jacktellslies: (geroges barbier mermaid)
I forgot my keys three days in a row. Usually I can take such synchronicities to mean that I'm doing something wrong, but this time (as I've been doing everything perfectly, these days, with the exception of locking myself out of my house) I couldn't imagine what it could have been.

Last night, in my dream, I was in an ancient and crumbling bookshop in Amsterdam. Amidst the impossibly old books, all faded to white, there was a machine, bellows and pipes and a brass typewriter. I was typing the password, when the keyboard fractured and the letters scattered. A frequent frustration in my dreams is my desperation to prove that I can, in fact, read there. When I was only knowing the words the keyboard was correct; when I followed the letters I had to hunt them down, spelling them out one at a time. I A M T R I C K Y. The machine opened up, and the leap, which seemed dangerous, became a mossy cocoon once I was over the ledge. Then - and trust me, I considered omitting this - Storm and Beast appeared to me as gods. Marvel isn't even my preferred universe, but I'll assume that my subconscious knows something I don't. This subterranean secret garden they showed me was a place of hope, a place for research: there were books, and instruments, and a green house, and the green house was curved and lovely but so scientific that I wondered if I'd be allowed to bring a bit of art to it. In the garden I found a bookshelf containing all of my first magic books, the ones I had when I was fourteen. And they seemed like such tender objects: the derision I usually hold for the entirety of my past was gone. I realised that the shelf would not hold these books for anyone else, that it would manifest something different and important for everyone. My father was there, then, and I tried to show him, but he couldn't read them. I explained that they were fading for him, reading the way that books do in dreams for him, because he was dead.

I usually assume that my frustration with my ability to read in dreams is a sort of joke: my brain trying to find its way around it, trying to make sense of it. But it seems now that the problem I felt was that knowledge I have in one world may not work, may not be accessible in another: that my insistence upon the words and letters of this place could slow my acceptance of the available, intuitive truths of another.
jacktellslies: (rasputin)
I dreamed last night that I was a young Freud. I was a prankster, a self-proclaimed comedian no one liked. As I grew older I became somber and disappointed, polite, well dressed, quiet, and correct. I was walking outdoors with myself, both of us Freud, of course, because this was a dream, and we are everyone in our dreams, when a lady's nightgown was carried to us by the wind. It smelled of perfume and a woman, and something in us broke. I was pushed to the ground, grass in my mouth, and the other Freud was holding me there, undoing his trousers. "But I am you," I protested, and he pushed inside. We fumbled and strained like we'd never done it before and might never again.
jacktellslies: (geroges barbier mermaid)
Recently, while sitting by the river where my cousin drowned, Meredith wished for a boat she could row. I wished her one powered by doom like that of the Lady of Shallot. Not immediate doom, of course. It would take her wherever she needed to go without rowing, with the understanding that, as everyone eventually dies, everything you do is carrying you to your unavoidable death. She had only wanted exercise, and was displeased. But I realized the extent to which I need to read good books and have interesting jobs and spend time with friends and learn. A good life is the only thing that will carry me to my death, to my proper death, to the things that even the best, most adventurous and giving life necessarily excludes.

After my father died, my mother believed that he was trying to tell her something in her dreams. She'd dream of doing the dishes, of seeing his reflection looking at her in the window above the sink. But she'd know that he was dead and wake up afraid and concerned. She had the dreams often, and felt them to be urgent, but could not piece together any message, until my sister told her that she was pregnant, and the dreams stopped coming.

I've been having recurring dreams. Always my family is there. Once we all followed my grandfather, a former naval captain, all of us part of a fleet of something like small fishing vessels or rusted boats for tourists. Sometimes it is my father, back from the dead. I tell him I've missed him, or I fight with him, or try to speak with him of things that have happened since he died. Usually he is mute, or passive, but smiling, as if embarrassed that I don't understand the rules of visitation. And in the dreams there is a theft, or I am afraid of being made to pay for something, or someone, usually my three year old niece, turns to piracy. We move through converging places, land and sea. We wade through flooded tunnels under the boardwalk and the ocean. We cross bridges, crumbling wooden ones, land bridges flat and thin made of ancient orange brick in buildings built over and containing bits of the sea. And there is always a guardian of a passage or of some sort of riddle I never hear but seem to answer correctly. And the guardian is always two things at once. It was a weasel that was also a duck, three dimensional at one angle and two dimensional at another, flat so that it could slip between bricks. It told us that we had been flat and we had been silent, so we could pass and we could live. There was a man who was both my friend Bernie and my amazing geology professor, taking me into his office at a dig site and teaching me to dissect a human heart, smaller than it should have been and wrapped in an inch of gauze like a silver spider web. And in the dreams themselves I know that the dream is important, that I must remember it when I wake, that I must make sense of all of it. But I do not understand.

