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Saturday, November 25, 2006


I see the sea.
The sea sees me.

— "Suburban Bathers" by the Residents

Last night as I went to bed, I put on the movie DAGON and let it inspire my dreams.

It's a loose blending of two H.P. Lovecraft short stories, “Dagon” (1917), and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (1936), both crawly tales of ancient sea gods and half-human fish people, subjects that hold great appeal to me as a water sign. As a child I often fantasized about growing me some gills, ditching the surface world, shouting “You fucking ROCK!!!” to Prince Namor (Arthur Curry is a big wuss — to say nothing of a MAJOR failure as an imitation — by comparison) and existing for the rest of my days amidst the limitless wonders found beneath the waves, and at times my adult reveries take me right back to that long ago part of my imagination. Most often in dreams.

There’s always a moment during my slumber when I know with absolute certainty that I’m dreaming, and when I reach that point I just surrender and let it take me where it will. Last night I came to in what the Australian aborigines call the Dreamtime somewhere very, very deep in the Stygian depths, unaware of how the hell I got there.

I felt the crushing pressure of the ocean, and even in a dream I knew that the air in my lungs would soon run out. My body drifted and bobbed about aimlessly, and my arms floated against my will, rendering me into a mock crucifixion position, preparing my flesh as some sort of questionable sacrament for any fish who might swim by. I hoped it would be a magnificent Great White shark, the badassed Carcharadon Carcharius, my favorite squaliform since I was a wee Bunche, who would come along and make short work of me, but I just hung there in undersea limbo for what seemed like an eternity. Then my attention was quickly diverted by a sensuous form, utterly at one with the Great Mother Ocean gracefully appearing as if from nowhere, and in an instant the merely strange leapt into the realm of the mythic.

A beautiful mermaid, a creature that I know does not exist, swam up to me, her huge hazel eyes filled with curiosity. Her gaze met me with a silent “What are you, odd thing?” and she circled me, her blue/green scales brushing against me in a frictionless tickle. There was no verbal communication; she was able to speak with a mouth full of water, clicks and whistles and such, but I had no such luck. All I could do was sit there and wonder at her otherworldly loveliness.

Her long, dark hair undulated around her mesmerizing face, slowly buffeted about by unseen currents that gave them a life independent of their source, and her perfect breasts, twin glories that would bewitch Poseidon himself, followed suit. Below this vision’s navel was where an ever-solidifying tattooing of scales formed into a lengthy tail that lazily fanned back and forth, assitsting the motions of her arms to hold her in place, and she craned her head forward to get a better look at me.

Those eyes held me transfixed as she appraised me, this clumsy foreigner in her world, and she appeared to reach the decision that I meant her no ill. At that, she moved closer and embraced me, her hands and tail wandering about my form in an effort to figure out what I was, touch being the one language we could share in her silent environment.

As what was left of the air in my lungs began to give up the ghost, the sea-goddess understood my plight, and she kissed me long and deep, sustaining me with her aquatic kindness. As our embrace became more affectionate, my ears resounded with a horrid mechanical beeping sound, and just before I awoke, my ichthyologic Isis embraced my head and softly said to me, “Soon.” I gazed into her eyes and saw her mouth draw back into a melancholy smile, and then she abruptly disappeared.

At that moment, I awoke and picked up the phone whose ringer I usually turn off before I go to bed, only to be greeted by some woman looking for “Anthony.” I told her that she had a wrong number, and she politely apologized, and I returned the phone to its cradle.

I then lay there on my bed, utterly awake, and staring at the ceiling, longing to return to the depths and the welcoming arms of that far away Nereid…

Sometimes dreams have as little mercy as the waking world.

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