Wednesday, January 31, 1996

Dream journal: white rooms

An evening nap yields a strange series of dreams. I was with my neighbor George who said he had no place to go. And so I offered my place, puzzled as to why he didn't have a place, or why he was loaning his cabin out. He mentioned going over to Steve's place, and I offer him mine again. As we walk up the driveway, I realize I'm barely dressed. I'm wearing leggings and a short vest and my breasts are exposed. I comment on it and he says not to worry about it. We come home leading a wolf and he sits at the table. It's my dream cabin again with its white walls. This time I discover an unused living room. Even though it's late afternoon, I open the blinds to let the afternoon sun in. I'm delighted and surprised to find this new room. How could I have forgotten it?

Sometime in January 

Tuesday, January 30, 1996

On the death of Joseph Brodsky

Gene Ruggles called to say that Joseph Brodsky had died. The evening's libation had run dry, so he sought solace over the phone. Brodsky wasn't that old. Only 55. Heart failure, they said, but his stout heart never failed him. Sentenced to five years hard labor in Arkhangelsk for writing samizdat poetry without permission. When interrogated as to where poetry came from, Brodsky said: I thought it came from God. When I last saw Iosif at Poetry International, in Rotterdam, he seemed healthy enough, but bitter cold. His crotchety, oratory voice was like that of an impassioned preacher. Hellfire and brimstone. A dissent of the spirit, he railed against the drabness of the totalitarian state. Oleg thought the sun and moon rose over him. In NY cafes, they'd roll cigarettes, Russian style, enjoy a smoke over bitter coffee, and talk of the homeland. Exiled poets. Everything has its limit, including sorrow.

added & rev. 11/17

Joseph Brodsky, Exiled Poet Who Won Nobel, Dies at 55

Judge: What is your profession?
Brodsky: Translator and poet.
Judge: Who has recognized you as a poet? Who has enrolled you in the ranks of poets?
Brodsky: No one. Who enrolled me in the ranks of the human race?

Monday, January 29, 1996

Quantum poetics

Road weary, after a long weekend away from home, I slept until 9:30. I'm sure I was asleep by midnight, nine hours' sleep is atypical for me, a sign I'm truly tired, and I did not get enough sleep at the CPITS conference. I took a nap as we drove home, what funny dreams I had of Arthur Dawson, just now coming to life.

It was after the CPITS conference at Walker Creek Ranch that I first began to have prophetic dreams about him, which, to my consternation, came true as we walked up the path to the reservoir. Pieces of the puzzle fall into place, telling me that this man will have a significant impact in my life. Pay attention.

I'm still trying to sort out what he is to me besides a CPITS poet that I've trained in the 1980s. We've known each other for ages, but it wasn't until three years ago that I let down my guard, and we began to know each other personally.

The problem with my attraction is that he encompasses all my male qualifications. But he is happily married to Jill, whom I also think is terrific. So I keep my distance, afraid something may begin, that shouldn't come to be.

I remember Ken Larsen saying he didn't think that Arthur was my type, when I confessef that I had a mad crush on him three years ago. And I think he meant Arthur wasn't as strong-willed as I am. Perhaps I'd walk all over him. I don't know I haven't seen that side of him, but he is constant and determined—like water at a steadfast pace.

He keeps a light hidden under that exterior and there is a lot more there than meets the eye. You have to look closely. He doesn't brag or do the all those male things to boost his ego, and is therefore much harder to read.

Anyway we went to Sanger together, sharing the driving, and we shared a cabin, as we had arrived around midnight in the rain. We didn't talk about rooming together, it was just understood. Nothing happened and we made no passes at each other, we just couldn't stop talking, and laughing all night long.

We spent a long time downloading the personal stories. So many of our stories were based on other stories to preface it. It got to the point that I had told him so many things I couldn't remember what I'd said before. So we devised a cue, to ward ward the other off, saying Cut if we'd already heard the story. And we mostly talked about our travel adventures, and funny incidents on. And we have been to so many of the same places: an obscure lake in Ecuador, or a remote Indian village in British Columbia etc.

