laughing geysers of ronicaldo
I am watching a program on Public TV about "The Laughing Geysers of Ronicaldo"...
Narrator: "The mud geysers in this remote region of the Amazon erupt with a sound virtually indistinguishable from that of human laughter. The scientist has no explanation for this phenomenon.
"But to the natives of Ronicaldo, the laughing geysers are no mystery.
"The native has long observed how the white man is able to detach his presence and make it appear, in motion, on a sheet of white cloth.
"The native has long observed how the white man is able to detach his voice and put it inside a small wooden box.
"So it seemed natural to the native to assume that the white man detached his individuality and his laughter, and sent them wandering off through the rain forest, until at long last they took up residence in these geysers.
"In recent years, scientists have begun to take these suggestions more and more seriously..."
i love lucy
A couple of years ago, there was a piece on TV about the original TV talk show, from way back into the late forties. Turns out it was still on TV, some TV station out in New York City-- had been on the air all these years, with its original host-- and it had now been "dug up," like some kind of prehistoric fossil.
Last night I had a dream which had me laughing so hard, I couldn't get back to sleep again for the rest of the night. In this dream, I was watching a TV interview. A young nineties type guy is interviewing two old duffers, the producer and director of the I Love Lucy show-- which, incredibly, had actually remained part of the network lineup all these years, only it had sunk into total obscurity.
These two old white-haired duffers sit there-- one wearing a French beret, the other with big, heavy, old dark-framed horse glasses-- trying to look arty, but they only succeed in looking completely out of touch. And this young nineties fellow is interviewing them...
--"Now, tell me... It's been many, many years, in fact it's been well over a generation now, since Ricky Ricardo has appeared on your show. How have you dealt with this?"
The two old men shift, as if caught off guard.
"Well... actually we haven't gotten around to dealing with it yet... We've been planning, one of these years... "
"You know, we've wracked our brains, trying to figure out a way to deal with that one. We know many of the viewers would be heartbroken."
"We've hoped, we've sort of hoped that many of them haven't really noticed yet..."
"We had toyed with the idea, you know-- many, many years back, early on, there was that classic episode where Ricky Ricardo was kidnapped by those green women from Venus. We had played with the idea of doing a remake of that episode, as an explanation of why he was gone. But then we thought-- well, no, TV viewers today are much better educated about astronomy, it would never work."
--"And what about Lucy? You know, it's also been many, many years since Lucy has appeared on the show."
At this, the two old men glance at each other, sour and sheepish, chagrined, as if they had hoped to get away without having to deal with this question.
"Well... for a long time there, we got along using those life-size cardboard cutouts..."
"Promotional photos mounted on cardboard, you know."
"But then somehow those cardboard cutouts got misplaced. I don't know, we looked everywhere, we couldn't find them."
"There was a problem, we couldn't take another photo and blow it up to life size and mount it, there was a problem over copyrights."
"I tell you, we've tried everything to track down the owners of those copyrights. We've even placed classified ads in the paper, asking the owner of those copyrights to meet us for lunch."
"But so far, we've just sat there at the restaurant, alone. For whatever reason, nobody has shown up."
The interviewer--"Well, has it ever occurred to you that perhaps nobody has shown up, because you yourselves are the owners of the copyrights?"
The old men look startled. "Well, now I wonder if that isn't a possibility!"
"We'll have to talk to our lawyers about that one!"
--"And what about Fred and Ethel?"
At this, the two men brighten up.
"Fred and Ethel appeared on the show, until they died."
The two old men look considerably pleased with themselves at this reply, as if, you can't get us on that one!
The interviewer runs his hand through his hair. "But how have you managed to keep doing the show all these years, with all the characters gone?"
"Well, for several years there it was a real challenge..."
"We came up with some very innovative camera angles..."
"But then, after a few false starts, we came up with what we feel is the solution. And it's worked out quite well..."
"You see, now we have a group of young people on the show. They're getting together-- it's as if they have been eyewitnesses to the events of the episode-- they're getting together, and they're sitting there and talking it over. They're sitting there and it's like, 'Let's rap!'"
"We feel it's worked out quite well."
"We hoped this move would attract more viewers from the younger set."
"It's also made it easier and more economical to do shows that would otherwise have been much harder to do-- such as that one episode where Lucy got those tattoos..."
"Or that episode last season, where Godzilla was attacking the city!"
"We've also begun relying more heavily on special guest stars-- which has also generally worked out quite well..."
"Well, usually. Now, sometimes it hasn't worked out-- that one episode we were planning, about the Italian clam dip, when it came time, we learned that the guest star we'd been hoping for was no longer making public appearances..."
"Yes, Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet..."
--"Now, how is it, I notice, looking at the network schedule, that your show airs at three in the morning..."
"Well, yes, that was a compromise..."
