sum of our dreams

September 13, 2018

sky trees and sea

Books are not only the arbitrary sum of our dreams, and our memory. They also give us the model of self-transcendence. Some people think of reading only as a kind of escape: an escape from the “real” everyday world to an imaginary world, the world of books. Books are much more. They are a way of being fully human.

I’m sorry to have to tell you that books are now considered an endangered species. By books, I also mean the conditions of reading that make possible literature and its soul effects. Soon, we are told, we will call up on “bookscreens” any “text” on demand, and will be able to change its appearance, ask questions of it, “interact” with it. When books become “texts” that we “interact” with according to criteria of utility, the written word will have become simply another aspect of our advertising-driven televisual reality. This is the glorious future being created, and promised to us, as something more “democratic.” Of course, it means nothing less than the death of inwardness – and of the book.

Susan Sontag
Letter to Borges

inward dreamings

September 6, 2018

All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.

H.P. Lovecraft
The Silver Key

Don’t resist, my husband says, Mr. Psychiatrist,
ever the eminent Freudian lacking only a sound practice.
At three a.m. dreams blur into a gray shadow-country
I can’t run from on stumps.
It’s a landscape of images, of dog-heads with eyes burned out
into blackening holes, of flanks splitting open
to an ecstasy of brightening organs
drying out in sun so scalding even asleep I can’t contemplate it.
Dreams aren’t fascinating, the Freudians say, except as doors
to the unexplored psyche. But, sleep-sodden, still I wonder,
Why does age bring flashes of decay, tiny hazed snapshots
of organs going numb, of skin that wraps them like grocery sacks,
loose-fitting and brown? Two worlds I live in now. The dailiness
of Super Saver and searingly white lighting bathing Campbell’s soupcans
The nightmares of violation. Of surgery and sharpening knives.

Terri Brown-Davidson

A sea of ink

July 31, 2018

I would have written you, myself, if I could put down in words everything I want to say to you. A sea of ink would not be enough. But you built me dreams instead.

Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus

A Train

Attack of a Train

Mr Riquemale, the commissioner of police of La Ciotat, dreams on March 13 that a band of Italians are gesticulating in his office. Using their arms as semaphores, the Italians explain to him that the train from Marseilles is in a tunnel near Cassis, and it doesn’t want to come out. Mr Riquemale visits the scene of the problem: indeed, there’s the Marseilles train in the tunnel. “Come out of there!” he says. The train doesn’t answer. The Italians, who have followed him, gesticulate in a way that means he mustn’t provoke the train, or else, like a trapped animal, it will attack. Mr Riquemale doesn’t give a damn what a bunch of Italians who can’t speak French might or might not think. “Are you coming out?” he asks the train. “Or am I coming in to get you?” The train doesn’t answer. “All right,” says Mr Riquemale. “Then I’m going in.” He goes into the tunnel, followed by the Italians who go No, no, with their arms. The train attacks.

Paul La Farge
The Facts of Winter

All humans dream, usually three to five times a night. And every time a man dreams he has an erection; every time a woman dreams, the blood vessels of her vagina become engorged. These changes in our genitalia are apparently unrelated to sexual thoughts before sleep or to sexual content in the dreams themselves. Rather, erections and vaginal engorgement seem to be the result of the state of dreaming itself.

Jerome Groopman
Review of The Mystery of Sleep by Meir Kruger in The New Yorker Magazine, Oct 23, 2017.

Europa and the Bull

June 3, 2018

Bull and woman

Lust, in the beginning. A fire in the blood, merging and diverging, comingling in the brain of the Father of all things, mighty Zeus, at his first sight of the beautiful Europa, sister of Cadmus and daughter of Agenor, the Phoenician king of Tyre.

And, oh, that first fleeting glimpse of the maiden, so incendiary to the God, birthed the desire in his burning brain to have her at any cost! He would have her maidenhead! Would destroy it with his great God cock –

This pure, beautiful, slim and magic girl, this glowing gold beauty would be the most glorious fuck he had ever had.

Swimmy-headed with sex and madness, mighty Zeus plotted.

What to do about his sister wife, Hera? The first madwoman of the universe. Jealous Hera; eternally suspicious Hera. She knew of his addiction to cunt – knew that he would be irresistibly drawn by Europa’s clean, smooth cunt, her tiny flytrap now a God-trap that could make him cum and cum all night long. Hera would sniff that out. And her God-like rage over his horseplay would be beyond contemplation!

So much of her life had been dedicated to revenge on the nymphs who had enjoyed congress with Him –

True, she renewed her virginity each year. Gave herself to Him as an ‘innocent’ to ravage. But it wasn’t enough –

Had she not had Eileithyia’s legs tied together to stop her giving birth to mighty Zeus’ illicit child, Heracles. And, because Galanthis, assisted in that birth, Hera had turned her into a weasel, hadn’t she? Or was it a cat?

And consider Lamia, queen of Libya, who Zeus loved and royally fucked. Hera had turned her into a grotesque monster and murdered her children.

Hera must be deceived; must be diverted from these shady revenge shenanigans, her usual murder rehab programs, when it came to Europa. Oh, yes. Zeus would transform himself (not for the first time) into a – into a what?

Why, of course. Into a Bull!

And in the days that followed, his dreams became a life sentence, served in solitude, of smooth virgin flesh, of blood-letting, and of violent penetration. Dreams that dominated his God-slumber, but worse, ruled his waking hours. His God cock grew so stiff that it hurt, an old fashioned pain, an inner anguish so severe it dominated his entire being!