At one point near Los Banos, I laughed so hard, I wet my pants. I did have a full bladder at the time, and the name of the town didn't help I'm sure. I had an attack of dyslexia, incorporating odd words. I can't remember how I arrived at Robert Floss for Robert Frost. We were talking of chance, deciding which road to take, John Oliver Simon and I used to flip an old coin at the crossroads, or at the X or Y roads. And the chromosomes too.

I got a card from John from Columbia. Arthur and I discussed the difficulty of finding good traveling companions, nothing like a third wheel. How he describes most people he's met on the road. And in two years, he's done a lot of road traveling with Jill. I miss traveling with John, it's what we did best together.

I think when Arthur and I both went through our mother's deaths, I had already gone through my father's, it forged bond, a common experience. That opened us up to all our vulnerability. He and Jill invited me to a day of the dead celebration. I didn't go, in my collective grief, I withdrew. In my vulnerability I couldn't succor comfort there.

But hey I'm getting too serious here. What I want to write about are the funny incidental events from the weekend.

Saturday night we didn't party as we were very tired poets. We read poems and then drifted off to bed. Arthur and I decided to go hot tubbing, talking up a storm as usual. I felt uncomfortably fat, so I was hiding my body. Perhaps there was a sexual awareness growing between us. Arthur tended to keep a larger distance than when we were clothed.

Naked he is very beautiful with his curls, and his Davíd mouth, and I think of the Greek statues, and how the half-life of his skin takes on the quality of polished marble. I know that my breasts are beautiful in the gloaming. And the water is too hot so we perch on the rim and chatter on.

As we make ready to leave, a deluge of rain pours from the sky. Not standing on ceremony, I grab my clothes and streak across the back patio to the main cafeteria, buck-ass naked. He has a raincoat and dresses in the rain, wrapped in the towel. Organized. I watch him stop at the gate to retrieve something, he stares at it a minute, making me curious.

We stand underneath the eaves watching the sheets of water cascade from the sky. We could be in the tropics, it has that feel to it. It's like Tikal in the rain. He hands me my underwear, saying, You might want these. I'm embarrassed. I could have sworn he had a funny look on his face. Perhaps there is the temptation there after all. Perhaps I imagined it.

We navigate our way to our cabin and the road is underwater. We skirt the issue taking the high ground and head toward the lights shining warm in the velvety darkness, like moths to the incandescent glow of skin and cabin lights.

There's a settling in, and the acceptance of a bond between us, we never name nor define it. I talk of a piece I'm writing on quantum physics and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, I explain that in by the naming of a relationship, we change what it is, or what it isn't. We meddle with the outcome. The dilemma of seeking clarity, versus the acceptance of what it is, screws us up every time.

In this way I discover his father was a physicist. Los Alamos. By this time I'd confessed just about everything about Mary Walsh and the Manhattan project and he thought his dad might be able to get me information on her. In this telling of relationships and quantum metaphor, I describe my prose poem, The Arc in the Dark of the Year, but I could also be talking about relationships existing in a parallel universe.The possibility or the existence of a deeper connection on another plane of reality.

He reads me a poem on physics, it's wonderful. I reach for my poem only to find he put my bag on a chair across the room. Since I'm naked under the covers, I don't want to get up or make a mad scramble for my nightgown. We'd already gone to bed once already, and turned off the light, only to get the urge to read more poems to each other.

He says want me to get it for you? Which is ridiculous, for it's on my side of the room, and he's in his underwear. He is a little too tongue-in-cheek teasing me over my false modesty based upon shame, because I think I'm too fat (I'm not).

We are already naming things and I didn't want that to happen, not with him. I preferred the ambiguity of potential. But by teasing me, I remember three years ago, at a CPITS conference, we were dancing so hard that runnels of sweat trickled down our bodies. I'd had a migraine all day and was dressed in sweats, not intending to dance. So I fashioned a sort of halter top from my sweatshirt, with sleeves tight across my back, and the body like a bib across my breasts.

