Right now I look like a human being. But I am no more human, or should I say only human, or always and forever human because someday I could be the stuff that makes up these sunflowers, or this sky, or any aspect of this garden. We all live and breathe together. Be still a moment, here, with me, in this magical space. You inhaled the scent of hyacinth and lavender, fresh grass and the happy earth, growing eager roots, busy with earth worms bringing air where it’s needed in the dark. The garden is part of you. And you and I, we are made of the stars you are wishing upon this very night! Why does it surprise you, then, when I tell you I want to be like the milky way, only tiny, the size of a flower in a garden like this. And you would discover me and paint me along with all my brothers and sisters. It could happen, you know. And someday, a woman with gray hair would sit on the side of her bed in the dead of winter and write a poem about us. She would swear she could smell the garden and feel the soft prickle of the sunflower stem.
She would look at the the sky and the scent of hyacinth would make her cry. She is really human, only human, especially tonight, with a tiny- twinkling-spiraling galaxy in the petal of one eye.
I am awake so I think that is my normal state of awareness. I believe the other mind-states are not as important, but that’s only because I have limited vision and not because they are of lesser value in the spectrum, right?
I talk to myself because it helps me think. Maybe it drowns out some of the other noises I don’t like to hear too, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I like patterns and rhythm. I make stuff up all the time just for the flow of sound, for the click and pound, for the sharp and round of the ups and downs. I build a world and it’s the real deal. Isn’t it?
You call that table green, so it is green. But it doesn’t look green to my husband, Tim. Everything green looks brown to him. So, we have a problem with reality, or perception, anyway.
It’s cold. It’s hot. It’s late. No, it’s not. You’re a flake. You’re deep. You make me sick. You make me think. It all makes sense if you get far enough away, or close, through a microscope, dig deep, go to sleep. Ask Freud what he would say. Or better yet, cause you still Jung, dream a little dream to meditate upon.
Someone asked why the sky is blue, and it reminded me of you, Nick. During your last two years on the planet we got to watch a comedian almost every night. You lived in apartment 9 and I lived in 11 so we were right next door to one another. Jane used to run from apartment to apartment. She learned how to ring my doorbell. She’d jump up, hit the buzzer and then wait patiently for me to open the door. The first few times it happened I thought it was a prankster because I didn’t see her sitting there. She is such a smart dog. And maybe she is a prankster too.
Anyway, there was a comedian we liked who did a bit about a kid asking why the sky is blue. And in my mind, as I remember the bit, I see Harland Williams onstage, He says this kid comes up to him, says, “Hey Mister, why is the sky blue?” And Harland says, “Well kid, the sky is blue,’ but then you and jump in, “because of the scattering of light over macrodynamic mighty molecules – because the macrodynamic mighty molecules pick up the blue light as light enters the atmosphere. the blue waves like a bunch of college kids on spring break. They are all over the place, just scattered all over, abundantly visible and they are fucking everywhere, all these short, wavy light packets, blue blue blue and Williams looks at you, dumbfounded and Quentin Tarantino snaps the black and white clapperboard shut and says, “That’s a wrap.” He looks at you. Says , “Oh, sorry dude.” Then you and Harland Williams fade to black.
There is canned laughter and applause. The music from Lost Highway starts to play and Woody Harold offers me a slice of white pizza from Sal’s on the corner of that place in Hainesport. I am beginning to realize this must be a dream. I look at the back of my hand. Old habit.
We walk down the hall together and a neighbor says “Hello, Nick.” You swear he is making some kind of rude statement—how he thinks he is better than you and he is disrespecting you—has to make some statement about the way you dress, has to say something about the hat you are wearing or the tattoos all over your body or the skulls on your person or whatever it is that you think people are judging you harshly for.
I knew it would be hard for you before you were born. You knew it too. We both knew what we were signing up for and we agreed it would be worth it. But we knew we had to forget the details, or the lessons would not take. I used to beg you to try to remember anyway when things were bad. Do you remember? And you would say, “I’m trying, I’m trying.
I thought the neighbor just said hello. I thought he was being friendly. I wanted to offer him a cup of tea sometime and a little Reiki maybe. I always said there is more than one reality and you said “No! There is only one reality!” It made you very angry. You said people were assholes and I said people were nice. Einstein said we have to decide if the universe is a friendly place or unfriendly and you believed it was neither, but that people were just assholes.
