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Friday, 14 September 2012



Sparse vegetation in the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument: photo by Daniel Schwen, 4 April 2004

The somnambulist is asking the moon what it is doing up in the sky, a white hole in the deep eternal blue, so early in the morning.

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Guadalupe Mountains and Chihuahuan desert, seen from dry Lake Linda, West Texas: photo by Daniel Schwen, 2 April 2004

He says: I always dream the same dream at the same time.

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Coyote (Canis latrans) in Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata): photo by BrockenInaglory, 4 July 2008

The moon says nothing. The day passes, and then again, flung up over it, the great sky canopy: millions of mutely witnessing desert stars. That part of the story never changes. It comes on swiftly yet stealthily, in the same way it does every night.

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Leopard, Kenya: photo by Viault, 1987

 Lingering in the tall grass, a deceptive sense of animal presence. A buzzing sound.


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Chiricahua Mountains, Portal, Arizona: photo by Karen Fasimpaur, 4 May 2008

The mountains of quartz and broken glass appear to tremble, mirage-like, filling the air with a distant shimmer.

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Ciudad Juárez at dusk looking west toward Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: photo by Daniel Schwen, 3 April 2004

All the houses in this border town, and all the dreams dreamt inside these houses, become identical when darkness falls over the desert.


Landscape between Concá and Arroyo Seco in Arroyo Seco, Querétaro, Mexico: photo by Alejandro Linares Garcia, 21 March 2011

He remembers again: I always dream the same dream at the same time.


Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), San Juan County, New Mexico: photo by Peemus, 24 October 2009

The somnambulist walks through the sagebrush beyond the edge of the border town, then back again; darkness of the arroyo; time passing; gravel crackling under foot, then silence.

Military personnel at White Sands National Monument: photo by Daniel Schwen, 4 April 2004


Susan Kay Anderson said...

dreams extend in the desert silence.
Boundaries shift endlessly
dunes crystal from mountains
she was a million dollar dog
on America's Got Talent
all dog not one part cat
even in the shade
more shade than cat.

knowing this I view the coyote
the leopard the sage
long extended lines of words
barely on the edge of understanding
ankle deep the walking slow
the goal tipped onto its side
just a sliver so beautiful bright.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

"Mountains of quartz...shimmer"
just like in Shangri-La
the sage a startling color
when viewed this way

city and people not exactly
more like ideas
pass in the shimmer
quartzy dusty sage.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The mummy woke up and looked into the dictionary. Suddenly, the past, everything made sense:

SOMNAMBULISM, med. juris. Sleep walking.
2. This is sometimes an inferior species of insanity, the patient being unconscious of what he is doing. A case is mentioned of a monk who was remarkable for simplicity, candor and probity, while awake, but who during his sleep in the night, would steal, rob, and even plunder the dead. Another case is related of a pious clergyman, who during his sleep, would plunder even his own church. And a case occurred in Maine, where the somnambulist attempted to hang himself, but fortunately tied the rope to his feet, instead of his neck. Ray. Med. Jur. Sec. 294.
3. It is evident, that if an act should be done by a sleep walker, while totally unconscious of his act, he would not be liable to punishment, because the intention (q.v.) and will (q.v.) would be wanting. Take, for example, the following singular case: A monk late one evening, in the presence of the prior of the convent, while in a state of somnambulism, entered the room of the prior, his eyes open but fixed, his features contracted into a frown, and with a knife in his hand. He walked straight up to the bed, as if to ascertain if the prior were there, and then gave three stabs, which penetrated the bed clothes, and a mat which served for the purpose of a mattress; he returned. with an air of satisfaction, and his features relaxed. On being questioned the next day by the prior as to what he had dreamed the preceding night, the monk confessed he had dreamed that his mother had been murdered by the prior, and that her spirit had appeared to him and cried for vengeance, that he was transported with fury at the sight, and ran directly to stab the assassin; that shortly after be awoke covered with perspiration, and rejoiced to find it was only a dream. Georget, Des Maladies Mentales, 127.
4. A similar case occurred in England, in the last century. Two persons, who had been hunting in the day, slept together at night; one of them was renewing the chase in his dream, and, imagining himself present at the death of the stag, cried out aloud, "I'll kill him! I'll kill him!" The other, awakened by the noise, got out of bed, and, by the light of the moon, saw the sleeper give several deadly stabs, with a knife, on the part of the bed his companion had just quitted. Harvey's Meditations on the Night, note 35; Guy, Med. Jur. 265.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856

Anonymous said...

beautiful words and photos...I feel the transitory and the lasting the word "lingering" I think that I understand it better in english...:)

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Inferior species
identical dream
meditate with me
awhile as brother sister
monks do
before the terrible night
before the excusable dream.