"Would you believe, at one point there the network actually wanted to cancel the show! But we managed at last to convince them, that with a show with the long history and tradition of ours, ratings could not be the only consideration..."
And then I woke up.
little robot horses
Last night, I had a dream. And in the first part of it, I was in Hong Kong, in a museum of Chinese culture. And I could see in beyond, and there was room after room filled with museum artifacts. And I was by the Chinese water fountain outside, wondering if drinking from it meant they wanted a donation; and in the gift area, I was looking for Chinese playing cards, or a chess set for Chinese chess, or maybe a mah jongg set. Only all I could find were items having to do with Western playing cards. And the young lady at the desk said, no, they didn't have any.
Now next time we were up at a moon base, on the moon. And digging around outside, in hard vacuum, wearing our space suits, we kept coming across the remains of little robot horses, about knee-high, covered in the lunar dust.
And now there was word from the Mars colony that robot horses were being sighted, running across the dead, empty sea bottoms of Mars. And there were getting to be so many of them, that the robot horses were overrunning the entire planet.
Now change of scene, and I'm watching it as an anonymous observer, but it's all in the third person. A star ship has been dispatched, faster than light, to travel to another star system, and investigate what is supposed to be a new habitable planet for colonization.
And two astronauts, one a young fellow with a dark crewcut, whom I sort of identify with; and one, a beautiful, sexy young blonde Swedish babe. And even faster than light, it's a couple of months to the star system. And I think you can guess what happens with these two together, in those months in the empty deeps of space, between the stars. The phrase that occurred to me in the dream was pol na polú, which is Russian for "sex on the floor." Only in space there is no floor, no ceiling, only a slow-motion mid-air ballet in zero-gee.
And after a couple of months, these two astronauts, the man and the woman, arrive at the distant star system. And they settle down to the surface in a shuttle. And they open the airlock, letting down a heavy gangplank from the metal underbelly of the shuttle, and they venture out onto the perpetual dark of the planet, with its howling winds. And all about them, scampering with the sagebrush, knee-high, are little robot horses. And frequent lightning shows the robot horses running in snapshot profile.
And the woman takes a flamethrower, and incinerates some of the nearby robot horses, Sigourney Weaver style. But that was a mistake. Because now thousands of little robot horses are drawn from miles around to the charred remains. And they actually seem to be multiplying.
The man warns the woman back into the airlock, and they manage to get the shuttle off, and it lifts, a giant hulk of metal slowly levitating into the air. And beneath it, lit up by its landing lights in the heavy dark, are thousands of little running robot horses.
Now it's a couple of months back to Earth, hyperlight, and the man and the woman are going at it again in the interstellar deep.
And when they get back, they are kept in quarantine, in a space station in Earth orbit. Because word has come back, from other missions like theirs, and it seems that the little robot horses are everywhere, on every habitable planet that has been investigated, except for Earth. And there's a fear, because it's not known how the robot horses are spread, or how they multiply. It might even be possible for a person to be carrying the template for them, in microscopic form, like a virus. So the man and his Swedish babe are trapped up there in the space station. And they can't come back down to Earth.
And then I woke up.
I had an odd dream last night. There was a region in southern Mexico where a certain Indian language was spoken, and somehow it was also spoken in an area stretching way, way down through the other countries of Latin America. So this Indian from the area in Mexico was going to push on South, traveling through regions where his language was spoken, deeper and deeper into Tropical South.
The dream has strange resonances with the last section of Kerouac's On the Road, that last trip they made, way down into Mexico. Apart from that, I don't quite know what to make of it.
Last night I had a dream of Goethe receiving thousands of plant silhouettes which someone was sending him for study...
these gothic poles were holding up the sky
Last night, I had a dream that was as if I was in the backyard at Poynette. But in reality, I was existing in a different world, a different plane of reality. Only, in its outward details, it looked much like the neighborhood in Poynette where I grew up.
And I was demonstrating to someone who was standing on the back steps how I could fly, only there were so many phone lines and power lines overhead, that I would always get tangled in them in short order. And in this world there were indeed many more lines overhead than in our reality. The phone lines running down the alley, at the back edge of the yard, were carried on heavy wooden poles whose tops were strangely carved, so that they were as if the pillars and joists out of a somber Gothic cathedral. And another pole was planted right in the middle of the yard, on the hillside, about where we used to plant the Christmas tree in the old well until it became a bonfire on the Fourth of July. And this pole, too, was as if taken from a cathedral, and in its upper arabesques three or five lines passed overhead across the middle of the yard. And there were lines all over.
And I took off in flight several times, only each time, before I had risen twenty feet, I was tangled in the lines.
And I noticed, with a sense of awe and some foreboding, that it was almost as if these Gothic poles were holding up the sky. And the sky was not lit as in our own world, but everything was suffused all round about with the sort of light, the eerie and green light, which in our world often bathes the scene right after a late afternoon summer rain.