Your seizures made you rage. The nurse at the children’s hospital in L.A. explained that intense rage was just part of the seizure itself. That after the petit mal or grand mal, a person might feel any number of things, and you happened to feel angry.
You were five when the doctors figured out that the staring spells and behavioral problems were seizures. Before that everyone thought you were just being rude. It makes me angry to think that you were sick, and everyone thought you were just a bad kid. And you couldn’t remember the seizures so you couldn’t figure out why people were upset. What a confusing world that must have been! One minute you are watching Scooby Doo or M TV and the next minute people are yelling at you for no reason apparent to you, anyway. Or they were putting you in in restraints. Or they were putting you in jail and spraying you with pepper spray.
But you were still young when you started hearing the noises at night. That was before we knew you were having seizures. You cried and called me into your room. You were sitting in the bed calling me, “I’m hearing them. I hear the noises.” you told me. Scared the shit out of me! It was creepy as hell. I had to silently pray the Our Father while I walked into your room because I was so scared.
I just read this:
“One of the basic tenets of modern neuroscience is that learning and memory are accomplished by the creation or alteration of synaptic connections between neurons. Synchronization of neuronal activity, as occurs during oscillations, can play a key role in the formation of new connections, physically connecting neurons (each carrying information about a different aspect of the world) in order to allow storage of new associations between the elements of the world represented by those neurons. The ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken communication among neurons as a result of experience is called plasticity, and it is a cardinal mechanism for adaptation and survival.” Brendon O. Watson and Clinical psychiatrist and a research fellow at Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University and is doing post doctoral research work at the Buzsáki Lab at the New York University School of Medicine. György Buzsáki Biggs Professor of Neural Sciences at the New York University School of Medicine.
The docs said that a seizure was like an electrical storm in your brain. What was going on with you in there?
When you were five you went into status epilepticus which meant that you were seizing and not coming out of the seizure. They did a spinal tap and you fought back even though you were seizing, which didn’t make sense to me. You bent the needle, they said. They flew you and your teddy bear from Lancaster to L.A Children’s hospital and John and I rode in cartoon land traffic to meet you there because they would not let us go in the helicopter with you. They pinned wings on your teddy bear. You were still unconscious when we got to the hospital, but you were only having 30 seizure a day by then as opposed to constant seizure. Improvement.
I know it’s selfish, but I wish the lions were here now. There were two of the them in my dream. I could share one of them with you now.
Time is nothing. I could fold it up and throw it away. I wish. Maybe someday.
It took me years to unpack the Lion Dream. I was only four years old
someone asks me what I want I have to tell them the truth. I want to wake up under a tree like Siddhartha and I want to fly like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I want to ask an almond tree in the winter to speak of God like St Francis did and watch it bloom. I know in my bones that my dream is not impossible; I have already experienced enough everyday miracles to know that I would have missed them had I not had the perception or receptivity to see them. And I know that I ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
I want to talk to Nick like I did when I met him before he was born.
Some people have enough presence of mind to plan ahead. They can train themselves to tap into the power of dreams to help solve everyday problems. I have a friend in Finland whose cat got lost in a snowstorm. He is a lucid dreamer. He went to bed with the question, “Where is my cat?” He dreamed that the cat was in an old pig barn not too far away, so he went there to find the cat. No luck. But when he started asking around that neighborhood, someone said they had seen the cat in the pig barn. So he went back and searched again. This time he found the cat hiding in the rafters. She was thin and scared, but okay otherwise. He found his cat because he dreamed where to look for her. But I don’t care about cats or pig barns. I want to dream about Nick. If I dreamed about him before he was born, why can’t I dream of him and talk to him and find out how he is doing and tell him I love him and miss him now that he is dead?
You know I hate to say he is dead. What an ugly thing to say. But passed on is stupid too. Passed away is ridiculous. What the fuck.
From what Ive learned from Dr.D and Elaine, dissociation is a little of the scattering of light over macrodynamic mighty molecules, like when a beam of light hits the atmosphere and all those molecules of gas and and stuff break up the light; they scatter it, and the short, blue waves are what you see hanging round in the sky, and that is why the sky is blue.
