we’re skiing/skating down over an enormous globe structure excavated out of the ice and covered with densely compacted snow—we’re the field research team, and I’m assisting the scientists. as we go down over the slope of the globe, our speed picks up across the icy surface, and I grow anxious that Ill go spinning off into space—but we’re looking for the way in, some kind of latch or keypad entry, and just as I’m nearing the most dangerous slope, there it is, I skate right into it, activating it —and instantly all the snow melts right away and the whole gigantic contraption stands revealed: an ancient city-sized structure of immense complexity and grace and beauty— and alive, conscious, awakened somehow—like a god that’s been sleeping. and we’re relearning how to speak to it.
we’re shooting a live-action comic book– or at least blocking the scene with live actors prior to inking– the play centers on a bunch of tough guys and a single dame, and it’s moving right along when the director yells, cut! the problem is, he explains, she’s getting upstaged by the guys– and that cannot happen. come on, sweetheart, snap to it! and she just stands there for a count of ten, vaguely insulted– no one moves (they all know it’s a good call)– but then she’s moving, sashaying across the floor right into the clot of men, and, as she swishes past, swinging her purse with deadly accuracy a hair’s breadth from one guy’s face– it whistles through the air and his hair luffs back. the action comes out of nowhere, and he just stands there gaping, unsure how to react. she’s not a star for nothin’. and now the chips are all hers. she reaches the far side of the room and pivots on her spike heel, gun barrel tracing a wide arc parallel to the floor to come to rest– and she stops. the face in her sights stops her dead– his face, his deadly beautiful face.
I’m visiting my sister who’s staying with her in-laws, a bunch of israeli jews– the grandmothers sit holding the babies, and they’re tough old bats. the mothers are breast-feeding, though one of them hasn’t gotten the hang of it, and she asks me to turn away– I’m embarrassed to have been staring, and I wish I could explain how happy the sight makes me, but it’s evident I’m intruding here. rain comes through the ceiling and fills up the light fixtures and clocks.
there’s bombing in the sky, zapping alien laser warfare, targeting just over the ridge– we’re unsheltered and sneaking through the night, trying to get a sense of what’s going on– but then the zaps are coming too close, and we realize we should take shelter. the others go on, and I climb up into a slatted outbuilding, kind of a chicken coop but clean, up and up the rungs of roosts– it’s dim and blue inside, and after sitting quietyly in the shadows for a bit, it comes to me that the place is full of people– and I make my way down to join them in the darkness.
I’m sitting on a hillside full of sun and grass and tiny field flowers– the guy beside me is pushing me to consider the futility of being in love with this other beautiful friend of mine, whom I’ve been devoted to for ages (in the dream this part is played by johnny depp)– he says, this other guy, he’s gay, you know, right? and I sort of stop and stutter. I don’t know that I did know– I think I just thought he was too beautiful for me– but this has made me stop and look at it all again– just as he has, this other friend of mine. and then I have to wonder why he even cares– I mean, he could just care, but I get a kind of suspicion that he cares— and just like that, it’s amazing how easy, all of my affection begins to trickle over from one to another, flooding a field that’s stood dry and empty. and I’m sitting there on the actual hillside, pulling clover leaves and inspecting them in embarrassment as I tell him how I think now that I’ve kept my heart put away all this time because in truth I am so unbearably soft-hearted– that’s the word I use in the dream, “soft-hearted,” tho it sounds strange to me now and I doubt I’d ever use it with a straight face to describe myself.