And then soon came another time, and this time it was already the next morning, and another fellow and I were going out the front door and over to the house next door, where a neighbor woman I didn't know was going to feed us breakfast. And as she was pouring us coffee and offering us rolls, somehow it occurred to me with an uncanny sense of fright that this was rather like "home alone," only we weren't alone, and in fact we weren't at home.
That was when I realized that, in this reality where we were existing, altered turns of event could break through with no warning and become your actual happening scene, right now! It's rather like when you're at home alone, all by yourself, and suddenly you realize that maybe somebody could have broken into the house, and they could be in there alone with you, and all of a sudden with no warning, home there alone in the still sunlight behind drawn shades, they could leap out and seize you. Instant. Unheralded. A heart stopper.
And as we stood around in this woman's kitchen having breakfast and trading bright and pithy anecdotes, it became my heavy and terror-laden conviction that this reality's capacity to be "metamorphosed at any instance and used against us" somehow centered in this woman. And I realized she was becoming for me a figure both of fascination and of terror.
As I was talking, the woman looked up at me from the work she was doing at the sink. Her gaze pierced me. I had bought her eye.
I continued, my heart unsteady and gathering fright.
The woman continued to fix me with her piercing dark eyes. I gathered my rapidly failing courage, and forced myself to go on.
Now I had this woman's full and undivided attention. Wreathed by the dark wavy hair done up on top of her head, her dark eyes transfixed me, and the tip of her tongue appeared at the corner of her mouth. And, at the same time, the inward feeling of a strange light hanging like a mantle over everything, of a gathering of storm clouds about to break, became almost unbearable.
I could feel in the air that something bad was about to happen.
And I was hesitating. (The hesitation was due to an eerie foreboding: as I say, I could feel something building in the air, like an invisible magnetic field radiating out from this woman along the flux lines of her piercing attention, like the electric charge crawling on your skin right before the lightning strikes.)
But right then I woke up.
Last night, I had a dream, and there were lots of parts to it. And in one scene, I discovered that back in the 1940's they used to make some pennies which were real long and stretched out, so that there was room on the back to add, in fine print, an endorsement for your representative in Congress. And I saw that this long penny was endorsing the fine, faithful civic sense of one "Irene Knizz Divell."
Looking back in waking hours, these long pennies remind me of the time when I was out on the Pacific Coast in Washington State, the "Peninsula" down in southwestern Washington, and in one of those little towns along the beach I found this restaurant with wonderful home cooking, giant juicy hamburgers with a ton of fries, and home-cooked green beans just right, and they had on display inside a glass case a curiosity, a small mummified human head joined seamlessly onto a small alligator's body, so flawless you couldn't even see how it was done, it looked just like real, and you could put coins in a machine, and then put a penny in the slot, and it would take your penny and roll it out long and return it to you, a long penny with a picture of the Alligator Man stamped on the back.
secret moon base
A very weird day. Strange dream last night, on a Durham TV station, CBS Special Report, President Bush coming on to reveal a secret space project which had been undertaken over the past few years, secret military space shuttle flights taking up supplies to construct a moon shuttle in earth orbit, which over the past year had been transporting tools, supplies, astronauts, and scientists to the moon for the construction of an "emergency permanent lunar base" which had just been completed. Astronauts now transporting materials to the far side of the moon to construct a second lunar base there, near a "formation" which had been "built thousands of years ago by a race of alien beings from beyond our solar system." Film footage of astronauts in space suits on moon, gathered around a strange layout like an art-deco version of a Japanese Zen rock garden. The "formation" was also maintaining water in liquid form at the temperature of the lunar surface, in an open vacuum...
labyrinth & minotaur
Last night I had a dream, and there was this black-haired babe with me, and we were in a house, together with two frat boys, and there was no way out, because where the back door was supposed to be, instead there was a bedroom, and bodies sleeping there. And we had to overcome them, in order to get out.
And in this bedroom were three bodies, a young fellow and a young gal and something that wore the outward appearance as if of a woman, but I knew it was not really even remotely human. And when they awoke, the idea was that the thing as if a woman would demand of us to eat-- would demand to eat of our flesh-- and then either she would eat it herself, or else she would give it to their fourth to eat. Their fourth: a huge thing like a man, with a man's body, but a bull's head. A minotaur. And then the minotaur would devour us.
You could say that we were trapped in the labyrinth.
And then I realized the solution, which was that the black-haired babe could give me any part of her body, such as a hair, or a little piece of loose skin, or a nail clipping, or a little seed squeezed from a clogged-up pore in her arm, and I would eat it myself instead of giving it to the thing as if a woman. And thereby I would short circuit their ritual plan, and we would overcome them, and they would be slain, and we would triumph, and we could leave the house.