Uncertainty is the sky, the by and by our stories unwind in, our worries spiral down in, down to the beginning where it all begins again until something new is thrown into the equation, until there is a cloud on the horizon.
: dreams and altered states of consciousness scattered over the macrodynamic units of space/time spread out over the element of certain uncertainty—that is what happens when a child is born, a dream, a beam of light is scattered over a macrodynamic field of uncertainty. It is macrodynamic because there are already so many other folks here, and plants and animals and stings and things.
I heard something on Youtube the other day about Tibetan monks who practice lucid dreaming to attain enlightenment. They have been doing dream yoga for over 1000 years and draw fruits from their purposeful hypnagogia that scientists can measure with graphs and scales. I learned how to lucid dream when I was 18 by staring at the back of my hand while I fell asleep with the intention of remembering to look at my hand while dreaming. My dream life is haphazard and I doubt if anyone would want to measure or chart anything about it. But it got to the point that I was aware of falling asleep, of dreaming and then waking up. It was like walking into a valley and then walking out of the valley in the morning. But I was more interested in hooking up with the sax player that would later become the father of my son than I was into finding enlightenment, so I stopped training.
That doesn’t mean I stopped dreaming.
I have always been a dreamer and my dreams have always been vivid and memorable.
And I want enlightenment too, but mostly I want it so that I don’t have to be separate from people I love.
“… [T]he prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East.” Alan Watts, The Book of Knowing Who You Really Are
One time I wanted to draw a candle flame so that I could paint a candle representing divine light. I wanted to show the flame but also the light around the actual flame. I was sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting for my scheduled visit. I was mesmerized by this flame, drawing the lines over and over, trying to get it right. All of a sudden I realized that light attracts light like a magnet. Somehow I knew that light would cling to itself. As if in a dream, I could see the light pulling light into itself.
It was such a strong vision I quickly got out my phone and did a Google search about light and electromagnetic energy and discovered that photons are indeed cohesive. I used other people’s information to back up what I intuited, but I learned about the cohesive properties of photons by drawing a candle flame and daydreaming about divine love!
How do we know what we know anyway? Where does the stuff we dream up come from? I wouldn’t say these dreams come from myself because my first important dream, the Lion Dream, happened when I was 4 and there is no way I could have made up a dream as complex as the Lion dream at age 4. I couldn’t understand it all then, not enough to verbalize it or tell anyone about it. But I never forgot it.
It took me years to unpack it.
I dreamed it was the end of the world. I could tell it was the end of the world because the ocean had flooded the city and the sidewalks were bulked into little pyramids. All the houses were destroyed. The people and animals were gone. Everything was gray. Except for one house where I was hiding in the kitchen. The house belonged to a lady named Mary. She had skin the color of polished mahogany and she had a serious face with a soft smile. It was her house, her kitchen. There were two giant lions who padded through the house. I could hear the sound their paws made as they went through every room checking to make sure no one could see me. I had been split into many separate versions of myself and I was hidden in the different cabinets in Mary’s kitchen. The lions made sure none of my toes were sticking out
I guess I still feel that way. Even if I die I am OK. Even if I die, if my body dies, there is a light inside of me that cannot be extinguished and I know that because I have been so close to death I have had so many close calls. Woke up in ICU more times than I like to remember, angry about being there, but glad now, of course. It is so stupid to want to kill yourself. It is just like walking into the next room.
I had this dream the other day about being in the old house on North Abilene. In the dream, white means pure, garden means life, and terrycloth means hard work. Where the hell these meanings come from is anybody’s guess.
I dreamed I was in the bathroom of the old house on North Abilene and I really had to pee! The room was just like I remembered it and I was a little apprehensive only because the cellar door was behind the bathtub and it always gave me the creeps.
I noticed water gushing out of the water faucet in the bathtub so I got up and struggled a little to get it turned off. The water was clear and clean; it was very cold.
When the water was off, I noticed a lady in the bathtub. I didn’t recognize her and thought it was weird to have a stranger bathing in grandma’s tub. Her bathwater was all milky from having used so much soap.
I headed toward the door (at a casual pace which means I wasn’t scared) and she got out of the water and put on a clean, white, terry cloth bathrobe.
I turned and asked her, “Are you a ghost?”
