Posted by: normanlgreen | April 6, 2013

Dream, April 6, 2013, Paid-out in Onions

Dream, home, 4:40 am

Accidentally wind up on a combination cruise ship and jumbo jet. I cannot tell if we are traveling on the sea or in the air, but can feel the motion and the engines.

All of the other passengers belong, but I am so obviously out of place that some of the staff work to reduce my disadvantages. A steward gives to me a jet pack so I can quickly get away from aggressive passengers. The jet pack has the added advantage of being invisible. The steward demonstrates by briefly engaging the engine. As I watch he has difficulty holding onto the transparent object, while the air is visibly disturbed by the jet pack’s flame.

I decide to host a game in the gambling parlor. Three men sit to my table to play a trivia game based upon the adventure writing of a Texas novelist named Ken Folley. The improvised rules are so complex that the players are more confused than engaged. Right from the get-go each of them wins valuable chips – represented by giant vidalia onions. Before the first round is completed, each has a stack of the flat bulbs standing before him on the table. Some of their answers are incomplete, so I slice some thinner portions of the onions. The gamblers cannot believe their good fortune and smile like new millionaires.

Posted by: normanlgreen | April 5, 2013

Dream, April 5, 2013 Record War

Dream, home, 5:10 am

Brown paper packages. Each is very weighty for its size. Three of us open them. Inside we find 78rpm records and vinyl LPs. None of the records have covers. The third man declares a record war. He moves to a spot on the floor across the room from us and crawls behind a chair.

We peep through the spindle holes to take aim at the LP that each holds in front of him as a combination shield and weapon. I look across to the red label of his disk and try to read the titles of the tracks, but the print is too small at this distance. Each of us shifts around, I tuck myself behind my team mate.

I am the first to “fire” by making the “p-shew” sound known to every child who has ever played war. I see a tiny dent form on the face of the enemy’s LP. The disk must be made of aluminum, as the dibbit is silver nestles among the shiny black grooves of the record’s surface.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 24, 2013

Dream, March 24, 2013 Preparation vs. Improvisation

Dream, home,2:47 am

Unprepared, I am thrown into a debate competition between four pairs of older adults. One of the teams scheduled to compete has failed to show. I am paired-up with a woman, perhaps thirty years old, shorter than myself with straight black hair and a serious straight mouth. She too has been wrangled into the position at the last minute.

The other couples have had time to prepare their resources and learn the subtleties of the question, while my partner and I only learn the proposition to be debated when we arrive as observers. While the other three teams have tidy file folders arranged in stacks of bankers’ boxes – evidence that they can access and present as they argue their position – we have only our ability to listen and to think on our feet.

The room — likely on the second floor of a school – has dropped tiles ceilings and dim light. Long tables have been arranged in a line at one end. Chairs for the debaters stand to one side of the table, opposite the seating provided for the audience.

Lots are drawn to see which two teams will compete first. Our team is chosen for the first round – we have no chance to observe and learn. We move up to the tables and introduced to the team that will take the “Pro” position – a married couple in their middle sixties. A young man moves their resources into place at the left end of the table. My partner and I look each other in the face, both of us pleading with the other to take the leading role. We are to take the “Contrary” position, arguing against a complicated proposition of medicine and legality.

The judge is brought out to sit in the center of the long table, between the teams. He is Terry Gilliam, the film director. My friend Ray rushes from behind me to give Gilliam a hug. They have worked together and are excited to find themselves in the same place. Some of the audience voices the opinion that our team will have an unfair advantage. That question is not dealt with. There is a feeling in the room that few want to put our team at any further disadvantage.

Everyone, with the exception of the man on the “Pro” team, takes their seats. The man states his team’s position, delivered in impenetrable legalese, the gist of which is that people with terminal cancer should be exempted from certain legal penalties, including prison time. The woman then stands and lists three examples people dying in jail while serving their sentences.

I take my turn.

“This is a simple point of law. Though we can all sympathize with those who have a short time left on Earth, we cannot offer them a parallel set of rules. We can abstract the terminal illness and describe it as ‘ill-fortune’. Should we offer everyone who has faced bad luck exemption from the law? Should there be a sliding scale of justice based on the severity of their crisis? This would make the practice of justice within the courts impractical and deny the ‘equal protection’ clause of the Constitution.” I sit and turn to my team-mate.

