Some authors have a way of infiltrating your head, working their way into your dreams. My second night of reading My Work is Not Yet Done inspired the following dream:
My consciousness appears semi-detached. There is a man and his girlfriend in the room. I am the man and I am also watching the couple--a strange bifurcation of consciousness that makes the dream sort of difficult to describe. The apartment is a curious blend of decadence and desolation. The walls were once covered with mirrors, and every surface appears to have been shiny, recalling a "futuristic" setting in a '60s sci-fi movie. The mirrors are in various states of destruction, some only cracked, others reduced to mere shards in their frames; the floor is littered with reflective detrius.
Somewhere outside of this room, lingering on the edge of our consciousness is the Poet, whose words create this world. I feel it when he is about to write, a sudden tension filling the apartment. At his whim, time moves forwards or backwards, the room degenerates or improves, the relations between the man and his girlfriend sweeten or deteriorate. There seems to be a randomness to these whims which destroys all sense of continuity. Ultimately, the Poet grows bored with writing this domestic situation. I am allowed an escape from the apartment.
And I find myself outside, atop a large garbage heap, looking down what must be four or five stories to a dumpster the size of a parking lot. I am among a small group of people. The garbage heap begins to slide forward, than plunge down, taking us with it. I try to stay on top of the shifting debris, seeing the ground come up at me, falling with that sense of exhilaration you get in dreams, where you know it won't hurt to hit the ground.
The landing isn't hard, but the garbage partially liquifies, becoming an opaque, turgid fluid in which float unidentifiable scraps. We struggle to get out, finally managing to cooperate to get a rope over the side of the dumpster so we can climb out.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago