dreams

One year in Philadelphia. by Laura Kochman

there is no document
of civilization that isn't also its ruins.

—Natalie Eilbert

 

Last night I dreamed that I went back to the Margate house, a thing I said I'd never do, and it was spliced and repainted, turned into a sort of house-hive with the other houses around it. All the windows were bright, and the decor was minimal. People swarmed in and through its doorways, talking loudly about how upscale the space had become, how clean, how large. I ran around it frantically, looking for traces of the old, dirty architecture. The only thing that stayed the same was the beach.

This morning B and I are sitting at a coffee shop around the corner, reading and working on a book review and chatting about Jane Jacobs and the possibility of reparations. It's nice to slip back into these modes that I am always fearing I am losing. I'm not. It comes back. The beach stays the same, underneath, though it shifts. One year in Philadelphia.

by Laura Kochman

IMG_1231  

I took this picture a week or two after moving to Alabama, more to show how I set up the room than to demonstrate the light. But look at that window. It's bright and green and streaming, where the window is now simultaneously gone. I have tramped through this room after the doors were removed and the dark swarming tiles piled in the corners, pipes out, damp leaves on the floor.

by Laura Kochman

I wrote in my writing journal this morning: I can’t speak to dreams-as-prediction, but I do think that dreams, coming from the unconscious mind, dredge up thoughts/anxieties/memories and represent those things both directly and indirectly. I think the tower of my dreams that had felt so safe and green was somehow my writing, and now it is my writing that’s out of reach. Even if my unconscious was trying to say something else, the act of dream interpretation reveals the unconscious. I know that’s the truth. I feel away from my writing, though I keep trying to approach it. Every approach is unstable: a rocking floating platform, a tiny raft that gives under my weight.

Then inexplicably I wrote a poem. The mouse in our kitchen made an appearance.

i approach the house and she spins away from me keyless by Laura Kochman

Last night I dreamed of approaching the tower from my recurring dream, of green light and safe space and the illuminated hotel lobby that feels like home—the tower always looks a little different, but it is identifiably the tower. I think here about Bachelard and the tallest point in any house, the well-lit garret. It's the place of elevated thought, heightened reason, closeness to light, airiness. In the dream I had to approach the tower by water, a channel that ran through a city, by stepping onto a small raft that would take me there, and I stepped off the dock with my arms full of books and sank into the water instead. The books weighed me down and I considered not letting them go, but I had to in order to get to the surface. It didn't occur to me until after I woke up that they were already ruined.

The tower appeared in another recent dream, this time a giant buoy at the end of an arduous harbor-side trail. I stepped onto the platform and it rocked back into the water, and I saw that there was no door, and the water washed back and forth over me as I refused to leave.

Years ago, my recurring dreams were of giant, deadly dark waves and sinister bodies of water, and it is disconcerting to see my old, bad recurring dream combined with my new one, the one that is inexplicably happy and safe. The hotel is gone—the tower turns away from me, not a safe place for me but a place safe from me. I think here of Baba Yaga / Baba Yaga's house, the denial of entrance, my own poetic confusion of occupant and intruder, the woman who is both old and young, good and bad, a helpful obstacle.

I have no background in dream analysis. But writing dreams down feels worthwhile. These days it's the most reliable of my creative acts, not including the act of dreaming itself.

Last night I dreamed I was filming a movie with Gaby Hoffmann and I told her how many times I’ve watched This Is My Life. She laughed. by Laura Kochman

Father sleeps like a black cow in the middle of the highway at night. Night is a calendar without knowledge of boxes. - Samantha Schaefer

 

From Issue 20 of TYPO, this poem is the kind of poem that makes me want to go write. It seems like it comes from a larger manuscript, maybe? Unless I'm just wishing that into evidence. I want to read more.

by Laura Kochman

Since I've been busy lately, here's a little publications catch-up:  

Review of Rob Schlegel's January Machine for BWR (live today! it lives!)

Poem "Sand Map" in the latest Ghost Proposal

Poems "Possibilities of Fingers" and "The Offering Itself" in the latest MiPoesias

 

Now to roll ahead into figuring out the rest of my foreseeable future. No big deal. I dreamed last night about a crashing plane, but surely that meant nothing. I dreamed the night before about meeting James Franco, which was awful, and probably an equivalent experience to actually meeting James Franco, so I hope that also doesn't come to pass.

by Laura Kochman

Also, I dreamed last night about crossing the Delaware River on an NJ Transit train near the Trenton Makes bridge, something I've never done, and then suddenly being in the water below the bridge. There was a shark fin in the water nearby, and I willed it to be a dolphin fin, the first time I can ever remember having any power over anything in my dreams.

by Laura Kochman

It's restaurant week in Birmingham, so yesterday B and I went to a fancy restaurant and had a super decadent meal: crispy duck confit with a stuffed fig, drop biscuit pork belly sliders, smoked fried chicken with a summer bean salad and the butteriest of brioches, mascarpone panna cotta, a Night of Joy and a Hemingway Daiquiri. That's just what I ate. I was so full afterward that my back hurt. I don't have any pictures because who stops to take pictures when the food is that good?

by Laura Kochman

A painter shows slides of her work. From the earliest to the most recent. Lights out. First slide: Do you see that figure there? That's my grandmother. Second slide: There she is in the corner. And there—there's my grandmother too. The one with her back to us. Yep, that's her again. In each painting she shows us where her grandmother is. That shadow there—it's my grandma's shadow. But one day my painting teacher said to me that I was putting my grandma into too many paintings. Next slide: A landscape. There is where my grandmother used to be. A cityscape. See up there. A seascape. Hi Grandma! A desert. The surface of the moon.

- Carole Maso

I'm not even going to tell you what kind of asinine comment this person wrote in the margin. Instead:

[ at the beach / the echo of that other beach / my mother's mother's mother looks at my mother's mother / and I in the future of the imagination look too / at my mother's face / (not pictured) / at my mother's face in her mother's face / because the body is always in the landscape ]