“No.” She said. “But you are.” Weird, huh.
One time when I was in Jr High we had moved to Roswell. We moved a lot back then. But I went to school and everyone looked at me like they’d seen a ghost. I was freaked out. Apparently some rumor was going around that A. I had been killed in a car accident or B. I was killed in some kind of empty swimming pool fiasco. Either way, according to rumor, I was dead.
There is that word again.
It doesn’t bother me when I say it about me, but when I say that Nick is dead it is profane and I hate it. I won’t say it anymore. Never again, from this day forward. Anyway, it’s not true. Nick is as alive as you and I but in a different way. Its just like the light and the blue waves and the green rays and all the rest.
The sky is the uncertainty; It is the Heisenberg Factor that gives us the flexibility we need to move about. Maybe life or death are the particle and the wave.
There are dream states that happen when a person is wide awake. At least they seem like dreams to me. Maybe they are more like visions.
If daydreaming is an art then I am an ARTeest.
Daydreams make up for all the nightmares I have.
Nightmares happen when you I am awake or asleep.
Lucky for me there are many different worlds to live in and I can have my pick, most of the time, anyway.
When I was in junior high school, kids thought I was a witch because I was very observant, which unnerved people, and I read a lot of weird books. Actually, it was the book reading that cinched it. So we all had to move out of town.
While we lived in the country, mom, who had a mean streak, and was too young to have four little children, but also very lovely. She gathered wild sunflowers, dried them and winnowed them on a blanket in the sun. Then she baked the tiny seeds into loaves of sourdough bread. She in soup cans so that each of her four children could have their own loaf of bread. The loaves were wonderful: sourdough, government cheese, tiny sunflower seeds, hot from the oven with fresh butter.
And we didn’t care when the truck loads of cowboys rode by shouting “Witch and Whore!” We just made signs in the air at them.
We are never finished learning.
I wish you could see that, Nick.
She made me so angry the other day I thought I was going to explode. But I moved back here because I love her and I want to repair our relationship. There is enough hate in the world, enough turmoil. I want to do what I can to make peace. I wanted you to understand.
I love my mother with all my heart. She taught me to talk to grasshoppers and to see the world in a drop of water.
She almost killed me; we’ve had our problems.
It is complicated.
I remembered that day at the winnowing blanket. I made this chant and I have been singing it ever since. Not just for us, but for every mother and daughter, and really, for all of us all over the planet. Listen, I want you to hear it, Nick.
Your children honor you
We’ve all have troubles
that have burdened us
Let us gather, then
at the winnowing blanket
where we can separate
the good seeds from the chaff
and let the playful breeze
take away what we don’t need
and leave us something good
to feed our creativity
oh sunshine mother
let us be the peace that this whole world needs
oh sunshine mother let us be at peace, let us be at peace
But Nick! Your last words to me were “If you have her in your life I can’t have you in mine!” And then you died! That is so not fair! That is so not fair. How can you say that I can’t have my own mother. I love my mother. I need my mother. And I need my son! I need you BOTH. How could you say those words to me and then die?
I know. I know. Of course you didn’t know when you said it that those would be your last words to me. If we could pick our last words they would be different, right? We would pick funny last words. Let’s think, what would yours be? Oh I know! You’d quote what’s his face—your favorite comedian—Afro-wild hair dude—Reggie Watts. What’s that he says? “Molecular structure ain’t nothing but a thing.” Yeah, that is what you’d say.
I’d say one of Bill Burr’s funniest lines, but I’d change the word dad to Nick and I’d say, “But Nick, I just wanna look at ya, I just wanna look at ya, Nick.”
