Waking Finnegan

“We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our whole life is rounded with a sleep” ~ Shakespeare

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Location: zurich, Switzerland

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hobo Dream


In Ventura on Main Street standing across from the old San Buenaventura Mission. Examining lushly thick yellow road dashes on the sidewalk which some road 'artist' has brush-scudded---an abstract sidewalk painting taking advantage of weedy cracks and bubble gum blotches for color effects---now caught up in painter's shop-talk with a beardy old depression era Woody Guthrie hobo with stained and ratty long johns. He's deftly yammering about 'earliest' abstractionists---speaking in measured laconic phrases about layerin' the "paynt" with a "winter tar brush" an' makin' sure yer workin' "from lean to fat" an' usin' only special "asphalt gluepaint" which is workable only when heated through and found only in "bitumen shops"---I'm down on my hands and knees scrutinizing the loosely spattered dashes tentacled under parked cars, over parking signs and dripping down store front plate-glass. His wry expression tells me "I know you're impressed" but he says (now without any hobo dialect) "There's more to the image when you see it from up in that belfry. It changes depending on where the cars are parked. Parts of my painting move around the city and even to other places...like a hobo code."

36 Comments:

Blogger gulnaz said...

"There's more to the image when you see it from up in that belfry. It changes depending on what cars are parked where. Parts of my painting move around the city and even to other places...like a hobo code."

bravo!!

constantly changing skies and shifting sand dunes, an expressive face, all responding to their stimulus, with each moment giving a new work of art.

i like this dream with its soft colours.

11:01 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Gulnaz, I looked up hobo codes and found this: http://www.slackaction.com/signroll.htm which you can mouse over for meaning. It's outsider art more than any artworld expressionism---and even more vital because it's art born out of survival--closer to the spirit of the Lascaux cave paintings or Altamira murals than any knick-knack wall art.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Perfect Virgo said...

Interesting how the relaxed mind will try to compose a story with highly detailed imagery. We seldom seem to dream just in general terms, it's always very specific. The character in this one has a past, a present and probably a future...

2:44 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Virgo, That's quite interesting what you say about the character possibly having a future. I hope you meant me, otherwise I'm doomed. If you mean the old guy, I'm sure I've seen him somewhere---he could be fusion of 2 people I know, one dead and one living. His visage was more archetypal than specific, having this wandering hobo bearded appearance---and it was his creation and words that mostly stuck.

4:53 PM  
Blogger . : A : . said...

The versitality of art forms comes out strongly in this dream. There is always more to the image than what you see.

5:17 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

.:a:., yes, speaking through form and shape and color---abstraction---can sometimes seem more fundamental than language.

Talking about it is a different matter.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Perfect Virgo said...

I think I meant the hobo! As a character he might still exist in your subconscious and your imagination might re-animate him later.

There will always be a future for a lucid dreamer and clear thinker. The Woodie Guthrie comparison taps another whole seam. I recently got a copy of Billy Bragg and Wilco's collaboration called "Mermaid Avenue." Several years ago WG's estate entrusted them with dozens of song lyrics for which he had not arranged melodies. The results are fascinating.

The new/old songs brought that old hobo back to life in a fitting way.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

fuck the 'no parking' signs, shoot the traffic wardens!!!

10:45 PM  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

PS.
PV is damn right. "Mermaid Avenue" is superb and that my dears is a word that so sums up our Finnegan's blog site!

(not too mushy was it mate? a cheque will be fine)

10:47 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Perfect Virgo, Amazing how all these old strands recombine in order to, as Brian Eno mentioned, "compost".

I love your very original and thoughtful take on things. Your writing makes things equally lucid as the proverbial dreamer.

Cocaine Jeusu, Hey your gushing has reset my monitor settings to blushing.

7:56 AM  
Blogger transience said...

i like the way you say things like brush-scudded. only someone who dreams in color like you can breathe new life into stale vocabularies. and just in case you didn't already cut through my gushing, i adored the rest of the dream, too.

3:09 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

transience, "...and just in case you didn't already cut through my gushing, i adored the rest of the dream, too."

Ya, I didn't cut through it. I brush-scudded. ;-()

4:13 PM  
Blogger Pecos Blue said...

so many ways to view the same thing. so many perspectives and even perspectives that you may first discount could be just as important. I liked this.

5:55 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Pecos Blue, This dream was strange for its visual takes on what I initially thought was just street paint.

8:01 AM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

finn, i looked up those hobo codes, i am thinking of using one of them in my profile pic instead of the current photo of mine.
:)

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's almost uncanny how my mind is able to follow the surreal logic of what's happening, especially when you're on your hands and knees "scrutinizing the loosely spattered dashes tentacled under parked cars, over parking signs and dripping down the store front windows"

4:39 PM  
Blogger d.K.m said...

sometimes I find my mind lacking in understading what u write.. blah!;p

6:40 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

anon, can't say anything in response here other than thanks.

kishore, I appreciate your trying anyway. There are many things I write that I don't understand as well, so don't fret.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr Pants said...

You write real perty!

10:18 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

gulnaz, Hobo codes are a real fascination for me. I'm happy to hear they've found their way to India.

Only on the Internet.

