Columns » Penny Post by Andrei Codrescu

A New Year's Wish & Farewell

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This year went by like a pigeon eviscerated by a hungry dog. I had a dream that I saw a wolf and a bird, each of them imprisoned in a big, wooden box inside a warehouse, watched over by a mean little overseer with a rifle. I went out to find them some food because they looked pitifully hungry and wasted, but I couldn't find any right away, so I went back to look at them and reassure them that I would, eventually, find a way to feed them and free them. When I came back, both the wolf and the bird seemed to be feeding on something furry and fluffy that had either fallen into their boxes or they'd snatched out of the air. They'll live a little longer, I thought, and went back out to look for food again. When I returned for the second time, still without food but anxious to see how they were doing, I saw that what I had previously mistaken for furry, fluffy food were actually babies: a wolf baby and an eagle baby. Far from looking malnourished and wasted, the beasts looked contented as they suckled their spawn. Buoyed by their new state, I went back out in the world, determined this time to come back with not just food but a chainsaw to get them out of their boxes. I returned for the third time, but I don't remember if I was carrying food and tools, because I was astonished by what I saw. The warehouse, with its cold, cement floor, had been transformed into a palace. The mean little overseer was now wearing a butler's uniform with a white captain's hat and was carrying a tray of drinks, serving a dazzling crowd of happy people who ate, drank and danced. The wolf welcomed me warmly and beamed with pride at the scene. 'Take anything," he said, as he toured me through the lit halls, introducing me to his guests. I looked for the wooden boxes but didn't see them. I was having a drink and letting the wolf show me around, astonished by the turn in his fortunes. Now and then I felt a little odd because I was naked, but feeling as I did under the wolf's protection, I wasn't embarassed in the least.

Don't even think of interpreting this dream. I can take apart any dream like a watch and trust me, I'm very good at it. I carry both Freud and Jung in my watch pocket. I could open a dream-interpretation boutique and sell chic and sharp analyses like hot soup on a cold day. I know that everyone will eventually want to carry a folded paper swan in their purse or briefcase with a dream interpretation written on it. Such an origami accessory will be as indispensible as jewelry to your average future citizen. But I'm not opening any shop here, and my dream will remain perfectly uninterpreted, whole in its mystery. I've had three dreams like that in the past: they meant a lot but I would no more mess with their imagery than I would with a fine painting.

I don't know where 2007 went, down the swirling drain of this new millenium, but it went fast and left behind very few uninterpreted and unexplained things. Mostly, it devoured everything: flesh, money, time and memories. And then it gave me this dream, so I wish you, likewise, a gorgeous, happy and inexplicable dream for New Year's.

And a bit of news: I decided to discontinue writing 'The Penny Post" in 2008. There is no emergency: I just need some slack. Writing every week is tough, and I need to finish some longer works. The first 'Penny Post" appeared on Nov. 1, 1998, on All Saints' Day, an important day in New Orleans and, coincidentally, the birthday of my wonderful editor, Clancy DuBos. I'm grateful to Clancy and to former Gambit Weekly editor Michael Tisserand for their generosity, forbearance and attentive reading. And I thank you, Gambit readers, for your patience with my rants for all these years.

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