Tuesday, December 16, 2008

3 dreams of my dead mother, and other tales

Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands”;
(Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
“You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see.”
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.

from Portrait of a Lady, Eliot

1974, pierre wayser


i like rooms like this. dark grey walls, it's slate i think. a hard bench in dark wood, with moderate sized slats and empty spaces in between. a simple rectangular shape. several of them. i sit amongst people in fitted black trousers, and oh-soo-elegant cocktail dresses. we are huddled together on these benches, people facing to their left or right, no one straight ahead. my field of vision is encased in somebody's head, so it moves and i see everything from the vantage point of eyes. it is a strange place to be. (the reason your own voice sounds strange to you is because of the interference that comes from your cranium's vibrations when you speak. it's a feedback mechanism that makes the way you sound different from the inside). there are lights, but i can't tell where they are located. there is popcorn. the head i am stuck in is in the kitchen. the head moves towards the right, out from behind the kitchen-counter, but not back towards the group straight ahead. it walks keeps walking, and there, a square shaped room with one wall made entirely of glass, through the glass i see my grandfather, 10 months (now) dead, sitting like a patient in a waiting room. his arms are not crossed - as he was accustomed to doing in life - they are by his sides. he wears the same bland khaki pants, grey plastic jacket. his hair little curly ringlets. he looked as he did when i was 8. 9. 10. (he looks as he does when i dream of him). i see him and freak. freak. i (consciously) get excited frightened uncertain... i haven't seen him since february. i've only seen him once. though asleep my body tightens. within the dream i fall to the floor and squirm like an animal, saying mom mom mom, it's your dad. there is no response to my excitement.

in the morning, i brush my teeth. feel comforted that my grandfather came around to check on me, even if he was as quiet in death as he was in life. (and that's when i realize it. it was my mother's funeral).


grass at dusk. that muddy mercury color. patchy like old men's hair. a tall high swing. three bodies, shadows, only partially filled in with matter. one on the swing, one pushing, a third off to the side (that's me).

inside an amphitheater. lines that are cut boldly, and shadows that inhabit their spaces and are too disciplined to move off their shapes.

outside, as the sky grows a demon-blue, then a soothing shade of black, then darker still. a cement bench that copies the color of the sky. i cannot sense its cold, or its hardness. i cannot sense anything other than i am sitting there.

voices carry in the amphitheater. i haven't a clue what they're saying.

outside, there's speaking.


i'm left with my sister. she has to pee. i have to get her to a bathroom. this is not uncommon. it is not uncommon to see me running through shopping centres and wedding parties and airports pushing my wheelchair as we both laugh (and are concerned).

it is dark. there are soo many bridges joining these buildings. for a while (as i think through sleep), i figure i am on a university campus at night. it is perhaps an open-night. when i was 9 my parents took me to see a cultural show at Moorepark College. my dad was a teacher there. perhaps it is there. when i was 10, we went to UCLA. i remember only the shape of the outline of the tree's shadow on the grass i had my lunch on. to me UCLA was the shadow of that tree. But for now, it is night. and i run, pushing my sister.

now with dad and Sahar. we are in an windowless house. there are sheets covering some furniture. an old piano that resembles a mean old lady and i won't go near it. my face has a sneer glued-onto it. it is dusty. dad is there. it is his dust-heap. sahar is there but i can't see her. an old wooden wardrobe goes high up towards the higher up ceiling. there's an old sound system up there, mummified in its own dust.


reza's standing by my bed. when i open my eyes i see my light-green-and-white-striped pajama pants. he's saying something but i don't hear him,
- i deamt that mom died.
- i dreamt that mom died.
- ... uhm
- three nights in a row.
- ... it's not necessarily a bad thing ... it ... could mean your relationship is changing ...
- [it's made me feel really lonely. and a little uncomfortable. we're a team. a team. we've faught wars together. see?
- ... blah blah blah blah blah (etc)
- [and, why do i feel soo lonely? i'm happy when people die. happiest
- ... and recently you're soo focussed on what you want and you're own life and so maybe ...
- [but this feeling ... and this last one ... it was like dad was raising us. also, he wasn't. i was raising us. and then dad. and then me. running across bridges looking for bathrooms. and then moving through dusty rooms looking at yet more dusty boxes, and that thick carpet that moulds around your feet like sand
- ... so i wouldn't really worry about it, to answer your question, no, i haven't had any such ...
- [but all we've gone through. i don't make sense to anyone but mom. not even she gets me, but at least she gets the history of it ... not really, but she was there for half the wounds, and she gave the other half, and even Sahar can't fathom it because half the wounds come from contorting ourselves to manage her
- ... also we have the electrician who might come today, but he might come tomorrow, but we have to be on the lookout
- [i always thought i'd be really happy for her, but... i'd be devastated. i never knew i would be. but i would be.
- ... and since they're emptying the construction bin out the front, maybe we should remove all the carpets too - oh, and with the pool, what was the size of the tile we've
- [when did we become a team?


i looked at your photo for a little while. it was there i looked. also i kind of thought it might be there, and so made sure to peek through. it was (there). i looked. i feel like i can translate your smiles better than anyone. maybe i can't. maybe i have an outdated dictionary. maybe there's a new edition of you out i don't know about. no doubt. i can't hold you up to the light to make sure, but i sensed a translucence. watch out for that ok?, first its translucence, then it's outright transparency. if you can't be a shadow there's nothing else but a cloud. i liked the feel of you in my hands, try to maintain some hold on matter. i don't know what you're fake-smiling about. but i feel like i do. history has its own makeshift mythology for everything. we kid ourselves into believing our Aramaic. i can't sense anything of you through this picture. it is like looking at a lake, why do we do that? (we do though).

i'll be honest about this too:
i think alot about when we meet next. how it'll happen. there's no doubt it will. people keep taking apart sections of the world and folding them up real tight and jamming entire continents back into the same cardboard box. it's getting smaller and. it's just a ticking machine thing before we do. bump. see. again. which is fine it's fine, i just wonder if i can stand up straight when it happens. whether i'll be half-formed or fully formed. whether i'll have developed a spine and fingertips and language by then. embryology takes forever.

i always feel like your life is better. like... it always just worked.works.will work for you. there's a glamour to it. an ease. life misfits sometimes. it's an awkward dress on some. doesn't quite make sense. like me. always stumbling onto buses and trains, beads of sweat on my forehead from the stress of being late. going to the mall unshaven and messy hair and my thumb still bleeding from the hacksaw blade. caught off-guard. not sure what to say back. carrying too much laundry in one basket so my uncool slightly-pink underwear is falling out everywhere. if the air is hot and humid i have a rash that comes. i suppose magazine cutouts never can work with

____(later evening)

i sniff the air trying to sense the vibe. i'm no shaman, nothing makes itself known to me.
i'm scared to sleep i just lay here and read the Ikea catalogue.

i haven't felt this lonely in months.

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