And I was explaining the plan to the babe, as she was sitting on a stool in one corner of the kitchen. And I noticed as I took her hand that she had her left thumbnail slightly long, and I thought to myself, well, that's one possibility right there. And the frat boys were standing silently off to the side.
Then in the bedroom there was a stirring, and I was struck with panic. Because now the three came forth, and the young fellow and the young gal went walking past us. They were walking to the bathroom, at the opposite end of the house. And then they were going to go to the bathroom together. And as soon as they got done doing that, the fatal drama would begin.
Now the thing as if a woman came forth, with short blonde hair, and she stood facing me in the kitchen. And I saw that she hardly looked human: her deep-set eyes were surrounded with dusk, as if she had two black eyes; and the skin all around her mouth was wrinkled like a prune, and it was all dusky colored, as if stained from drinking wine. Or blood.
And I was so frightened that I could hardly speak, but I managed to say, "I know you. I know... you know, you're not really human. You're not human at all. But I know how to overcome you."
And to this she showed no reaction, but went walking out into the dining room. And then I began to get worried, because the dark-haired babe had been so frightened by the thing as if a woman, that she was trying to hide inside a gigantic paper bag. And I thought, I don't know if she can pull out of her funk in time to hand me a little scrap of skin or something. And I don't know if I can get at her well enough, reaching inside the bag, to get anything on my own.
And then I heard the bathroom door opening. And I looked out into the dining room, and there stood the thing as if a woman, impassive but menacing. And I was trying to reach inside the paper bag and rouse the dark-haired babe. And suddenly in my mind's eye I had a vision as if of the minotaur in the living room, dancing with his horned head swaying like a shaman.
And then I woke up.
infinite regress cabin
A peculiar and hemi-productive Monday.
First, awake gradually into the charcoal pre-dawn; up, and confirmed my suspicion that my next door neighbor was jabbering away in his apartment at five in the morning over the burdens of life-- to whom? To a friend? To someone on the further end of a phone line? To himself? I don't know.
Back to sleep, and dreams. The most peculiar of which: a cabin, normal width, but it stretched away toward the horizon, to infinity. I entered the front door; inside, a rough and roughly furnished room, with a candle burning. Nobody there. I called out. Proceeding farther down the infinite corridor in the cabin, one room at a time. Each room different. The black tunnel recedes so that merely to look down it is to be struck with vertigo. In each room with a candle, I stop and call out. No response. Horrible feeling, as if of being in a haunted dwelling. Feeling that something horrible is waiting to rush out and seize me. And the farther I go down the endless length of the cabin, the farther I am away from the door. From the exit. From safety.
Then I awake.
john, paul, george & ringo
Last night the third and final installment of the Beatles Anthology on TV. Like many other viewers, I imagine, I've been getting hit with a strong dose of Beatles nostalgia. Last night I had a dream, as if in an alternate reality-- that the Beatles, though no longer very active producing songs, were still together, and that John Lennon had never been assassinated. And I had been a hanger-on, a friend and permanent houseguest of the Beatles, ever since the Sixties-- a sort of "Kato Kaelin of the Beatles." And John Lennon asked me if I wanted to run out with him for pizza, and we got in his VW Bug, and ran out to a place where we got pizza with smoked duck and mushrooms. And it was hitting me how my entire situation in life, ever since the 1960's, depended on my peculiar situation and friendship with John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
airwaves (not a dream)
New Year's Eve some very odd discoveries combusted on this terrestrial plane-- as if out of an old recurring dream of twenty years ago and more-- both having to do with one of my special lifelong interests, the airwaves.
Believe it or not, this one was not a dream.
First of all, fiddling around with the radio, I discovered, for the first time, a station broadcasting in the new 1610-1700 kHz range. Some far distant station on 1660. Mostly music. I recorded the station identification at the top of the hour, but it was too weak to decipher. As it was the only station broadcasting on that frequency, it could have been from anywhere in the country.
Then Steven discovered something even stranger. A new TV station in Madison. Or rather (since it is listed in the Yellow Pages under "Television Stations") a TV station whose very existence we have somehow managed for months to miss.
And a very bizarre TV station, at that. "Channel 8, WO8CK, Madison, Wisc." Programs simply airing without further announcement or interruption, except for fancy station identifications which run for three or four minutes every half hour. Extremely amateurish production values. All the programs are like something right out of the bargain basement of videotapes, all of them ten and fifteen years old, and more than slightly funky.
Some strange holistic health program, with commercials (among the few that aired) for the "Life Force Newsletter," and news about reincarnation. The Christophers, and a priest interviewing a paraplegic police officer. A half hour of third-rate rock videos, all from the same "Sparrow Communications Corp."