We were dancing so hard, he was spinning me like a top, our arms sliding in and in and out of knotted formations, until we were a Gordian knot. He was spinning me until my sweatshirt threatened to take flight across the room, causing a stir of excitement in the room with the men loving the potential of dancing breasts.

I was Phaedra unveiling my charms, but then shame crept in, and I struggled to be modest, which only made him spin me even harder. Was I imagining a glint in his eye? The enigmatic man had more pique then I gave him credit for. Titillation?

Again, the fear of defining it comes to mind and thus changes the reality of it. I reneged on reading my poem, rather than have him cross the room nearly naked to bring my poems to me, naked in bed, and therefore opening up that door of possibility—for that was what brought into circle, the focus that we were naked together in a bedroom, the thin distance of twin beds and the potential of two people reaching out to touch each other like God and Adam in the Sistine Chapel that spark of inspiration. Subtext and context.

Me, the older and theoretically wiser one, at 43, he's 37, six years younger than me, trying not to notice his body. Surely he sees my eyes slide over his body as we lie in our separate beds facing each other.

Do I refuse to see that his eyes slide over me and that I try to remake the intention of his glances into something asexual. That I cleanse myself of impure thoughts as if I were both the cause and the problem, with only myself to blame? I caution myself, put unchaste thoughts out of my head. And turn out the light and think about sex to the tattoo of the married rain. Is this a one-way attraction? I want to be able to deliver him home to Jill touched, untasted which I do manage to do.

Does she worry about him? I think he is a faithful man but perhaps infidelity has never arisen though they've been married for years. I detect a small glimpse of her when she touches his knee as she retrieves the phone. I make my escape, hugging him on the porch, and driving home into the night, knowing that they will make mad passionate love within the hour while I'm still driving home, and it keeps me safe to drive home like that, in the darkness, in that final darkness.

On Saturday night I told him about the prophetic dreams I had of him three years ago and how they were coming true, there were several clues this weekend. Things I couldn't dream up. The clincher was when he handed me my underwear, it was as if the gods transpired against us to break our vows.

On the way home, we stop often Isleton for a platter of crawdads and beer collecting our own On the Road memories. The waitress mistaken us for lovers, neither of us bother to correct her. It is our secret. As if we couldn't ignore what continues to stare us in the face, to tempt us.

I have trouble keeping my thoughts pure, as if he could read them. I reveal my my Catholic self, the pagan self smoldering under that brassiere, or jockstrap of faith. She hands Arthur the check in saying he wins the prize for being the best looking man in the dining room, we're alone in the dining room, and I add, And at the bar too, for that matter. It just slipped out, I hope he did not hear it.

Because we are not used to each other, we are not always in sync, but we quickly adjust our rhythms to match. It's most noticeable when we sing, and already I know the danger of singing together, for Oleg and I once poured our souls into each other until passion took root and consumed us, forbidden in the face of marriage vows. Separated wife or not. To give into something greater than the self, or to observe the rules and customs of the potential world when in reality moral valves have little to do with sexual appetites.

Steve Garber who cannot resist the siren call, has been married for years. We stopped at the Kings River on Sunday morning. Veronica Cunningham, Steve, Arthur and I stop for for lunch and goodbyes at Piedra, a crossroads on the Kings River. Steve confessed that he's often been unfaithful to his wife, as if it were something out of his control, and perhaps it is. I don't want to know this.

Over the years, I have felt his eyes slide over me, and carry on, but I am not his type, and that shields me from his sexual indiscretions, but by rejecting his amorousness, I also avoid that coldness and distance that he is capable of, which frightens me.

I am somewhat flattered by his sliding eyes and certainly have done the same to him, but I am immune to his kind of man, for our minds haven't made love. That click hasn't happened, and I feel I have to slide up and down a theoretical dance pole searching for the right notch by which to communicate. I am shy of him, and that distance is a protection.