I’m having an affair with a professor who’s nearing retirement– the grotesque differential of our ages and the fact that he’s married put me off somewhat, I’ll own– but then, when I’m in his presence, I’m compelled by his personal magnetism, pulled to him irresistibly. but also I’m tired of waiting around for him to get to me– after all his more important buisiness, lecturing and so on– so I go to campus to find him, feeling bold and confident. only when I see him evidently busy and important, all he says to me is, “did you translate your joke?” and then my heart sinks, because I remember that I’ve been given this tiny piece of homework to do, so small, two lines only to be translated into an obscure eastern european language– and I’ve forgotten to do it. so I go off then to take care of it, this one little responsibility of mine in the complicated heist-type thing we’re planning– my part to waylay the foreign personnage by telling him this joke, and then, once he’s distracted, all the other cogs can move into place. but first I’ve got to translate it. so off I go to the library of this tiny liberal arts college, in search of a dictionary of… not moldovan, some other language whose name starts with an M… probably made-up. and I’m browsing the reference works that are stacked on top of the old card catalogs, but there are all these dumb happy students standing around the place, going through the card catalog in a leisurely manner and yammering away– so annoying– so at last I grab my dictionary on the obscure M language and go off to find a quiet place to write my translation. but there are these dumb happy leisurely students seemingly everywhere I look, clustering together at tables in twos and threes and big cumbersome groups– one of these last is strung along one long side of a library study table, all facing in the same direction– so I look off, trying to determine the object of their gaze, but all I can see is a carnival set up on the horizon– and I choose a chair very near the end and sit down close to the table’s edge so as not to impede their view.
lisa and merritt have moved into another big old house with a mansion-sized fireplace and rooms without 90 degree angles– instead the sides of rooms angle gently inward, forming outside alcove courtyards. lisa is selling shares in some enormous roll of carpeting that they’ve gotten ahold of, and I buy in and then immediately regret it because I know I can’t afford it. I keep wanting to see the attic and then being told all over again that it’s not a good idea and going, oh, yeah. right. I forget now what’s wrong with it, but something ominous.
there are barge-driving lessons on the river, and I’m taking part. there is some discussion of a canoe-type boat and whether or not it’s what people are calling a tanker.
I’m walking across a hillside, my arms swinging at my sides, when the knuckles of my right hand brush over one of the many holes in the ground– and something clamps on– not painfully, just alarming me. I look down, and in my hand is a prairie dog (though the word in my head in the dream is “groundhog”). I shake it off, and, there, still in my hand, is it’s baby. it’s miniature and adorable, and I think about hanging on to it as a pet, but then think better of it and place it gently at the mouth of the burrow it’s parent has disappeared down. I continue across the hillside, realizing the ground is full of burrows and small creatures, vulnerable at my feet.
someone points out a man in the room and tells me he has artificial sight– he was blind in one eye, and another of the tenants devised the solution– there’s a chip implanted, not in the damaged eye, but rather in the tip of his nose– it’s mapped to a vast universe of coordinates the designer has spent the last twenty years plotting. he shows me examples of the patterns penciled on the wall of the room, travelling all over it, describing it entirely.
the whole thing was tilting: walls, floors, doorways, staircases, all gone crazy. windows idiosyncratically aimed gazes into sky or, alternately, ground. everything inside trembled, live and inanimate– elderly lapdogs cowered under beds while antique dressers heaved themselves across hardwood floors. and each time we moved, the whole thing shifted with us: make for the door, and the floors headed south; retreat too quickly, and the walls ground backward in sudden overcorrection. we were frozen in place, terrified to turn it, to send everyone and everything crashing down one way or another. still, some made dashes and attained the outdoors– but once outside, how could they live with the guilt? a few ran back in to do what they could toward salvation, ushering out anything they could lay hands on– a cat, a stranger. some worked the exterior, searching for ropes and adequate anchorage. we were miles from civilization, off the map, off the radar, unlooked-for. we were on our own, doing our best with disaster. I discovered a cell phone in my hand and told the rest I’d call for help, but somehow never placed the call. maybe there wasn’t time, maybe we tipped, maybe I had immediate issues staring me down. eventually, we knew they were on their way, but what could they do? we knew we were in for it. we were in it: to go down or make it out alive all on our own devices. we gritted teeth, touched one another’s shoulders, readied ourselves for whatever was coming next.