“I don’t know anything about ‘point of law’.”  She speaks no further.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 16, 2013

Dream, March 16, 2013 Drawing Attention in the Worst Ways

Dream, home, 5:22am

A woman and her daughter live in a little house surrounded by neighbors in conflict. I am their guest for the night.

The woman is disinterested in me. The less interest she shows, the more important it feels to capture her attention. I follow her from room to room in an attempt to engage her in conversation. Each overture inspires less reaction. She starts with shrugs, but eventually she does not bother to acknowledge my boring talk. She simply leaves, passing me as though I were invisible.

I find her laying on a couch and lay down beside her. Her daughter, seven years old, black hair and eyes, comes into the room and stands at the head of the couch. The little one wants us to pay attention to her, so I get up to help her fetch a glass of water.

In the mean time, the grown son has arrived. He brings a box of printed cards to promote an urban barn dance. His mother gets up from the couch and the two of them leave through the front door. I follow them as they set up a tape player on the lawn of their neighbors. The sun has yet to rise, so the grass is wet with dew. The young man turns on the tape machine at high volume. He and his mother giggle as the dance to the warbling recording from the 1930s hillbilly band.

The neighbors, who already hate my host family, will soon be out of bed. An argument will likely escalate into a physical fight. I drop onto my belly on the front porch and snake toward the front door. Inside, I wait for the fight to resolve. The music stops, but I hear no voices. I wait in the living room, but no one returns.

The sun comes up and shines on the front of the house. I hear someone moving in the bathroom so investigate. I see no one. I look into the vanity mirror and see the reflection of the shower curtain. It moves, and I hear feet in the bathtub. I pull back the curtain to reveal the mother. She stands, fully clothed, in the tub. She appears dazed. I take her hand and lead her out onto the floor. I ask what she is doing.

“I’m just heading out for lunch,” she answers in a dull voice.

“It’s seven twenty-nine in the morning.”

She looks uncertain of her surroundings. Her face is deeply sunburned. She smiles and cries at the same time. I take her shoulders and turn her to face the mirror that has been behind me. She cannot look at herself. I twist her to point her shifting eyes to her own reflection.

I ask, “Are you taking a lot of drugs?”

She crumples to the floor.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 14, 2013

Dream, March 14, 2013 beginning to see the light

Dream, home, 6;13 am

My brother hands me a guitar to show him the chords to Beginning to See the Light by Lou Reed. For a pick he hands me a stapler.

The action on the dreadnought acoustic is set very low and the strings feel tuned too tight, too high. The sound-hole is positioned unusually close to the neck. The wood of the body is colored like coffee with a dash of cream, and the neck is barely darker. The stapler is weighty desk model from the 1960s. I hold it near the business end and position it over the sound-hole.

I strike straight sixteenth notes for the first two chords in the progression before I hand back the stapler.

“I will not use this.”

I feel relief in the room.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 12, 2013

Dream, March 12, 2013 Funeral Games

Dream, home 5:05 am

Concentrated male energy in a basement meeting room.

We have lost the leadership of a men’s organization. The twenty of us gather in a gray basement to determine succession. The business is as serious as a children’s game – competition for what little power is available makes the contest more fierce for the limited size of the prize.

Unpainted concrete walls are pockmarked and reach fifteen feet to the joists of the floor above us. Half a dozen at a time, men scramble up the sides, desperate rock climbers imitating the movements of spiders. Fingers clutch at the tiny holes in the concrete for purchase. Some move as if they carry no more weight than an insect, others strain to lift themselves.

Down on the floor, each takes his turn customizing a document. Certain phrases must be kept in the application essay, but the goal is to fill in the blanks with the fewest words. Ink costs and brevity scores higher than clarity.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 11, 2013

Dream, March 11, 2013 Fill the Ditch at the Orphans’ School

Dream, home 6:10 am

Tearing down a hillside beside a school house to fill in the lows spots beside the building’s foundation. No tools, I use my hands. Stone and clay come away from the torn earth and roll down hill.

A rack of clothes given to the orphans comes to the surface. I toss second-hand scarves and mittens into the hole beneath me.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 7, 2013

Dream, March 7, 2013 Where is the body?

Dream, home, 6:10 am

A visitor has died in our house. Have to add a last page to a friend’s book – post script. Future runs will have this page, but for now we paste them in.

Two old Italian men sit dejected under the lilac bush.