In his confession he becomes more vulnerable, and I like him more for it. Perhaps there is a foil of antagonism between us that this allows us to become closer. I value and appreciate him but I am also afraid of him, for if he were to pursue me, could I resist him? On any or any man that I am attracted to?

Then there is the notion of attraction, containable to a degree, the flirtation a booster adding a false piquancy to our interactions the old carrot tease at the end of the donkey stick.

It's not love, but it does make us glow from within, and brings us joy. Is that such a sin? Who'd have thought that I have would have so much trouble with the ninth commandment coveting another woman's man? I guess it's something as old as humankind, this coveting thing.

All my men belong to other women Jim, Trygve, Sean, so why not Arthur? Because I know Jill, and it seems they are have a happy marriage. The others are always in a state of limbo. Jim is on-again, off-again with Nancy, Trygve, the same thing, and Sean is separated. All of them are in flawed relationships. So it's easier to pretend all of this is merely in my head, putting the blame upon myself, rather than opening up to the potential.

Besides, I think if something were to work out between us, the mutual guilt over Jill would erode and destroy what little potential for happiness we might have had as a couple, for he is the kind of man I would really fall hard for. There would be no turning back.

Could I just have a little fling with him and be satisfied? It's possible, but the seduction is in the giving of everything, and holding nothing back. With the others. it's merely transitional; we're not talking of the kind of love that requires that you give up everything. So we practice denial, and call it friendship, and let it go, until something else comes along to strip the pretense away, leaving us naked after all.

added 11/17

Friday, January 26, 1996

CPITS conference, Wonder Valley

CPITS AC conference January 26 the 28th at Wonder Valley, Sanger, California. It's raining, it's a small place. As we write poems we know that we are not alone. Snow is melting into music.

Peri Longo read some ancestor poems and asked: how come we never write about... She offers more poem ideas: in my neighborhood, was a great list poem idea. Then we laughed about language, and said if universal truths are nothing, then we end up at the end of the dream, we end up at the beginning. Begin again. Which is what we did.

The CPITS winter AC retreat and conference was almost a near miss, as too many poets couldn't make it, but despite the storm, by Saturday, our ranks swelled 13, and we got a lot done, putting aside our group hostilities, and dealing with the central office crisis, and utilizing a concrete approach to work through the conflict. 

We came away from the conference energized, with a willingness to work through the problems, and rather than dealing with them in anger. An anger that would have grown out of proportion with the series of events, an anger that would both consume and harm us, to no avail. 

We restructured the central office and the board to allay some of the problems that had arisen in the past year. The list of negatives was long and complicated. We began with what wasn't working, and arrived at the country of solutions, with love and caring for each other. 

On a sweet/sour note: Duane BigEagle apologized to both Tobey and me for attacking us so publicly. Too little, too late. I told him I didn't appreciate it, I told him what it does to me, is not useful nor is it productive. He said that I was doing a hell of a great job as Area Coordinator, going out with a bang. As an AC? or as a rural board member?

He has a nasty habit of attacking women in public. I saw him doing that to his former girlfriend, Katharine Harer, who was statewide coordinator. He sees it as his duty (for affirmative action), but I've never witnessed him flaying a man like that. I'm sorry I ever took up with him, after they broke up.

Thursday, January 25, 1996


Sunny day after such rain,
we are under the gun with commitments
and not enough time to follow through.
This is news?

The Australian aborigines understood quantum theory, dreamtime, a timeless existence, of all living things, and of the land itself. Uluru or Ayers Rock, The Olgas, the Breasts of Abo and the Simpson Gap, the oldest rocks and fossils in the world are 3.5 billion years old. Now that's old.

Wednesday, January 24, 1996

1/24/96 returning home from teaching

24 January

When it rains, it floods, literally. After spending the day at the Higham Family School teaching poetry to kids, and doing individual evaluations, I drove home in the pouring rain, tributaries feeding into Brush Creek, overflowing the road, new potholes since this morning.

