I’m walking around some co-op house in my neighborhood. All these people I know are there, including my roommate Graeme. The house is amazing and sort of looks like the Mütter Museum of Medical Oddities in Philadelphia. There's a big staircase and a balcony with a wooden railing. We’re all there to see some kind of art show. The rooms are all filled with bizarre and incredible art.
At some point I go into a basement and I start messing around with steel wool, trying to make or fix something. I hold a piece of the steel wool in my mouth. It starts to fill up my mouth, almost like I’m winding a bobbin that I’m holding in my mouth. My mouth is getting full—soon the steel wool will cut me, but I tell myself that I have to finish whatever it is I’m doing and press on until my mouth is completely packed. The steel wool cuts into the roof of my mouth, cuts into my cheeks, starts to go down my throat. I am scared, but I calm myself and tell myself that I can pull it all out and I’ll be okay. I pull it out in clumps. It’s so tightly packed that it rips like a cotton ball being ripped in half when I try and pull it out.
I wander around the house, looking for a bathroom or someone to help me. There are people about, but they don't help me and obviously I can’t ask for help with my mouth so full. No one really even sees me, they just move past me. I keep pulling on the steel wool. It’s stuck into the roof of my mouth, but if I pull hard enough it comes out. It feels so good to dislodge it form my flesh, and it leaves cuts that don't bleed. I begin to worry if there is any of that weird blue soap stuff that is on Brillo Pads in my mouth, because, I think to myself, that could make me really sick. I find a little bit of it on some of the steel wool from the very back of my throat, but not very much.
The left side of my mouth is free of the wool now, but it hurts. The right side is still full. I find Chris, my partner, washing dishes. I show him my mouth. He acknowledges it, but keeps washing the dishes. I stand next to him and keep pulling the wool out, pulling out a piece that is very far back that has bits of lung and blood vessels and other tissue on it. It looks like algae that grows on rocks in the ocean. I show it to Chris. He absentmindedly says it is gross, then gets really upset, saying that a shard of the wool flew into his eye while I was pulling it out. He is really mad and leaves. I wake up.
I lay there in bed, realizing it was a dream. I run my tongue over my mouth in relief. I thought, in the dream, that my mouth would hurt for the rest of my life. But it won't. I am mildly comforted by this thought, but still disturbed by the dream and it's implications. I fall back asleep.
Kestrel, I'm less disturbed by the implications in this dream than I am by the canker sores that suddenly sprang to life in my own mouth while I was reading it. (This happen to anyone else? Leave me a comment and let me know.) The loose network of cooperative houses that annexed certain neighborhoods around the U.S. in the 1970s have gone through many phases and some remain a bustling bastion of counter-culture today. What goes on in your dream doesn't really seem that out of the ordinary for what really happens in the day-to-day in such places. Pay a visit to certain urban localities (and some rural ones too) and you'll find ad-hoc collectives who are always having art shows in grandiose Victorian group houses replete with a majestic balestrade here, a mahogany-rimmed veranda there, and enough oddball junk cluttering the whole damn place to give Philadelphia's Mütter and Mummers' museums a run for their under-funded money (though I don't think the punk palaces can a hold a candle to Philly's Masonic Temple—that jawn is or-nate!) I personally have been to the art show in your dream several times (our own beloved Fun-A-Day began in just such a place) and yeah, it was awesome with everyone there having had made something totally unique and beautifully strange.