I keep a dream journal and periodically copy out some excerpts that serve as the raw material for poems. I transform them through word play and further association, basically trying to let unconscious processes suggest the words as much as I can. The final form of the poem may preserve almost nothing from the dream record. These are some (redacted) dreams I’ve worked with.
I am aware that some people find other people’s dreams excruciatingly boring.
In this dream Kevin Sorbo in his Hercules costume sits by a swimming pool, with his heart in his hands. His heart is a chocolate-brown box with rose pink silk lining. It is also
a mobile phone. He has fabricated it himself in tribute to Keith Haring and his last lover; their pictures appear on a kind of screen above the heart/box.
This dream is only a phone message: “Michael is using many names.”
In this dream a doctor is telling me that I have Crohn’s disease and will have to have an operation. He says, “You might be concerned about your ability to have sexual relations,
but . . .” then something about sexual orientation and of course certain things won’t be possible.
I meet Bill Clinton. He’s amusing some people with a George W. Bush imitation. It’s really very good.
In this dream my grandmother is fixing breakfast for my grandfather in their Montreal kitchen. She asks does he want them scrambled or fried. He says, “This time why don't
you give me one egg, soft boiled, not too hard?” My grandmother says, “You never asked for that before.” My grandfather says, “So now I'm asking.” She puts the egg before him in an egg cup on a white plate, and my grandfather looks very pleased.
We are having dinner at a Chinese restaurant called The Fortune Cookie. When I get nearly to the car, I discover that I don’t have my keys. I have to go back, but the way has gotten impossibly complicated and I can’t find my way back. I come upon a plaza where dozens of people are enacting a scene of violence from the French Revolution. Someone in a period costume points a kind of musket at me and fires. There’s a lot of smoke but it obviously isn’t loaded with bullets; I fall down and “die,” anyway, because I know I’m supposed to play along. As the scene ends, everyone gets up and some cheerleaders come over and give me a souvenir keyring with what looks like a bronzed baby shoe on it, but I can see that it’s plastic. Also a pair of blue gym shorts, which I’m very glad to have.
In this dream there is an extra book in the Bible, which is basically the story of Jurassic Park.
I am supposed to give a talk on dreams in an auditorium. I am dealing with the projector and set-up when a young woman comes up and starts acting very flirtatiously. I tell her it’s distracting and inappropriate, and I hope she enjoys the talk. She goes away and then her boyfriend walks up to me and explains that they’re performance artists. He seems very proud and seems to expect me to be impressed. Well, you’re not very good
performance artists, I think. He tells me her name and I can’t understand him at first and ask him to repeat it. I finally manage to hear him; her name is Eugenia Inventus.
Walking through a field toward a large, beautiful country house, we encounter some small bear cubs, the size of puppies, more like teddy bears, really. They are very playful and want to follow us into the house, but we know it’s not good for them to get too used to humans, so we try to make sure the windows and doors are secured, but a couple get in, and are playing on the hallway rug. It is the home of the philosopher William James, and he is severely disappointed in us for letting the bears in. I feel awful about this.
Dream that the party nominating conventions are actual parties, held in not-very- big houses. The Republicans vote to nominate John McCain and Gov. Abbott of Texas. I can’t believe it. I complain to someone that John McCain already ran a campaign that was a disaster of historic dimensions. The guy says, Oh yeah? Prove it. Once again I’ve been caught confidently making an assertion I can’t back up. It’s in the history books, I say. Besides, can’t you see that McCain is senile? Somebody else says, Well, he’s still the lesser of two evils. I find myself at a balcony railing overlooking the living room, where the delegates are gathered. It takes me a while to summon my voice, but eventually I yell down to them, Doesn’t anyone else see how completely wrong this is? No response. Nothing. Like I’m not there.