They are underworld myths. I've gotten that far. I'm crossing the water, I'm afraid of paying the ferryman, or we're stealing the boat. I am following my family into a place I always wake before finding. But why?

It occurs to me that my mother's dream contained some of the same elements. There was the presence of the dead, of course, and the dishes provided the water. The mirror that was not a mirror was a convergence, an otherworld of sorts. The realization in the dream of my father's being present despite his death was a riddle in its own right at the same time that it precipitated her knowledge of the dream while dreaming it.

I do three card tarot spreads. They are as simple as I want them to be, a single metaphor in three pictures. And I sometimes test my cards and my reading. I cast asking to be told about the coming day, so I can interpret and then return, correcting my own assumptions, seeing where prediction and interpretation line up with fact. Asking the cards to explain the Day of the Dead, I was given the Wheel of Fortune reversed; the Six of Swords, the ferryman rescuer, reversed; and the Three of Cups, family and friendship and celebration, reversed. Besides all of the other things that they can mean, reversed cards for me often simply mean an alternate realm of consciousness: it means that you are dreaming, it means that they are dead. So, yes. All of that is exactly what the Day of the Dead means. It couldn't have been explained better in words.

And, later, Meredith read for me. I asked to be told about me as I am now, and was given the Knight of Pentacles reversed, the Seven of Rods, and the Three of Swords reversed. Reading for me (with clarity and insight I never would have found reading for myself) she told me that I was meant to go on a quest, a physical one or a spiritual one or one through the other. The three of swords is what confused us. It is, of course, the heartbreak card, a red and bleeding heart pierced by three swords. She asked if there was any reason that the dead might be upset with me. This was interesting: I'd written almost all of this before that time, but I'd not yet posted it.

I realize now, though, a second option. The card was in the dream. I was taught to dissect a human heart. Bernie/my teacher cut twice. I cut once. But was the card showing the dream, or was the dream showing the card?

Weeks ago, Meredith suggested asking for a key to my dreams before going to bed. I tried. I even asked a fountain, which promised success, but lied. (Of course, I didn't pay the fountain.) I'm thinking of taking the key in with me: an old key under my pillow, and two coins for the toll, and the cards of the day and the dreams, and the cards of the quest.
jacktellslies: (seven sorrows)
Meredith is right: there are some things that should be recorded. They are dreams, though. I apologize for only writing the things that no one wishes to read.

I was in church, going through the contents of a collection box, looking for quarters and interesting things. There were strange coins and artifacts, and then part of my own hand, a relic lost there for years and strangely preserved: The segment where my last two fingers would have been, two knuckles, a bit of finger up to the joint. It was bony but still fleshed, tinged green at the marrow. And I shook again at the injury, and at finding something that should have been lost. Another bit fell out of the coins at me, and I thought the wound had grown, and I cried.

Later, I dreamed that I could have been pregnant. [livejournal.com profile] sissyhips, who knows of dreams and a great many other things, so I knew I could trust her, explained that it would be easy to be sure: just reach up inside, feel for the child. And I did, but stopped where the cervix should have been, or perhaps just after it, uncomfortable at the thought of it, yes, but perplexed by something that should not have been there, the same hardness but coiled, a spring. I told her that it was unfamiliar and asked if it had always been there, and she said yes.
jacktellslies: (crow)
I fell asleep after coming too soft for trying for too long. And I dreamed it dirty, and graphic to a hard fault. I've only had two such dreams, now, and both were of people I'd never want to touch, and both sickened me. Usually these dreams could have been true, or fail. They are soft and lack sense, like dreams do. But these ones are reasoned, and I know I won't forget them. I hate the things I know I won't forget. I wake up breathing hard and moving to it. I've come back from sleep coming, but only when I'm crushed breathless with disgust before it has even had the grace to end.

There are bits of mirror and tile in the alleyway closest to my street. It started as faces on plates, then lines, and then today, all at once, a little broken world found its way onto the walls. I passed them working in the rain as I walked home. "You did so much today! Thank you for decorating my block." Isaiah was there, and his wife (I sell her fish!) and some others. "Just keep walking here," he told me. I changed the way I walk as soon as the faces were there to watch. It is beautiful. It goes south. We do not deserve it, but we need it.

I finished The Book Thief, finally, after years and years (or something more like a few months). And this whole time I couldn't bear the thought of it ending, although I'd always known where the end would be. I cried until my bed was wet, until my boat slipped under everything. I'm holding it with me, although it isn't mine anymore. And despite that, four pages are creased, for remembering. I'll keep them, although you won't hear them. Not yet.






The Word Shaker. )






Megan Etzel, thank you. Thank you. It will go to the next one. We should talk. I am cain son of eve. Thank you.