And to top it off, presentations of some mystic "spiritual master," Gilligan with a Hawaiian lei around his neck. Chanting, chanting, chanting while various scenes play across the screen. A man surfing the waves. A road between rows of trees. A woman working an old-fashioned hand pump. Gilligan chanting on the beach. Children watching doves in the park. A shot of Jesus in Gethsemane, which fades to a blue-skinned Hindu goddess with a fawn at her breast. Gilligan chanting atop a rock. Quotes from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Psalms. And all the while, the chanted background refrain of "Gopala Govinda Rama, Madana Mohana..."
After about fifteen minutes, the entire sequence began all over again. It re-ran with only minor variations: a fastbuck leaping in rhythm with the chanting, which fades to Gilligan and his crowd, all leaping in rhythm with the chanting. A different set of Bhagavad-Gita quotes.
And then a third fifteen-minute re-run. This time, more variations in the sequence were introduced, as the whole presentation took on the air of a Laplace transform of itself. A new sequence inserted about Socrates. A sun over water scene with quotes from some philosopher about "living in the machine age." Variations in the order of old shots.
And then a fourth fifteen minutes, this time everything old and new, well shuffled and transmogrified. Holy spinachia!
Then an hour (part of which I skipped) of Gilligan discoursing on the New Year, and "people who have tasted the bitter nectar of this world." This wrapped up at midnight with a reprise of selected shots of Gilligan, the fastbuck leaping, crowd chanting, and then several minutes of station identification, "WO8CK Madison, Wisc.", after which, without further adieu, the station went off the air.
Talk about bizarre... And like I say, this one was not a dream...
Eerie overtones of a recurring dream I used to have back round and about my teenage years-- of coming down early in the morning, turning on the TV, tuning around, and discovering a mysterious "Channel 29," with surreal dream-logic shows featuring a robot named Candlestick Parker, and the Secret Spy with the Soda-Straw Camera which "took" not photographs but cartoons. I remember how that dream came to symbolize for me the sense almost of awe, which I came in those years to connect with the practice of tuning around on the airwaves. A sense of awe which led me to realize, even at that age, that not all synthetic a priori's are listed in Kant: to space, time, number, logic, causality, qualities, we must add at the very least the radio dial. Cassirer, who guarded so fiercely the mutual independence of his various symbolic forms, would have understood.
high speed doomsday
Odd dream last night. A city, people walking as if in high-speed photography, hither and yon in cavernous city streets like accelerated mannikins. Cars, trucks, buses, looping and weaving in among them at breakneck speed, like cattle stampeding through a bazaar. Traffic lights blink too fast, green yellow red green! Skyscrapers, lights winking on and off like Christmas tree bulbs. And overhead zip shiny brass helicopters, like swarms of metal gnats.
Everything moving much too fast, as if filmed and then played back at triple speed. A gleaming city of the future, a harried city of today. A city of wind-up automata, overwound.
I am standing on the shoulder of a highway out of the city, looking back. The sky overhead is heavy and dark with charcoal grey clouds, the clouds of a gathering storm. Then, a cloud bank in front starts drifting to one side, revealing more of the charcoal clouds behind, and in the midst of those, a hole in the clouds.
And in that hole in the clouds, looking down on the insect-speed city, is the face of God.
He looks rather like Frank Lloyd Wright.
A voiceover: "The judgment will begin shortly."
Down below, oblivious, the mannikin people rush madly hither and yon, too busy even to look up and see.
la maison de dieu
Dream last night. Back in the house I grew up in at Poynette, I saw, looking out the window at the church, that the doorway was open and hung in plastic sheeting for repairs. Then a fellow came in a sports car and drove right in the door and up the stairs. I thought of mentioning this to Dad, then "thought better of it."
Next time I saw the fellow in the car driving in the doorway again, this time turning right and driving right out through the wall. Again, I thought not to report it.
Next time I looked out the window and realized that the entire entryway to the church had been demolished and reduced to a rubble of loose bricks. This time I mentioned it to Dad.
I was afraid the fellow would come back again, and this time succeed in toppling the steeple, which could fall sideways in front of the house with a tremendous crash, just missing us. Visions of terror, loose bricks coming flying right in through the windows, myself or Dad or someone injured or killed! The thought of the terror I would feel to see that gigantic barnlike steeple falling right past my bedroom window, "And how would I feel about God after such a scene of terror, with a giant brick steeple lying wrecked right in front of the house?"
Somehow I turned the church around 180 degrees-- exchanging east for west, my "latter turning," get it?-- so that next time the fellow came back, he managed to ruin only some minor brickwork on what was now the west end of a reversed church building. The steeple, now turned to face east, was safe.
Still, I now decided it was time to track this guy down.
Scenes of Dad and myself in what was either a library or a bookstore-- half the books Presbyterian, half the books Jewish, and I realized that the Jewish books were in fact the larger half. At the bookstore, I took a phone call from a salesman at the hardware store, to discuss possible purchase of a snow blower: no deal concluded.