Nearing home I think about Jim, and arrive home to find him reading in my bed. The cats are in the kitchen crunching on cat food, it's a scene of domestic bliss that I wasn't prepared for. 

But I was very happy to see Jim regardless of the fact that he and Nancy are once again on the skids. It was April when he went on the good red road, and I saw him very briefly again in August, or September. And he returned at the end of October. It's been more than six months since we spent any time together. 

I told him he's been my longest continuous lover, and we reminisced a bit, old friends and lovers since 1981. I queried him about other sex partners, and he assured me that there's been no one else except Nancy. Because he's involved with Sundance, the AIDS issue becomes more critical. The bloodletting in a community where AIDS is skyrocketing. He says he's very careful though. 

I just want to be careful who I let enter my body and Jim's been the only one inside me for more than a year except for Sean the other night. It's safe to say that since Marcel left in 1993-94, I have only fucked one man, save Sean. But if Jim is promiscuous and lying, then I'm in a precarious position. It's not his nature to lie. 

And the sex is great. I've slept with him for longer than, or as long as he's slept with his wife. At 43, it feels fine, though it's been nine days since my period. We talk about fallopian tubes, his grandson, and the eventual aging of parents and taking care of them. Looking at futures, he shattered once again by this break with Nancy, and me thinking before that, we had a little in common for a long-term relationship, and that feels different now. Wouldn't that be an odd change of events? 

I still want to check out the vibes with Edwin Drummond. I'm certainly recycling all the old lovers and friends these days. No new man on the horizon. It's amazing how once I was fully free of Sonny, how my sex life radically changed. What's different about me, besides being free, is that I'm not advertising, nor am I looking for it. 

My availability has been mysteriously transmitted to the universe and these men who in turn, called or wrote expressing interest, after many years of non-interest, equally mysterious. 

Monday, January 22, 1996

At the Calistoga Spa

Karen Faulkner and I spend the day at the Calistoga Spa on Friday planning the CPITS Area Coordinator conference. The very place where John Oliver Simon and I decided to make a go of it. She said she got a card from John from Columbia. More than I got. Who's it this time? I ask. She said, Oh talk about multiple personalities. She said her relationship with John only lasted four months while mine lasted nearly 4 years, and even that was too much.

Machu Picchu: sweat of the sun

At Machu Picchu, gold was the sweat of the sun. Hiram Bingham only spent a few hours in the city, never realizing what he had discovered. At the temple of the sun, massive peaks rose to the sky, it was an empire of the sun.

Bingham was searching for the fabled Valley of Vilcabamba, the last Incan capital, and retreat, the Espiritu papmas, the plains of ghosts. He came looking for gold, and mummies. The jungles hid hundreds of buildings he never saw. 

Bingham's exploration was eclipsed by Admussen's discovery of the South Pole. The Golden Age of Discovery was declared over. He returned in 1912 looking in vain for the gold, and the mummies, but the Incan cloaks were made of bat-skins and twilight. 

The last Sapa Inca, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, emperor of the Incas, built the city 500 years ago as a summer palace, during a time when these mountains were gods, the thunder was their voice and the Incans were their children.

The conquest of 1532 never touched the fabled city of Machu Picchu. Why did the Incas abandon their city in the clouds? She still sleeps in the clouds, and weeps the sweat of the sun, dreaming of her children.


Monday, January 15, 1996

Sean Kilty

Sean Kilty came over last night to renew our friendship. I feed him dinner and we fall into bed. I was afraid because of my period. But it wasn't as bad as I remembered. He wasn't rockhard and though it's been months since I've had sex, it didn't hurt. Overfeed a man meat and potatoes, then liberally ply him with wine and he'll lose stamina. For once, that's what I wanted, I couldn't take too much.

Sean lives in Castroville, and is a PG&E meter man for Monterey Pebble Beach. So, he's living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and lives on a horse ranch. And finally he's writing a book of poems, and a screenplay—he's leading the writer's life.