Dr.Pants, You talk real funny fer a doctor. I'm not sure I'd want you operatin' on me. ;-(

10:48 PM  
Blogger . : A : . said...

Yes, completely agree with you.

4:27 PM  
Blogger RuKsaK said...

You don't half know how to clag those adjectives together - your dreams are welders of words - love the lines you get out of them.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

at times your writing evokes beat poetry. this piece added soft colours i agree.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Roger Stevens said...

Nice writing. Just needed that gay Russell Crowe to turn up and give that hobo a talking to.

Does anyone dream in black and white? I've always assumed people dream in colour.

And if you are blind - and have been from birth - how strange your dreams must be.

1:20 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

.:a:., ;-/

ruk, ....dreams are welders of words. ruk, you're a wielder of wit.

D.C., Well, I've got those real gone hepcats crooning in me for real.

Roger Stevens, Maybe that hobo was Russell Crowe in a different set of clothes. Maybe Russell in real life is someone being dreamed by a blind person who used to be an usher at the not-so-gladiator of rome.

I believe most people dream in black and white, but I haven't interviewed them all yet.

My question: Is it possible to have a concurrent dream? There was a ghost story a friend of mine told me about his parents dreaming the same dream each night of a pair of blue hands coming out from a sliding drawer (directly behind the sleeping head of his mother) and slowly choking her.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Don't know whether it's the same shade of yellow they use in Switzerland as in the states for road marking, but one day I was looking out my window after they'd just resurfaced the center stripe on my road, and was struck by what a sunny-golden sort of color it was. It seemed almost "natural" and fit in with the greenery of the road side and the leaves in the tops of the overhanging trees.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Jennynyc said...

What a cool picture (and dream). I love such cryptic quotes from dreams...

4:00 AM  
Blogger Bouls said...

This one is shorter than the rest but, Oh So Powerful! You've managed to conjure up a kind of archtyepal Venturian, like so many I see every day in this town. But the hobo of your dream holds some mysterious key to knowledge I want to know more about. It is interesting to think that the dream took place in a part of Ventura which has a lot of hauntings. This mission itself is haunted. So this hobo exists in a rather charged section of the city and he holds more than what meets the eye or what one would expect of him. Plus he is creating something visually challenging from someone who is visually so commonplace (for Ventura that is). It will make me think twice when is see some of these characters walking around downtown. Your image certainly makes them seem more colorful. The ending is brilliant! I will think about your dream as I drive around town tomorrow and I'll daydream about it.

8:59 AM  
Blogger finnegan said...

Paul, I dunno if they're the same, but the idea of a can of "INTERNATIONAL ROAD PAINT (YELLOW)" would be intriguing on the shelf.

JennyNYC, Do you ever remember whole dialogues from your dreams? I always wonder about the editorial nature of recall.

Bouls, A Venturian---what a perfect description!

He's not a mere "Venturan", but an alien visitor from some ghost planet dressed in hobo duds, skulking at night to the clakety sounds of the passing trains and distant surf holding his cryptic bucket of paint and winter tar brush.

I have fewer doubts about Ventura's notorious ghosts. Since leaving, I've had dream visits by what seems to be that same "Venturian" character; each time differently disguised and often leaving a cryptic message.

There's also something odd about the yard behind that bungalow where I used to live. I used to have horrific nightmares about stuff happening back there. I often had the feeling something was watching me.

And of course there's the San Buenaventura Mission; a place which upon entering seems to plant something inside you.

What were those Mission priests really up to all those many years ago; what were they dreaming?

11:08 AM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

what is that picture of at the top of this post?

12:00 PM  
Blogger finnegan said...

gulnaz It's a Celtic knot cut from wax.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Bouls said...

If you think the Buenaventura Mission feels possessed, the feeling is triplefold at the Santa Barbara Mission. We went a couple of months ago and I felt surrounded by something in some of the interior rooms. So much sadness, entrapment and death caused in the name of religion , no wonder.

8:24 PM  
Blogger . : A : . said...

Yes, it is.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous dawn said...

Finnegan: Awesome. I love this kind of writing. Reminds me not to forget the blurred lines between art and reality. That you have to sometimes look at it upside down. Get down on your hands and knees to find the truth that you suspect is layered somewhere in between this and that, paint and canvas, art and life.

Funny thing is that I have a scene close to this in one of my short stories where she is on her hands and knees running her fingers over the dried blobs of paint as if she is running her fingers through his parched soul.

For me, I find I use color in writing to represent change or things not being as they seem like "layering the paynt"--you have to uncover the layers and still all you find are blurred blobs of indistinct color--I am rambling. What was my point? I loved the piece. I get it.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous dawn said...

Finnegan:
Oh, didn't mean to sound as if it weren't a dream. It's just that I love the way you wrote about this paricular dream. The dream could possibly mean that you are searching for a deeper meaning to a number of things and the parked cars could stand for feeling stagnant and a need to move forward. Simple, and a generalization, but sometimes, the answer is simple and on the surface. dawn. hee. hee.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Prat said...

Hi, your comment on my blog caught my attention and I must say you are doing an extraordinarily fine job of dreaming!
We continue to wait at your doors while those dreams trickle into posts and leaving a mesmerised audience.
Magic!

2:40 PM  

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