Red

A closed glass cylinder. Rounded ends. Long. Narrow. Perhaps ten centimetres long and one millimetre thick.

Floating. Smooth and sparkling. In a barely lit space.

Filled. A tiny volume of bright red liquid.

Part of me watches from one side.

Another aspect of my mind is an infinitely thin, invisible circular plane. Centred just inside one end of the cylinder. Extending in a five centimetre wide radius around it.

This mind has multiple views. From its outer perimeter it sees the exterior of the cylinder along its length. From its centre, inside the cylinder, a wall of red.

From all these angles we watch. This circular plane begins to advance along the length of the cylinder. Its centre moving through the liquid. Since the plane is not physical, it does not disturb the cylinder or its contents. But it somehow reads its texture, like a needle on a record.

The liquid becomes semi-translucent. Non-homogenous. Its viscosity, its clumping, its varying shades of red, are a kind of narrative. A play. A dramatic series of events and characters and language, of sorts, in the form of clouds and currents and movements within the liquid and within my own body.

Words apart

Across the wide Carlton street, from where I stand, two words lean casually against a wrought iron fence. They glance occasionally back and forth along the street, their eyes narrow, their focus distant – as if scoping to hitch a ride on some passerby’s tongue – then down at the footpath, their own fingernails, and, rarely, and without lingering, at me.

Five or six letters each, it seems, though I can’t quite say. The height of a child’s bicycle, and disproportionately narrow. Workmates, perhaps long-time collaborators, yet ready to separate should the right opportunity present; and expecting as much.

Vaguely… vaguely, they are my words. Somehow cast into a wider orbit. My head feels less heavy for their distance. My mind can make out a little more of its own contour. It watches these two characters with detached curiosity, without fascination.

hypnagogic utterances

nature…
lay down in a bath of water…
and slowly froze.
December 2018

Put the alien into position
February 2018

Put a snookeration round the stitching of your yarmulke
April 2018

Burn

Light the purple fire
Burn the trembling tree
Build the furnace higher
Set the embers free. 

edge

Last night
In a dream
A distant lover
From years ago
Lay next to me.

She didn’t speak.

She held me
In silence
And let me find my own outline
Against her body.

Today
Sadness
You are welcome.

Sit with me.

Press against my skin
And know yourself
At last.

collapse

I stand on the crowded floor of the top storey of a tall office building. My body is heavy. My nerves sting. My mind gasps for air, flailing in a dark ocean surging through from some place beyond.

The floors and walls shake and crack. The empty space between us crunches and heaves. Bodies, desks, chairs and machines are flung across the office. I look fearfully out, beyond the sprawling metropolis, toward the distant fields and mountains. The land is unexpectedly still, rippling only gently as the storm mounts.

The office management, heavyset men with thick brows and swollen, clenched fists, are unmoved. No air swirls in their lungs, nor blood in their hearts. Their voices, low and disdainful, boom forth. “Return to your work, you damned fools. Pay no heed to your childish hallucinations.”

Most of the staff fall into line, though their desks and chairs remain scattered and the storm tugs no less forcefully at their bodies. Some join in the management’s refrain, shaming the disloyalty of those who resist compliance. But some are unable to acquiesce to this suicide pact. Our hearts are too sensitive to yield to such blunt coercion. Our fear is our strength. It commandeers our bodies, drawing us toward escape, however fraught.

The contractions come stronger and faster now. A large inflatable dinghy appears in the middle of the floor, a small group of sensitive souls already aboard, beckoning to me. I sense a violent battle for survival ahead. As the remainers hurl their righteous indignation, I climb aboard. I feel the warmth and fleshiness of my fellow passengers’ bodies against mine. I feel our shared terror and our shared conviction. Enmeshed in the womb of a new paradigm, deaf and blind to the demands of the old, we begin our journey.

The floor gives way and our boat free falls along an expansive lift shaft some twenty metres across. The space is dark, dotted with specks of starlight, and I can barely make out a steel supporting structure. Whilst my fellow passengers panic, I experience a subtle breath of calm, an almost smiling fascination with the intensity of our predicament.

We are now outside and on the run. I move through the city with two women from the boat. I feel lost. It slowly dawns that this is not Melbourne, as I had assumed, but rather a city in Tasmania. One of the women takes the lead and is determined to make for an airport. I follow, though I know this will be futile. At best we might hope to come across a local airfield and make our own way back to the mainland in a stolen light aircraft.

What little hope of a retreat to some familiar sense of safety, to a place or a community or a state of awareness fortified against the storm, ebbs away as I attune to the depth of sensation tearing through my heart and the Earth below. My friends and I are now fugitives on the run not from one discernible enemy, not from beast or weapon or disease or fire, not even from our own inner demons, but from the unraveling totality of an untenable world. This is the Collapse. A long-simmering reckoning has finally breached the walls of this world’s flimsy dams. The elemental fabric of a world drowning in the echo of booming voices is dissolving into dust. Seized with terror, the deep animals of our souls drive our bodies blindly into a vast unknown, to some place either so novel as to be unimaginable or so ancient as to have long since disappeared from the collective memory – if not death itself, then some place indistinguishable from death when seen from the darkened road toward it.

As my friends run ahead toward a descending subway escalator I find myself all of a sudden swept some ten metres into the air. I am especially self-conscious of this spontaneous flight, concerned that the women expect me to follow them. Reaching the escalator, they turn back to find me floating above. They fall to their knees, awestruck, almost horrified with astonishment. I am taken aback. In hundreds of dream flight experiences I cannot recall an occasion when entities within the dream were aware of my flight. This feels like the first time the wonder of my flight experience has been witnessed by anyone but myself. A brief rush of wholeness sweeps like a breath of wind through my body.

I descend and rejoin the women. We enter a cavernous underground tunnel and proceed across a steel mesh walkway. I notice a dozen or so naked bodies around the base of the tunnel. They are suspended in unusual postures, some slumped against walls, others over railings, some mounted one atop the other. Their skin is pale and flabby. They are not dead, but their behaviour appears numb and mindless. More bodies appear, floating face down in still water in an intersecting tunnel ahead. We turn back to find more emerging into view in swarms, pursuing us like zombies. The scene is ghastly. It feels as if these souls have become incorporated into the body of some satanic overlord and now act as limbs under its control in a depraved game of torture and terror.

Outside, the Collapse steadily deepens. The ground beneath us swells and belches like an ocean. Buildings crumble. Terror-stricken individuals scatter in all directions, screaming like animals, lashing out at one another. The people, the buildings, the Earth, the air, the very laws of physics and consciousness and community – Everything – is in the throes of death.

An unusual phenomenon is arising from the ashes of the old world. The Collapse is catalysing special powers, many of them violent, in certain individuals. A heavyset woman up ahead, her behaviour aggressive, violent, and psychotic, has developed the power to fire tree branches from her arms with a flick of the wrist. As she practices her new-found skill on helpless victims, her lips curl upward in sadistic pleasure. As we move through the city, more such individuals emerge, each with their own violent power.

At this moment, hyper-conscious to threats from all directions, from within and without, a confronting and humbling awareness suffuses my blood. The unfolding terror, the unrelenting bombardment of my innermost terrains – this is nothing new. This, now, is the experience of the asylum seeker. The family pelted by bombs. The abused and starving child. The woman raped and enslaved. The elder pleading through merciless pain for a dignified passing. The animal penned, violated and murdered under the guise of biological need and cultural sophistication. The soldier hurling their life to the grave in an unknown land. The Stolen Generations and all their brutalised indigenous counterparts throughout the world. What I am watching and experiencing, this shredding of all sense of place and self and belonging, of birthright, has been the felt truth of experience of individuals and communities stretching far into history. This, now, this impossibility, this lethal danger from all quarters – this end of time, end of matter, end of community, end of self – this sheer obliteration of the vast, hitherto unrecognised ground of experience itself – This, is the long-marginalised truth of those systematically terrorised, controlled and extinguished. Today, the coalescence of all their trauma within mind-at-large has finally triggered this unstoppable moment of brutal deliverance.