Do I imagine a life with him? I doubt it, for though we have warmth and affection, but not that burning spark. Is it something that can be rekindled? How trustworthy is passion anyway? Sex is less satisfying without it. Though this time, sex with Sean wasn't a marathon, and thank God he wasn't at full-tilt as he is the most well hung man I have ever known. It's usually painful, and a man hasn't been inside me in a very long long time.


I never finished writing about Sean Kilty who came over last Saturday enroute to Sacramento for a poetry reading. We had our first dinner together. I figure I see him on average, once every couple of years. We've been lovers for at least eight years, maybe 10. 

We're not even sure when we first met. It was in the early 80s, certainly by 1983, was when our first falling in love sequence occurred. He's been married for 12 years and has three kids. We met before the long before that, nearly running off to Mexico together, but Michael Lorraine and Luke Breit separated us. Sean was ambivalent, my feelings were hurt, and that was that. 

Sean spent the night in my tiny bed, he's at least 6 foot 4 and almost as broad. He's gotten a little beefy, but is still damned handsome for nearing 50 years of age. No gray hair yet. He looks like he could pass for his early 40s. A doppleganger for a young Anthony Quinn, who is also half-Mexican, half Irish.

Sean and I have our Irish connection going, and sometimes I'll say something to him in Spanish, but he is unprepared for an answer. I don't know anything about his Mexican side. He's so light-skinned and fair. Usually Mexicans of European descent don't come to the United States, as they already have it good in Mexico. Unless he's a Californio, and many of those of Californio descent are from the same background as the high-class Mexicans where lightness of skin is a virtue.

Now he is separated from his wife, and contemplating divorce. There's another woman he cares for. His wife found a love poem to her—no matter that it wasn't true, nor explicit. Her rival was a metaphor, and who could live with that? 

Sean doesn't even know if there's a future with the new woman, so he opens the door to me, but he was so ambivalent before, and I'm no longer passionately in love with him. To be in that kind of love requires contact and interaction, building a history together. It begins with meals and adventures. Letters and poems would help. 

It's hard to toss 12 years of marriage out the window, and there are the kids to consider. He said that he stayed in the marriage this long because of them. And he's willing to chuck it over, for what? Chalk it up to irreconcilable differences?

He has three small kids in tow, so the rest of his life will be tied up with his ex-wife and children. He's tied to a middle-class existence. Love, thy name is alimony.

1/ 22

On The Day Paul Mariah Died

Martin Luther King Day

Bob Flannery read a poem at Mudd's Café, that asked the most beautiful question: What is your dharma name? Then says, Bineh. Labia? He said the Nahual word for wise man or artist is Tolteca, or toltecayotl. The other night the phone rang at 3 AM. My dead mother, the artist, wanting me to read her I Ching horoscope. So I cast the bronze coins. Saw where they fell. They spoke in tongues. Noni Howard also called to say that I had a poem in the Parnassus of World Poets, which one? The day she told me was the day that Paul Mariah died. We are losing our cultural icons.

added & rev. 11/17

Paul Mariah died on Friday, the 12th

Wednesday, January 3, 1996

Dream journal: fevered dreams of wolves, Pt. Reyes

I fell asleep for three hours, while reading Polar Star yesterday afternoon. I'm still not better if I can take a nap, and sleep like the dead, after nine hours of sleep, I must be really sick. My eyes are burning, a sign of fever. So many people of gotten pneumonia from this bug. Flu or cold? It doesn't matter in the end what you call it. Sick is the operative word.

Because of the fevers, I have wild, visual dreams. I dreamed there were wolves outside the door, but I was related to them. I was dressed in a gray suit my skirt was on backwards and some small thing scurried off with my wooden handled screwdriver. I thought it was a scorpion, but I couldn't tell in the failing light. I hitched up my skirt around the right way, and marched out into the night to reclaim my tools.

This morning I dreamt I was at the Y where you can either go out to Point Reyes or to Tomales Bay, but we were hiking on foot, not from the road. My companion wanted to know where Mount Vision was, and couldn't believe we were actually on its shoulder.

