We pretend that we are living in a time of best practices. Of strategic progress based on generations of progress. Sometimes even our progressive conferences sound like corporate commercials. About how it is better. And if it is worse it is urgently fundably worse. (Sub)Prime for the better connected better thinkers that we are.
I don’t think that we are living in a time of best practices. We are living in a time of beautiful failures. Of transformative break-ups. Of mistakes that really seemed like the best thing. Of spills that cannot be ignored anymore. And maybe we always have been.
In “Poetry is Not a Luxury” the great black feminist lesbian warrior poet Audre Lorde encourages us to stop thinking that our thoughts will save us, stop pretending that we can figure it all out. That we are smarter than we ever have been. That we are smarter everyday. She encourages us to trust the darkness of dreams. Which are strong and dark because they have survived.
What if as a species we are less smart than we have ever been. What if everything we thought we knew is falling apart around us, and that’s a good thing. What if the rate of our unlearning is so exponential that we actually get to live in the deep dark world of our dreams, and the news can stop feeling like a traumatic intergenerational version of déjà vu.
I thought I was “progressive” but I have never felt more backwards. I have never reached more desperately for the oldest most outdated parts of myself. In my dreams I see the moment that the universe was born and when I meditate I realize that moment isn’t over. I just think it is. And my thoughts cannot save me.
So I wanted to share my dreams with you. The technology I am using to know less every morning. And I wanted to share my failure with you. The time I wrote 35 dream love poems every single day to a POC land collective I helped found and ended up having to leave. (Spoiler.) This poetic video memoir is dedicated to Earthseed, the idea and the project and the loss. And it is in conversation with Octavia Butler the whole time.
I will be recording and posting videos versions of the dream poems I wrote last summer with prompts for you and ways for you to share.
I hope this can be interactive. And that your experiences help me know even less. I am sure I am not the only person who has been completely transformed by love and loss in this work. May this be deep space for us to share about our dreams. And how it didn’t work out.
And how we are still dreaming. After brightest star.
Love before and after everything,
To see all of the videos go to alexispauline.com/afterbrighteststar
Take. Root. “The destiny of Earthseed / is to take root among the stars.” -Octavia Butler
On Octavia Butler’s birthday I am sharing the first in installment of my dream memoir. 35 poems I wrote last summer in conversation with Octavia Butler’s Earthseed verses and dedicated to Earthseed, a people of color land collective based in Durham, NC. Today’s prompt is “How do you take root?” (Is the emphasis on “take”?) What is your relationship to land and community. What are the politics of where you live and how? What have you learned from failures and setbacks of renting, buying, collectively owning, splitting up shared stuff after break ups of relationships or collectives? Reply in the comments or send me an email at brokenbeautifulpress at gmail dot com!
And dreams are collective resources! Support the Dark Sciences People of Color Dream Retreat happening in Austin, TX this August. More info below:
This is poem number 2 of my dream memoir about love, land, failure and POC collective organizing. It is inspired by Octavia Butler’s Earthseed verse “All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change.” Turn the volume all the way up!
I would love to hear your thoughts on change and touch and land. How do we deal with the lasting truth of change when so much of what we are organizing for as POC has to do with forms of stability that have been taken from us by displacement and violence? Have you ever made choices in your organizing that have to do with just not wanting to have to change everything again (move to a new place? leave a job? challenge a community you have helped build?)
As always, infinite love. And if you want to support the Dark Sciences: People of Color Dream Retreat you can donate here:
Donate $101+ for a one on one dream conversation with me and $15+ for a pdf of this dream memoir.
“A gift of god may sear unready fingers.”-Octavia Butler
This poem is about what it means to receive gifts that we are not ready to handle. What does it mean to be over-prepared for the worst case scenario and under-prepared for the best case scenario? In your collective organizing have you ever been overwhelmed by an influx of resources? What has sudden abundance taught you about the existing or lacking structures of your collectives? Have you ever tried to offer a resource that your community wasn’t ready to receive?
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. And if you want to have some indepth conversations about resources, water, wide distances and love sign up for Maroon Studies Session 2: Necessary as Water through Brilliance Remastered: http://www.alexispauline.com/brillianceremastered/2015/06/16/maroon-studies-intensive-2-necessary-as-water/
And we would love it if you donated to the scholarship fund for Dark Sciences: People of Color Dream Retreat: