Dreamed 1975/5/7 by Stan Brakhage
I am in a vast school, infinity corridors in all directions, numberless doorways leading only into windowless classrooms, neon green illuminating everything, all lit with (darker than fluorescent) gaseous phosphor. It is as if the walls, floor & ceiling were surfaces of television tubing.
There is one room made of marble (though I almost wrote ''granite," thinking of the bedrock our house sits upon, the non-porous granite which is the back wall of my 'vault' and which I thus hope has only sprung a small leak from cracked rock rather than, say, a spring leaking into this precious place where I hope to preserve film); and the polished marble of this room, which seems of the quality of a gymnasium, with its hollowed sounds, is carved as an oblong box benched, all four sides, around a rectangular pool beneath an opening into sky above. It is a Roman inner courtyard then (very like that model of one I constructed for Jr. High Latin studies). It is very dark-gray mottled marble whose polished surface only refracts the sky light dimly; but this dull whitish light affords joyful relief from the green luminosity of all artificial lighting.
I am young... (so young that the sex of my school companions is un-noticed); and I am surrounded by friends in some desperation to escape from this institute. It seems that none of us has found a way out.
And I am then searching for an exist (wonderful pun on "exit") sign when I discover a large red barn embedded in one of the hallways. "An exhibit!" I think (something as artificial as Marie Antoinette's "farm" at Versailles).
I am opening the large wooden doors and discovering a vast dark enclosed space lined by lofts of dull yellow hay. In the center sits a gaily colored gigantically sagging balloon (such as that used to escape The Emerald City of Oz).
Then I find myself sifting thru a handful of tiny toy balloon sacks; and I know I can make the large balloon work to free myself and friends, if I can but convince them to transport it to the inner courtyard.
Somehow they have!, and we are all within this ballooning basket poised over the pool--which is now bubbling sewage and overflowing the marble benches.
We know that it will soon flood the entire institute. Shit and straw roll over the bubbles surfacing thru green. It is all turning brown and frightening me and all my friends.
I'm now then blowing up one of the toy balloons--a blue one; and as it shapes sphere-of-my-breath, the large ballooning above us takes shape and begins to rise...slowly, slowly.
Free!--we are suddenly thru the clouded sky--lite and into the blue and rising above the whole rooting tangle of corridors twisted in and out of the earth beneath us...the balloon rising now above even the few towers of the school.
I tie my toy balloon beneath the bellowed full sphere above us, and we are all watching the wondrously distant world rush past our passage over it.
The sun, which is softly golden, appears to accompany us; and its warm flower-like light sparks all shades of rainbow from the Earth. The green grass glows as if it were back-lit emerald. The mountains rise sheer and ice-white from these lawns. The sun radiates spikes of itself which touch the white-white pinnacles of mount-terrain causing raindrop/bow-like visual echoes to each golden sun-thrust.
The little blue balloon begins to sag; and I'm blowing up a bright red sphere to tie beside it (and here I find some source of the dream in my airplane ride day-before-yesterday from Buffalo to New York: a rather gross business-man, dressed in Russian style/'square' suit, after rudely elbowing his way into his seat, had teased the airline hostess about giving a child a balloon: he'd said he wanted one too... said, when she answered that the balloons were for children: "l've got a child somewhere here in me!"--laughing, and when she gave him one, saying "you'll have to blow it up yourself," he'd puffed and puffed into it, playing with it, trying to get her attention, and finally then tied off the end of this small red oblong balloon and obscenely let it rest in his crotch for most of the flight: that flight, then, encountering enormous bubbling-up thunderheads which caused the pilot to insist on safety straps half-dozen times and then to assure the passengers, with increasing anxiety in his voice, that there was no danger--as the airplane pitched about and tilted at angles beyond anything I'd ever experienced before).
The balloon ride is becoming bumpy, and my friends are all worrying about where we should settle down, but I know that the sewage will soon cover all the earth--all the Earth. . . the white mtns too; and I only wish to look at its beauty while there is the chance! I do not tell them there is no place safe to land because they'd just panic.
I only want to see it--not waste time trying to find some safe place, and I blow up yet another balloon--yellow... one which takes a oblong shape with sharp corners. It seems there is then a walkway to the large balloon, itself made of rubberized air. I'm sitting on the cushion of it--a balloon bench--looking at Earth's emerald and white. A friend comes to sit beside me, speaks of places to land. I realize I also am afraid of the height... that I do not want to get up. I sit... watching.
(I wake...most happily ever).
SOURCE: Dreamworks: an Interdisciplinary Quarterly (v.1, no.1, spring 1980, p.48-49)
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