Tim Cohen's dream interpreted by Greer McGettrick

Sam Lefebvre

Traps in the midst of dreams

[Ed.'s Note: Sam Lefebvre sent IMPOSE a copy of his Degenerate Zine he publishes in the Bay Area. In it was column in which D. Vassalotti of Merchandise interpreted one of Sam's dreams. Rather than steal the idea, we gave Sam his own column to have artist on artist dream interpretation exchanges. Welcome to Traps in the Midst of Dreams.]

For the first installment, Tim Cohen recalled an exciting saga of espionage, assassination and inexplicable inter-continental travel with our own President Obama. In a cavernous Western Addition bar in San Francisco, we engaged in a rather stiff interview about writing oblique love songs for The Fresh & Onlys latest album, Long Slow Dance, and then lightened the mood with the following story loaded with telling Id signifiers.

For interpretation, we asked Greer McGettrick, front-woman of maladjusted San Franciscan quartet The Mallard. The ritual tension and unnerving sinuousness of her group’s quasi-garage on the fringe indicated potential for keen deciphering. We were right. She deftly discerned the drama in Cohen’s dream.


I was at some kind of Middle Eastern arms summit with Barack Obama and his right hand man who was an unidentified figure. We were with these cliché Middle Eastern terrorist dudes. They all looked like Osama Bin Laden. There were three of them, and then three British guys. We were in a hotel room and after the conference we shook hands and said goodbye.

I walked last out of the room and I felt fear that we were going to be attacked from behind. So, we were in Iraq and we went to another hotel room and Barack said we needed to change clothes because we looked too American. We all had to put on turbans and robes and cover our faces up. I put my stuff on and I was concerned that my hair was too long and hanging out of my turban. I thought the jig was up but Obama said not to worry about it.

We walked out of this hotel and we were in a big music festival but no one else was dressed like us, everyone just looked like hipsters. I was like, “why are we dressed like this?” We went on this crazy trek through the whole city and didn’t get caught. We made our way to this bar with a backyard in Brooklyn and we went up to this table with people we knew. One of them had a mustache, a bald head and a tank top on and he had some kind of secret shit that Obama needed to get. But, before he could give it to Obama, this bully came up and punched him three times in the chest, then he fell dead and blood started dripping out of his mouth. So, Obama went into this weird cartoon whirlwind like a cat and mouse fighting and he came out of it looking like Owen Wilson in Starsky & Hutch but he had on a red tank top and red shorts with a yellow lightning bolt. He totally worked the guy and then I woke up.


I've read that characters in the dream are all different incarnations of your personality, you're Obama, you're the bully, and you’re the hipsters at the festival. They're all perceptions of yourself and how you think people perceive you. With that in mind, this is how I've interpreted your dream.

The terrorists seem like a fear that's mysterious to you. They're taking the form of what Western society has deemed “evil” and you're struggling to run away from it. You being Obama's cohort, as it were, may be linked to the need to bond with a part of you that wants to be seen as a leader in life, assuming you're a Liberal. I wonder what kind of feeling you got from his right hand man, whether the unidentified man was trying to keep you from getting closer to him like his bodyguard, or keeping you both safe while you got to get to know him. You felt threatened and vulnerable when you left the hotel. Maybe there's an agreement or contract with a person or yourself that's left you feeling like you might getting the short end of the stick.

You and Obama are trying to adjust to a mold that may seem foreign or infringing. You're worried that you'll be found out. Maybe there's a part of you that's changing something about your identity; hanging out with different people? Trying your hand at a new style? But you're worried that people will associate this change as trying to blend in too much. The scene changes, now you're worried whether you've tried too hard and you're self conscious about it. It's a balancing act. Blend in? Stick out? The hipsters are your Critic, telling you that you've tried too hard, and you've failed. The shit that Obama needs may be a something that you want, or had and lost. It could be a material possession or even a friendship. The bully is again your Critic, that's telling you 'NO'. The cartoon cat/mouse fight is awesome. I wish I could have experienced that.

Through out the dream you shadow Obama. You follow him, you do what he does, but it doesn't seem like he's dragging you along, nor does it sound like you feel captive. You're willingly narrating his adventure. This hero that you're following around means a lot to you. It may even be a combination of a figure in your life that you look up to and one you're striving to be.

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