Then, turning my body black or deep, dark red, and walking in an aura of yellow flame, I went forth from the house to track down the man who had damaged the church. At a Sear's in a shopping mall, I found a fellow who denied it was he, though he took fright at my appearance, and even when I showed him identification, he ran for the parking lot. I caught up with him, caught him, but then somehow he slipped away. I was out looking for him, aware that next time the whole church could be trashed.
I had an intriguing dream last night, that stations had started broadcasting in longwave in North America, and that I tuned my radio to the longwave band and was pulling in longwave stations through the deep ether-buzz static of the longwave band, 151-281 kHz.
I had a dream the other night that actually there are longwave broadcast stations in the US, only somehow all these years I had never realized it. There was even an old radio in the storeroom upstairs which had a longwave band on it, right above the desk where I used to sit listening to AM stations on that old Stewart-Warner tube radio, only somehow I had overlooked this other radio, or at least I had never realized that it could receive longwave.
In this dream, the idea was that FDR started the longwave broadcast stations as a public works project in the Thirties, during the Depression. Then after WWII the longwave stations were retained as a sort of Conelrad network. Of course, as a government program, these stations had been continued as a legacy up to the present day, long after use and interest declined. Most people nowadays, I dreamed, were no longer even aware of the continued existence of these longwave stations, and many had never even heard of them.
Indeed, since the late Forties it was almost impossible to find a radio any more with a longwave band, Some radios from the Fifties or Sixties might have a "Conelrad" button, preset by the dealer to pull in a local longwave station.
In this dream I saw, as if on a map of the US, that the flagships of this longwave network were five stations which, between them, blanketed the entire continental United States, outside of a small patch of Montana and North Dakota. Five stations, in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Amarillo, and San Francisco. Beyond these five stations, there were a more numerous group of "regional" longwave stations around the country.
In the dream, I took this old radio of ours, and I turned it on. After a minute, the tubes in it warmed up, and it hummed to life. I turned it to the longwave band, and started tuning around. And there, in the middle of the afternoon, I heard a voice, with station identification: "This is Longwave 207... WJZ, Chicago."
I got a station from Texas just above 250-- in broad daylight-- then I woke up.
Odd dream last night-- listening to longwave, and discovering a station, "This is WSDB, longwave 400 from Chicago"-- mixed format, sports, talk, rock.
A couple of weeks ago I had a dream that I was living out in the open, as if amidst partitions of corrugated sheet metal. It was a refugee camp, somewhere out on the Great Plains of Kansas or Nebraska or Oklahoma, in a time after things had fallen to pieces. I was like some character out of a Kerouac novel, dirt poor, beat, grapes of wrath, trampled down into the dust by the press of vast events, and I was living there in this fellaheen refugee camp with this woman, and a young daughter of hers. And I had this radio I had gotten somewhere, a big gigantic oversized silver boom box type radio, with all sorts of arcane controls and buttons and knobs and dials on it.
And then I couldn't find the radio, only this woman showed me where she had hung it up on a hook up high, on the corrugated sheet metal, out of sight of the random pilgrims roaming around in this sheet metal settlement. And I was filled with warmth that this woman, my woman, had understood me so completely and cared so much as to put my radio up out of harm's way like this. And I got it down as she busied herself with the cooking and the wash, her wavy black hair and her snapping black eyes, spaghetti boiling in a large open four-gallon metal pot above an open fire, wash strung out with clothespins on clotheslines strung amidst the walls of corrugated sheet metal.
And then this woman went off somewhere on some task or errand, walking barefoot, her sweet dusty feet, and I sat listening to the radio, with the young girl listening with me. And somehow this scene brought a misting of tears to my eyes, at the warmth of this impoverished refugee life we lived amidst sheet metal steel.
And then the radio had a longwave band on it, and I was pulling in one voice broadcast station you could receive even by day, on 315 kilohertz from Olathe, Kansas. By night this longwave station would come in loud and clear, and you could also get broadcasts on more distant longwave stations from all over North America. And it was some Bible-thumping religious broadcast, warning us to flee from the wrath to come, warning us to flee from the wrath which was already upon us, "and pray that it come not in winter." And I understood that this station had simply gone on the air, without a license, and without fear of reprisal in these latter days.
And then I woke up.
trapped in a bookcase
One night last week I had a dream that I came into this room and these fellows there started ridiculing me, then one of them retreated back behind a pillar or something but I could still see him, and so I used my psionic powers to levitate him, at high velocity, right up head first into the ceiling.
And then they were coming at me, I was shoving them back roughly with levitation, then they were firing on me with machine guns and I was psionically deflecting the bullets. And then, when they kept closing in on me, I used my levitational powers to make their heads explode, one after another.
Then I left, and in another room outside (it was in the library) were some Internet terminals which I could use to look things up, only most of the people in there were Leftists from Costa Rica or something, so they would be displeased at most of the topics I would be looking up.
