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, May 21, 2006

Lemon Song Dream

A tilted cityscape of mixed-era autos along the strand---filmic black and white Wrigley's Spearmint youthful carefree barbeque enjoyment of halcyon summers. Beach Nuts!

News warnings interspersed with temple gongs marking the hour. Trying to count out the seconds along with the analog second hand to see if the radio's accurate: "...one thousand and one, one thousand and two"...tick...tick...tick. Look up to see I'm in Wrong City. I was heading to Pasadena I'm sure. Or was I heading to Sears in Santa Monica?

The Streamline Moderne architectural splendor of Macy's is right around the corner, but when I turn it there is no Macy's. "Wha...?..should to be right...should be there. No wait. Could I be on the wrong corner? Gotta back-track. In my mental rewind, I'm back in "real" dream time, driving where I think I was. "I parked my car after turning at 4th Street, here, then went up to level 2 there then went downstairs and turned right (?) towards the beach which is aha right where it should be. And so where the hell is Macy's?

Out among the jostling crowd I bump into P, wife of R. She's no longer the standoffish woman I'd been put off by long ago. Now a toothy, smiley, gum-snapping friendliness full-of-charm and wide-eyed little girl self-assurance. She's some sort of store guide telling me about the marvels of Bullock's Department Store and "Don't you just love all the departments stacked up high like this? On the 3rd floor you can get girlie stuff (nudge nudge, wink wink) and on the 5th there's more manly stuff like tools and jock straps (wink wink, nudge nudge)."

A humongous shopping cart the size of a single family home piled high with every sort of vestment known to humanity---jolly baby jumpers, designer jeans, bundles of corporate t-shirts, endless Fruit-of-the-Looms (very soft and very fine cotton) More quarries filled with formal duds like waistcoats, tuxedos and ball gowns stacked up willy-nilly among overalls and yet more packages of 3-for-one socks. At the corners of the cart are teetering stacks of baseball caps forming pagoda-like spires (with big-headed sizes at the bottom and tiny heads at the top). Beautifully designed Asian labels from Bombay, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul grace the labels. I'm in awe of how much stuff humanity dishes up to itself. Creating. Composting. Cannibalizing.

Later I'm inside of Frank Ghery's Santa Monica car park looking through the metal grid out onto the sparkling beach tableaux. Each grid section frames a perfectly composed "seascape", forming a pattern of astonishing theme and variation---miniature
masterpieces of shimmering spectral harmony.

I'm wondering where the hell I parked my car and what car it was---the Giulia?---the Blue Bug? A hot wind comes blasting through the mesh and I get shore sand in my eyes and am now getting swept back with all the cars towards another dream where a scratchy film loop of the Hindenburg is exploding again and again to the Lemon Song. I can see all the little people on fire running for their lives with that tragic zeppelin re-lighting itself like a trick birthday candle.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Biker Chick

I'm driving through a lost Ville of dark diChirico shadows and glaring sun-bleached stucco. Mongolian desert devils are dervishing in the distance and my skull is getting baked. The air is so clear that the landscape seems ready to shatter.

Reflected in my rear-view mirror is a biker chick wearing leather pants and a tank top taking up the rear seats of the Mustang convertible I've borrowed...rented...stolen?. I'm trying to find the right button on the steering column to set the cruise control and instead I trigger a full-blown circus of windshield wipers, sprays, electric windows and seat adjustments. A tinny Jack-in-the-Box "intercom" voice comes through the horn speaker and announces that "There's a dead woman in the back seat...more news at the top of the hour". I turn around and the woman, much larger now, is sprawled out on a hillock of food encrusted fast food wrappers, cartons and beverages. She scratches her head slowly to gather up all her drunken brain cells and plant a hard stare on me.
"You were curious if I was dead, weren't you? Weren't you!

"Ah, M'am. Your weight is putting too much pressure on the suspension---the springs and tires are gonna go---this isn't even my ride!

I wonder about always being too polite in these situations. Maybe I should be more willful here so there'll be less trouble down the road. But then I'm apprehensive because she's so Big and Mean-looking and why's she scratching her head like a chimp?

Forlorn and tragic towns further on with bogus Sonoran cacti wilting in sidewalk planters. A Main Street billboard advertising "Race Shaving Cream" shows the finish line sprint with a dromedary trying to out-nose a buck-toothed donkey. Another billboard shows wild-eyed men with outstretched arms and distended eyeballs escaping from exploding mine shafts and oil derricks. Aaahhh! Terrorists! Oil! Eureka! More cinematic billboards posted. "Signpost City" As we exit the town a grande finale of billboards shows a foreshortened vanishing perspective view of an epic mastaba made up of rusted oil barrels. It appears to be some sort of land-going tanker.

I look back and she's still looking right through me and is now scratching her head with tremendous intention.

"You've got lice!" I tell her. I turn around quickly to see her reaction...and she's gone. Maybe she's slunk down on to the floorboard---maybe she's...

"And You've Got MAIL!" she screams in my face. "Harharhar. Took you a few seconds to figger out where that one came from dinnit? D'ya see the movie?" "Back of your cute little car is way too small and way too trashy which makes me look big and stinky which is what you're thinking and why I'm ridin' up front where it's clean and the leather smells excellent!

Closeup: Her five-o'clock face is freshly-shaven and her heavy talc is flaking off in the swirling car wind.

"You love music, so tell me where this song is from!" She begins humming and singing some weary country and western ditty with good lords almighty and jumpin' jesuses running around everywhere. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for any oncoming traffic and fleet-footed road critters.

"Do you mind if I turn on the radio? I ask. "I need to hear the traffic report."

She's working on another hymn and I decide to leave it on cruise and jump in the back. The trash has cleared and the car has become much more spacious and grand. It's a souped-up much plusher version of my mom's prehistoric DeSoto. "Push-button 25th-Century heaven brought to you by Buck Rogers!"

Bike Chick gets up close and in my ear gently says "Why don't you tune in?" "I'm here to show you a quality of sound that might heal you. Don't you get it?"

And she begins another song the same way as the others but then hits the luxury radio dial and sets off a sonic flow so sonorous and full of deep spirituality that I am instantly moved by it. She winks and then pops and launders a huge wad of bubble gum and, noticing the dashboard cracks---saying we'd better get it mended because it's an ideal breeding spot for lice and bacteria. She begins pulling elastic taffy stringers out of her mouth and curling them into little impromptu vinyl patches which she tucks into the cracks. I'm astonished how deft she is---wondering where she's gotten this sort of training.

She toys with the dial---picks up some sputnik blips and beeps and suddenly finds a rhythmic static. She opens the glove box and slides out a super high-tech mixing board and dials the knobs and says "We need the right galaxy. I need a Pulsar...got it!"

"Now I will sing from within."

A hip-pumping rhythmic flow sweeps over the cruiser and Biker Chick has become the man she'd been hinting at in my half-illuminated mind. She is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Biker Chick who begins a slow-burning devotional song mixed with the Pulsar chorus from the tuner. Siberia. Tuva. Balinese Valhallas and Samarkand. Algerian wails and Qawwali howls to the moon and back. It is Khan himself!

I am lucid now, reconfiguring the bedsheets into sails for my drunken ship. This
Mustang bed vessel had last been rolling up glorious oriental coasts full of hitchhikers and stowaways with Hunter Thompson always nearby. On we rode till the long awaited traffic report finally came by way of an old Yoda-like sage (who ended up doing all the driving) and began to warn us of tsunamis and end-of-the-world tornadoes. Tsunamis! Tornadoes! I remember telling him to go east at the next Pacific grove.