She worked so much today and yesterday: she is out of my bed by six thirty. She'll only be leaving the shop at midnight. I've made a midnight picnic: good rosemary bread and strawberries and apples and goat cheese and roasted tomatoes and even chocolate cake. I hope that she is awake for it. I hope on strong arms and on body scent for her happiness tonight, even if it is the exhausted kind. I hope hard.

I posted to [livejournal.com profile] vintage_sex today for the very first time, I believe. It won't at all surprise you, or if it does, it will be a matter of your confusing your history; it won't be me.

Oh, yes, this is fun. I'll play this once. Have I interests you do not understand? You should ask me. And then you should ask, too, if you like.
jacktellslies: (this machine)
I am a registered socialist and organ donor, but my nipples are no longer pierced. This is a travesty. When naked, I feel, I look like a little girl. Real adults have metal in all of the right places, yes? They'd been there for five years. They'll still be there when I dream.





jacktellslies: (ladies)
i had dreams i felt. i'd needed an operation, and the doctors were too much like me at my cutting board. they took everything out to get to the things for which they were looking. after the operation i sometimes thought the immense pain in my torso was only the result of everything having been moved around so much, and at times because i thought they'd failed to put anything back at all. when i woke i was bloody and cramped, but with the sort that fills me bellow my navel, the kind that i sort of like. it didn't shift to the tight, between the legs cramps until i'd been at work for some time. i like those much less.

today isn't quite my new year. it usually feels more like a new year sometime around halloween, even though this halloween was awful. were i a better heathen than i am, i'd better utilize the opportunity to create a more auspicious end and beginning, or i'd at least do a better job of using anyone's holiday as an excuse for a party. but i'm a bit ill again, and i mostly just want to be at home and quiet. i might try to get a bit drunk, and robert promised to kiss me.

today lindsay and i posed a serious question: why can't the people who live here tell the difference between failure and music? they are quite different things, really.



the above was written moments before brandon, lindsay, robert, and brandon's charming and sweet straight girl friend amanda convinced me that i should come out with them, just for one drink, just to one place. i spent the evening in two steven starr restaurants. we walked past both lines to get in to the continental when brandon simply opened the back door and let us up the kitchen stairs. a boy waiting in the cold yelled, "hey, can you get in that way?" and lindsay, in classic form, simply yelled, "no." we drank and danced and a cocktail waitress in doc martins brought us our drinks while we danced, which impressed me very much indeed, and we flirted with all of our friends, dressed as and gangster girls and playboy bunny drag queens and whatever hot thing bill was supposed to be, as a great many of them work in both places, and i paid for nothing. (i'll spot some people back today.) we were the first people dancing, and we danced with each other and with girls and a friend of mine, a tiny and cute thing named billy, was on stilts, on the floor all night and still dancing better than most of us can off of them. we went to jones, where newel was a hot little greaser thing in his starman hair and a tight white t-shirt, black vinyl trousers and absurd stompy gothy boots, a black and a white studded belt, and his light up belt buckle, like the one i have, where the words, "drink more!" scrolled all night while he barbacked. we wore the hats left on the table, and we danced at our table and at a dance floor we decided should exist, and we drank a bit more of the free champagne than we deserved thanks to newel's influence, and, for some reason i never quite understood, due to confusion or more of said influence, we found ourselves in possession of a free round. midnight came around, and i kissed robert more than once as he is a lovely kisser, and i kissed newel, who kisses like a boy, so i put an end to that immediately. he danced to michael jackson, though, and the entire restaurant yelled and clapped for him, and he pointed us out to every person to whom i saw him speak, and it was adorable. when we'd had enough of that we found our way back home, my arm around the hip of brandon's straight girl friend. (she had a lovely waist.) once there, megan made us mojitos and tea cups of champagne and where i left my remaining saki on the stove. i kissed bill when he got home, and hugged everyone who found their way into my house, and i succeeded in my quest, getting drunk enough that i pulled megan upstairs to convince her that kissing me was clearly a good idea, and that talking and missing one another and crying was obviously an even better idea, because we did a bit more of that. i am a fool, i am a fool, i am a fool. she always made me such an honest thing, but now when i speak to her, it is one or the other extreme of a truth. i hate her or i love her, and neither of those things is quite right, now, but i cannot find the middle space, which is strange for me, as that is usually where i exist. much of this happened in my bed, which was convenient, as very shortly thereafter i fell asleep in my clothes. now i can hear the mummer's parade from my window. i should do something about my hangover and go watch for a bit. so. it was a good end and a good beginning, i think., and a fantastic excuse for a party. i'll keep this new year, rather than the last one.

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jacktellslies

August 2009

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