Posted by: normanlgreen | October 26, 2011

dream, october 26 2011 cotton batting


At 2 am I knew my dreams – tearing through cotton batting between then and now.

Ugh.

from 2010:

I am assisting a man in his old refurbished yacht. He is something like a sea-faring Frank Zappa. Long black hair and soul patch – but very straight – he has it together and knows all the facets of his craft and how to keep her going. We are in the engine area below decks, and he shows me how he puts a tiny motor into a larger housing of white and red plastic. It is so old that the white is yellowed, but he has kept it in working order. He puts the tiny motor inside, the gives a turn to a screw that is sunk in the device’s housing. It starts to vibrate. He inserts this into a n opening in the engine’s starter, adjusts a lever and the engine starts, putting cleanly and regularly at a low volume. The boat starts to move forward. My captain does not scramble but moves deliberately toward the bow. He reaches up above the deck and adjusts the steering. I stand below the prow on a construction of birch logs that operate as a kind of brake and a bumper for mooring. He moves another lever and the logs with me on them are lifted away so the yacht – an old model from the 1950s or 60’s – is free to move out into a narrow channel that is lined with other craft. He is I disappointed that I smiled as I was being lifted and the boat got under way. He speaks quiet advice about keeping my pleasure contained.

We arrive at a neighborhood and pull up to a slip behind a fancy house – again built in the late 50’s single floor sprawling mansion model. We come in the back door – it is early morning, and no one can be seen. In the master bedroom, the lady of the house gets up – she has been partying all night, but when she looks around the corner and sees the rooms all tidied, she is worried that her world traveling husband has returned home from a trip to the orient. She knows his ways and that he has gone through and silently straightened the whole house without waking her or her friend, a woman she pals around with while he is gone. I enter through the back door – very early morning light on the gulf coast – warm and humid. Now I am the older man, and I am black – something like the butler character Benson from tv. I am a smart man, here on a mission – not yet revealed – and I have a young man in tow. The lady of the house knows we are here and does not wish for me to engage with the returned husband – though I instantly do so, going straight to the kitchen where he is talking on a phone while he cleans the counters near the sink – he gets off the phone and wants to know who we are. He is perhaps 70 years old ( it feels like the 1970s) has closely barbered hair gone white. He is shorter than I, but thick-chested, and he clearly does not like black men. He is a mutterer and says something to me about how I should not be a fool. I ask that if I were, would that make him Lear? He looks at me as though he were trying to recall a memory. I ask what Shakespeare he has read. He answers in a question “all’s well that ends well?’ I say that I cannot remember that one and ask him to tell me the plot. He smiles and launches into a detailed story of young men leaving their town in the dark of night to avoid military service under a bad duke. He has character names, and it is clear that he can see the production in his head. I smile and say “ah, a details man” as I pitch in with the dishes. He shows me how to separate the different types of garbage into their bins and the trash compactor – all lined-up under the sink . As I compliment his eye for detail, I look at a painting mounted above the splash tiles. It has deep reds, purples and browns, with tiny lines of tiny yellow dots occasionally giving the semi-abstract characters some more definition. It looks like the deep purple layer is furthest back with the red layered thickly on top. A pallet knife has cut through to the purple layer to draw the characters who start in their centers as swirls, with evenly spaced bands of cuts through the red layer. As the concentric bands space out from the center, more variation to line give the shape to the person. There is an African feel to the painting . It would have taken an enormous amount of skill and patience. The Shakespeare story that the husband tells progresses to a part where the three young men arrive – slightly drunk – at the master’s house, hoping  to court his daughters. In the kitchen, our young man and two friends take on the rolls of the young suitors. They pin wilting garden flowers to the husband’s red polo shirt. In an anachronistic mode, one of the young men (a friend of my charge) tells the father-husband that he has hopes of securing the hand of one of the daughters that she might provide him with “lots of excellent sex”. The husband is not so pleased with this delivery, but goes on with his story as another guest arrives. By this point I am tidying up under a desk where photographic flash units are attached to electrical cords, re-charging their batteries. I know that we are here to reveal who is the true father of the young man. I feel the mother, the lady of the house, lurking in the bedroom wing.

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