Tuesday, September 29, 1981

Dream journal

Dream journal

I was visiting Port Townsend with my old friend Carolyn. We were sitting outside the ferry dock which had moved and was now near the late-night market, the Breadbasket.

A big battleship pulls up to port. It looks like the MV Coho out of Port Angeles. Iron clunkers with layers and layers of paint added on until the sides were visibly thicker than the original walls.

I'm waiting to find you, you're going to drive into town at some point during the day and if I sit here long enough, I know I'll find you. It's a matter of waiting. Because you have no phone, the only thing I can do is to wait. That is why we're sitting in the sun on a park bench.All roads pass through here.

Carolyn has an ex-lover living in Vancouver she wants to visit. We're just passing through. We're sitting in the morning sun and I tell her about you, my ex-lover I met when I was visiting last summer.

My ex-lover, DJ is a juggler. A street performer. He always uses his hands. Just as I'm telling her about him, I see DJ get off the boat and start walking towards town with a group of his friends. He's describing something to them with his hands. And they are all lost in conversation.

I yell out, hey, DJ! And he comes over surprised to see me. I could almost hear his mind clicking. What you doing here? Sure, I like her, was last summer. We talk, greet each other and are glad to see one another again.

Later, I'm on this hulk of a ship. The bottom has a trap door that opens out. It was an ex torpedo launch boat, now empty of cargo. Special pumps unload water after the floors are cleaned – we close the doors and pump the water out. The ship raises up out of the water because there's no ballast and the additional air in the hull makes it lighter like a balloon.

The ship is in danger of tipping over because it's top heavy, and too much out of the water. We're all standing out on the deck steadying the ship with our hands on the dock, doing okay until the glassine sea changes and becomes littered with debris.

The debris is made of the floating mussel shells and clams, and pumice rock floating on the waves. The waves rise higher in the sea churns. A carpet of stones,

Now we're off the boat, and to the right of us is an estero protected from the waves of the sea beyond the islands. The water is bath temperature and brilliant.

I have two books in my hands. One may be a Russian novel, or maybe a Bible, and the other is a text on critical thinking since Plato. They're big fat books. The kind that make your wrists hurt if you carry them with hand and thumb wrapped around the spine of the book.

I'm entering the water and both of my hands are filled with these books. For some reason clear only to my subconscious, I know I mustn't let go of these books, to lose them would be unpardonable. I am a keeper of these books.

The water sweeps me away and I am pulled toward the open sea.
I am able to keep my head out of the water but I can't use my hands to swim to safety because of the books.

The whirlpool inundates me and I still won't let go of the books. I start to swim in the books in my hands I use as paddles. They are only effective when I hold the spines and covers tightly closed as I raise my hands to make a stroke. The cramps in my wrist are unbearable. Fire shoots up the inside of my forearms as the ligaments knot into balls of oxygen-starved sinew.

I kick harder with my legs. They have the strength to get me through this turbulent water and I head toward shore. That opening maw of the ocean sucks at the gate of land wanting to devour anything in its path.

Some of the swimmers willingly forward. Others resist. I make it to the land and fall face forward on the shore. The beach is made of stones. The waterlogged books fall open with clumps of pages stuck together. It's as if the Bible were drowned. Pages stuck together and all those words locked within—and my friends are nowhere in sight.

added 10/16

Monday, September 21, 1981


             —for Leonard

The old mirror in the hayloft,
instead of allowing light in,
has been blocking it out
for the past 25 years.
It throws light back to the sky.
 An image of itself
it throws back to the sky
an image of itself framed
with the liquid green
of maple leaves.
Behind the mirror
the annual pile of cobwebs
gathers in barn dust.

I've always noticed
how the eyes of calves
are like twin pools of murky night
surrounded by a shore
of retina and rain.

It was last night my stomach
forced a tidal wave back down
and this memory where I
had to reason my nausea into being,
that I read those poems of yours,
I could feel the finger behind the eyes,
gouging behind the eye,
to the eyesocket,
finding not more water,
but a boneless desert,
an arid fold of brain.

Sweet, the cycles of rain
following the footpath of the seasons
count them, the cycles of madness.
I hear the rain singing
on the mirror of the beast

What separates this tangle
of human flesh from that of beasts?
Those calves with their liquid eyes
imprisoned in cages so that their flesh
will stay succulent and tender for veal.
They suck my finger, the urge to nurse
is strong in one so young.
Their pink petal tongues
caress my index finger
and they know, somehow
they know it is wrong.

In their eyes I see the fish lens
reflection of myself and the summer sky
The smell of grass fire hangs heavily in the air.
Skirting the shores of the lake
every action demands an equal reaction.

We bring moldy hay inside the barn
with the mirror reflected sky
Are the mummified carcasses
of those born to young,
of those whose mothers
could labor no more,
the breach birth breed
breath, hangs heavily in the air.
Their choice was made for them.
We're always trying
to come to terms with our own death.

I am not a sailor.
These eyelids hold no water.
The eye is a cistern, a repository
in the arid eyeless place . .

Tuesday, September 1, 1981


The old road under the reservoir, 
after 10 years of repeated flooding 
and summer exposure to the elements, 
emerges, the cracked mud is still visible 
on the shoulders of the old roadbed 
slowly losing its edges, it's
the same age as the lakebed, 
the same age as the lakeshore, 
the old cement bridge where once 
the creek flowed, all underwater
these past 10 years.

September? 1981