The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Of the Dream

Nightmares infiltrate, surround me, breaking barrier and border, dissolv-
ing surface and substance. This is literal, concrete; it's what I suffer
through, night after night, almost all my waking life. At one point, the
nightmares were nameless, and I would be destitute, unable to function the
next day or days. Now they are of different orders, just as menacing. Two
night ago, before this sleepless night (I have finally left the bed yet
again, shaking), I had the following dream. I was making love or beginning
to make love to a woman, a preacher's daughter. I had oral sex with her
years ago. Her father had a collection of snuff films. In the dream she is
lying on her side, facing me, on a platform or plinthe of some sort, her
head to the left, her body a book or a picture, landscape or tableau. I
begin to caress her body, a mixture of her own, as I remember it, and
Azure, as I know now. Her body is wet, as if covered with semen. In the
dream I am tumescent, my arms around her, moving her towards me. It is at
this point that I become her, that my body drops away. It is at this point
that, behind her, that is behind me, there is a menace. I remember only
the claws. They begin to scrape, to scratch her, they begin to dig deeper.
It is a rape in which the body, my body, is torn and penetrated every-
where. Her body, my body, was the color of dark cream; the menace is gray,
shadow-bound. I remember thinking, just before I woke: This is a dream in
which I am transformed from the dreamer to the thing dreamed. It is a
dream in which my identity changes, a dream which is transitive, a dream
in which position and gender are transformed as well. It is a dream of a
transom or threshold 'turned to stone,' a dream _from which ultimately I
am excluded,_ waking, once again, in a state of horror. The body of the
dream is in relation to the body of and
the sound of the dream relates to the matsui pieces described at , but a sound which is harsher, Wagnerian,
tumultuous, a sound of frenzy in matsui1 and hollow in matsui2. But a
sound which, in dream, was silent; only the tearing of flesh, the clawing
accompanied by screams, the preternatural moans and trembling with which
the dream began - only these formed the matrix of the other which haunted
me to wakefulness. I cannot say more, or more to the worse or better,
about these fixtures of my existence - only that my mind curses me far
better and far more often than others are capable of. I can trace evil in
me, but who cannot? And as others escape, so I am bound, to dream and
symbol, writing and written, as well.

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