Friday, August 03, 2012

The Loch Ness Monster Versus Pretty Flowers

I fall backward into the water of Loch Ness
and continue falling through the cold dark water
too fast like I am made of lead but I struggle
but I keep falling and I keep falling backward
though I struggle trying to change my position
trying to swim do anything to slow my fall
but I keep falling for almost eight hundred feet
then I hit mud that I can feel but I can’t see
then I hit clay but it is only like thick mud
but I keep falling till I smash into bedrock
but I still don’t stop because the bedrock shatters
and still on my back I crush down through the bedrock
and everything behind me that is under me
fractures and fragments and the Earth too cracks in half
and the blackness around me is the black of space
colorful planets spinning fast isolated
all the planets revolving around a center
where the Sun is bright and hot enough to melt lead
but instead of melting me I become solid
and the light is glare in a woman’s angry eyes.

“You son of a bitch!” she says. “Did you fall asleep?
Sitting on my couch? While I am talking to you?”

I say, “I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.
I didn’t fall asleep. I just kind of dozed off.”

“Oh,” she says, “you didn’t fall asleep, you dozed off.
Well what the hell’s the difference, you son of a bitch?
Maybe you’re not too tired to go out to dinner,
maybe you’re just too fatigued to go out tonight.
Oh! Oh! You’re laughing! Now you think this is funny!?”

She goes to the kitchen. The refrigerator
opens and closes. She comes back holding a can
of Red Bull. She sets herself, then throws it at me.
I catch it, and the can makes a loud slapping sound
against my palm. The impact knocks my hand backward.

“I did not throw that at you,” she says. “I tossed it.”

Then she goes back to finish putting on her clothes.

I open the Red Bull and drink straight from the can.

She begins telling me, again, about the flowers
she found at a garden shop coming home from work.

I want to tell her about my Loch Ness dream but
I’m wide awake now. I say, “The flowers are pretty.”


Take a look at this picture. This is a screen grab from Wes Craven’s 1997 film, “Scream 2.” (It gets larger if you click on it.)

This is from a scene that takes place in a college library. Cotton Weary has just had a loud confrontation with Sidney. The police think he attacked her, so they shove him up against a bookshelf to cuff him and arrest him. When the police shove Cotton against the bookshelf, for an instant the camera gets a close-up of the bookshelf itself. It’s a library, and there’s a little sign that says, “New books, check us out!” and look what book we see in close-up:

It’s a copy of “Our Dreaming Mind,” by Robert L. Van De Castle.

I’ve read that book. It’s pretty interesting, but I didn’t like it all that much. I found it kind of scattered. But interesting.

And I thought it was interesting, too, that the director, Wes Craven, positioned that book—a book speculating about the nature of dreams—so visibly in the middle of a movie full of some very interesting imagery, very interesting action sequences.

This summer there have been a lot of big budget, high profile movie releases. Some of them got a lot of media attention even though I personally didn’t think the movie had a lot to offer.

Of the big releases this summer my favorite was Ridley Scott’s return to the “Alien” mythos with his oddball film “Prometheus.”

At an internet forum, a lot of people were ridiculing “Prometheus,” pointing out the flaws and absurdities. I defended the film, saying that there were a lot of things that didn’t make sense, there were a lot of things that seemed absurd, but, I said, “It is cinema as a dream. In dreams, people act strangely. One sequence doesn’t seem to match, exactly, to other sequences. It’s cinema as a dream. We think about it. We wonder about it. We project our own meanings onto it. It’s not something a real cinema buff complains about. It’s something we pay extra for.”

Of course, a lot of people thought that comment was as absurd as they’d found the film.

And to be completely truthful there is no way to really tell if Ridley Scott purposefully made “Prometheus” the way he did, or if the project just got screwed up and he simply did the best he could to salvage something, anything, out of a disjointed script and an ill-conceived production.

You never know.

But that’s a cool thing. Sometimes if everything makes sense and there is logic and order and everything is very skillfully put together, the end result is boring and you just shrug. Even if you admire something, you just shrug.

Dreams almost never are boring. And you almost never just shrug, when a dream is enough—of whatever it is—that you remember it and go through it consciously.

I like dreams. Even if you never know.

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