The Hell Cafe
dreamed 2009/10/21 by Wayan
I wake at 5 AM, pulse pounding; sweat and shiver simultaneously; hands and feet tingle. The experiment failed! I took a beta blocker last night--a drug blocking preventing adrenaline rushes. My doctor wanted to see if it'd stop these predawn attacks. Nope! Just a bit less heart-racing. So whatever my night sweats are, epinephrine/adrenaline surges don't cause them--they're just a symptom. My discomfort cheers me up--it's such a clear negative result!
Afternoon: therapy with Shelley. Explore an old nightmare figure calling himself the Ghostmaster, who's returned in new nightmares like Praise the Dancing Goons. He wants me to fight for respect. And if I don't, he says he'll beat me up. Is he causing these attacks? It's true I don't seek respect; I act like my dad--an ingratiating clown. But even if I hide my pride, it still won't let me risk rejection or act like a fool--I stick to my zones of competence. Limits growth! Shelley suggests I dream about this proud side and challenge it--date, flirt, play! Indulge my anima Silky--she doesn't mind being seen as a fool.
Evening: finish Liz Tuccillo's comic novel How To Be Single, on New York women hungry for half-decent guys. I find men so unattractive it's a revelation for me. Suspect I'm blind to women who like me--I expect them to have better taste (thanks, Mom).
I start Jonathan Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet. The LA art/music scene is glitzier and more pretentious than New York's. But love's the same: still hell.
I'm holding an illustrated tome
with scrambled guts--I try a poem,
turn the page to find the end is lost.
Oh. The verse ramps onto the wall!
Pages half a yard wide, horizontal,
The painting shows The Hell Cafe. You read
First the Pit yawns. Ruby licks
of flame illume;
Then a tonguelike chute drops bound
Then the kitchens. Hell-chefs carve
off the tasty bits of live
sinners into stew.
Then the cliff-cafe. Panoramic view!
Down the shimmer-red Abyss.
The hottest place in town is this.
Then closer-ups of diners' haunted eyes,
as they slowly realize
they dine on the diners in line before.
Then the fore-terraces of Hell Cafe
where most diners haven't yet
tasted who their appetizers are.
Then endless files of trendish souls
dressed to filed teeth. Wait for a turn
in the new Scene To Be Seen.
Then all pales to haze--dim stone
staircases rise, til upper right
blues with hints of unfire light.
Impressive enough, even reversed.
But my ass-backward Western view
If you have the guts to buck
For nothing keeps a hungry soul
from freedom but temptation!
Daylight's a far dim beacon,
but glimmers blue, in sight.
Buddha had it almost right! No demon
guards keep the damned in line
save hunger to belong--not dine.
And the sin of pride, that bugaboo
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