I scan my environment. I need a space. Something is stirring. The Collapse has unlocked an inner doorway to my own special power, a power woven into my spirit from my very beginnings. Flight.

I come by a clearing shielded from immediate danger. Here, in the shadows of concrete walls yet to fall, I begin my practice. While dream flight was once a spontaneous action, now a special technique must be cultivated. I stretch my hands in front of me, wrists against my chest. Between them sparks into life a delicate, vibrating energetic filament, iridescent like oil. Subtle gyrations of my hands give rise to rhythmic fluctuations in this force. This moment has been too long coming, and despite the overwhelming focus required I know I must integrate my birthright here and now. This power is sacred and potent. The violence will perish with the worlds it killed. From here, if possible at all, it is the students of the sacred gifts who might stir new worlds into life.

And then, up I go. My whole life force is in my hands, and as unstable as things feel, I am up. For now that is all I know. Where this leads I cannot say. Below, the world continues to crumble, silently now, under darkening skies.

There appears below me a dark figure standing some five metres tall, her disfigured face concealed under her black cloak. A witch, or a banshee? She scampers about, clutching at the air, intent on upsetting my work. But I remain aloft, beyond her reach, and she soon fades.

Finally, returning to solid Earth, I notice a couch in the clearing. A young woman is trapped inside, sewn tightly under the leather cover. Her flesh is enmeshed with the fabric, like roots with soil, the border between captor and captive almost indiscernible. I struggle to release her, tugging at the fabric. I ask her questions: Do you know how you got this way? Where are your arms? Do you have a complete body? Though she is stiff with fear, I sense she is conscious of my benevolent intent. She responds with barely perceptible gestures and breathless single-word utterances, her eyes wide open, staring blankly past me.

26 May 2019

new worlds

I usually avoid writing up dreams where my recall of the central thrust of the dream is poor. Here, I thought I’d give it a little shot.

The order of events is hazy. I often wonder if this is because time is a more fluid medium in a dream state. Conversely, I often wonder whether our waking sense of time is a highly constructed phenomenon, far removed from something more fundamental. In light of my experience with non-ordinary states, some of which have twisted the notion of time beyond recognition – or obliterated it altogether – I also wonder if the constraints of our waking sense of time are there to protect us from something far, far too large to experience directly.

I remember being in a four-wheel drive with three other people, at night. I am sat in the back. The driver is an older man, perhaps around 60, and resembles two men I know, a personal friend and a youtube personality.

We are moving slowly down a dirt road at a steep angle. The road appears to skirt what looks like a medieval village. Earthen buildings, turrets, lanterns burning.

Our vehicle jerks suddenly and begins to roll over itself. The felt sensation of this is very distinct and intense. I feel my body spinning in space. I hear the crunching of metal, and the shattering of glass. I consciously wonder how I can feel this so clearly and why my affect is so calm. 

The details that follow are incredibly emotionally complex and existentially strange, and I am working from both limited recall and a lack of appropriate language to express what I experienced.

We, apparently the passengers from the car, are sat in a small semi-circle of chairs. A group counsellor sits in front of us. We are inside a large hall with a high-ceiling, furnished with various tables, bookcases and the like, akin to a large reading hall in a library. I recognise one good friend in the group, but there is a strong sense that we all know each other and have a deep history.

There is a peculiar quality about the context for our meeting that I cannot duly articulate now. There’s a palpable sense that each of us, by virtue of some shared process – perhaps the crash – have undergone fundamental changes in our nature, each of us different from the other. More than just our own nature, it’s as if the very paradigms within which we each now separately exist have deviated from what you might call “regular” reality – our laws of physics, our biology, our social paradigm, our logic, and somehow the purpose of our lives. We seem to have taken on dramatically shifted states of awareness and existence that have imbued us simultaneously with special powers and very particular problems that require that we be treated with special care and attention.

