Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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I tell myself to remember, each time I rise. The words will stick: bromide, maze, air crane. Why does my sleep keep breaking off? Maybe it was what I ate, the pasta and red sauce. I ponder this possibility even as I rush to get back in bed, to resume the show in danger of being canceled. Fortunately, the dreams keep coming. The show may have changed, but the intensity persists. It occurs to me, the third time that I head to the bathroom without really needing to go, that I'm learning to wake myself in order to be able to tell myself what to remember: my friend Joel, a high-ceilinged interior, a man who may have ill intent that I now, retroactively, wish to call "nefarious." Maybe it was what I ate, I think again, wondering if it was the complex sugars that sent me into slumber before 10pm, steered me past the suddenly lit kitchen towards the bedroom, and bound me to the bed until I'd survived the dislocation. Is it even right to write "I" here? What is it then that tells me over and over to remember, not only the words that abstract this memory, but the ones that persist from the previous trip?: bromide, maze, Joel, air crane, that unnamed man.

As I was typing that last sentence, I was going to include "high-ceilinged" in the list. But then I realized that, like "nefarious," that was a tag I came up with this morning as I tried to piece together the remnants of my remembering. Yes, I remember a high-ceilinged space, with tall windows facing the street, but dark in the corners and dim even in the middle of the room, as if those windows were facing north on a winter's day, as if someone didn't want the light to intrude. People were sitting, low to the ground, smoking out of long, snaking tubes. And that man, that man to be named later, was standing over them, not doing much of anything and doing much to inspire my dreamworld unease in the process. "Bromide," is the only word I remember being spoken. Did he speak it? Perhaps I'd asked what those people were doing.

I know that "Joel" was in that particular dream, but I can't picture him in that room. There were other parts, though, connected by the dreamwork's dexterity at the jump cut. I see another place, this one outdoors, partially walled off with structures looming over it. It's like the back of a rowhouse, I think, as I type this sentence, picturing the odd jumble that spills out towards a back street or alley, what might be a dumpster. My eyes are cast upward, toward the faint splash of sun on the trees above and the façades in the distance. I want to say that they are on the other side, out on the main street obscured from view by the brick wall I'm conjuring back into the picture, maybe seven or eight feet high.

I do remember telling myself, on that first trip back from the bathroom, to perceive the connection between this outdoor space and the interior that preceded it in this dream. "It's the back of the same building," I think now, recalling a similar thought from later in the night, this time on the second or third trip, when the words were piling up. I can still see enough to know that it's the same light. Winter. East Coast. There's ivy somewhere in my peripheral vision, a patch of Richard Serra rust-red in the middle of the frame and there, suspended, it seems, in a motionless air, bits and pieces of bright, illuminated by a shaft of diagonal light. "Zabriskie Point," I think now, imagining that slow-motion coda scored to Pink Floyd. But there's no sound in that part of the dream. If something has exploded, the proof must be elsewhere. Maybe this is the proof.
Tags: dream

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