Thursday, February 22, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

I’m attending a reception for a graduate seminar on Roman Polanski. I’m with Polish cinema students in a casual backyard setting, setting up a long table and chairs as more attendees arrive. I’m nude. I don’t belong to the group and didn’t attend the seminar, but I’m allowed here. I have a leather-bound legal pad, a pen and my phone, which are nearly identical to those belonging to the students. Their materials are piled around the lawn as people free their hands to help. I hold my materials as I want to take notes on the students’ thoughts so I can learn from the seminar I missed.

A student engages me in sharing his thoughts. I write them on the leather cover of my notebook, thinking to save paper for later. His thoughts are well formed and expressed, though he’s distracted by attaching an umbrella to the table. His colleagues suggest he give up as it’s not needed, as I wait to hear more opinions. Finally, as the group settles down, I try to keep the conversation focused on Polanski, without interfering in their more relaxed camaraderie. I’m impressed by what they say when they return to the topic. I note these observations: “Who knew the old man would have thirty more films in him after the scandal?” “He’s more respected in academia than commercially.”

The yard is surrounded by a wooden fence covered in vines. It sits behind a mid-century modern house, which I’m told is owned by Polanski and run as a center for studying his work. The reception will move indoors and I’m invited along. However, I feel awkward about my nudity and misplace my phone. Many of the students have brought chargers and backpacks. I’m impressed by their forethought though I’m glad for my decision to attend nude. It’s getting dark and I wonder how I’ll return to my hotel barefoot, nude and without money. I worry about finding my phone. Then, I woke myself and realized this was a dream. I didn’t need to find my phone. Relieved, I closed my eyes and returned to the dream.

The reception is moving indoors. I find a large shirt of mine and put in on, struggling with the buttons. I demurely turn my back on the others as I dress. I go inside and look around. The d├ęcor is very swinging seventies with a sunken living room, study area and hot tub. I want to explore but I’m invited into the hot tub. Others are nude so I take off my shirt and join them. An older woman who knows the place addresses those of us in the tub. We’re approached by a ghostly cat moving as it sits in a plastic canister. The woman tells us this is just a cat, nothing unusual. I’m intrigued by the creature.

It’s time to go. Someone offers to call me a cab. I agree, though aware that I have no money. I really don’t know where I am. I’m taken to a dispatch office, where I’m offered a choice of champagne or coffee. I take the former from a fountain. My nudity seems more unusual in the office, though the dispatch agent is kind and solicitous. I wonder if I should sneak off and try to find my way to the hotel. Or maybe I can go to my room once we arrive to retrieve the fare. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

I’m aware that I need to have a dream. I think I can fake it with materials I have in my car, including a brochure for a nudist camp. I can use it to create a fictional person. I’ll say I had a dream about him, but he refused to do anything. He’ll be this inactive person, doing nothing. I imagine he’ll have dark curly hair and be about forty years old. But first, I need to move my car, where I can retrieve the brochure.

There’s a young man in the back seat of my car. I greet him and then ignore him as I go about searching for the brochure. I don’t want him to know I’m going to fake a dream. My car is in a back alley behind a service station. It would be easier to leave it there but it needs to be moved. I walk around, looking for a parking space. I come across a photo booth store where kids get videos made. I watch for a while as kids make goofy faces; I’m watching on a monitor outside.

I enter an area with old couches and benches. A few men are talking about a woman they know in common. She’s associated with the video store. As they talk, I realize she’s a sex worker. They’re enthralled by her and begin to try interesting me. I excuse myself by saying I need to move my car. I’m also aware of needing to fake a dream. I now have the brochure in my hand.

I don’t find a parking space as I walk. I decide to get the car and take my chances. The car is a Chevette I drove in high school. The young man is no longer in the car. I drive around a bend into a suburban area. I arrive at my childhood home and park in front. I’m in a buoyant mood, singing Elvis Costello “Accidents Will Happen.” I encounter a woman who is also singing.