A Bull! Yes, yes. He would become a bull!

Oh, wouldn’t she want such a beautiful creature?

Immortality.

Mortality.

‘Please, please don’t think me weird, sir, but a bull’s cock is something to dream about – in my arse; in my cunt.’

Oh, little maiden, this cock is so engorged – and just for you! Only you!

‘Zee,’ Hera said, interrupting all mighty Zeus’ train of thought; his God fantasies of innocent girl flesh. ‘Have you been wearing my panties again?

Zeus feeling confused and disoriented, said, ‘What are you on, H? I don’t wear girls underthings. I’m a fuckin’ God!’

‘But my panties, the new black pair, have stains in them. Like pre-cum. So who’s responsible, if not you?’

Zeus, quietly whistling ‘Zorba the Greek’, held back the sunset with its brown and orange thunderclouds, looking like fluffed-up pillows on a messed-up sky of gray chaos, and said, ‘Mother of summer, you might be. But all the Gods know that Hades likes to gallivant in your lacy panties. He’s been doing it for bloody years.’

Hera retreated in an unusual silence.

Zeus had his chance. Finally.

Europa sat in the shade of an olive tree away from the dazzle of sun-burnished sea and sky. Glancing up, she saw a bull – a beautiful bull in the field beyond the silver olive grove. She stood and advanced on the creature. She had never seen such a beautiful bull before.

The bull watched her slow approach. It remained totally passive. Not the usual behaviour from such a creature.

Europa, hesitantly, reached out to touch the bull’s flank. She stroked its sleek hide. The bull remained quite still. And then, the temptation too great for her to resist, Europa climbed onto the great beast’s broad back –

Oh, what madness!

The bull started round. It bucked and charged towards the emerald sea. Europa clung on for her dear life. The bull carried the little black-eyed girl out into the silver surf.

Zeus in his bull form, bellowed his jubilation into the clear bright dome of the sky. He’d done it. He had Europa on his back. Crete would be his final destination. And there on a strip of burning white sand he’d have his prize. At last –

Poor Europa woke later from a troubled sleep. Half-undressed on the Cretan sand, she had a half-remembered dream of a powerful bull – its massive cock between her spread thighs. She sat up, and there indeed stood the bull before her.

‘Europa,’ it said. ‘Know you have been fucked by the king of the Gods. Mighty Zeus has opened you and filled you with his God seed. It will blaze forth from the fertile soil of your womb. You will provide me with three sons, and in return I will make you queen of this island.’

‘But you are a bull? A talking bull – can such a thing be?’

‘Unfortunately,’ said the bull. ‘You see me as a bull. Being mortal, if you saw my true self, you would go mad and die.’

And so it was Europa gradually lost her fear of the creature. Willingly offered herself to its mighty cock there on the sand. Wound chains of wild flowers round his horns in nearby meadows. And the ruler of the skies bellowed his happiness, his muscled neck bulging, as he came again and again deep inside Europa’s slender body.

AFTERWORD

“The dream dissipated, were one to recover one’s commonsense mood, the thing would be of but mediocre import – ‘tis the story of mental wrong doing. Everyone knows very well and it offends no one. But alas! one sometimes carries the thing a little further. What, one dares wonder, what would not be the idea’s realisation if its mere abstract shape thus exalted has just so profoundly moved one? The accursed reverie is vivified and its existence is a crime.”

D A F de Sade
Justine

Virginity traded for an island paradise. Did she regret? She swam, Europa, naked under water. She ran barefoot on the sand. Abduction and rape was a woman’s lot in this modern world. A woman’s worth, so it seemed, existed secretly between her legs –

Memories of bull breath on her body no longer disturbed. Nor those bull thrusts like hammer blows tenderising meat. And she, stretched out, like a newly slaughtered lamb for the delight of this God, this Zeus. Brother and husband to his own wife. She, Europa, cast in the role of victim, would give the God three sons: Minos, Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon who would, when they died, become judges in the underworld –

The Zeus bull had made this promise to her. After he’d said, ‘I’m sorry.’

But she hardly paid attention. She felt only fire and suppressed rage. Europa, whose hair smelled of wild flowers and summer meadows, was promised a husband, too, a powerful king – all these gifts to catch between her breath at sunrise. As if the God feared she might swallow his sky –

Or tell on him.

For mighty Zeus feared his sister wife Hera. He was pussy-whipped indeed. And he gave more and more gifts to counter each of Europa’s many silences. Oh, yes. Hera constantly looked for lipstick stains or hidden receipts in his clothing, evidence of betrayal –

And her rage was thousand-headed, apocalyptic, so great in fact that mighty Zeus knew what it was to be totally helpless before her. Like a quivering mortal.

‘Truly,’ he said to Europa, ‘I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself.’

Europa frowned and waved her slender arms in the air, as if she were trying to erase and recreate the universe.

‘Alright,’ she said. ‘Alright. I forgive you – for now! But I’ll never forget.’

Dreams

May 29, 2018

Dreams came to me with a particular sweetness and intensity after a little debauch, they came with repentance and tears, with curses and raptures.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes From Underground

Voices

April 12, 2018

Ideal voices and beloved
of those who have died, or of those
who are lost to us like the dead.

Sometimes, within our dreams, they speak;
sometimes the mind can hear them in our thoughts.

And with their sound for an instant return
sounds from the early poetry of our life –
like music in the night, faraway, that fades.

C P Cavafy
Trans. Anthony Hirst

desecrate it at a touch

February 24, 2018

Dreams, memories, the sacred – they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.

Yukio Mishima
Spring Snow