I dreamed that I drove alone to a city that reminded me a lot of Albany, NY, where I spent about 3 1/2 years in the early 90s. There was a sprawl of steel and concrete that completely overwhelmed what could have been a picturesque waterfront along the Hudson River.
I’m pretty sure I was there for business — as no one goes to Albany for fun — nevertheless I sought out the hotel concierge for some ideas regarding what I might find in the way of entertainment.
She was frankly overwhelmed, also having responsibility for the front desk and a coffee bar set up in the lobby. I thought better than to burden her further with my petty request. At that moment, a stranger, who somehow knew that I was looking for something to do, asked if I was interested in taking a walk by the waterfront, which was apparently right across the street from the hotel.
This request seemed perfectly reasonable to my dream-self, so I found myself in an urban park stepping on stones at the shore of the river. Still dressed in business attire, I took off my shoes and socks in the event that I slipped from the rocks.
in my dreams
The overnight forecast called for rain changing to sleet and then to snow some time around the morning commute. I wasn’t overly concerned, as I could opt to work from home if the weather was overly dangerous, but my subconscious wasn’t convinced.
I went to bed early and fell asleep right away, only to wake up from some harrowing nightmares in the middle of the night. At about 4 this morning I startled awake believing that someone was knocking at the front door. Nothing gets by our dog Tito, so I realized it was only a dream, but I still wanted to make sure that our plow guy wasn’t in front of the house. As it turns out, it was only raining, and the knocking was all in my head.
restless night —
a ghost knocking
at my door
I returned to bed but tossed and turned for a while before falling asleep. I dreamed that I was in a big house with my wife, my eldest daughter, and her 4 daughters. My wife had an irritating computer issue I was trying to resolve when one of my granddaughters announced that there was a cougar in our backyard.
When I went to investigate (which I would only do in a dream!), a leopard and several other wild animals ran up a hill in our suddenly spacious backyard. The leopard, sure enough, changed into a cougar before catching sight of me. As I hid myself behind some brush at the bottom of the hill, I could hear the cougar settling above me.
restless night —
a cougar crouching
above my head
In my dream, I reached out for some rocks to throw at the cougar in an attempt to scare it away. In reality, I smacked my hand against the nightstand and startled myself awake.
All written in the past 24 hours. You’ll never guess what the weather is like here…
winter fog —
for my heartbeat
winter fog —
a crow calls out
winter fog —
of the salt pond
winter fog —
on the weathervane
Here are some haiku and senryu I thought might capture the ennui of a mid-week morning commute. They were all “written” via dictation to the voice recorder app on my phone and then transcribed with minimal editing.
morning commute —
on a beach house roof
shadowless morning —
the yellow lights
Now that my commute averages 45 to 50 minutes each way, I’ve gotten into the habit of “writing” by recording my musings on a phone app and then transcribing them later. The natural beauty along the beaches of Falmouth helps me to settle into a long work day, and then to decompress on the way home. Here are a few tidbits captured in chronological order, with little or no editing between the initial observations and their crystallization in text.
suburban sunrise —
the irrigated lawns
end of summer —
to my last breath
grand opening —
a new place
to hang my head
each the king
of its own island
docked at the shore
rocks with the waves
and yet so far —
beachside joggers —
my youth runs
away from me
No, we’re not setting the clock back to return to Standard Time from Daylight Savings Time — that will happen soon enough. For the tenth year in a row I was given the wheel to the James Dean Deathcar Experience for an hour on WMBR-FM in Cambridge, MA. It was a bit different this year now that we’re no longer living nearby, but we’ve made a whole weekend out of it, staying at The Verb Hotel just a block from Fenway Park and surrounded by tempting food and drink options too numerous to mention.
For those who missed it and would like to check it out, a one-hour podcast of the show can be found here. The playlist for the show can be found here.
You can find me almost anywhere, squinting in the shadows and trying to figure out what I’m seeing so that I can write about it.
I was standing at the bar, since I didn’t plan to stay for very long. I ordered a bright pink cosmo and sipped it slowly. You arrived shortly after I did but didn’t notice me. You seemed flustered, agitated, and in need of a drink.
I knew the bartender wasn’t ignoring you, but I also knew that your repeated attempts to get his attention only delayed his arrival to our end of the bar. In the meantime, a much-too-excitable young man with short curly hair and round glasses began flirting with you, hovering like a mosquito between you and the bar. You did your best to ignore him, even when he offered to flag down the bartender and buy you a drink. When it was clear that he wasn’t going to be deterred, you abruptly asked him to leave you alone. He departed in a huff, disdainfully tossing a five dollar bill onto the bar.
I picked it up and offered it to you. “Hazardous duty pay,” I said.
The bartender approached, asking if I needed a refill. I pointed to you.
“I’m good,” you replied, walking away.
“How about you?” teased the bartender. “Are you good?”
“I’m awesome,” I replied. “And I’ll have another.”