

I'm back in high school, it's the first day of classes, and I don't know where I'm supposed to be. I stop at a table in the lobby where a woman is giving out class schedules. She asks what grade I'm in. I tell her, "Twelfth," hesitating a second because I had expected her to ask what "class" and was ready to say "Senior." She tells me my homeroom is Sue Frazee's room, but doesn't tell me a room number.

I go down the hall to where the music rooms are (laid out somewhat as if it were the junior high school). I look in each door and never spot Mrs. Frazee. I keep walking, and I'm in a big room with students sitting at long cafeteria tables preparing for some standardized exam. The proctors don't seem to notice that I'm walking through and don't have a place to sit.

I walk past a table where my friend Fred is sitting, and he calls me back to ask what homeroom I'm in. There's one empty space next to him. I tell him I'm in Sue Frazee's room, and he says he is too and tells me to sit down.

Mixed Up Istanbul, 17 November 2003

I'm traveling to Istanbul, meeting Carla and my parents there. I have a dog with me, and I'm also supposed to meet my friend Fred at the hotel. (Fred had appeared in an earlier dream the same night, taking out rowboats on a swampy pond, and his name also came up in a later dream where I was back at high school 20 years after graduating, poking around the chorus room with some other singers.) I'm supposed to stay at the "Otel Yollari"--"Roads Hotel"? I keep repeating that to myself as though it has some great significance.

I'm walking through Sultanahmet but don't recognize anything, except for one stretch of sidewalk in front of a police station across from the end of the Hippodrome. (When I wake up, I realize that nothing in my dream except that one building actually exists in Sultanahmet.) I'm trying to take the dog into a churchyard but can't figure out how to get there without going through the church. On the right side, in a narrow street going through a white tunnel toward where the Arasta Bazaar would be, there's an elderly couple sitting on the sidewalk. The woman tells me that her husband is saying this is a bad street for me to be on.

I go to both sides of the church but don't find a way into the yard behind it. It's an Orthodox church with a lot of gold decor, and there's a service going on. In a room in front of the church, I meet my boss (not my boss in real life) and his wife, who are having drinks with another couple. The dog turns out to belong to my boss, and they have a chew toy for it that's named after his boss. I leave the dog with them and go on to my hotel, but it's the wrong hotel.

I leave my bags in the lobby while the clerk tries to figure out my reservation. Up the hill behind the hotel there are lounge chairs, and I sit down in one of them. There's a red wooden building farther up behind me and a panel truck parked in front of me. Three shady-looking men are going back and forth between the truck and the building, eyeing me suspiciously, and I never figure out what it is they're doing.

I meet Carla and Dad at a sidewalk cafe, and Mom arrives from the other direction. Carla hands me our cat Zipper and goes off with Mom somewhere. I'm talking with Dad about how I can't find the Otel Yollari and I never met up with Fred. A big guy in a bright yellow shirt and very short hair comes along and is going to do some kind of business for me. I follow him down the street until he tells me to wait while he goes to get a passport for me. I'm not sure if he means my passport, his, or someone else's.

I carry the cat across the street into a shopping mall, which has an orchestra set up in the middle of it. Much to the cat's relief, the orchestra is just going on break.

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