Despite our shared history, our divergent dynamics create a tension in the group. Each of us is effectively coming to terms with his own new outlook, which is not only at odds with consensus reality but also with our fellow group members. Before long the group becomes unstable.

On top of the typical distortion of time that we can encounter in the dream state, this dream makes brief explicit reference to abnormalities in time. In planning an event with one of the group, I realise I need to factor in that we are literally operating to different clocks.

Our situation appears to be acknowledged by other people in this unusual new world. Indeed, it appears that we are of special interest and that there is a team of people working to help us adjust. They feel benevolent, but not in a soft, angelic way – they are professional and focused, as if they belong to a government or security agency. At one point I am pulled aside by two of these men. They are very professionally dressed. They advise me of an opportunity available to me, perhaps related to a romantic relationship.

(In attempting to recall this dream afterwards, at this point I jumped to the end to try and work backwards.)

I remember being with another person, perhaps one of the group, wandering through the hallways of a luxurious building. Something like I imagine the Ritz would look. There are many doorways, some of which feel instinctively unsafe. It’s as if each leads to its own separate reality with all the unusual shifts in physics, time, and meaning, some so altered as to be incompatible with our own survival.

At the end of the corridor we find a very narrow, tall doorway. A door is hung from each side, the two opening out in the middle. Each is barely 30cm wide, and rises around 5 metres to the ceiling. We enter into an equally narrow entry hallway which is playing host to a very glamorous, sophisticated party. It has the air of a 1950s gangster soiree, dark, sultry, theatrical… long cigarettes, garters, fedoras.

Somehow nobody notices our arrival. Not far behind us come a number of officials, some sort of police. As they enter, the organisers of the party rush through a doorway at the end of the hallway. The authorities question whether everybody at the party is “the way they’re supposed to be”. The organisers respond “There’s nobody too (something), or (something)”, running off a list of unwelcome characteristics. The strong sense is that each room may only be visited by people of a particular orientation of consciousness.

Meanwhile we duck unnoticed through the door at the far end of the hallway and immediately up a narrow stairwell that dog legs to the left. At the top is a door to the organisers’ private office. I notice a plaque on the door displaying curious words, but, as is typical, the written word rarely makes it out of the dream state.

We enter the office. There is a sense of danger – what if the organisers return? The room is oddly shaped, somewhat triangular with an elevated arrangement of large leather chairs along the diagonal, akin to the front of a courtroom. The fit-out is surprisingly plain and worn.

In one corner, positioned rather awkwardly, is a small door in the wall. It is fitted with numerous locks, however when I pull the handle the door opens. It is, in fact, a safe. Initially there appears little of interest inside. However, on closer inspection I notice wads of cheques printed with images similar to British currency. I also notice a stack of standard British currency. As I begin shoving these into my backpack, the person with me enquiries “Is that money? We could take it with us, couldn’t we?”, to which I think to myself Well yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Regrettably, the central thrust of the dream is too slippery to grasp. It revolved around this therapy group and our interactions with each other. There was something very jarring, on the one hand feeling so distinct from each other, and on the other feeling so related as if we could be multiple facets of the one person. 

But the overall other-worldliness of the dream is what is so vexing. The sense of being somehow superhuman, and this bringing with it both special qualities and painful sensitivities, both a sense of power and a sense of alienation and loneliness.

Interestingly, this reflects a notion I’ve been wanting to write about at some point, namely the mixed blessing of my dream life. I’ll come to that topic another day.

alignment

I am driving at night along Dandenong Road in Melbourne’s south east, on my way to meet an Asian woman, an online date. I arrive at the address, number 750, to find a commercial building. An Asian man is being escorted from the front door by a glamorously dressed Asian woman. This is apparently a brothel. Fearing I have been lured into something untoward, I keep driving.

The physical environment now undergoes some unusual shifts. The material world becomes somewhat translucent. The road and the buildings become more fluid. It feels as if I’m inside a computer game. My car, too, becomes less tangible, as if I’m almost floating through space unassisted. My surroundings begin to glow and flash, both subtle and garish. Many Asian women begin to emerge by the roadside. The scene slowly develops until the nature of this place becomes clear – an Asian prostitution ring has turned an entire suburb into a sex-themed amusement park.

