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

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Riverboat Dream (This side)

Running barefoot along a jungle "exercise" trail in Nicaragua. "Fuera!" signs posted by Sandanistas are riddled by Contra bullets. I'm carrying a special backpack containing urgent code sheets for the Ortega brothers. War is in the air. Bullets. Muffled explosions. "You are Phidippides. Now run!"

My left hand is sliding along an "energy rail" installed to protect peace-time trekkers from falling over the edge into the churning river. I'm able to manipulate my weight on the ground as well as my forward movement by varying my grip. My feet
are barely touching the trail as I move along in a levitating, air-pedalling sprint. But when I let my grip slacken slightly, the jungle gravity brings everything to a slow-motion crawl. A buzzing, pulsing surge (like a video controller) is being conducted through the railing into my wrist and up my arm. I flex my fingers and eventually locate the proper "energy" grip. The feeling is giddy as my body starts to lighten and I move forward again.

The river is moving faster now as I'm heading up a steep incline. A Mississippi steam boat is paddling at the crest trying to get over. As I move forward along the rail, it's as though I'm zooming through a lens. At the back of the riverboat a wheel of heavy paddle blades is spanking up the river water and churning up a heavy mist. I'm trying to see through the spray to have a closer look. I can hear the firing of the steam engine below the deck and a swinging big band sound is coming through the smoke stacks like a pair of giant grammaphones. The band, the engine and the water churning all fuse to become a cacaphonic wall of abstract sound. As I swivel my head left and right I'm able to locate the main beat by concentrating on the engine. I continue squeezing my hand and turning my head and eventually dial in a righteous "heady" groove. It is narcotic, physical and ready to devour me.

Floating above this mix coming out a smaller set of pipes is Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra singing a divine
ode to something lost. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful ballad that I'm familiar with and trying to recall..."What song is it?" But I can't locate it. And after infinite sadness and despair the great architecture of sound is tangled and crossed. The paddle wheel becomes a paddle wheel again and there's no Armstrong, no Sinatra.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sponge Dream

Lying sick in my old attic room on Griffith Park Blvd. My mom is sitting next to me with a galvanized bucket of sponging medicine, mopping my forehead with a giant swab, chanting a "cure" with her far away voice. The sponge she's using is an undulating, effervescent living creature---each time she brings it to my face for another medicinal wash I can see a schaumy mass of bubbles brewing in the fissures. I peer over the side of the bed to watch her "sponging technique". As soon as she plops it in the bucket, it darts out of her hand to move behind a large chunk of galvanized bucket coral. While I'm holding myself up on the side rail to get a better look, I lose my grip and slip down onto a drenched batch of bedding. Is this all my sweat? My mom chortles: "Boy, you're sweating so much it looks like you're in a washing machine, heehee". I'm buoyed by the sheets, but the sweat is running out of my pores. My hands can feel all the facial seepage while the bed keeps filling up.

Later the bed has morphed into a night pond filled with water lilies. I'm in the garden of my aunt L's house---the light from her kitchen illuminating a cluster of guppies swimming round my body. Surrounded by a starry sky with frogs and crickety sounds, I can hear my mom speaking calmly as though I were still in the room. But her voice trails off and I yelp for her to come back. I know my fever will worsen if I stay in this dark pool and now in a hurry---working to extricate myself from this backyard bayou. A heavy dark plastic sheeting is hooked over the pond border, collapsing each time I try to raise myself out. As I close my eyes to meditate, a montage of educational footage from primary school warns about drowning people having superhuman strength. (The narrator sounds like George Stevens from his classic "D-Day to Berlin"). There's a "highlight" portion where some Tarzan guy jumps into the ocean to save a drowning man (to illustrate the danger). As the two are fighting each other for water supremacy---they're both drowning---a Jaws shark starts circling. The scene switches back to the smiling narrator who says: "Join us next week folks, when we find out what happens to our heroes".

I'm away from the edge now, dog-paddling towards the middle of the pond where the lilies are. I get nowhere and so turn over to do a backstroke. Now my legs and feet are tangled in a patch of...lotus roots? My feet and legs are suddenly grazed by something
. The closer I get to the center, the easier it is to move---as if being pulled by a current. I finally reach the lilies and hold on to the edge of the biggest one, but it collapses. I can feel something sucking at the bottom of my feet. The lilies are turning now, round and round and I can feel the undertow sucking everything down.

Later I'm standing in a middle of the drained pond. It is alive with woebegone trilobites, catfish and
little guppies all flopping and sucking for the mother pond. Near the ledge where my bed was, I see the same sneaky sponge sliding behind a large outcrop of bucket coral.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Clown Dream

A big snarly red faced wino clown is knotting balloon tubes for a pleat-skirted gang of parochial schoolgirls. He's not a real clown, but a smelly disguised hobo with bad intentions. The schoolgirls are innocent---I want to warn them---but he keeps eyeballing me suspiciously---so I'm waiting for the right moment to charge him so they can get away.

He flips the switch on his massive tricked-out ghetto blaster, its console full of dials and dancing lights. A big Merengue tambora leaps out the speakers with thumping bass and the wino clown ups his pace, now assembling an astonishing array of rubbery dogs, cats, horses, bunnies---I'm entranced by the candy-colored zoo multiplying around his feet---his head bopping and fingers flying---the girls screaming 20! 30! 40! 50! Suddenly he flips off the blaster switch, pulls off his wino face, wig and his billowy clown togs, revealing a splendid dapper-dandy. A real magician.

I'm stunned. He's had me completely fooled. Harharhar! He's pointing at me and honking a giant bicycle horn going harharhar HONK HONK! The parochial girls join in the big heehaw---are they his floozies? I'm disgraced, muttering confused apologies to the magical hobo clown and to the girls for having wrongly accused him. They're circling me now, and so I curl up into a fetal ball, his goose horn honking something wet and sticky over me.