When you were a baby, I could rock you and nurse you and protect you from everything, but I don’t know how to protect you from seizures and not even the doctors know what to do. I hate this. You keep going to the window talking to someone out there. We are 6 stories up. Who are you talking to? One neurologist explained that there are four stages of sleep, and that when most people get to stage four, they dream. But when you get to stage four, you have seizures. That is a pretty fucked up deal if you ask me. I am really sorry, Nick. I don’t care if I have to take you to fifty thousand doctors, I will keep trying to find someone who can help you. I am sorry, but 20 seizures a day is unacceptable. I can’t believe that one doc said, “Well at least he doesn’t have to wear a helmet.” Fuck that shit! I remember walking you to the bus on the first day of kindergarten. You had on a He Man tank top and Red shorts. You had a He Man lunch box. You were holding my hand. You said, “Mom, I don’t want to have seizures.” When you were 7 we went for a ride in the country in New Mexico with your grandma and great grandmother. There was a small herd of buffalo beside the road and I said “Look, Nick! Buffalo! They were almost extinct at one time.” You said, “I know. I can smell ‘em from here.” When we were waiting for your sister, Hailie to be born, your favorite book was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Dig the Panama Canal. Somehow you got things mixed up, probably because I was always talking about your sister being born and one day you told me that when you grew up you wanted to work in the birth canal. Your first word was light. You were dark. You defended darkness and when I asked you why you waited to answer. It was the end of a long day. You asked in a humble way, “Did you ever think that some of us had to choose the darker way so that the rest of you could shine? If there was no night, how would you see the stars?” I was silent, for once in my loud life. Your first cozy bedtime toy was a truck– not a soft truck. You had to have a Six Million Dollar Man truck tucked under your arm before you’d go to sleep. You published a book of photography and a novel and you published three excellent cd’s. You were talented and not enough people got to know your work. You died alone in your apartment. Well, you were not completely alone. Jane was there. But your last words to me were, “If you are going to have her in your life, I can’t have you in mine. She is poison. She will hurt you and I can’t stand by and watch it happen.” He was referring to my mother. But he doesn’t understand. None of my kids do. I moved in with mom and no one understand why. But I did it because it is the right thing to do. I know in my heart what is right.
He said he wouldn’t talk to me anymore, so when he didn’t pick up the phone, I thought he was just angry. Days went by. Then a week and I was worried. The police called. Even now, a year later, the March wind stirs sand into miniature dust devils on the patio, that steal my breath; I gasp for air. It is not fair. To love one person, to try to repair one relationship and lose another forever to never hear him laugh at something Bill Burr says, it just sucks. But when I despair, I feel him kick me in the shins under the table at the restaurant, for example. I was talking to my friend about not knowing what to do without him and I felt him kick me in the shins! But it doesn’t hurt to get kicked by a beam of light, so it made me laugh. I can still hear Nick play his guitar while he waits for the green flare at sunset.
He told me why he plays his guitar while watching the sun set every day. He said there is an old myth that sailors told that if you see a green flare in the rays of the setting sun you will see the face of you worst enemy. He was convinced it would be his own face he would see. But he kept watching.
He liked hearing my dreams. I can still watch him shake his head and stare at he air when I told them, “You should write those down, someone might want to hear them someday.” “Yeah, right, In your dreams.” I tell him.
The world I am living in now is not like the one I lived in before Nick died. It has changed For one thing, I talk to ghosts. Never did that before. Not that I know of anyway. https://youtu.be/OhsPvnReIyA
I didn’t know I was pregnant. Tim and I had been married for a little over a year, and we were both working. I wasn’t consciously planning on having a baby, but I wanted on, of course, always. Anyway, I dreamed I was in the delivery room and a baby was lying on my belly, only he could talk like (a very wise) adult. We had a detailed conversation about how he could help me during this lifetime and how I could help him. It was exciting to think how we could work together and all the things we could learn. We also knew that our life together would be terribly difficult, but that every second of it was going to be worth it. But we agreed that we would have to forget the conversation in order for the lessons to take hold. So at the end of the dream we forgot all the details.
About a week later I learned that I was pregnant and nine moths later, the baby in my dreams was in my arms. I was head over heels in love with my fussy baby bundle.
Do you ever wonder what kind of alphabet the bark of a tree might be and what it would tell you once you learned to speak it’s language? Would you have to speak slowly, forming your thoughts over great stretches of time, making deep currents move through the the trunk and branches in a careful and connected way to make your point? Or would you be quick like the wind when it turns the leaves all at once, hundreds of phrase in one breath— imagine. Haha! It makes me giddy. How complex a language it must be, how rich the tones. And still, how simple if we are willing, and I know it’s almost impossible, but how exquisite a composition we encounter with all our senses if we could allow a tree to teach us the heart of true language which has always been simply to listen deeply before making a sound,, then listening deeply again.