I had a bad dream two nights ago that lasted from 3am-4am because I couldn't make my brain switch over to a happier plot. I kept waking up and then falling back to sleep and the dream would just continue. The dream began with a drive away from the city:
I was with someone in the car, I was on the drivers side. I think we were going camping, or to visit friends who lived in the country. 10 miles out of the city, driving through dark curving roads and hills, we saw a bush fire flare up to the left of the car. Of course, we slowed down to see if someone needed help to put out the fire. There was a man jumping and shouting- he looked like he needed our help to quell the fire before it got completely out of control. We saw a house behind the fire.
We pulled over. We started filling buckets from the well and dumping them onto the flames. Other cars stopped, I guess it was a busy night on the country road. There were about 5 cars and 10 people now helping. All of a sudden, the man ran back into the house and turned on giant sprinklers or released what might have been tubs of water stored on top of a few telephone poles. The sprinklers basically poured tons of water over us, over the bushes, soaking us and smothering the fire. Before we could stand up and brush some of the water off of us, giant gates/fences starting shooting up from the ground, surrounding us and locking us in to the front lawn of this house where the man lived.
Once the gates were up he released even more water, so that we were sloshing around and could hardly keep our balance. It suddenly dawned on us all that this was a trick, we had been captured, we were all alone in the country tapped in a madman's house.
That realization was the most terrifying part of the dream- the feeling of having your adrenaline switch from being in the mode of helping someone else in a dire situation to finding yourself in an even more dire and tenuous situation.
The rest of the dream are just very quick shots of people hiding, protecting the 2 children that were caught with us, people trying to run away. Hushed voices and faces of terror. The madman moved very quickly and he wore a canvas sack over his head. So if I saw him out the window chasing someone and it seemed like a safe time to make my own move, he would suddenly appear, almost in two places at once, to loom over me while still pursuing the other person outside the window.
So I kept waking up from this dream with this looming body hanging over me. Finally I turned the living room light on and it took me like another 1/2 hour to fall back asleep and not have the dream begin again.
Last night I forgot to eat dinner so I woke up very hungry, but I didn't have any bad dreams.
So I had my thesis reading last night. I read slowly. I think I've finally figured out how to read my poems like I hear them in my head. I read three poems, and these are the titles:
"The History of a Lake Never Drowns"
"Kick My Kickstand"
It was a nice event.
I am officially done.
I'm going to this tonight:
Keith Newton, Erica Ehrenberg & Robyn Art will Read or Juggle
Ectoplasm or Perhaps Just Sit There!
In All Cases, Clean Out Your Astonishment Receptors!
Keith Newton edits the online magazine Harp & Altar. His poems and essays have recently appeared in Harvard Review, Cannibal, and Octopus, among other journals. A chapbook of his work is forthcoming in 2008 from Cannibal Books. He lives in Brooklyn.
Erica Ehrenberg is a graduate of Amherst College and the Creative Writing Program (in Poetry) at New York University. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Goodfoot, jubilat, The St. Ann's Review, the Center for Book Arts broadside series, and in the anthology Dancing with Joy: 99 Poems (Crown, 2007). She teaches Poetry, Writing, and Irish Literature at Montclair State University.
Robyn Art is a native of Lincoln, Massachusetts, hometown of the band They Might Be Giants. Her recent poems have appeared in Slope, The Hat, and Wicked Alice and her work will be included in the anthology The Bedside Guide To No Tell Motel: Second Floor. She is the author of the poetry manuscript, The Stunt Double In Winter, which will be published by Dusie Press this spring. Her text-visual collaboration with the artist Robin Barcus, "Dear American Lovechild, Yours, the Beautiful Undead" will be published by Dancing Girl Press in winter 2008.
Only at Pete's Candy Store
709 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
"L" to Lorimer, "G" to Metropolitan.
The weird thing is:
Robyn Art is from my home town of Lincoln, MA (no one is ever from Lincoln, it's very small) AND she also has a chapbook coming out on the same press as me, Dancing Girl Press, for winter 08. I've never met her. Robyn, where were you during my childhood when I had no kid poet friends?