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Dream: 9.20.2016

September 20, 2016

I’m at my grandmother’s house, gathering up items I think other people will want to hold onto. This is a process that’s been ongoing, for years, but somehow there continue to be items that other people feel they cannot live without having. (That is, after years, this process should be scavenging crumbs, but it doesn’t seem that way.)

One thing I grab is a family portrait of sorts: my sister gazes adoringly at her now-ex-husband; me and Spouse are embracing; other people make up other couples and groups, outside, amongst trees.

The small black shoulder bag I’m putting things into is similar to Mary Poppins’s carpet bag — it gets heavier, but it doesn’t run out of room.

I race around the top floor, shoving things in.


While in the dream, I recall having a conversation with my friend Lisa B*, in which I lamented the pernicious hold this house has over my family and me, and she suggested I set fire to it next time I was there.

So while I’m on the top floor, at some point, I start a small fire.

Then I descend one floor, and look for other things that cannot be lived without. Gradually, I feel heat radiating from the ceiling; decide it might be a prudent time to descend yet again. I still shouldn’t leave the house yet, though —what if the fire were to go out prematurely?

So I’m racing against time, to preserve enough of the right stuff, but not get suffocated or burned to a crisp myself.


When I get to the third floor down [which, in the real house my grandmother lived in, would be the basement], there are a bunch of people that I don’t know, milling around, panicky. Then a group of firefighters pushes their way through the people. Some go upstairs. Others question people in the crowd, who direct them to me (who is now trying to leave).

They find my answers to their questions suspicious.

I begin concocting “cover stories” in my head: I’ll need to buy a (pink) candle on my way home, that I can say I lit in the attic… for some reason… but wait, then it’ll have to look like it had been lit, so I’ll have to buy matches, and light it somewhere safe, and…

One of the firefighters contrives to touch my hands, and when I look at them later, they’re covered in a fine dust, colored turquoise. I conjecture that this is a way to confirm my fingerprints if I touch anything else, so every time I need to move something, I first cover my hands with cloth.


It’s probably time (past time, really) to leave. I just hope the fire did some damage, even if it got stopped.


Later, I’m somewhere else, and there are… counselors scattered about. I find a nice friendly young woman, whom I question about confidentiality. She assures me whatever I say will be held in confidence “no matter what”.

Now we have to find a secluded place to talk. But people keep asking her questions before we can leave together.

In my head, I’m reviewing what I did, and I truly honestly don’t remember setting the fire. I didn’t have a candle or matches or a lighter — how could I have done it? Is it possible it started… some other way? And it’s just a coincidence I was there, thinking about setting it?

How come Lisa B didn’t mention that I could get in big trouble if arson was suspected? That I could go to jail? That my family wouldn’t receive an insurance settlement either?

Before we find a place to talk, I wake up.


NOTES, Immediate:

My grandmother died in 1998, and approximately a year later, her house passed out of our family forever.

I used to dream about her house a lot, but that’s tapered off over time. I eventually realized that “my grandmother’s house” was a metaphor for… my soul, or my self, my developing self.


In the dream, I wanted, needed, the house itself to, if not stop existing, change its form by becoming less influential in how I spent my time and energy.

Setting the fire (if I did actually do it) was a way to grab control of my own life.


When my mother was growing up, there was a time that her father (whose house this also was — in fact, he built the whole third floor) was… a fire marshal.


The presence of my (high school) friend Lisa B is intriguing because dream-LB is often a trickster figure who brings me to a higher level of awareness. [In waking life, she is an educator.]


NOTES, Meta-:

Being in New Mexico last week… shifted some stuff around. Changed other things.

I prepared as best as I could to go, but… the person who left is not the person who returned. In a good way.


I had never before been in New Mexico and been able to direct where I physically went. With a car, I mean. (I could walk wherever I wished within Ghost Ranch, while I was there 3 years ago. I had not rented a car, so I was dependent upon the shuttle to ferry me from and to the Sunport.)

I am acquainted with at least 4 people who live in New Mexico, but… no one I know well enough to “look up” while we were there.

Our trip was not in any way about human beings that we know.

I wanted to return to one of my favorite places. And I hoped Spouse would enjoy his first visit.

I wanted to reconnect with (my beloved) Sandias. I wanted to greet the Rio Grande. I did both, and more.

{One short week was a crucible for 6 weeks’ worth of intense emotional experiences.}

In some ways… I’m not entirely sure who I am anymore.

In other ways, I’m surer than I’ve ever been, about things I haven’t felt so strongly in 33, 35 years.


I sent postcards that I thought of as being written in a fundamentally “autistic” manner. I did not  censor how I naturally think, nor try to camouflage what I care about.


I’m writing a poem that’s in both Spanish and English. I’m kind of thinking of it in Spanish first, then figuring out what parts should stay in Spanish, and what parts can be written in English (or another language).

I’m diagramming connections, and patterns of spatial dispersion, which may become a visual poem of sorts.

I’m finding my own way.




*I have 2 friends named Lisa B. Trying to obscure how I referred to the first one caused confusion on this blog last year. The Lisa B in this dream is the one I met in high school, lately of Socorro, NM, but now in Texas; it is not my Tejana poet friend living in Iowa.


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