TC said...

An alibi for every occasion is the sleepwalker's dream.

Ungaretti: Sleepwalkers

Hazen said...

Exactly so.
Your thoughts my thoughts.
Whole days and nights of
white on white, white
against blue.
I look for something,
to hold onto.
I breathe.
A bird cries
in the tall trees,
Meditations on night,
on dreams and time,
connect to everything.
In silence is truth.
Exactamente así.

TC said...

But was it a dream after all?

TC said...

“Toda vida, le dijo esa noche Epifanio a Lalo Cura, por más feliz que sea, acaba siempre en dolor y sufrimiento. Depende, dijo Lalo Cura. ¿Depende de qué, buey? De muchas cosas, dijo Lalo Cura. Si te pegan un balazo en la nuca, por ejemplo, y el pinche asesino se acerca sin que lo escuches, te vas al otro mundo sin dolor y sin sufrimiento. Pinche escuincle, dijo Epifanio. ¿A ti han pegado muchos tiros en la nuca?”


“Todo pasaba por el filtro de las palabras, convenientemente adecuado a nuestro miedo. ¿Qué hace un niño cuando tiene miedo? Cierra los ojos. ¿Qué hace un niño al que van a violar y luego matar? Cierra los ojos. Y también grita, pero primero cierra los ojos. Las palabras servían para ese fin. Y es curioso, pues todos los arquetipos de la locura y la crueldad humana no han sido inventados por los hombres de esta época sino por nuestros antepasados. Los griegos inventaron, por decirlo de alguna manera, el mal, vieron el mal que todos llevamos dentro, pero los testimonios o las pruebas de ese mal ya no nos conmueven, nos parecen futiles, ininteligibles... Durante la Comuna de 1871 murieron asesinadas miles de personas y nadie derramó una lágrima por ellas. Por esa misma fecha un afilador de cuchillos mató a una mujer y a su anciana madre (no a la madre de la mujer, sino a su propria madre, querido amigo) y luego fue abatido por la policía. La noticia no sólo recorrió los periódicos de Francia sino que también fue reseñada en otros periódicos de Europa.”

-- R. Bolaño, 2666 (2004)

Susan Kay Anderson said...

"From a slumber..." (Ungaretti)

Moon or is it sand
dunes in my ey
slumber Coyote
against the wash

movement under

each time piece.

Hazen said...

Epifanio and Lalo Cura are having the conversation of all conversations. For Bolaño a bullet at the base of the skull would be a short and sweet exit. But I wonder. Time dilates in a crisis, as we know. Maybe it dilates as we lay dying too—a crisis to end, literally, all crises. And maybe sensation—pleasure or pain—becomes a thousand times more intense, even if it’s just for a scintilla, an immeasurable bit of time. I don’t know. Sobre esto no hay certitud.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Lullabye alarm clock
dissolves the boundary
between this
the other
not seeming


Not a question

memory water
in the desert
the place
by mummies
dog breath
of it
here and there.

Anonymous said...

I ´ve never heard the "certitud" word...:) thanks for using it!

Wooden Boy said...

The crepuscular quietness of this piece is altogether uncanny.

Always coming back to The Inbetween where the light is dry and the moon can't leave the morning's desert be. A place where the world is always prior to its disenchantment.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Another eye-opener.



Johnny likes the coyote photo best.

"I always dream the same dream at the same time."


light coming into fog against invisible
top of ridge, sparrow calling on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

one was of the other, being
because given with it

after it was, were when one
more and more, called

green shoulder of ridge across channel,
cormorant flapping across toward point

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I was glad to hear
"the poor don't lie
to one another"
and something about
being in it all together--
spoken in the Leopard Man
to the girl
looking at the birds
saying she had forgotten
she had seen them
spilled corn meal
not offering enough
under the bridge for him
not enough
will never do
was stupid too
that's where he ate grass
silly fool
and drank water that dripped
from the ceiling
as all prophets tend to do.