And then I went out of the library, into a long hallway with a large, glass fronted wooden bookcase down at the far end. And this guy standing there had long sharp scissors which he was going to use to stab someone, and so I took the scissors away from him, and then he ran down the hallway and vanished right into the glass front of the bookcase, just like Alice through the looking glass.
And there were all sorts of wooden office chairs cluttering the hallway, and so I levitated a chair, fast as cannon shot, right down the hallway and into the front of the bookcase. And the chair vanished right through the glass into the bookcase, like through the looking glass.
And so I did this with one wooden chair after another, hoping to hit the fellow where he was hiding, inside the bookcase, but with each chair it was the same thing, it would pass right through the glass and vanish into the bookcase. And then one time, I didn't levitate a chair with enough force, and so it got hung up halfway through, parts of the chair just hanging there, suspended, sticking out through the glass. And so then I levitated a big wooden table at high speed, to knock the chair the rest of the way in, and the table also flew right in through the glass front and vanished.
And so then I walked up to the bookcase, and I pressed my fingers against the glass and my fingers went right in through the surface of the glass and came back out again, like dipping your fingertips into the water of a glassy calm pool. And so I decided to walk right through the glass front of the bookcase myself, like Alice through the looking glass, and confront this fellow inside the bookcase. And I walked right through the glass into the world inside the bookcase.
And it was indeed an entire world inside, much bigger on the inside than out, and there were vast dank stone walls, vaulted arches, vast and silent like a deserted cathedral. And it was almost completely dark, just a touch of dim bluish green light from somewhere above, like the last light filtering down into the depths of the ocean.
And I turned around to walk back out, a small foyer with the glass front of the bookcase opaque from the inside, only I found that I couldn't get back out again, the glass was now solid and wouldn't allow anything back out. And with a pang of horror I feared that I was trapped in the world inside the bookcase.
And then, in one corner of the foyer, I saw the guardian of this world within: a long, tall, thin pillar, fluted, like Greek or something, and atop the pillar a small head, glaring at me with lampbright glowing red eyes. And I felt like screaming.
And I woke up, screaming into the night: "Who's there? Who's there?"
code name: cherry underwood
Last night I had a dream that I was living in an apartment, with a couple of rooms near the back where I hardly ever went. And then I turned on the TV, and there was a show on, Steven thought perhaps sort of an addendum to The X-Files, only it was already about twenty minutes into the show. But I had seen it advertised in the paper, and the name of the show was "Cherry Underwood," or some such.
And the idea of this show, "Cherry Underwood," was that back during World War II there had been this secret biological project, code named "Cherry Underwood." And the project was to develop a technique of altering genetic structures so as to promote life forms whose survival strategies were far more flexible, and went far, far beyond, anything that could arise under ordinary processes of Darwinian evolution. And the project was horribly successful, it produced organisms whose biochemistry had been altered so that they could shift their phenotype and turn it on a dime, and the results were so horrible that it was said they should never be let out of the most strict laboratory security, and over the years not only the organisms, but the very structure of the processes they embodied, grew and evolved at a geometric rate. And then finally one day they grew too powerful to be contained, and they escaped out into the environment. And by now they had grown so advanced, that they were able to spread the contagion of "Cherry Underwood" as a fifth-order meta-genetic rewrite of the DNA material of other organisms and species.
And the results were so horrific that it went beyond even anybody's worst nightmares of a biological disaster. And it showed on the screen this monkey, in the heart of the jungle, who had been infected and his ordinary biomolecular structure subjected to a meta-genetic overwrite. And he moved amid the foliage by a flowing stream, and you could see that his form, his build, the structure of his skeleton, was in continual flux from moment to moment in reaction to impinging cues, so that he was always changing to become the monkey best adapted to survival in the snapshot of that passing moment.
And then the monkey sensed some predator stalking him, and all of a sudden, as the monkey turned around, his fur was in a split second absorbed back into his body so that he was now hairless, with an unearthly smooth grey-green skin, and the dome of his skull flowed and mounded up like quicksilver, and the front of his forehead parted and opened like a window, and the monkey grimaced and opened his mouth, and the inside of his mouth was filled with protuberances like little S-shaped pieces of macaroni, and one of them grew and shifted as if it was going to be shot out at the predator like some awful snake's tongue, some frog's tongue, only with deadly effect, poisonous, or some effect so horrible it would make even poison seem like a blessing.
And the horror of it was, this monkey was now an instantiation of patterns and structures so far beyond those of ordinary biology and selective adaptation, that they were entirely unintelligible, you could watch what the monkey was doing and you couldn't understand what was happening, you couldn't even compare it to anything you could understand.