The road narrows ahead. Women flank my way, some young, some matriarchs. They are angry with me, as if they feel I came for their services and am now renegging. They are attempting to banish me from their site, yet simultaneously seem to want to seduce me into staying. I sense danger, that they might be just as happy to run me off the road and injure or kill me.

In order to leave, I am required to collect various non-material objects from the grounds. Large nets are strung up in complex arrangements, perhaps 10m high, loose and fluid. I need to avoid running into these as I scoot around collecting these objects.

A group of around ten men emerge, very strong and robust. They have an air of authority, as if they are a police or firefighting force. They are there in support of me. They are embroiled in an argument with the management of this place, over a rug that I am taking with me. There is a dispute over who owns it.

Next I see a large, slick grey big cat lying on a patch of ground, perhaps on this rug. I crouch fearfully very close in front of it. The men encourage me, explaining that it has been trained not to hurt me, that I need only to be bold and show it what I want. I tentatively adopt such an affect and the experience softens and the cat allows me to retrieve the rug from under it. I pat its head. The men offer affirming comments.

I am by now fully lucid. And at this point the dream shifts into very dramatic territory.

I lie on my stomach. A rotund female figure appears. She is not there physically, but I can see her and sense her presence. She has a supernatural aura about her, extending far out into the space above my head. There is an unambiguous sense that she is some kind of oracle. A guide.

My consciousness is entering a complex non-ordinary state. The typical sensations of acceleration within the body, stirring movement, vibration, rumbling noises.

The guide shows me a black and white globe of the world. She points out Jordan, the country, and tells me it is empty. Despite this being my own name, I take her to be discussing the country. I am confused why she would refer to the country if she simply means me. She moves on to make mention of Budapest and Germany, too, but the details now elude me.

Soon after this, the guide starts to work with my body. She says something to the effect that I need to trust some kind of mysterious element. She elevates me to a 45 degree angle, my toes touching the ground/bed and my head pointing upwards. The non-ordinary sensations become stronger and stronger. My body increases dramatically in size, so that I am now millions of kilometres long, my feet down on earth and my body extending far out into space. The setting is black, like space. My body is a translucent energetic mesh.

Now an energy starts to pass through my body, apparently directed by the guide. It begins at the top of my head, progressing eventually to my feet. My body is quite limp and seems to be divided into 7-10 horizontal sections. The first extends from the top of my head to about my chin. The energy moves downwards from the top of my head, a combination of complex vibrations and hummings noises, tightening and strengthening my body as it goes. As it reaches my chin and the join with the next section, there is a clicking sound and the top section snaps into a state of solidness. This process proceeds through each section of the body, until my entire body has been fully “reinforced”.

The overall sensation of this experience was immensely positive. The guide seemed to be conducting a healing process on me. As she did so, she offered me gentle reminders to go with the process. Interestingly, at a certain moment there was a very clear sense that she was a little surprised how well this was working, as if she had been unsure if I was quite ready to be receptive to this.

Recall of this dream was not quite as detailed as some previous big dreams, but the deeply non-ordinary and transcendent felt sensations definitely place it amongst my all time most powerful dreams. The very literal spiritual material of this dream is also interesting and quite uncommon – the presence of a spirit guide, the statement about being empty, the similarity between my body “sections” and the notion of chakras. The earlier content, too, is full of symbolism – angry, capricious women; strong, supportive men; a wild yet submissive animal.

extreme flight experience

As occurs so often in my dreams, I find myself once again sat in an aeroplane in trouble. It has not long taken off, and is struggling to maintain thrust in its ascent. It dips and rises in spurts. I wonder how we are still airborne. I see the terrain ahead of us. A mountain bluff approaches. We are coasting towards it. At the last moment, the plane thrusts and we just clear the bluff.