Darkness caught us there, and I suggested that we spend the night huddled together for warmth. I could see the drowned valley of Creamery Bay in front of me, reflected in the afterglow of twilight, but the entrance to the bay was on the Tomales Bay side. Which is which was really 10-mile Beach. This landscape was all convoluted and damseled about.

I watched a whale or porpoise swimming up into the estuary. I it was so beautiful, I couldn't take my eyes off it. Why did I dream of the point, the island in time on January 3? The Spanish who sailed up this coast named each point according to the calindrical saint's day. Año Nuevo equals New Year's Day, Punta de los Reyes is the three Kings of the Epiphany, January 6. But today is the 3rd.

Another earlier dream also dealt with Tomales Bay, there was a new driveway graded near Heart's Desire Beach, which had me upset. I rode up on horseback knowing that we weren't welcome, but it worked out alright anyway, because a young man who was a painter, had heard of me, and wanted me to write a brief brochure about him. A job!

There was also another dream:  something to do with occluded landownership titles. I remember looking out to where Heart's Desire Beach was. And someone had cut down all the trees, and plowed the ground down to bedrock, until there was no beach left. I was horrified, it was a mystery. I later brought a clay tablet with an inverse footprint, to the father who could read its meaning. Out of Africa.

The phone rings at 3 AM. My dead mother wanting me to read her horoscope from the I Ching to her. 

January 3

Tuesday, January 2, 1996

What kind of blues would a bluejay sing? (drawing)

What kind of blues would a bluejay sing
if a bluejay sang the blues?
Down home Chicago style, yeah.
A cheep one, for he was a percher
like the finch or the jay.

Laid to waste by the flu

And here I thought I'd easily finish this journal by the solstice, but I had not planned on getting so sick most of December. The earaches and another attack of the flu has left me quite exhausted.

Christmas Eve I had a fever of 102°, which lasted most of the week. I barely remember Christmas, and slept on my cousin Sinead's couch December 26. I was so shaky that by the 27th, driving home was a challenge.

I did not go to the California Museum of Art party on the 28th, as a relapse from the 27th left me flattened. I was sorry to have missed it. I ran a few end-of-year errands, went shopping, and to the movies, on the 30th and 31st; both events just wore me out. I almost didn't volunteer for the Luther Burbank Center's Johnny Otis New Year's Eve bash, but I didn't have to be there until 9:30 PM. So I rested most of the day beforehand.

Expecting to leave early, I worked hard preparing all the champagne. One complementary free drink with the ticket was the deal. I figured we'd have very little to do after 11 PM, that most people would've used up their drink tickets, but not so. We had an enormous rush right before midnight.

No time to feel weak. I was on an adrenaline adrenal rush. I was a working automaton, much more efficient than the men I was working with. Fever does that. My antique Russian red silk tunic was drenched.

I had a gas working with a man named Misha who danced with me afterwards until there was no more music left, live, or otherwise. Johnny Otis and his band were on it. His son, Nick came over to say hello, I think he's sweet on me.

My neighbor Paul Ellis commented on how he heard me wailing away in the shower house Sunday night. I was so sick. He got the flu too. The great flu of 1995 laid a lot of us to waste. To sleep, perchance to dream, but not die, was the modus operandi. 

Paul and I exchanged symptoms, like baseball trading cards. I slept more than he did. He got it for two days after Christmas. I was afraid I had given it to him. Doing a little one-up-manship jig, he said he had already been exposed to it, and yes, it was extremely bad. What a lousy way to welcome in the New Year.

Dream journal: Jane making desserts

Dreams of family: Jane was making desserts, using crushed cookies to make macaroons with egg whites, ruffled cooked potatoes with chocolate sauce. How odd. I tasted the potatoes, not very sweet. Jane said the recipe had too much sugar. I was worried that the cookies weren't good or had the dreaded hazelnuts in them (I'm allergic). She answered me that they were just almonds. She was mixing these concoctions by the laundry/utility room off the kitchen in Forest Knolls. It wasn't trashy. 

