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

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Liquor Store Dream

As my eyes opened, I realized the room I had hurried out of was the same one I was in. I'd been half awake while sitting on the bed with my dead father, who was asking me why I had stolen that carton of cigarettes from Jake's Liquor Store. There was no way out now.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cheeseburger Dream

A long battery of fry cook griddles are aligned inside the stainless steel rebar cage. Flash-frozen boxes of ball park cargo labeled "Full-o-franks" "Boigies" and "Fries" are being elevated to our work floor on a clackity dumbwaiter hitched to cords of hemp. A cling-a-ling bell goes off, sounding like "dinner time!" and "back to work!" The platform stops, quickly jerks off the goods, finds its alignment again, and then is swiftly pulled upward to the opening in the floor above.

I get on my knees and stick my head past the floor opening and dangling ropes to have a look. I can see more platforms hoisting multiple rows of the same vapory cargo---those descending going down slowly, smoothly---the rising ones more in subtle fits and starts. Is this a relief station---are we a cook-crew for hurricane victims? I can see into an adjacent storage facility---a polar-cold warehouse staffed with refrigerated workers who are busy loading up the big dumbwaiters...more ropes....more flats on frozen boxes full of eats. There's a "foreman" tugging at the hawsers to signal another jacking. He turns to motion in my direction...is he waving at me?

I know I should be in charge of some station, but I haven't got an inkling---all the maneuvering---where do I fit in? Feeling like I'm squandering something, I watch as wax papered patties and frozen weenies are getting slapped down, peeled and rolled into alignment by my "sous chef" son. He's wearing a baseball cap and apron combo which both have the same looping, cursive "Pit Stop" logo embroidered into happy faces with lumpy burgers for eyes. My own sad apron has got a coating of polymerized fond glazed over the upside-down and backward logo. While I'm trying to pick out the sticky bits from the apron strings, I suddenly see the many customers lined up in multiple rows on the other side of the cage, pressing jailbird faces and yowling "Hey, there's a goddamned ball game going on so hurry it up!" More workers have appeared (thankfully) and Ty is now doing all the griddle piloting (without a worry in the world!) "Doublecheese! "Extra fries...order of nachos...three vanilla shakes!" As the orders are shuffled, he twists around a cooker dial and (whoosh) up slides his service door. He looks over at me with a benevolent shrug that suggests he needs me. But I can't stop toying with the tacky apron strings. He chortles "Don't worry---the cage is plenty sturdy; they can't get in, because I did all the welding myself." I'm nodding in agreement and wondering what the hell is wrong with me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Svengali Dream

I'm both the observer and the observed in an old b&w film of epic joy and sadness---a story that both answers and opens questions about the tin pan characters of my life. G.V. is the young, full-o-charm actor/director, handling the camera, grips, make-up and every other sort of equipment splayed out on the carpark tarmac. V.A. is his make-up "powder girl" who is joyful and nonchalant. But I can see through her frank goodness that she's shielding trouble. She's running loops around the equipment, scooping up film cans, jumping over cables and mindlessly plopping valuable and sundry gizmos and foodstuffs into a large plastic cart---set clothes, lenses, jewelry baubles, clipboards, cables and packaged crew snacks. I'm sure she's toting around the cart because she's homeless, Everything she's squirreling away is hock-able at a pawn shop. But I'm worried about her getting busted for this charade; wanting to tell her she doesn't have to worry about all that this time round. "I'll help you", I want to say. But all the stage-set hubbub keeps me distracted and so all this concern dissipates.

A gigantic black boom-mike "X" is girded overhead, feeding down a cracklesputter pair of high-tech pickups. "Quiet on the set!" G yelps. Everybody waits as the boom settles down to a low hum, with workers tuning dials on portable mixer panels....then silence. Surrounding the wooden stage is a gaffed set-up of arc lights shrouded with prismatic gels and morse-code blinkers. G is fiddling with the nobs on his dated walkie-talkie. Feedback squeals from the monitors..testing, testing one two three. I sidle up to him, wanting to get close, wanting say something (what is it I want to say?) and he's suddenly fatting up my ears with highly technical jargon about the museum-piece Arriflex he's manning---the special wide-angle lenses, adapters and filters he's had manufactured for this crazy dream shoot. I'm awestruck by his le plus vieil homme du monde knowledge. I ask him diffidently "What...how...when did you learn all this? I never knew!" He rakes me under his arms and shakes his head at me scoldingly...tsk tsk tsk! Then lets go, hikes up his jeans and confidently approaches the three-legged Arri, deftly unspooling a wriggling kite-tail stream of perforated film stock, tossing the ribbons at my feet and yelling: "I need a goddamn cartridge! Get me a fucking c.a.r.t.r.i.d.g.e.!"

