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dreamsome: musings on dylan and dreams

Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2006 at 09:28PM by Registered Commentersadi ranson-polizzotti | CommentsPost a Comment

copy of highway 61.jpgWhat is it like to read someone’s palm, to take their hand to yours and to trace the lines oh so gently or as Dylan said, “My restless palms.” Some are restless, others not so. I always did love the song "Spanish Harlem Incident" for it described the process so well and i could imagine Dylan's palms as "restless," as some others I have read.

I’ve read palms and played with Tarot for a long time – probably since I was about fifteen and maybe it’s complete. But palm reading is another matter entirely; it’s more of an intimate experience. It means holding the other persons hand in yours; it means holding on for longer than one would, or one would normally with someone less known. Or perhaps you hold someone you wish know to better.

I had a friend advice me about palm-reading once, and her advice, “Tell him what he wants to hear.” It wasn’t bad advice per se, but it just wasn’t’ the kind of advice that I could take. I had to take his hand in mine and read it has it was.

It was a palm unlike any other with crisses and crosses – of mathematics and high mounds of Venus, of sensuality and intelligence, of caring and nurturing and all of the qualities that I would have expected anyway, except for the two faint lines running along side the marriage line, which I could not sort out, but perhaps I read them wrong. In any case, the reading was 90% accurate, he said. Not bad for a quick read in a café.

I’ve been thinking about Bob Dylan a lot lately, perhaps because my husband, my cousin and I are off to see him in August. That and that fact that I listen to his ‘63 tour in my nonstop and never listen to anything else pretty much. It borders upon selfish in a way because I want Dylan all to myself; I don’t want to share him with anyone. Not fans not Dylanologists. I tell myself, of course, how absurd this is. But still, part of me wants to believe that had I been of age a meeting of the mind would have been possible. But it’s always for the Dylan of ’66. The thorny issue, you see, is that I was just being born while he was onstage and had already recorded some of my favorite albums.

To see him now is a shock – he looks so different than he ever has though that said, I’d still be tangled in his web or he in mine… like any good or talented poet, Dylan knows how to cut through the shit or to spin the right bull-shit at exactly the right time. He is, as he once called himself, a “song and dance man” and I take that in every literal way – he may not dance but the show is what counts. One wonders do we ever see the face of the real Dylan, has anyone, or does he hide behind that “Bob Dylan” mask he joked about at the Philharmonic tour on Halloween.

Lately I’ve been listening to “The Chimes of Freedom” – on the surface, a story about a couple seeking shelter from a storm, as to the rest, the meaning to me is unclear. I read the lyrics and I see it’s about freedom, I see some politics creeping in there and not just the refuge from the storm, but refuge from life itself, from the all of it. And why shouldn’t he have a break; I like the idea of a couple taking refuge in a storm, ducking into an alley to be safe – there is something obviously romantic and appealing about this image for obvious reasons. You can either put yourself there with Dylan if you like him so much and in a particular way, or you can imagine yourself there with a lover with the “chimes of freedom” crashing and clashing all about you. Either way, to me as a church-bell ringer, (big bells in the tower, not the little ones) I suppose the song appeals on many levels.

I used to think that “my song” was Visions of Johanna.” My cousin says otherwise and points me to the above and I wonder which is the better of the two. Is it better to huddle in a rainstorm or to have “those visions of Johanna that conquer (my) mind.” I wonder which is more suitable to me and which is not? All of this is besides the point: for I always associated myself not with a Dylan song (well, Underneath that Apple Suckling Tree from the Basement Tapes, which I adore because the original lyrics include the name Sadie, so I’m bound to be biased – as my friend said – an unreliable narrator.)

I am Nick Drake’s Hazey Jane – blundering, stumbling my way through life, or so it seems to me, but not to others. Others think I have it all sewn up – which is good, because that public mask goes a long, long way to perception and that is key. I don’t want to come off as “I suck” because for the most part, I do not think I do suck. There may be days when I suck but who doesn’t have those days – and god, surely Dylan or Nick Drake especially have many more than a handful of songs about this very subject. Suckdom. We’re all entitled to our days of pure and absolute self-indulgence and self-pity once in a while. Just don’t’ get carried away with it, and you’ll be fine.

My advice – just get over it as soon as you can. We all feel that way at times and believe me, rarely is it true. If you really did suck, you wouldn’t even know it – you would just sit in your hovel or wherever and not think for one second about your job, or lack thereof, or the fact that you do nothing but sit around eating Doritos all day long and not being a productive member of society.

Sucking is hard work – so is saving. I’d like to save many a friend who thinks they are unworthy in some way, but the truth is they have to come to this realization on their own

I have dreams – strange dreams and one cannot control what one dreams, only what we think in our waking life… that much we can have some control over, but have a dream and it stays with you all as some dreams certainly do? You wonder to yourself, Hey, I who invited you in? How did you get in my dream - ? I’ve come to accept that this one person will continue to e in my dreams and my theory is simple: I see him as an empathic figure, someone who understands me and gets me. As Dylan said, “I’ll let you be in my dream, if I can be in yours” which always struck me as a great, or one of his best, lines anyway.

Lately I have many dreams and I don’t really know the source of the dreams only that they seem to all involve my cousin or Bob Dylan or both. It has become a joke in our house now so that the minute I tell my husband I had a dream, he says, What did our cousin do now, or What did Bob do now?

They are always dreams of being saved or being the savior, but most often of being saved. Often, I am having seizures or being chased by seizures that wish to catch up to me and suddenly there is my cousin, arm outstretched from a helicopter and pulling me to safely where I sit and stare blankly before turning his palm over and divining his future. I’ve written many a poem about, so it’s good grist for the mill.

In another dream (and poem I’ve written), we are in an apple orchard and the bees are dancing above us like a mobile and not threatening at all – just hanging out there and we are unafraid. My cousin feeds me fruit dipped in honey. So far so good, right. Soon everything goes wrong and I begin to feel those aphasias and petit mals I know so well and he simply strokes my hair and lays my head on his lap. He says to me, in my dream, “If you do not sleep, you will not have nightmares”, then repeats the same sentence in French.

After some research, because it struck me as such a specific thing to say, I found out that it is actually an old Yiddish expression – or perhaps paraphrased but some version thereof. Had I heard it before and if so, when and where? I still can’t get a pulse on that sentence he spoke. I can only say that in the moment, I felt loved and unafraid. I felt that I had found sanctuary at last in this orchard.

I suppose you could read the dream other ways (orchards, forbidden fruit, parking of forbidden fruit and so on,) but that’s not how I see it. To me, this is simply a dream of tenderness, and frankly, there isn’t very much of that in the world anymore, or if there is, why don’t I see it more often. I know I do good deeds, send things through the post that I think will brighten someone’s day, but I receive nothing in return, but then, you don’t give to receive something in return. You give freely and of it, you expect nothing.

Thanks for listening,



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