That night, right in the middle of it, like so many others past, I woke up from a dream. TV was on somewhere with someone shouting crimes I assumed were true and were easy to believe but hard to trust for I’m no lawman. This Shangri-La fever was different, though. In its ephemeral qualities, there were contrasts, divides in sounds, shapes, and energies. Like all dreams dipped in the REM scape, they are simultaneously similar. In their smog-baked water-ripple, they were helpless with a bit of hopeful kind of quality and, for reasons clear only to the subconscious, were individual in their chance-recalled merits. Like childhood friends reuniting, one is affronted with time: your time, my time, their time – all of ours and, none of it. I say goodbye before I shut the front door to go to money and experience; escape to the toilet while at the office in the late afternoon; wonder in the life of night if the stove was left on just as my eyes flutter so heavy, the thought of opening them pressing the weight of the world on little old me. In this dream, that night, that end of day, there were pillows under and around my head; many pillows like a vice grip of comfort. The stink of the illusion of calm and introspection that comes only from cheap incense and imported theology stained the air. Through a moonlit window, a seagull punched its beak at the dirt. It wanted benediction for its efforts, yet meeting nature, it was sentenced to a law it did not know how to understand. Punch, punch, punch went its flailed trauma, and the Earth lay weary, tired of its child, but still in love. I don’t know if all that or something else made me wake up, but that’s what I remember when I did as I had many nights before and many nights after. This dream also involved shirtless cultist-like figures, wearing raggedy, white-linen drawstring pants, Kanye-style. Their faces wore the type of smug indifference only produced by leeching off of someone else’s genius. Virtuoso suckers. Brand jackals. Like gnats to rot, they gather. Desert beiges, poverty swamp olives, cinereous grays lined the walls of my vision, and all this was happening in a bed that wasn’t mine. Oh yeah, I remembered. I’m in Sea Ranch, not home, San Francisco. I recalled earlier that day - out of the dream (I think) - walking at a dusk alone and feeling like the ball in our sky had no rays of welcoming. There were gray seals with flippers spread wide bobbing up and down in the white froth, their V-necked noses the only piece of them breaking the surface of the water as I stared at them from a corner that wasn’t mine and never would be. Harbor seal photosynthesis. I recalled waving at a curious one with big, round black eyes and sadly-bent, curious brows, and I, all around, was grateful to it for making me feel reassured by noticing me, in its holy, holy, holy half-natural, animalistic response. The rest were all reaching, intrigued, and simply just wanting to connect with something other than themselves. Back to the middle of the night in bed, marshmallow moonlight gone - I checked my phone. Twitter told me Trump was upset about some type of L’il, liddle conspiracy theory CNN conjured. My fingers and mind, out of their combined rage and need to feel naively part of this never-ending, dumpster-fire void, Googled, what does a pig do before it dies? Enteric (gut) conditions, respiratory (lung) infections, and individual pig events. Standard, I thought. One tidbit I found crystal was from a statement of a slaughterhouse worker, “Because of improper stunning, many pigs are alive when they reach the scalding tank, which is intended to soften their skin and remove their hair. There’s no way these animals can bleed out in the few minutes it takes to get up the ramp. They hit the scalding tank and are still fully conscious and squealing. Happens all the time.” Had we not stunned this syphilitic, narcissistic, morally-depraved, emergency cone, rag-doll-momma’s-boy enough with his criminal acts? Or was he just incapable of being stunned to the point of recognizing the existential drama rumbling underneath all of our feet? Should we, as a nation and as a people, show him compassion if he happens to still be cognizant as he is lowered, head-toe-heel, squealing into our boiling water of reckoning? I clicked my phone off. I got up to do some dishes. The seagull was long gone, but the Earth remained.