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 I have never reached more desperately for the oldest most outdated parts of myself.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 tragedy. 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,
After Brightest Star: A Dream Memoir for the movement launches tomorrow at alexispauline.com/afterbrighteststar
*collages by Alexis Pauline Gumbs