Dream Songs in the Slovenate

In the Slovenate we are a hierarchy of hastily put-together tunnel-visioned beasts. If you wake up early enough, you might catch glimpse of some of us slouching toward our academic buildings — our hair stuffed into elastic ties that are soggy from the shower where they stuck wristwise, pants wrinkled, novelty cat-print socks bulging from the tops of our faux menswear black leather dress shoes with elastic ties where the laces ought to be. We have order, albeit the kind that people don’t tend to notice when we hold up the line at the library’s front desk. 

I think it’s important to find this order. It’s not the same for all of us. As for me, I’m a compulsive cleaner who can’t seem to keep the desk free of clutter for more than a day or two. At this moment, as I am breathing, I am fairly confident that there is a small hill of clothing in front of my bed. Perhaps I will tidy before I sleep. 

And, for me, there is a special kind of joy in that sleep that you slink into after a long day at the desk, thinking about problems, and answers, and answers to the problems, and problems with the answers.


I have a favorite bit of nighttime reading. It’s a sort of ritual to wander through a few of John Berryman’s dream songs before sleep — that is, when I know where my copy is. It is a book in pitiable condition and I love it the most. The cover, once fresh and crisp and 90-degree-angled, has been secured by a few coatings of clear packing tape. When I lived a summer in Germany it was the only book I took. And wonderfully so. 


I hope all of you are having a fine day in whatever order you’ve established for yourself. Before too long, it will be time for me to turn in. If not my copy of Dream Songs, I hope to be able to get an article or two finished before I sleep.


The bats are out

This isn’t going to be any less awkward the more or less I hem and haw about it. Yes, yes, beginnings are always rough and there’s nothing at all that can be done about that.

Instead I would like to tell you that I am beside Savannah River, bathed in the shadow of my eight-story hotel, and that I have not thought about gouging my eyes out once today. Instead, I am filled with that honey-milk malaise that says Yes, perhaps I will stay in the hotel all day. Perhaps I will buy a miniature can of pringles, bottled Pepsi, and ice cream and when the hotel staff says that will be $17 I will say okay, because the restaurant will be closed then anyways and there is nowhere to go but my room on the second floor. For now, though, I am beside the river, bathed in the shadow.

This kind of thing has become usual for me – usual enough that my professors are probably raring to rip my eyes out (before I can do it myself) for missing so many classes. It’s a passion, I’m sure, and a fury that brings me to Savannah, just as it is a passion or a fury or the will of an angry god that brings me to Utah or to Wisconsin or to the top floor of the education building back home. It’s the force that wakes me in the morning with a stone in my belly, weighing heavy and rough, asking what I’m going to be.

I never have an answer for it. However, I still have my eyes, and that is victory enough.

To do all of this, I must be bats.

Welcome to my cave.