ORPHEUS AND POOH
Dreamed 1972/4/9 by Chris Wayan
I'm in the capital of a Central American country, on the airy top floor of a big old hotel, all ferns and columns and solariums. It may be the Presidential Palace itself. The situation's tense. U.S. gunboats swarm offshore.
Someone provokes them all to fire on the capital, causing terrible confusion--and cover for the Revolution. Shells start hitting the roof. I panic and run down stairs, leap off balconies to the halls below. Meet my uncle Vernon, who comes along. He has the Key to the Kingdom. Run into more friends and leave together.
We all flee into the jungle. Vernon hides the Key in a hollow tree.
Not far in the forest, we meet a delegation from the new government's representatives. They make an offer for the location of the Key, but we don't trust them any more than the old regime. Say no.
We set up camp deep in the forest. At night, hundreds of gleaming eyes watch us. This is all in animation; the animator of the scene asks a friend "What should come next?"
Everything shifts, and I'm in the hotel/palace again, but now this is all a 1950s movie about gangs in Texas. Several bunches of mute massive Elvis wannabes wander the tropical halls looking for someone to screw. They come to an agency that places people, and ask. They are directed to "go to the Gay Rooms and screw yourselves!" They're insulted, but I have to laugh: it's true! They only care about men. Women aren't people to them. They might as well fuck each other.
At least we're not being shelled.
I rest a while in the Agency lobby and listen to a stray Texan talk about Jesus and "that guy Boocha." Annoyed, I spread my Buddha Cards around the room.
A faintly familiar girl who works here comes in and looks at my tarot-spread of Buddha Cards. Out of them all, she picks my own personal card! We talk. She seems to know a little about me too.
We fall in love, go everywhere together, and get married.
But one day I have to go into the future alone to the San Francisco that will be. The downtown skyscrapers are deserted ruins. High in a tower, I meet a Chinese girl who seems to be a future incarnation of my wife.
She leads me down to the empty street. She crosses without looking... a racing car, sure no one's around, barely swerves to miss her, loses control and hits an oncoming car. Chain reaction, three cars smashed. Cops and ambulances...
Seven people killed--including my reincarnated wife.
I'm numb, can't remember much, except that in the crash and the fires I lost the paper wedding ring she gave me, and without it, I can't prove I'm any relation to my wife at all. The police and her relatives say callously "then look for it at the scene." After that holocaust? It's surely burnt! Hopeless, and I say so. I insist on going with them instead.
But instead of a hospital or morgue, their car heads... downstairs! The hearse swoops down glowing stairs, spiraling into the abyss. Out the windows, it's a horror movie--corpses crawl on every ledge, giggling and twitching and devouring each other.
At the bottom of the terrible stair, a movie lobby. Here the Nasty People live--lying on pillows, watching endless porn movies.
I don't know what they're going to do with me, so I plead "Whatever you do, DON'T put me in the world of Winnie the Pooh! So saccharine. ANYTHING but THAT!" I figure they may just do it, being damned souls out to make me as miserable as they can, and to them Pooh probably does seem deadly boring. I can get by, in Pooh Corners.
I wander around looking for my dead wife, by the flickering light of the porn. Endless, tedious, lonely, as they all hump away by pornlight.
At last I find her.
But they've gotten to her. She's ashamed of her body--says "You can't possibly still love me after you've seen all these sex stars."
Also, she's a Chinese girl who may be the reincarnation of my wife, not exactly my wife herself--so before I rescue her from Hell, I have to win her! Despite her different looks and memories, she has the same soul and personality as my wife, so I know I'll love her... but I have to convince HER of that. Takes time. But then, here in Hell, we have an eternity. We begin to reach a reconciliation.
She agrees to let me lead her up the Terrible Stair!
As we embrace, a dirty old Cupid flies up, hovers above us, and fires an arrow into my heart. Not the arrow of love or the arrow of hate--just a rusty old steel-tipped arrow. It'll probably give me tetanus. It hurts like hell.
Oh, wait, this IS Hell. No wonder.
I was wrong--it does have a magical effect, just a subtler one I missed at first. It makes my love abject, slavish, so exaggerated it's nearly a parody.
But at last, after several VERY painful false starts, my not-quite-wife pulls the arrow out--and I slowly heal! True love triumphs. False, rusty, abject love falls away.
And all's well that ends well. Except for being stuck in Hell. But we'll fix that, right? "All you need is love..."
We start up the Terrible Stair...
TWO WEEKS LATER
In my film class, we're shown Jean Cocteau's ORPHEUS. So many echoes of my dream! Old European buildings, Orpheus, car crash, heartless squad of bikers (cops = Furies!), wife killed, car trip to hell, movies...
Through the mirror
Minerva & her horsemen
It makes a huge impression on me, partly because Cocteau dared to try showing dreamspace, hypnogogic space (the nonREM state, rare in art), shamanic space (with 1930s technology, too! The magic mirror is a pool of mercury...)
But it also hits me so hard because I'd dreamed Cocteau's dream two weeks before.
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