As the dream starts out, I'm teaching my poetry class at Pitt in the Cathedral of Learning. Except there's a big bed in the room and the bed has a quilt with various panels. I'm re-arranging the panels of the quilt like one would arrange windows on a computer screen. Each panel is half a poem and half a very melty picture of a face merged with a texture: a wooden face, a seashell face, a grass face, a coal face. I finally arrange the panels to my satisfaction and have some conversations with my class. But there's a pervasive sense of unhappiness and misery. I feel like I'm enslaved, like I have no choice about being there.
I leave the classroom and I go out into the wide city. I go downtown and I see a scene that decimates me: I witness Matthu destroyed by a car accident. Someone tells me that his father was also in the accident and was blinded. No one will tell me if Matthu is just badly hurt or dead. I'm screaming hysterically and looking at the wreckage. Then suddenly, I'm away from the scene of the accident and back at the base of the Cathedral, which is also somehow the campus of CMU. Something has shifted in me and I start speaking coherently and loudly about the evils of the universities, their war-mongering, their exploitations of students and teachers. A crowd gathers around me. My mind feels like it's been clarified rather than clouded by grief; I can no longer stand even one tiny jot of complicity with falsehood any longer. I don't want any one to ever imagine that I think the universities are okay or not wickedly destructive to the souls and minds and bodies of all involved with them. Also, it seems to me that Matthu has been destroyed by the whole wicked apparatus of the world, like the harm that came to him wasn't by chance, it was a direct consequence of the whole insane society.
Finally a crowd of police surround me. They tell me to stop talking about the evils of the university and let them arrest me or they'll burn me to death. They propose to burn me to death with giant sheets of white paper which I sense are acidic - they could wrap me in the paper and I'd burn/dissolve. I let them arrest me. They're very kind to me after I do that. I tell them about Matthu and they take me back to the site of the accident. My father is there, saying completely useless, ignorant things about how Matthu is dead because he wasn't careful enough. This enrages me and I start beating my father and shouting about how Matthu was beautiful and perfect and a thousand times better than him (my father).
Then I wake up.
What the dream makes me think about:
I had a conversation just the other day about the ridiculousness of police brutality, about police violently breaking up peaceful celebrations and share faires because we no longer have a right to be happy and love each other. Because happiness and love and sharing are direct threats to the private-property capitalist consumerist state. It makes me think about my general frustrations with my father, which I've worked on for a long long time but which come up in dreams like this fairly often. It makes me think about how yes, I would like to shout to everyone about the evils of the universities. And also about how that in itself would probably be seen as somehow terroristic, given the bomb threats that the campus received this past spring. I'm left with the sense of how very precious Matthu is to me and how I do indeed see his very existence as something that goes against the grain of our culture in how radically strange and gorgeous he is. So I feel like this dream is doing a lot for me - reflecting back many intense passions both personal and political and trying to show me perhaps where they intertwine.
image: [p. Gordon]