These dreams typically end in an unlikely landing, or a crash, or waking before I find out. In this case, this final thrust over the mountaintop initiates a lucid crescendo to the dream, and an uncommonly triumphant one.

Power starts to surge through the engines and I become instantly lucid. I experience in my body a visceral sense of exponentially increasing acceleration, that internal heaviness of g-forces compressing my muscles, organs and skeleton. Faster, faster, faster. The plane’s trajectory through the air more and more inclined to the vertical. All the while, an ear-piercing, high-pitched, gravelly sound builds inside my skull. Growing in pitch and intensity as the plane accelerates. It feels as real as regular sound, hyper-real in fact, except for having a special quality that tells me it’s coming from inside my head – or perhaps that’s just the lucid state allowing me to rationalise the experience. It is the auditory phenomenon classically associated with the ingestion of DMT, or what some speculate are spontaneous DMT dumps within the brain. Like a distorted radio frequency ratcheting up and up. Almost inconceivably loud, all the more so knowing that it has no external physical source. There is a jarring contradiction in it. It feels as if the sound should hurt me, damage my ears, and I almost brace for the coming agony. Yet it never comes. The louder it gets, the greater that sense, and the greater the incongruence of the lack of pain.

Almost as soon as these phenomena had begun I was in an effectively waking state of awareness, fully conscious that I was dreaming, objectively watching and wondering about what I was experiencing. I began very quickly to worry, as can often occur in such states, that I would inadvertently wake from the dream due to excessive conscious processing. I find it’s necessary to very deliberately moderate one’s energy and thought processes to stay lucid – too active and you wake, too relaxed and you fall into a non-lucid dream state.

The worry increases and snowballs throughout the experience. Remarkably, this seems to have no effect on the dream or my lucidity. The ascent continues. The acceleration, the noise. A sublime experience, until finally I drift awake…

One can speculate about what’s going on with dreams. Their meaning, their source, their physiology and so on. I usually avoid this, at least in any detailed sense, as I feel there’s a mystery in dreams that is far deeper than the feeble reductions of our pre-frontal cortex and our popular cultures can handle. Instead, I would say I find interest in dreams on two main fronts:

1) Rather than seeking to explain what a dream means, I instead seek to explore as closely as possible what occurs and what it Feels like. The most interesting dreams tend to be those with the most depth of feeling – particularly complex emotional states, but also physical sensations. (The dream above, as powerful as it is, still pales against my more emotionally complex outings.) This depth can occur even in dreams that are otherwise bereft of interesting narrative detail. I think that these feeling states have much to offer us in becoming subtly attuned to the complex, non-linear realities and potentialities of our spirits, our bodies, of the systems of nature, of community and society. Not clairvoyance. Not physics. Not politics. Not religion. Just tiny yet complex motifs hinting at the deep nature of the Cosmos.

Beyond personal enquiry, I share my dreams in the hope that they might inspire a diffuse and dreamlike sense of reflection in the interested reader. That here and there, one or two facets of my dreams might offer the reader a sense of hope, or curiosity, or a creative inspiration. I would much prefer they take away a sense of unknowing awe in the mysteries of nature than a superstitious or unreasoned dogma with which to reduce the world to certainties.

2) Dreams and their impact can be intensely personal. I feel that many people rush to interpret their dreams in the context of the material world around them. A google search for dream-based blogs, vlogs etc renders almost exclusively either literalist/fairytale-like/quasi-religious interpretation, or “how to” guides on gaining lucidity. I’m wary of this.

The greatest conscious emotional benefit my dreams have for me is that they remind me that my mind and body are still capable of feeling intense sensation and emotion. Due to long-term, incessant mental illness, my waking life is starved of deep feeling, or what you might call deep presence, physically and mentally, and the intense feeling I do experience is typically at the negative end of the spectrum. My dreams rescue me. They show me the profound possibilities for feeling that still exist within me.