And then next time there were fast skimming camera shots, as if low-flying over the wooden floors of a large, airy, spacious house, only the house was empty, and where was everyone? And then, in one of the shots, there was this pair of infant diaper pants, empty, skimming and levitating across the room. And the camera tracked, at an odd angle, following the floating diaper pants, and zooming in on them, the camera shot rose up over the edge of the pants, and now looking down in.
And inside the levitating diaper pants was a scene of horror, now we saw what had happened to the family that lived in this house, they were all reduced to the size of insects and running around inside the floating diaper pants, the father pushing a tiny lawn mower, every one running around frantically as if trying to carry out some fragmented, disjointed bit of ordinary everyday activity in a scene which was just as horrifying to them as it was to us, the TV viewers.
And then zoom in on this miniaturized family, and it became clear that one daughter, a young girl, was in control over all the rest, she was floating in the air above them inside the diaper pants, and they were in fear of her. And it became clear that the "Cherry Underwood" contagion had infected her so that she was able to manipulate and change not only herself, but her entire family, at a moment's whim. And so she had shrunk them all down to insect size and put them inside these levitating diaper pants.
And the diaper pants flew on above the sunlit hardwood floors.
And all over the world, scenes of unimaginable horror like this were taking place, and multiplying, and going beyond anything humanly comprehensible, as a result of the horrible spreading metamorphosis transmogrification contagion.
Last night I had a dream, and in it I found a whole lot of card decks for sale in an open wire rack in the aisle in a store. And each of the card decks was in a heavy cardboard box covered with yellow paper, like a card deck made overseas. And there was one deck I decided to buy, suit signs on the outside piled on top of an old-fashioned sailing ship, it was a kind of deck used somewhere in the western Mediterranean, and the suit of swords had long and curving blades on the swords like scimitars. And then I saw another deck, from India, JOM cards, and these were long and thin, about an inch wide by six inches tall, and I slipped the outer cardboard slipcase off the inner cardboard sleeve, and saw a whole lot of cards inside, I slipped one out to look at it, long and thin, with most of the face of the card printed in magenta, and in the center a single small axe, the ace of axes, and I decided to buy that card deck, too.
Last night I had a dream that some of us were in Belgium, travelling around, and we were up in the Flemish-speaking part, in the north, and next we were going to visit the Belgian city of Flève, right where the Belgian border joins the Netherlands and the sea, and which is a sea of linguistic oddity, as they speak there French, an archaic dialect, fourteenth-century Law French, since this city on the coast was ruled for centuries by England, and Englishmen in legal barrister wigs.
a throwback to the age of mammals
And this may have been the dream, too, where I was watching out the window, looking out on the deserted street, where P. had a manhole cover off, and crouched over he was bent double with his head down in the manhole. And then getting up he touched his head against the rim of the manhole, and instantly he came up, dancing and lurching in the street as if "Hit my head!", arms up and holding his head, capering bent back all childish and clowny, like some pure, simple child of the earth that he is.
And then in a dream Saturday night, I was going to go back and explore that labyrinth of rooms "in the back of my apartment," so seldom visited and now oft a site of terror, and then people were fleeing in terror, a girl sitting at a desk as if a nurse's desk told me that there were animals back there in those rooms.
And I went back, the hero into the maw of fear, and sure enough, one animal was as big as a hippopotamus, but different looking, with a knobbed head, uintatheric, as if a throwback to the Age of Mammals. And the other animal was even bigger, the size of a house, with a snout like a long, thin elephant's trunk, and the thing was, this animal would shove its trunk right up your ass and suck your internal organs out. And then this creature shoved its snout up the hippo-sized animal's ass, and was going to suck its organs out.
Last night I had a dream... The gigantic, massive, rooklike towers on the hilltops... The pulverization factories... Devoted to the manufacture of powders. It was revealed to me, as if in a word of knowledge, that back in the early part of this century, these pulverization factories had been the frequent target of angry mob attacks, often led by that sort of angry middle-aged woman, prohibitionist suffragette feminist vegetarian do-gooder, who deals with the emptiness of her middle-aged Angst by becoming a moral busybody who traffics in the angers of unease.
And so the crowds stormed the pulverization factories, massive crenelated brick cylinders like mediæval rook-castles atop the tall hills... Most people today, it was revealed to me, do not even know about this page in early twentieth-century American history...
And now, this time, I was to be working in one of the pulverization factories. And my job was to stand on a platform, right above a conveyor belt, holding a vacuum hose with nozzle. And powders that were brought in would be crushed to even finer powders, and these poured out onto the moving conveyor, and as they came toward me I would vacuum the powders up off the conveyor belt and into storage.
And then it was a question of whether I would accompany Steven and some other guys, on a weekend trip to the Holy Land, to see some of the pulverization factory towers over there, many of them dating back to the Crusades. But I put it off, as it seemed that their itinerary was rather elastic, and here I had to get to work.