Later after sundry manic dream forays, G is back (from a nap? a holiday?). He's now extremely dark-skinned, but not naturally, curiously covered in blackface like Al Jolson. But the bogus hackjob around his eyes and neck...he's got a shit-eating grin and so...bar-har-har! It's the dignified G turned shithead vaudville, not at all the dignified one commanding the stage. No, he's lampooning himself---the crew joining his raucous mirth-filled hilarity---big teeth all around.

But then he wipes off the grease paint, raises his spectral finger into the light like a medieval raptor, arcs it down toward me, and at the last moment whumping its beak down on my chest. Then again and again, screaming with each stab. "Homes, you need to learn! You need to learn!" There is a dull pain that I know is deep and serious, but I can't feel it like I should. Then he's back with that earlier sneer, bearing down on me with all the weight of his soul. I'm a low down dirty in his mind. He's getting me back for something that my lucid mind is trying to recall. This is a slippery dream of recriminations and doubts.

He pulls out a load of clinking miniature (whiskey?) vials from the velcro pockets of his fisherman's vest, uncapping two, three, four at a time and chugging them down glugglug. Wiping at his mouth with the vest, projectiles of comes flying in my face while he burps and coughs at once. "Damned good!" And he's winking and friendly again, giving me the knowing eye about some past funny only we share.

More dream close-ups and wide shots pass the night from this Mother feature. I can see he's been puppeting my mind and making me shrink---directing me with kinetoscopic Svengali eyes for the big make-over. "Watch me. Learn what you need to learn and then have copies made for distribution. IT is all here". And I understand "it" is the mystery about his residence. But I feel clamped like a vise by Him. Like a trial with him as judge, I'm at His mercy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Doll Dream

I'm anxious about revisiting the bungalow on Ambrose Ave where I once lived. The same laconic Gene Autry cowboy from Saturday t.v. matinees drawls: "There was a little girl who lived nearby. I don't know who she was, but I seen her in my dreams; I'm certain she's the one and it was here". I don't know that it's me talking or some other. Or that this is an old song I've nearly forgotten. But this is like the long ago dream about that same talking, pull-cord baby doll that was both fictitious and real. "You can't possibly remember anything because you left this place for elswhere". At the door, I press on a sad little bellbuzzer that's hooked up to springy electrical wires and hanging from the same battered fascia board and feel the mild charge in my fingers. Brrriiiiiing brriiiiiiing! Behind the blackened screen door I can see the same dark gray corpse of a crone smoking in her rocker. What was her name? She was the woman who used to plant things only at night. The vapors of her cigarette are trailing towards the gridded, galvanized mesh. The smoke comes through like Indian signals revealing that she's got the doll.

At the tail end of a snaking customs queue with Ty, Elena, Geoff, and a much older Gena. They're each wearing a wreath-like "crown o leis" chin-cinched with vines of cascading holiday tendrils. Their heads are bopping to some sort of Hawaiian slide uke that's playing over the p.a. I'm not partaking of the festivities---I keep bumping up against a hodge-podge of dented, military-issue jerry cans. The canisters are stenciled with stippled white symbols, all of them visually suggesting the direst warnings which my dream mind runs with: plutonium, aids ebola, cholera and bubonic pestilence. The "family" directly in front the containers seem infected---something is seriously wrong with their skins. The pink freckled dad with his flattened haircut has got something to do with all of it. He's got the girth of a savior, but is going down with the wife and kids. He's got scabrous blotches coating the back of his arms and neck----poking through the appendage openings of his pristine starched white shirt. He looks like something ancient...beached. I'm trying to get the other four to notice all this, but they are now far back towards the tail end of the line. I'm yelling and waving while the crowd surges, but my vocal projection is chord-cut and feeble---drowned out by the funky cacophony. The four of them are now clapping, stomping and whooping it up---entertaining the crowd around them by weaving a Celtic knot of a well-rehearsed barn-dance. The Hawaiian twang of the p.a. is metallic, hard-edged and deafening. We've moved forward in the line, but the canisters, and the family in front of us, are gone.