I do not know how this will ever translate into my waking life. I log and write about my dreams in the hope that this will help bridge the two worlds. Whatever the case, while I search for those bridges, the dream realm is my connection to the deep self I somehow lost touch with or never knew.* Like a nurse tending to a patient who is yet too ill to care for themselves, the dreams are keeping me alive. I feel they’re the strongest evidence I have of the psyche’s profound instinct towards preserving and expanding its own vitality, and more broadly the vitality of the social and ecological meshes we all belong to and help to sustain.

*Perhaps I’m even witnessing the building of a new, more integrated, more expansive inner identification. Considering the fundamentally novel, hyper-dimensional objects and sensations I experience, many that seem to have no possible analogue in the world of regular consciousness, geometry and physics, it’s easy to suspect that deep new neural pathways must be being forged.

pregnant

This is another dream with an unusual sequence of events. Frustratingly my recall is somewhat limited, for both the details and the complexity of the felt state, so this account is just what I can piece together. But hopefully I can paint some kind of picture. It was a very strong dream.

I find myself in a pool hall, which I will later discover is situated within a large house. Everyone except me is dark-skinned, apparently of African descent.

I am being introduced to a new game by two men. The table is enormous, perhaps three times the size of a full size snooker table. The ends are semicircular rather than square, such that the table is shaped like a running track. The baize is normal at either end, but the bulk of the table, the middle section, is overlaid by four or five rectangular sections of material, some kind of string or rope, each section in a different pattern.

I am bewildered by the size of the table and the impediment of ropes lying across the table. But I want to impress the men. I casually line up a shot, the cue ball perhaps five metres from the object ball. Despite hitting the cue ball with as much force as I can muster, it soon dies and fails to reach its target.

For a while I stand at one end of the table watching the two men discuss the game. In recalling the dream now, it is hard to pin down the feeling I had about these men. One in particular seems to be a strange mix of friend, enemy, idol and, strangely, romantic partner. I remember him as a tall, very thin man, with sparse facial hair, and a decidedly suspicious air about him. At the same time, I hold him in some kind of esteem.

Turning towards the table, I see two scenes overlaid one on the other. The base scene of the pool hall is still there. But on top of this is a street scene. To the right of the table I see a woman walking near the gutter, shops behind her. She seems middle aged, perhaps 50. She stops, spreads her legs apart, and a fully grown child of around 8 years emerges from under her dress. My primary impression is that she had him tucked under her dress, yet the way he drops limply to the ground, face first, suggests a birth. Her affect suggests this event is unremarkable to her.

The middle of the street itself is overlaid on the table. Another woman is on her hands and knees here, stretched out almost stomach to ground, groping her way forward. The sense is that she is pregnant, and that the way she is moving risks damaging the foetus. Her expression is pained. The mood of the dream shifts to danger. In the distance behind her, like a mirage, looms an oncoming hoard of angry, dark-skinned men.

Someone, perhaps one of the two men at the table, tells me that I need to leave urgently. I suggest returning to my room in another part of the house. They explain that this will not do. The gangs are coming and will search the whole area and violently pursue anyone they find. The danger is extreme. If I stay, I will die.

I leave the pool hall and find my way in the dark to my room to collect my keys and wallet. I contemplate hiding in a bathroom, but remember the man’s warning. To leave the house, I need to navigate a series of obstables as if in a game of Mario brothers. I make it out, and drive off in my car.

This is the most interesting point of the dream, yet the one I remember with least detail. As I drive, I can viscerally feel a foetus moving inside my abdomen. I sense that I am two or three months pregnant. I can feel that the foetus is struggling, probably dying. I reflect to myself that this feeling, this sense of knowing, must be akin to the feeling states mothers describe around pregnancy and their children’s wellbeing.

My larger worry seems to be my own health. The loss of the baby seems inevitable, and I worry about what will happen to my own body in the process.

I am angry. I think of the tall African man, who I now perceive as the father of this child, and ask myself how he could have let this happen if he knew about the impending danger. And how he could now have abandoned me.

There is now a sense that the setting for the dream is an Eastern European country. I overhear a dialogue between elderly women, lamenting the loss of their traditional culture.

10 January, 2019