I enter the house. There are many people and I belong here. There are several nude teenage girls. I kiss them each hello. The house is a kind of brothel where we’re all sex workers. It feels very relaxed.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

There are two islands at the intersection of the East and Harlem rivers. One is small with a pleasant house and a few acres. The other is larger, with a small community. I recognize the area as a map, from above, before disembarking on the second island. There is a buzz of activity as locals visit shops. Commerce is based on a kind of merit system in which castes are established on something like IQ: the more points you have, the more you can acquire. In fact, to a certain level, your points are kept on an automatic tab. You don’t have to make transactions.

I don’t know my place. I’m with people shopping, but I refrain, anxious about being found out. Eventually, it comes to light that I’m in the dark. A friend takes me to get my placement assessed in a contest akin to a scholars bowl. It turns out that I score high. My value is set and I’m granted an additional four hundred dollars. It’s joked that I’ll never need the cash, as I could rely entirely on my tab. I’m relieved. Not feeling proud or accomplished, just glad that I fit in.

I become aware that others do not fare well in this economy. I begin to associate with barefooted children, then adults. Soon I’m mingling with this group, which is unaware of my caste status and thus unimpressed with any attributes other than myself. A thin bald man in the group becomes sexually aggressive toward me. His intensity is out of sorts in the group. I don’t want his attention. I really just want to fit in.

I travel to London as a celebrity. A guide leads me to stores, as I am known as a shopper. She guides me to a mall set up in an abandoned tube tunnel. I’m impressed and want to know its history. Was it used as a shelter in the war? When was it built? She doesn’t know this information, just the products in the current shops. I see a young black woman I recognize from the island society. She’s with a companion within a group. I know them to be members of a celebrated karate group, though they are here paired with others. They’re excited. I talk with my guide about how silly it is that we’re all celebrities for these minor things.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Here’s a dream from last night.

I share a dorm room with three other guys, one of whom is my brother. It’s a small, narrow room with bunk beds, cluttered with stuff and trash. I think of cleaning the room, but in fact, I’m comfortable. It feels easy to live in a squalor we all appreciate.

One of my roommates has tied an older man against a wall. The man is stripped to his underwear and blindfolded. I recognize that he’s a john. It seems unwise that my roommate is hustling on campus, in front of our roommates, with the door open to passersby. Still, no one seems to mind the scene or realize that it’s for pay. I hover nearby, ready to help if needed, and to act as a lookout. I want to keep this cool.

Suddenly, my roommate has pulled out his dick to urinate on the bound john, who revels in the stream of piss. That’s a step too far. I realize there are kids in the room, and I don’t want my brother to notice this. I suggest cleaning up by way of distraction. I find piles of Mardi Gras beads. I ask the kids to help me sort them by size and color, telling them they can keep whatever they like, or use them to decorate the room. The pissing scene goes unnoticed; I begin to pick up trash and pizza boxes.

Across campus is a daily outdoor performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. I’m familiar with the performance and sometimes step in an as extra. I arrive during the scene of the moneychangers in the temple. I watch for a bit then join in the chorus. There are many new students watching. I’m comfortable in this role, showing a cool thing about campus life. The song is catchy and I’m casual in my part. As the scene ends with Jesus screaming “Get out!,” I wander off, planning to return for the crucifixion. I return with a long piece of CVC pipe to use as a percussion instrument. I’m no longer in street clothes, but in a sheet fitted as a robe. It’s an informal nod to costuming. I decide to stand as a Roman guard. I’m casually drumming, unconcerned with the beat. I’m not really trying.

I’m watching the lead performer, who is also conductor, waiting to cue the chorus. I realize he’s waiting for air traffic to clear overhead. I look up. A plane passes. I ready as its noise fades, only to see other air vessels in the sky. One is a kind of hologram, a blimp trailing cartoon characters in the clouds. Everyone stands watching, entranced, with our performance on hold. I began to think I should take this role seriously. What would a Roman guard be thinking and feeling in this moment? I stand as if asleep on my feet, holding myself upright with my pipe, now used as a post. My eyes roll back in my head. My mind wanders back to the moneychangers theme.