I got chocolate sauce all over my arms and my hands and my left foot. I washed my limbs in the kitchen sink. Someone was concerned that I was so showing so much thigh. So was I. She was probably grossed out by seeing my foot in the kitchen sink. It was either that, or track chocolate all through the house. 

The dining room extended to a long covered patio. It was resortlike, and it reminded me of the remodeled Rancho Nicasio. Other family members were nearby, even Grandma who no longer says anything much in my dreams anymore. Just puts in an appearance or two. Always busy with something she is. Just the sight of her always brings me comfort. I saw my aunt Toddy too, out of the corner of my eye. 

In the living room was a box of Christmas lights and small green bits of plastic like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture. I had to carry it somewhere. On my return trip, the entrance to the house moved to the south side of the dining room, and turned into a tall trellis ladder, that I had to climb. 

I was a wondering whatever happened to the Peery sisters, Sue and Jan. And on my way I passed them, they were much older, the only recognizable thing was their voices. They were well coiffured, looking very middle-class with their diamond rings. And they didn't recognize me even though I walked right beside Jan for some time. So much for old friends.

I was still carrying that box and I was miserably underdressed in rags. The trellis stairway presented a problem and I tried to tie up the box and drag it up the path but I needed to carry it. I was able to get it to the top of the trellis, and someone reach down for the box but it fell, the sides all worn, gave away. I returned it, hugged it to my chest, but then, I couldn't navigate the trellis. It was very frustrating. All those green jigsaw pieces tumbling out all over the place. 

Finally it dawned on me that there was nothing of value in the box that I was lugging around. I jettisoned it, but only after a valiant attempt to return it. 

Another scene we're returning from somewhere and someone hands me a news photo of firetrucks at the capital. My brother Guy is in one of the trucks and he's returned home. It'll be so good to see him. There's been some kind of catastrophe or emergency. He's been drafted into the fire department. He comes over looking at up about 22, he has hair, and we're thrilled to see him. It's been a long time. 

I'm standing in my strange get up, barelegged. It seems I don't get to wear any appropriate clothing in this particular dream. Maybe it was a nighty of sorts. 
My brother makes a comment about my dress and I bust his chops and said what's more important, me, or how I look? I

t seems that the party was for Guy and we all coalesced in Forest Knolls. Was that really Guy's red '57 Chevy in the driveway? 

Elements: the shoe box with Christmas garbage in it. I took from Forest Knolls into the world where the junk decreased in value. And then I got tired of carrying it and I tied it up and dragged it in the dirt. What was I supposed to do with it? By the time I got done with it, the colored Christmas lights were no more just junk. I never figured out what all those green pieces were for, they were like Legos spilling out of the box wherever I went. 

There are thousands of them even in the dream I was puzzled by them. Puzzled by pieces of the puzzle? A puzzle without a picture? Holiday garbage I picked off the living room couch that I saw some value in it until I started having to carry it around. But I didn't willingly let it go, I took it with me and I risked a fall off the trellis. If the helpful young man hadn't dropped it, I could've returned it hold back to where it belongs. It wasn't my garbage. Instead it spilled by the side of the path for everyone to see. And when I left with it, it had the semblance of value and when I returned it it was truly garbage. With bits of hay sticking to it. 

My dress fits into the same metaphor. all the rooms are public. No privacy anywhere—even for my brothers homecoming. I remember thinking it odd that Jane seem so young, she had a very slender waist, no gut and then she said something puzzling, well it's time for my abortion, and wiped her hands and left. She was joking of course, muttering that it was better than getting cancer. A Pap smear a D&C? I remember being scandalized, for she was the unmarried virgin aunt. 

Box equals room? I'm carrying around a useless box, the puzzle, DNA cells and building blocks. I've lost many of them trying to return home I've dragged it into the grass and dirt I've hoisted it up on the trellis wire trellis only to let a young man drop it. How old am I in the dream? Both Guy and Jane are in their 30s at the same time, and decades younger. Everything is all-time twisted.