Two harmonicas improvise a dense dirge. I turn to see two friends, Marilyn and Laura, as they pocket their instruments then walk away, into the evening.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 4, 2013

Dream, March 4, 2013 Hostage keeps them laughing

Dream, home, 3:43 am

A gang has taken from me an odd weapon: the artillery shell on the long strap. Waved is good fun in the parking lot of a motel. Each time it clinks against the ground we know it might explode.

Kept prisoner by the criminals in the hotel – keep them laughing. Walking out with four empty hard shell suitcases. The car revs strangely then finally catches. Pushing the bumper of the car parked in front of me. It rolls through the parking lot as I drive through the alley – wearing a white helmet. I see two police men dodge toward me. They too wear white helmets and will ask the only witness if the person who pushed the car had any distinctive features – the helmet will give me away. I know that the police see it.

Earlier – touring the architect’s house find that in a room he has created a giant diorama of what the land featured before he built. The floor has a lighted plastic area to represent a lake. Sliding around on the floor is like flying over the scene at low altitude. The floor is not meant to be walked upon, but I am given the special privilege.

Posted by: normanlgreen | March 2, 2013

Dream, March 2, 2013 Mountaintop University

Dream, home, 7:05 am

A community planning committee meets in a grassy field. One other committee person and myself arrive ahead of the rest. The grass is winter yellow in the light from a low sun in the East as we face South. Everything looks washed-out. I set a packet of papers on a yellow field stone as we survey a wide undeveloped area. We could be in the Frazier River delta as hills stand indistinctly in the distance. One mountain juts up to the left of our view. A village built high in the crevasses near the peak shows itself with white mud walls and red roofs. I look away, then look back to see that something huge and ominous has descended from a cloud bank that hovers above and behind the mountain. The object, which dwarfs the mountain in front of it, appears all of a piece, in the green black of sunglass lens. Its shape is hard to pin down with long descending lines and gradual curves across many planes with no breaks in its surface, only bends and corners. I look down to see if my papers have blown away, but cannot find the stone on which I set them. I look back to the object from the sky. Clouds move in around its edges, making it less obviously alien.

We turn back to look across the four lane street to where we parked our car. Two other committee people have arrived. They look unsure about crossing the street, so we trot across to them. I want them to see the object before it becomes obscured. With no crosswalk, we have to wait for gaps in the traffic to cross.

At last we have all gathered in the field. The cloud bank has moved in to fill the space behind the one mountain. I find my packet of papers. The committee agrees to go to the mountain village to investigate. At the foot of the mountain, we find an elevator to carry visitors to the peak.

At the top stands the grounds of a long established university. Some of the buildings date back many hundreds of years while others are being built by crews of workers. Piles of rubble show recent demolition. Road graders with wide blades fill in the low patches with ground red brick. One of the committee women and I follow a path past temporary fences. We reach an open area where several of the old structures have been removed. We wait for a grader to pass us. Across from us stands half of a crumbled class building of red brick and white sandstone. Once it had been symmetrical, but now the top right corner is missing. Above and below each of the glassless windows is a lintel and sill of the sandstone. Above the main entrance The stone has been carved into ornate stalactites topped with a frieze. We feel disappointment that this early 19th Century building had been deemed irreclaimable by the university’s administration. We turn to walk back toward the center of the campus but take a different route than that by which we left it. We pass a grove of Oak on our left and find a twin to the building which we had just seen in half demolished state. We discuss the decision to save one but not both. The reclaimed building has been converted from classrooms to supply depot.

“Stamp pads and fountain pens,” declares the woman.

It is now late in the day – time to descend the mountain. I find my older brother and his friend. I realize that I am a child visiting this school. I have a young friend with me. Both of us are there as the guests of my grudging brother and his snide friend. The older boys herd us into the lobby leading to the elevators to the base of the mountain. When the elevator door opens it reveals a space the size of the inside of a good sized refrigerator – I believe it is the interior of a soda vending machine. When all four of us try to climb inside, my young friend is the last. There is not enough room. My brother’s friend pushes the little kid out the door and tells him “Fend for yourself.” I get out as well. My brother and his friend follow me. My little friend disappears into a corner as I fight with the obnoxious older boy. I pick up a chair which has a cross piece to support the two back legs. I place his head in the small rectangular space between the strut and the seat. I hook the strut under his chin and give chair a twist, hoping to break his neck. The action does not seriously hurt him, but he gives me a look to show that he will keep his distance from me and not cross me or my friend. We all get into the next elevator – one that has enough space for all four of us.

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