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Bluebeard Drag

dreamed 2008/9/5 by Wayan
for Jack London and his Sea-Wolf


I read Dokebi Bride, a Korean graphic novel by Marley (she uses just the one name). Her heroine Sunbi comes from a family of Korean shamans. Her grandma protected their fishing village, but it was a lonely life. Her mom had the gift too, but couldn't bear the spooks and monsters--or being shunned. Killed herself. After Grandma's death, Sunbi's sent to Seoul. She feels people's auras and secrets, but can't always interpret them--in one scene, Sunbi senses that her teacher (an evangelical Christian) dislikes her, but she can't recognize religious bigotry and revulsion!

That little scene hit me hard, since I grew up sensing auras too. Though America, unlike Korea, has no concept of shamans, good or bad. Not that having a cultural role helped Sunbi much...


I'm in Oakland, by the Bay,
near Jack London Square.
New McMansions shadow me,
behind the working piers.

Mariners and yuppies, now
there's a queasy stew!
Class-war chowder--add
a dash of tourist too.

In the channel wave-waltz
fishers and a houseboat--no, for
house or boat too grand by far:
Mansion-Ship I'd call her.

On her deck, orange trees bloom.
Piano blooms on bridge.
Oasis of clean scent amid
the gulls and fish and tar!

Timidly I hope to tour.
Walk out their private pier.
A bronze girl leans down to smile
"Show you round? Why, sure!"

She leads me through the Garden
in summerdress of flowers,
a swaying tide of hips and swell:
seductive charm and skill.

Minutes pass before I see
that she's a made-up man:
convincingest, appealingest
drag I've ever seen!

Flawless? One thing's wrong with him.
Deeper than his beauty-skin--
a thug streak anchored deep!
No action tips me off, it's like

that silent Hayward Fault, or your
child who reeks of smoke.
But sheer aura, not a scent--
the subtlest sociopathic glint.

So I finesse her purring offer for
"a more personal, intimate tour."
Chicks-with-dicks do not appeal
to me, but that is not my fear:

I fear the Tour of No Return;
How many have been led?
I fear these half-ton harborseals
are truly tourist-fed.

Whispers inside dismiss all this:
"Just your antimale prejudice!
What's a creepy aura prove?"
All the same... I smile and leave.

I think intuition kept
Sea-Wolf's flensing knife at bay,
though I saw no stain of proof
Wolf Larson lurked that day.

Jack London said he meant to warn
that Darwin raised the pirate flag
justifying wolves again--
he feared the Bluebeard Drag.

  • Jack London Square: down by the Oakland docks, it's a tourist intrusion on a scruffy waterfront. The yuppie/salt tension in the dream is real. How ironic! Yuppifying a working-class dock, then naming it for a writer who championed workers and called the rich sharks.
  • Mansion-ship: You sure it's not a Charles Manson-ship? It's sure not the start of a beautiful relation-ship.
  • Bronze girl: in Jack London Square stands a big sexy pagan statue called Cheemah--Gaia, by another name. I like her--she's done in a grandiose style unlike modern public American statuary. Cheemah's as flamboyant as drag; and she's dressed like the girl/boy in my dream.
  • Bluebeard:
    1. a legendary serial killer who married and murdered wife after wife for prying into his private affairs--namely, his dungeon. I've read that Bluebeard was meant as a fable warning what men would turn into without the belief in a punitive God. But Sunbi's God-fearing teacher emulated Bluebeard: she too blames and punishes her victim not for doing or even speaking; for mere seeing.
    2. Wasn't there also a pirate captain called Bluebeard? Which brings up...
  • Jack London's novel The Sea-Wolf tells of Captain Wolf Larson, a Social Darwinist. Rule by the strong! Wolf-eat-dog morality. He lures the puppyish narrator onto his ship, as Bluebeard lured women...
  • Something's wrong, can't quite tell what: my half-blindness in the dream echoes Sunbi, who senses her teacher's malice without understanding why (part religious bigotry, part fear that Sunbi sees through her facade.) Inside this dream-figure I saw a complex stew of flirtation, sensuality, and delight in the gender imposture, almost hiding a much deeper level of cold, dissociated butchery. But I didn't want to believe in such malice, so I nearly rejected what I saw!
  • Warning!
    1. Intuition saves my life. Ignore it and die!
    2. I underestimate how much my Sunbi-strangeness alarms others. Why shouldn't normal people shun me? I do this Sunbi Drag nonstop--sense secrets, answer unspoken thoughts, respond to unexpressed moods. And then wonder why others shy away. Because they find me creepy, duhhhhhhh!
  • This is Dreamverse #22. Every day, a dream-poem! Regardless of how I feel, how much I peel, what I reveal. What a drag! The next Dreamverse: Small Miracles
Cheemah, a bronze statue in Jack London Square, Oakland, California. Woman holding a torch.
Cheemah, a bronze statue in Jack London Square, Oakland, California. Woman holding a torch stands on the back of a flying eagle.

LISTS AND LINKS: Only in San Francisco (OK, Oakland) - boats - social class - babes and hunks - gender - out of the closet! - homophobia and other biases - intuitions - fear - You Are Lunch - dream humor - dream puns - shamans - living with ESP - sculpture - dream poems - Dreamverses project - the next Dreamverse, Small Miracles

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